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Friday, March 24, 2017

As Spring Wanders Through!

Wild Onions * photo by Suzanne * March 15, 2017

Hello, dear readers, fellow blogmates, and, all newcomers!  I will just bet you all are excited that Spring has finally arrived!  I know...some of you are still experiencing the wrath of winter and out of the way rainstorms!  I hope those annoying spurts of  mother nature do settle down for you soon.

In the meantime, I'm taking stock of all that is growing and sprouting here at MyTexasGardens!   We get a little bit of everything as Spring makes its entrance.   As you can see in the photo above, I am the proud recipient of what is known as "Wild Onions"!  It's the strongest smelling perennial weed I have!  "Wild Onions" are a common grass-like weed, and happen to be cousins of the garden variety kind!  These onions can grow in cooler weather, (faster than grass), as well as in the sun.  The interesting thing about these onions, though, is that the bulbs go dormant as the weather warms up.  AHA!!!  That is why I don't see them in the heat of the summer season!  Sources inform us that "Wild Onions" are edible, however, we are advised against eating ANYTHING that grows on our lawns!  Don't worry...I'm not interested in digging them up for my relish plate, haha!

That brings us to the weed known as "false garlic".  Another source tells us that, "if it smells like an onion, it is safe to eat, but, if it smells like grass, it is toxic 'Crow's Poison', aka 'false Garlic' !   Crow's Poison looks like a wild onion, but does not SMELL like one! 


~Crow's Onion in bloom * yahoo images

I don't think I've ever seen "Crow's Onion"...the blooms are very pretty, aren't they!  In the future, I will beware of onions bearing beautiful flowers, with no aroma!  And, I guess, Rusty will continue to mow over the "Wildly" fragrant, hard to dig up, annoying onions we all know and love!

***
Well, here they are now!  My garden associates!  
Rusty and Scootie have planted a few herbs, peppers, and, green onions from seed in a small garden out in the back '40 of our property.  Some of the plants are sprouting up now, and there is quite a lot of excitement about it.


~photo by Suzanne * March 14, 2017


~photo taken March 15, 2017


By the way, I collected my "Wild Onion" information from:
lawn-care-academy.com
foragingtexas.com

***
And, now for a sneak preview of what's happening at MyTexasGardens!


~photo March 23, 2017
~These are Zinnias, sent to me from a classmate in Kansas.  He had an abundance of seeds after harvesting them in the fall.  This is my first planting...I will need to thin them out some as they grow.  No worries...I have plenty more seeds to plant!
Thank you so much, Mike!

***


~Hosta growing in broken clay pot, watching over a red Canna plant,
and cushioned by dead leaves from winter's frosty temps.
March 22, 2017

***


~Dianthus and Dusty Miller
I planted them in the fall, and they made it through our Texas winter!
March 22, 2017

***


~Mums from last Halloween 2016 coming back for a Spring show!
March 24, 2017

***

~ An all time favorite!  Bearded Iris budding out!
March 22, 2017



~First Iris bloom of the 2017 season * Blue Iris
photo 3-23-17

Well, my gracious readers, that is it for now.   Time sure does fly when you're having fun, doesn't it!  I hope you have enjoyed my post today.  I'm sure you may want to run outside and look for "Wild Onions", and "Crow's Poison"!   

While I'm here, I wish to express my sorrow to the families in London for the tragedy that occurred earlier this week.  We can't always find the answers to why these terrible acts occur...we can only pray for more peace in the future, worldwide.

Thank you so much for coming by!  I know there are a few of you out there who are pretty shy about stopping in to say hello! 
  I am here to encourage all shy folks to take deep breaths, stand up, and say hello!

Be safe!  Love and laugh!  Until next time!

Thank you Blogger  

Hi Mom! ♥


"It's Spring Fever!  That's what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want-oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so."
~ my old friend, Mark Twain

Look what just blew in!

~Early March 2012 * 3 years old * photo by Suzanne

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Calling for Spring!

* Gala  apple tree * photo by Suzanne *  Late February 2013

Hello dear readers!  Here we are dancing into early March with Spring around the corner!  I'm here to tell you, it's time to get busy with garden Spring clean up, and, pruning projects.  I don't know about you, but just thinking about all that needs to be done, makes my head spin!  UGH!!!


