Preparing Perennial Beds for Winter

Rudbeckia  This is the time of the growing season that provides a great opportunity to expand your garden, share bounty with others and plan next year’s garden of your dreams, while caring for the present garden. I call that big-time multi-tasking! This does require some planning ahead…

Here is a helpful guide on Getting your Perennial Gardens Ready for Fall and Winter

Saving Seeds

Seed Packets  Saving seeds from your garden is a great way to propagate next season’s garden!

A little effort now will help you jumpstart your garden for the next growing season.

Share some of the bounty of your seed harvest with others.

Expand your garden in a frugal manner, by exchanging seeds with other gardeners.

More information on Seed Saving

Tip: 

Store your seeds in small envelopes labled with plant name and date harvested.

For fun gifties, print out a precious seed packet to package up your treasures for giving.

Children in the Garden: Learning

Children  Some of the sweetest memories I have are of gardening with a very patient neighbor, who no doubt planted the seed for the love of gardening in my heart. 

In later years, another sweet soul encouraged me to bring my children to her garden, which is a treasured memory still to this day in their hearts. 

Here’s a little something to help keep the children busy & learning about growing things

Lemon Verbena Cheescake

Cheesecake  Lemon Verbena Cheesecake

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese
1 stick butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon verbena leaves, finely minced
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Blend crumbs, and melted butter with 2 tablespoons sugar. Reserving 2 tablespoons crumb mixture for later garnish, press remaining onto the bottom and sides of a lightly greased spring-form pan. Chill pan in freezer, while preparing filling.

Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth and light. Add minced verbena leaves. Beat in eggs and vanilla, until just blended. Stir in sour cream. Pour into chilled crust and bake for 10 minutes.

Then, lower oven temperature to 200-degrees F, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

Turn off oven; allow cheesecake to cool with oven door open, for 2 to 3 hours.

Garnish with crumbs. Serve on chilled dessert plates, garnishing each serving with a bit of whipped topping and a lemon verbena leaf.

Chilled dessert forks are a cool, refreshing touch, also!

Gardener’s Glossary

Book Stack   Gardener’s Glossary: Alpine

A plant that grows above the tree line in mountainous regions; loosely applied to rock garden plants that may be grown at relatively low altitudes.

Source: The American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Gardening, DK Publishing, New York, New York, 1993.

NOTE: “Alpine” plants are often displayed planted in trough gardens.

Mini-Bog Garden

Venus Flytrap   Garden Project: Making a Mini-Bog Garden

These low-maintenance garden planters are interesting conversation pieces in the garden! From reputable sources (due to rare and endangered species regulations), select from assorted carnivorousplants: Pitcher Plants, Venus Flytraps, Sundews, Cobra Orchid.

Choose a large (planter bowl-type) container with a drainage hole, and a deep saucer or tray (in which planter may be placed) that will hold water.

In a bucket, combine equal parts of sand and sphagnum peat; add water and mixing until a muddy mixture results. (For texture, perlite or pine needles may be added.) Within 2 inches of the rim, fill the chosen planter with mud mixture, pressing down to remove air pockets. Place prepared container into saucer or tray filled with mineral-free water.

Plan how you wish to arrange your selected plants; then insert each plant into a hole dug into the growing medium; pressing around rootballs, to close airspaces. On top of the growing medium, place a sheet of live sphagnum moss, tucking in around each plant. This finishes the container attractively, and helps to retain moisture.

Watering with mineral-free water (ie, collected rainwater, or sodium- free bottled water), along with adding fresh sphagnum moss as needed, or pulling any weeds, are all the maintenance that are required.

Plants go dormant in the winter. Prune any dead plant materials in the spring, to make room for healthy growth.

Making Garden Plans

Calendar   Wherever you are in the “growing season,” do you find yourself `making garden plans’?

We do, as we realize how a particular plant may or may not work out as originally thought and new inspirations come to mind!

It seems to be a continual process, and not just for those with expanding garden horizons.

Don’t forget to keep a “Wish List” of new plants or ideas you want to include in next year’s garden! A Gardener’s Journal with a section for this information is helpful.

Spinach, Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas with Salsa

Quesadillas  Spinach, Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas with Salsa

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
1 10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
10 small flour tortillas
2 cups cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, grated
salsa and low or nonfat sour cream, to serve with

Heat olive oil in a skillet, add black beans, spinach, corn, cilantro, and cumin. Cook until heated through, and herbs and spices begin to release some of their fragrance. Spoon heated bean mixture onto one side of each tortilla, sprinkle with cheese, and roll up.

Place each rolled quesadilla into a covered baking dish, and set in a moderate oven (I suggest 350-degrees), until cheese melts. Serve with your favorite salsa and a low or nonfat sour cream. Makes 10.