Wednesday, June 30, 2010

new potatoes and green beans

Jenny-Leigh, Dad and Freddy on the Nunley's Narrows back porch before they put up the awning to give it some shade in the hot afternoons.
grand parents Sallie and George Nunley on their living room couch sometime in the 1960's just how I remember them when we were down there visiting one hot summer's evening.
The Nunley home place in Narrows Virginia, center shows the house's back porch as it was two summers ago.
Mom, Aunt Emma-Lou her sister and I sitting on the Nunley's back porch rocker and two person glider in Narrows, Virginia
That's what grandmother's glider looked like (from eBay item) only it sits in the shade on the concrete pad porch off the kitchen door.

My latest pot of freshly snapped green beans and new potatoes ready to simmer up a summer dinner treat.

This is my 4th or 5th pot of green beans and new potatoes this summer. I was visiting Manassas farmers market and saw them back in early June. I thought they would make a nice switch from spring greens salad or broccoli we have been enjoying. We have been trying to make more veggies part of our menu and this looked like a fresh new meal. I questioned Mother about how she makes hers and she says, you don't have to use fatback pork in them like the old folks did, she just uses some butter. I bought a batch home I used salt, black pepper and about two tablespoons of sweet cream butter. Amazing how fresh and delicious those freshly picked beans and small newly harvested small potatoes taste.

As a child I remember spending summer time with grandmother Sallie Nunley at the kitchen table or on the back porch glider snapping those long string beans from Grandpa's garden. We had to cut off the top stem and pull the strings out back then, modern beans don't have strings anymore. I always got a thrill out of that sensation & the sound: snap, snap, snap as I broke the beans into three sections. It is a lot like popping bubbles on bubble wrap, need I say more?
If you try some make sure they are local freshly picked green beans. I made the mistake of buying some "fresh green beans" at Whole Foods and where ever they came from they didn't taste half as good as the fresh beans from the Manassas farmer's market and subsequent fresh farm green beans from Washington DC's farmers markets once they arrived.
Digging around looking for photos of that glider I realized today would be my father's 80th birthday if he had survived his maladies. It's nearly two years since he died. These little things like beans and potatoes bring back sweet memories of summer time with his family when I was a child. I know those folks back in the Appalachian mountains ate a lot of home grown vegetables. It's nice to have that heritage and I think it has impacted my love of flower gardening as an adult. Now I like green beans and new potatoes but I as a kid I didn't care much for them the way grandmother cooked them till they were brown with pork fat. My mom however makes them really good in a modern smart way.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June's garden peaks

pink day lily who's has no name that I know yet
wonderful moth on the back porch
Uncle Herb's brick red dwarf day lily
new to our garden 'Chesapeake crab legs' spider day lily arrives
new 'Chesapeake crab legs' with the long petals and orange stamen and anther
dwarf red spider day lily rediscovered in the vinca vines of Manassas
also we found the full size tall and hardy 'red volunteer' with six stems
new dwarf day lily in Manassas called 'big happy time'
hardy sweet peas
Schubert tall summer phlox
double orange day lily
Rothschild lily
orange speckled blackberry lily and hot pink day lily in the background
blue tall balloon flowers

This week has been exciting two new day lilies have developed flowers so the mystery of their exact color and shape was revealed. At home in Manassas in Mother's garden we discovered some old day lilies that happened to match the ones I bought and had transplanted from there. Seems I really like the Red Volunteer a tall strong red with yellow throat and red yellow stamen and anther. I found a little spidery red and yellow that I forgot was ever there in the mess that is now over grown with invasive vines. I marked it for later transplanting and hope to get the roots all cleaned up to extract the vines. The peak seems to be here for June with many new flowers opening this week in our garden. White sweet peas a new plant that we hope will come back every year.
Bright pink, orange, yellow, red and white day lilies are all over the yard. Purple Cone flowers and now blue balloon flowers with tall summer phlox on the way. Orange Blackberry lily has begun and the exotic Rothschild lily is open. Hosta bloom in the shade and hydrangea are open in the sun. Not all are photographed well but I always try several times to get the best image possible when I am out in the yard. Mornings I am doing a sketch of one flower after writing my morning pages. Next post will be about some of those.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