*** Well, anyway ***

Why are we here today?  We're going to prune my Gala apple tree that my husband Karo planted a few years ago.  If you saw my previous post, "A Sweet Gala Tribute", from October 3, 2016,  you know that now is the time to prune!  According to my research, you should prune these trees in late winter, or very early spring.  Well, folks-we've got a little of both going on right now!

note: The featured post on my sidebar is "A Sweet Gala Tribute" if you would like to read it.

*** I'll run through a little history first to bring us up to speed! ***

The first photo above is the little tree in late February of 2013.  I believe it was sometime in 2011 or 2012, as Karo was eating a Gala apple, he discovered a tiny root on one of the seeds in the core.  He planted the seed in a coffee can at first, then, later we potted it to see if it would continue to grow.   Below is this tree in the same pot, just a little over a year later.  See how it has grown!
* Gala apple tree * photo by Suzanne * April 24, 2014

Finally, I am able to convince Karo that it should be planted in the ground!
* photo by Suzanne * April 24, 2014


Karo staked it to an old broomstick handle, or a rake!



***  Now, look at the tree!  ***  This is late September 2016

I didn't know if the tree should be pruned or not, so I looked up the care of Gala apple trees, and did come across some suggested pruning tips.

***
a.  Suckers
b.  Stubs or broken branches
c.  downward growing branches
d.  rubbing or criss-crossing branches
e.  upward or interior branches
f.  competing leaders
g.  narrow crotches
h.  whorls



The above diagram was very helpful to me, I HOPE!!!
  Here is my tree after winter's winds and cooler temperatures "ravaged" its appearance!  The leaves turn an ugly dried brown, but not all of them will fall off the tree.
  It has quite a dead appearance, doesn't it?


* photo by Suzanne * February 28, 2017


* photo February 28, 2017

Here is the Gala after my "butcher", I mean, pruning job!  And, you can see the debris on the ground that I took from the tree.  Gosh, I hope I didn't mess it up!  Well, time will tell.

I noticed some nubs on the branches, and my heart was sinking as I pruned, AAGH!  This tree has never blossomed in the Spring, and I have hopes that it will this year.  Some of the other trees in the area are already blooming, however, these nubs could be leaf buds.  And, it might be a good idea to find some fruit tree nutrition to help boost it along.

The photo is out of focus, but, maybe you can see the nubs I'm speaking of.
I circled one of them.

* photo by Suzanne * February 28, 2017

Have any of you ever pruned an apple tree?  We had several established apple trees on a lot of our property in Kansas as I was growing up, but, my parents didn't prune them.   They were already producing apples and blossoms when we moved to that residence.  I guess I am a bit skeptical, but my fingers are crossed that this pruning will yield more growth, green leaves (again), and possibly some blossoms, followed by apples...one day!



I hope you enjoyed today's juicy program, and if any of you has an apple tree small enough to prune, maybe the tips I mentioned will help you out some.  If my tree blossoms or starts exhibiting some leaf growth, I will send a photo and keep you all updated.

In the meantime I will thank:
Blogger
Google
Yahoo Images
weekendgardener.net (for the diagram and pruning tips)
For the cute animations, I am grateful to fg-a.com

All photos of the apple tree were taken by me (property of Suzanne Prickett)


*** Thank you so much for coming by today.  Please stop in if you have time, and say hello.  I would love to hear from you anytime! ***



"Cling, Swing, Spring, sing,
Swing up into the apple tree."
~T S Eliot

Sending blessings to you all * Be safe * Love and Laugh a lot!
  Hi Mom!  



Saturday, January 28, 2017

An Herb with a "Kick"!


~photo by Suzanne * January 27, 2017

Here we are, rushing to the end of January, as the New Year pushes on!  I hope you all are now well-adjusted to writing 2017 with your dates instead of that "other one"!  We've had some pretty cool temperatures here in Fort Worth...I mean down in the 20's and 30's.  But, that's okay, I sure have enjoyed wrapping up in a blanket in front of the TV for a good Saturday nite movie!

The International Herb Association previously made its announcement that the "Herb of The Year" for 2017, is Coriander/Cilantro!  Well...hot dog!  They just happened to pick one of my favorites, and I can smell the fragrance of this herb as I type!


Cilantro, aka "Chinese Parsley" is a versatile plant, found to be used in cuisines all over the world.  The leaves, and Coriander seeds, which are the seeds of the plant are added for flavor to Chinese/Asian, Indian, Spanish and Tex-Mex dishes. 

