The distancing requirements or the Covid-19 virus have prevented NCTV from filming “A Walk in the Garden with Liz Davey” at my home. In spite of the, restrictions the gardens are growing as usual. I want to share a few of the things I’ve been doing outdoors in my gardens and some of the summer recipes I am making using produce I have picked. Since I can’t be with you live yet, I have put together a photo scrapbook to show you what is going on in my garden and in my kitchen.
Given more time at home, I have worked really hard on some neglected edges and flower beds this spring and early summer: pruning, weeding, edging and mulching. As an added bonus, I have created space for a few new plants which I will add this fall or next spring.
June turned out to be quite dry until the last week when a storm dropped 4 welcome inches of rain water on Norfolk. Since then we have had some summer heat and humidity and a few showers. I have been kept busy watering plants in containers and hanging baskets and any new shrub and perennial plantings. My roses have finished their first flush of bloom and it is time to prune spent blossoms and give them a second helping of rose fertilizer to promote fall blooms. It is also important to keep up the watering of roses so that they each get about 5 gallons of water a week.
There was a constant succession of blooms throughout June. Now it is time for daylilies and Asiatic lilies. Asiatic (shown on left) and Oriental lilies grow from spring or fall planted bulbs. Daylilies grow from roots and are not bothered by the red lily beetles that can plague the others. Once all of the blooms on a scape have bloomed, I will cut the scape to the ground. Also in bloom are the bright yellow blooms of coreopsis and heliopsis verbena spicata and ‘Blue Paradise’ phlox. My garden is punctuated by the tall little blooms of verbena bonariencis a self-seeding annual, which is a butterfly favorite. And speaking of butterflies, I also grow both pale pink common milkweed, tall dark pink swamp milkweed and orange butterfly milkweed. Deadheading of perennials and particularly annual flowers not only keeps them looking neat but may promote repeat blooming.
left to right - Daylilies: Little Grapette, Gentle Shepherd, Strawberry Shortcake, Little Heavenly Angel
left to right:, Heliopsis, Coreopsis, Verbena, ‘Blue Paradise’ :Phlox
Left to right: Butterfly Milkweed, Monarda (Bee Balm), Common and Swamp Milkweed, Verbena Bonariencis
My containers got a bit of a slow start, but have filled in nicely. With only the purchase of six annual verbena plants and one hanging plant, I have used cuttings taken last fall and saved summer bulbs of canna and caladium to completely fill several large pots.
Seed saving has begun. I let the columbines form seed which I am now collecting. The seeds will be taken indoors to thoroughly dry and then put in labeled paper coin bags for sowing next year or sharing with friends.
It has been fun to have hummingbirds flitting among the flowers. I fill my hummingbird feeder regularly with a boiled and cooled mixture of 2 cups water, ½ cup white sugar, making sure to keep the feeder clean.
We have enjoyed a variety of salad greens since late April. To continue the harvest, when a crop is finished and removed, I keep planting new seeds of lettuce, arugula, kale, and spinach keeping them moist until they germinate. The shell peas provided a nice harvest, and those plants are ready to be pulled up. Snow peas continue to provide a small harvest of flat pods for a few more weeks. Some will be frozen for winter stir-fries.
Green and yellow beans are now being picked every other day and those that are not consumed will be quickly blanched and frozen.
The strawberries gave us some wonderful desserts in June but one side of the patch had noticeably fewer berries. I will remove those plants and plan to add some new plants next spring. For a dependable annual harvest, strawberries need to be replaced about every five years. Since the first year the blossoms are removed, I’ll keep a few of the old plants so we can have at least a few strawberries in 2021.
This year I am having had the best crop of raspberries ever. The fragile berries are delicious fresh and I have frozen some for future use. They have also been used for raspberry syrup, muffins and a raspberry cream tart which was enjoyed on the 4th of July.
Garlic is not quite ready for harvest, but will be soon – usually mid-late July. It will be forked out carefully so as not to split the bulbs and then put in a cool, dry place to dry for a few weeks. I use my garden shed which has a window and Dutch door for good air circulation. This insures that the bulbs will keep well over the winter. After drying, I will brush off the soil, cut of the stalks and roots and store in mesh bags.
Herbs are all ready to be picked and enjoyed fresh or hung up to dry. I added pineapple sage, lemon grass and lemon verbena plants to the perennial garden where they get more sun. Pinching of the herb plant tips encourages branching which gives more leaves to pick. I have planted four types of basil in the vegetable garden: a dark variety, spicy Thai basil, lemon basil and common basil. If the flowering tips are cut off, basil will continue to branch and grow for the rest of the summer. More can also be planted now for a fresh fall crop.
Pictured is an herb and edible flower bouquet that I made for a friend.
When the temperature exceeds 90 degrees and is matched by the same level of humidity, the shade garden is the place to be! With the spring blooms past, the shade garden has become a sea of green in a variety of textures punctuated by the white or lavender blooms of hosta, the white blooms hydrangas and the white, red or pink blooms of astilbe. A native rhododendron is in bloom now with white fragrant blossoms. The pond plants, which did not overwinter well inside, have recovered, with new leaves continuing to form. Green and leopard frogs inhabit the pond. On hot days the goldfish are getting fed up to three times a day as their metabolism increases with the temperature. The red-orange hanging begonia (r) has exceeded expectations after being stored dormant all winter. The impatiens that I started from seed are adding color to several containers. (l)
Left to right: Hydranga, Oak-leaf Hydranga, Native Rhododendron, Astilbe
Left to right: gold fish in pond; Leopard frog above, Green frog below; Colocasia (Elephant Ear)
IN MY KITCHEN
Snow Peas Stuffed with Three Herb Cheese Spread
This appetizer makes use of three herbs and fresh snow peas – all from my garden
Three Herb Cheese Spread
8 oz. cream Cheese Softened
¼ cup heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
Beat the cream cheese, cream, salt and pepper until light, fold in the herbs. Spread on crackers or use to stuff large snow peas, which have been blanched by microwaving 1 minute and then plunging into ice water. Drain snow peas and dry well before splitting and filling.
Lemon Raspberry Muffins
Makes 12 Muffins
From “Baked Alaska” by Sarah Eppenbach - a little gift cookbook from my son and daughter-in-law’s trip to Alaska. These muffins are great for breakfast, snacking or even dessert.I usually double the recipe and freeze some.
1 ¾ cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
¼ cup vegetable oil
Grated zest of 1 lemon
½ cup fresh raspberries
Lemon Sugar Glaze
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 400oF. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Lightly beat the eggs in another bowl and add the milk, oil and lemon zest. Blend in the dry ingredients just to blend. Fold in the raspberries.
ill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for about 15 minutes until golden.
While they bake mix the lemon juice and sugar to dissolve the sugar.
Let the muffins cool in the pan a few minutes and then remove and brush with the lemon-sugar glaze.