It is picking time! I harvest first thing in the morning, as the weather is heating up and the lettuce gets wilted in the afternoon.
The first picking produced enough salad greens to make dinner. I carefully cut the oldest leaves and let the others mature for the next meal. Below is a great recipe that is naturally gluten free and tasty for everyone.
Homemade Gazpacho Dressing
3 Tablespoons tomato juice I buy a six pack of small cans of tomato juice and will have it on hand for future salads.
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 garlic clove minced
Combine ingredients and stir well.
6 cups of salad green – Homegrown is best! And store bought is good too. Also, the salad ingredients can be halved for a smaller salad.
2 diced tomatoes
1 diced cucumber
1/3 cup of feta cheese
1/2 orange bell pepper diced (or what ever color you like)
1 small bunch of green onions chopped
1 (16 ounce) can of cannellini beans rinsed or any white bean
Toss ingredients into a salad.
I like to serve the dressing on the side, as I usually don’t finish the salad at one meal. The dressing is strong and only a small amount is needed per serving. It is great for any salad.
*Check out my blog category “Gluten Free” for more easy GF recipes with everyday ingredients.
Adapted from Cooking Light
It is that time of year when every Texan heads out to hunt for Bluebonnets. It becomes pandemonium along the highways as everyone stops their cars and jumps into the fields to make a picture.
We found a beautiful field full of blue on a road away from the busy highway. You can see how big the field is by the people off in the distance. Kids, dogs and adults were being photographed to preserve a perfect day with our beloved state flowers.
My huge Split Leaf Philodendron took a big hit from the freeze and lost nearly all its leaves. It is the third time in its life that this has happened. The large Philodendron was put there to hide the utility pipes and boxes. But, once the leaves were gone, I noticed something interesting the plant was doing. Take a look at the two aerial roots that have looped around the pipes, hanging on for more stability.
The root didn’t stop there. About four bricks up it continues along the wall and behind the utility equipment.
Next, the root rounds the corner.
And into a weep hole. What next? Plants always amaze me.
I had to give up my vegetable garden years ago, as the only ones enjoying it were the animals that came into the yard day and night.
I miss fresh lettuce and I’m determined to grow some.
The first step was to elevate the lettuce to keep the rabbits out. A tall planter was purchased.
Next, squirrels had to be thwarted from digging by covering the plants with picnic tents.
The tents keep lizards out too.
Finally, the tents had to be tied down so they wouldn’t blow off.
Yes, I shall have lettuce!
A killing freeze descended on this part of the country and for the Automatic Garden, it was a blessing in disguise. I had been away from the garden quite a bit last year and many chores went undone. The Automatic Garden did what it was designed to do and kept on growing, propagating and reseeding, resulting in a interwoven tangle of plants.
The freeze gave clarity to what needed to be pulled, transplanted and cut back. I have been spending hours everyday getting the garden in shape.
Other chores included filling in a hole dug over the winter by some animal, which was probably an armadillo. It was much more work than it looks and the dirt is heavy clay. The extremely strong gingers were able to push their way through the pile of clay and the dirt had to be carefully removed.
Volunteers had to be rounded up and replanted into their places in the garden. There were many, but free plants are a good thing.
A scant few flowers have begun to bloom in the garden. Most years have flowers blooming all year around, but the freeze knocked back almost all of the winter flowering plants. This red canna is a welcome sight.
Drimiopsis maculata unfurled its spotted leaves and sent out flowers in no time. The plant is a great substitute for hostas in the South.
The climbing rose is blooming and dripping from a tree.
Pink Flamingo Celosia usually stands three feet tall before blooming, but this one couldn’t wait.
The Shrimp plant came back from its roots and the few blooms were welcomed by the Buff-bellied Hummingbird that has wintered here.
The Bottlebrush has perfect timing providing food for the arriving Ruby Throated Hummers and the honey bees that are living near by.
Bit by bit I am seeing my hard labor paying off and I have high hopes for a beautiful garden this summer.
Nothing says spring like Azaleas. They come in many colors and can grow easily into six to eight foot high masses. This year the Azaleas started blooming weeks earlier than normal.
My second most popular post is Azaleas with nearly 300 views. Take a look and help bump it up to number one!
As snows blow across the northern parts of the country, Camellias begin blooming here October through March, catching the eye like beautiful jewels.
This gorgeous huge flower is from the Royal Velvet Camellia. It has had a rough start, as during its second year in the natural part of the yard, deer decided to taste it. This year the Royal Velvet was able to put out quite a few 5 inch flowers.
Shi-Shi Gashira is a tough little gal. These Camellias are planted in full sun and have never disappointed with their abundance of blooms. The Camellia has been covered in snow, taken heavy rains, drought and recently frozen. The photo is of a bloom that was in bud during our recent heavy freeze.
Professor Sargent is new to the garden and I am very pleased with it. The Camellia is covered with blooms up to 3 inches across and the shrub can reach a height of 8 feet. Camellias are generally very slow growers, so it may be years before it gets that large.
One of the oldest Camellias in the garden is White By the Gate. It has been a reliable bloomer over the past 15 years. This photo was taken against a cloudy sky. The shrub has been making blooms in triplet. Notice the half open bloom and a bud behind the flower.
As a test, I sent this photo to some friends to identify it. They all guessed it was a rose. But no, it is Southern Secret Camellia.
Southern Secret Camellia is new to the garden this year. I purchased two of them to replace roses that died, probably due to the increasing shade from the native trees on the property. Camellias grow well in shade and also enjoy the acidic soil in this area. Pine needles are their friend. So many needles drop from the trees, that I often have pick them off of the flowers before I photograph them.
These Camellias with their 5 inch flowers should be stunning as they grow up to 10 feet tall. They are planted along the back fence and can be seen from my kitchen window. These beautiful Camellia jewels brighten the winter months.