~ Mexican Red Pozole * prepared by son, Rusty
photo by Suzanne February 2016


~ My Indian "Chicken Curry" * Prepared with Coriander Seed
However, Garam Masala spice can be used, which already has Coriander in it.
~photo by Suzanne

***
Cilantro is said to have a long history, dating back thousands of years.  It is native to regions around Southern Europe, Northern Africa, to Southern Asia.  It was brought to the British colonies of North America in 1670, being one of the first spices cultivated by the early settlers.  I also read that Coriander seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs-as food for the departed.


I am sure you will all agree that the fresh cilantro leaves are tastier than the dried.  You can even freeze it, then make flavored oil or vinegar to enjoy during fall and winter.  I like to tear them up a little bit to sprinkle on my salads, and, we all know that cilantro is an important ingredient for guacamole...yum!  On another of my home cooked dishes, I sprinkle cilantro leaves on top for that added "kick" before baking.

~ King Ranch Chicken (before baking)

All done!

~ photos by Suzanne * March 16, 2016

Other uses of cilantro include drying the leaves to use on greeting cards, or as botanical art.  Also, fresh cuttings are sometimes used in floral bouquets!
* These are great ideas!  Perhaps we should suggest the greeting card idea to the KardKornerKrib lady!  She could probably make some very nice cards.


~ Cilantro Watercolor

***
So, how about growing some of this "to die for", pungent, herb?  Well, they say it is reasonably easy to grow, yet a bit sensitive to certain weather conditions.  According to the Vegetable Gardener, cilantro does not abide hot weather!  This herb grows well in early Spring in Texas.  However, as the weather warms up to, let's say 75°, cilantro quickly begins to bloom, the term actually used is "Bolt"!  Before that happens, you can harvest the leaves, by removing the outer leaves first, and leaving the leaves inside to grow a bit more.  You can even put the leaves in water in your refrigerator.   


~Cilantro in bloom

I have raised Cilantro more than once.  Actually, I have planted it almost every year for many years, but gave up for a while because of the "bolting" events.  It grows fast, and is beautiful, but as they say, here come the blooms, and the plant shoots ups awkwardly!  I planted it in the ground one year, and did get to harvest some leaves, but when the blooms came, I was lost.  I read that you should cut the blooms off and the plant will continue to grow and produce the leaves.  Well...the plant died on me when I did that, go figure!  The following Spring, here comes my cilantro plant poking through the ground.  It grew and grew, like Jack's Beanstalk!



And, the leaves, though large and green, didn't project the fresh, pungent aroma that was present with the previous year's plant.  The stems were thick and tough.  The blooms came, but didn't stick around long enough to go to seed.  I tried to pull the plant up, because it was of no use to me that way.  It was so tough, I had to enlist the help of my son to dig and pull it out of the ground.  This past Spring, I planted Cilantro seed in a medium pot outside.  The plant did well, but as the weather warmed up, it did "bolt".  We did get to harvest some of the wonderful leaves before the blooms came, then, alas...the plant cratered!  😭

***
Here's what we will do this year:


1.  Cilantro should be grown in early Spring or Fall when the weather is cool.
2.  The plant requires mostly full sun, with some shade, in well-drained soil.
                 3.  Grow Cilantro in the ground with plenty of mulch on top of the roots.  This will keep the plants cooler when the weather warms up.
4. Plant them closer together, they will serve as shade for each other.
                 5.  As soon as the Coriander seeds from flowering turn brown, shake the seed heads over a paper bag, allow to dry, then store in airtight jars.

* I'm hoping to have better luck with each attempt at growing this fine herb!  Maybe some of you have grown it, and can give me some better tips.  I do, at least get some great enjoyment out of my cilantro before it "BOLTS"!

***
~My pot of Cilantro is the large gray one in front.  The other pots have, oh...Oregano, Parsley, Thyme and Mint in them.  Photo by Suzanne * April 2, 2016


Well, my gracious readers...it's time to 'sashay' on out of here for tonight!  I appreciate you coming by my blog, and hope you got a little "kick" out of my program!  Please stop in if you get the chance, and say hello...I would love to see you!

***  Hi Mom! ***

*** please note-images not taken by me, are courtesy of Yahoo Images ***

Thank You
Blogger
Yahoo Images
Google
Wikipedia

According to Oscar Wilde, "A flower blossoms for its own joy."


~ photo by Suzanne * Be safe * See you next time!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Is Holiday Kissing Permissible?

