Dear Friends and Gardeners (week 18)

Dear Carol and Dee,

Once again, I am amazed: WEEK 18??? What the heck? July 5th? Where do the days go? Days, where do the weeks go?

Not a great deal to report from Ranch du Bois. Rasberries still producing in spite of high 80’s/90/s heat.

I cannot WAIT till the day I can write to you two and tell you I am in knee deep in tomatoes and getting sick of them. I find myself staring at the tomatoes, saying to them under my breath, “Grow, dammit!” I am one of those people would not be caught dead buying tomatoes from a grocery store. If I buy them, ever, they are locally grown and from a farm stand. We just don’t use sliced tomatoes out of season. So, it is with bated breath I wait for the warm ripe tomatoes from the garden. All I can think of is how good some Insalata Caprese would be right now. That’s the simple salad of sliced tomatoes, torn basil, and sliced fresh mozzerella. I have the fresh basil and some mozzerella on hand. Come ON tomatoes!

I pruned the apple espaliers yesterday. I filled up an entire garbage can with the branches. There aren’t a lot of apples, in fact, I was pretty darn disappointed. There might be a couple of dozen apples, and that’s the extent of it. I do know the dog has made off with the Granny Smiths from the bottom branches. I noticed some of the cottony mildew in the congested, areas – those places really needed to be cleaned up and opened up to the air and sunlight. I sent a boatload of earwigs scurrying. I hate those critters.

The dog has also helped himself to the low hanging fruit on my new fig tree. I’ve raised it up on a double stacked pot until I can figure out a stable, out of reach place for it. Bad dog.

True confessions: I counted yesterday, before I hid them from the prying eyes of my gardening friends, 21 small pots (4 inchers) of plants that need to go in the ground pronto. Let me put it this way, if they don’t get planted this week, I might as well kiss them goodbye. I am not going to do the math on this, but suffice it to say, if I blow it, I might as well light a match to a C note. Will I ever learn not to buy a plant if I don’t have a place for it?. Arrrrrgggggh. Its definitely akin to my fabric habit. I hoard fabric. There. Out in the open. Is there a 12 step program for plantaholics?

I am planning to spend the next few mornings in the garden taking advantage of the cooler temps. The afternoons will be for catching up on my writing about Idaho Gardens. Next weekend, a big treat for me: the Sawtooth Botanical Garden tour in central Idaho. My chance to be a tourist in OPGs. Other Peoples’ Gardens. I am so looking forward to it. I’ve also been on the prowl for gardens for the 2010 garden tour in Boise. Man, you get some strange looks when you start cruising the alleys, the same ones, again and again and again, trying to get a look inside the back fence.

Until next week, be cool.

Your pal,
MA

ps, I forgot to tell you, my Cueball squash bit the dust. Actually, the little darling was yanked out of the bed by its head and left to wither and die in the heat. We are not even gonna talk about who committed such an offense, just know it wasn’t me.

Need I say it again: Think Local

Your poor ears and eyes have been bombarded forever now with the admonishment/encouragement/plea to think, eat and buy local. I know that, so here are a couple of handy little tips and reference points to help you along in your never ending quest to do the local thing:

Check out Local Harvest on the web: these folks who will deliver fresh local organic produce to YOUR DOOR! It’s a Boise couple who will gather and deliver the best of the best to you.

I saw loads of fresh berries being carried out of the Saturday market last weekend. Strawberries and raspberries from our valley. These are fab in shortcakes and desserts right now, but don’t forget to whip up a batch (a SMALL batch of freezer jam) for remembrances of summer in say, January. (I’ll post some recipe ideas later today so you have time to gather up what you will need).

Book recommends for this eating local bidnez: Cooking outside the box: easy, seasonal, organic by Able and Cole, published by Collins, 2006.

And more:

Jamie at Home, by Jamie Oliver
Blue Eggs and Yellow Tomatoes by Jeanne Kelley.

Catching up: Chicago Trip for Garden Bloggers

Reader, let me be the first to apologize for leaving you turning in the wind, without ballast, these last few weeks. I know, I KNOW! It’s prime gardening season and I have been MIA. Sorry. So sorry. We all get busy busy this time of the year. Seems we always go from a frosty standstill to 100 miles an hour overnight. Just a month ago, it was 27 on a Tuesday night and the next Monday registered 94 degrees. This is why it’s called the Wild Wild West.

Top it off with a pollen count of 360 a couple weeks ago and yours truly couldn’t take it another minute. Long story short, I’ve been under the weather, and mostly under the radar. But I have some garden snaps to share with you.

First up, I crawled onto an airplane on May 28th for the trip to Chicago. I was lucky enough to attend the first annual Garden Bloggers’ Spring Fling in Austin last April. It was decided then, to meet up in Chicago in 2009. Meet up we did, all 51 of us. (Blotanical shows 600+ gardeners, I don’t know how many in the US).

We were squired around and hosted by the Chicago Botanic Gardens, saw Rick Bayless’s garden, the Lurie at Millenium Park, conservatories, and private gardens. Here are some photos and comments on Rick Bayless’s garden.

Rick's outdoor kitchen, used for filming Mexico, One Plate at a Time
Rick's outdoor kitchen, used for filming Mexico, One Plate at a Time

They grow $20K of salad greens for the restaurants, HERE.
They grow $20K of salad greens for the restaurants, HERE.
From the back of the garden looking toward Rick's house.
From the back of the garden looking toward Rick's house.
View from the porch, cucumbers are started in the center of these laundry dollies.
View from the porch, cucumbers are started in the center of these laundry dollies.

Another view of the cool back screen door, vintage bread door handle
Another view of the cool back screen door, vintage bread sign/door handle
Lush ornamental plantings for relaxing in the garden
Lush ornamental plantings for relaxing in the garden
Brilliant~!Grapes trained onto garage roof to save space and to get plenty of sunshine.
Brilliant~!Grapes trained onto garage roof to save space and to get plenty of sunshine.

Next: the incredible Lurie Garden at Millenium Park.

GBBD (May 09) and a collage for you

Finally! Here’s my Bloom Day post, for Carol over at May Dreams Gardens.

Since everyone was getting fancy w/you tube videos and background music, I put mine in a collage. So there.

left to right: top row: wisteria & Boise; wisteria; ad euphorbia
2nd row: snowball viburnum with purple and white lilacs in the background; snow in summer + geum; and rosemary w/bees
3rd row: allium Purple Sensation in front of Baileyii redtwig dogwood (shrub); unknown tulip variety, ajuga Black Scallop w/Ivory Prince hellebore in the back.

Shout out to Idaho Garden Bloggers

Hey all! I want to send you over to see what ELSE is going on the wild world of Idaho gardening. Here are some kindred spirits. Stop by and say hey!:

Seasonal Wisdom
Small Goat Garden

and if you know of other folks, out there, writing and planting, let me know and we will add them to the list. I am trying to pull a comprehensive list together for all of us….