botanical gardens

the gardeners sometimes talk on cell phones while they work
odd relative of the Yucca a native "rattlesnake master" plant caught my eye in bloom
mourning dove and sparrows were bathing together in a stream
"Dan Mahony" was kind of pink
even orange day lily has a new twist at the botanical gardens
"Wayside King Royale" was one of my favorites in the shade the yellow throat seemed to glow
water features always make the gardens more restful and invite birds and people to enjoy the cooling green... note the closeness of federal offices in the background
white day lily shows all sorts of colors when the background is dark
very tall coneflowers related to black-eyed Susan
no name on this lovely lacy patch of day lilies but most were labeled clearly
"Dominic" is the name of this dark velvet lily
looks like a thisle but it's the more elegant cardoon
regale trumpet lilies and white perennial sweet peas
this spidery day lily called "red ribbons" was a favorite
a nearly all black bee on the tall verbena was very odd looking
this bumble bee was crawling all over the edges of this group of day lilies like it was covered in honey or opium he seemed to be experiencing some sort of overload
the first day lily that caught my eye was this one that looks a lot like one I have only this is greener in the throat and the petals are a little wider and more substantial.
view over the gardens looking back at the Smithsonian's Museum of the American Indians sandstone curves.

Yesterday I had a date to meet with an old friend who happened to be in town for a national research meeting. On my way down to pick her up and whisk her off to the flower gardens on the national mall she called and said she was not going to be able to get away. I was crushed a little after getting up early and rushing around to be ready for a 9 AM call but I made the most of the effort and kept going. I went right down to the national mall and promptly found parking. Paid my meter and took off with my camera and found lots of beautiful new day lily and other fine sites. The National Botanical gardens run by Smithsonian Institution has a natives garden and roses and a bunch of flowering plants that make it well worth a visit. Perfect sunny weather to be outside I really enjoyed my visit. I spent the rest of the day downloading and editing the photos and scanning sketches which I am still editing. I wanted to show you these images as soon as I could. I hope to see my friend another time and take her to the most beautiful place I know, away from the noise of the city, right smack in the middle of Washington DC.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

it is back

first double orange daylily of this season bloomed this week.
dwarf peach daylily is only a foot tall and the flower isn't much bigger than a shot glass
almost orange, but we could call it peach or pink
nasturtium come in oranges
Asclepias tuberosa orange butterfly weed related to milk weed
tiny zinnia blooms and blooms
more of the big orange doubles behind the oxblood daylilies

a single old fashioned orange daylily against the golden hosta in the morning sun.

I have been taking photos daily because every day there are new flowers and every day the lighting changes so the more chances to capture a good shot the better. Which do you think best represents the color orange?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

day lilies have begun opening

If you look carefully you will see "Seductor" has a green throat, past the yellow and red.
here are my newest reds called "Seductor" which is suppose to be scented are still in training pots.
my old favorite red is tall and very hardy but it grows slowly on very tall stems with a deep yellow throat like the oxblood burgundy
my first spider like daylily who's name is also forgotten, has petals about 8 inches long and grows like a tall grass with long thin leaves

this oxblood burgundy color is the first red I found, it is a strong grower which has survived over 20 years in several gardens
burgundy and yellows front the bed and later oranges will fill in the rear of this daylily group
oxblood with deep yellow throat and yellow marked burgundy are from the old flower beds when I first began collecting daylilies in 1987

Thursday just home from Manassas, I discovered this pink daylily about to curl up it's first bloom and rushed to get a snap shot...
I am looking for more of them to bloom tomorrow morning. No name pink daylily this is another rescue from the hounds
almost a pink or peach depending how the light hits them a beautiful dwarf

pinkish peach dwarf daylily sadly no name survived the move from my Mother's flower beds I barely got it to live after a late rescue from the hounds.
blooming close behind Stella D'oro comes this lovely yellow that has more of a star shaped flower
I don't know the name of this yellow daylily but I like it quite a bit.
our Stella D'oro is in a big ceramic pot which it nearly fills
first to bloom is always Stella D'oro the dwarf yellow daylily

My daylily fetish is obvious now. I love them because they are so easy to grow and the expanding variety of colors and shapes that have been developed since I was a kid are so interesting to collect. I remember the native orange day lily that used to grow along the roads and in farm house gardens from long rides down to my grand parents home in South western Virginia. Kind of ugly I thought when I was a kid because they were so tall and only lasted until dusk then withered up. I don't mind that now because it is a hail and hardy plant to have that doesn't need much attention and gives lots of color each and every year. They began blooming at the end of May and I know they will last till mid or late July right through the hottest part of the summer. I also have a few others I am waiting on that I got at the National Arboretum spring plant sale from the Society of Daylily growers. I brought home 5 red and orange varieties. Seductor is the first of them to bloom in temporary pots where I split them up and set them in soil. I like to grow them in pots when they are new to see how they grow and where they might fit in the existing flower beds. I am excitedly expecting a new spidery daylily called "crab legs" from a Maryland Chesapeake bay area lily grower which will be like the yellow with orange and red markings. Last year the newest daylily was a white and it was a delight. More images to come and as always you can go look in my garden photos on flickr. for more images.