* Gathering of Mistletoe

The Christmas custom of gathering mistletoe had its beginning even before the birth of Christ.
Mistletoe dates back thousands of years, say, from the Celtics of the 1st century A.D.  It was then  noted for its healing properties.  The Greeks used it to cure spleen disorders, and, one Roman naturalist, "Pliny the Elder", used mistletoe as a balm against epilepsy and ulcers.

In old-time Britain (England), white-robed priests, or Druids, would climb a sacred oak tree in order to cut the mistletoe, using a golden sickle.  Mistletoe was believed to have mystical powers, and, the Druidess maidens would hold a white cloth to catch it before it touched the ground.  Mistletoe was regarded as a sign of peace and good fortune, and it has been said that the Druids actually brought romanticism to the plant.  The plant is evergreen, and could blossom during the winter, bringing forth the belief that mistletoe is a symbol of vivacity.   Thus, mistletoe was administered to humans and animals, in hopes of restoring fertility.

Yes...Druidess, a female member of the Druids is a word.
courtesy of www.dictionary.com



Mistletoe sprig that fell to the ground * photo by Suzanne
Little Fossil Park * Fort Worth, Texas

*** from the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine:  altmd.com 

In alternative medicine, the leaves, twigs, and sometimes the berries of mistletoe are used. In Europe, mistletoe remedies range from tea made with mistletoe leaves to injections of Iscador. While European research indicates that mistletoe is safe and effective, sources in the United States maintain that the berries are poisonous and that the herb can cause liver damage.



Well, then, enough tutoring for one day, you think?  Mistletoe grows pretty much everywhere in Texas.  It can be seen nearly everyday as you drive through the neighborhood.  Why...I believe anyone with a tree or two in their yard, probably owns a clump or two of it.  It just beckons...you can almost hear it say, "Stop, and blow me a kiss!"   I just look up and smile, remembering days gone by!

  I grew up in Kansas City, and don't remember ever seeing mistletoe attached and growing from a tree...but, it was in high demand during the Christmas season for those fun holiday parties!

For a parasite, (well, some say it's a "partial" parasite), mistletoe brings a lot of laughter and joy to our hearts at Christmastime.  It carries a certain mystery with it...a certain "romantic" mystery.   And, tradition holds that, "Each time someone is kissed, a white berry should be picked.  When the berries are all gone, the power of the mistletoe is gone, too."  We pretend we don't want to get caught under it, but, we usually succumb to the spell!




I'd say Mistletoe is a keeper...what do you think?😘



~Mistletoe attached to tree * Little Fossil Park * Haltom City, Texas
photo by Suzanne * December 11, 2016



~ This is a large clump hanging from a tree branch at Little Fossil Park
photo by Suzanne * December 11, 2016

***
I'm going to stop for a moment and thank the following: 👍
Google
Blogger
Yahoo images, other than photos that are labeled
Little Fossil Park * Haltom City, TX
 theholidayspot.com
 www.whychristmas.com
history.com

*** I want to thank you all for coming by today, and hope you are doing well!  I know you're all pretty busy right now, preparing for the holidays.  There's so much to do this time of year...getting ready for Santa is a real job!  But, if you get the chance, please step in to say hello.  I'd love to see you.

If I don't get to see you before Christmas, I want to wish you all happiness, health and love, always!  Merry Christmas from MyTexasGardens!

P.S.  Let me know if you get caught under the Mistletoe...I'm hanging mine up now!


"Christmas, my child, is love in action."
~Dale Evans





Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanks to November!

~Branson, Missouri * photo by Suzanne
11-14-16

This year, Autumn has brought many amazing surprises to the forefront.  It has been a fast-moving season, and, I don't want to let go of it just yet.  How about you?

September blew in without a fuss, inciting anticipation of  red and gold leaves, along with cooler breezes.  Well...for a lot of us folks, temperatures remained in the upper 90's throughout most of the month, and the only leaves turning color were the ones that were dying! 

Oh...October!  School has been in session for a month, and, the spooks are getting restless for those tricks or treats!  October also opens up the inner child in a lot of us adults, bringing back the fun memories of hayrides, fall festivals, and, Halloween.

I know, enough is enough!  Just couldn't help myself!
~photo by Suzanne * October 28, 2016

BUT...November!  Wow!  This one roars in and blasts us with a powerful Presidential election to beat all elections so far in my lifetime!  And, we are finally graced with a rapid cool down into the 30's here in the Lone Star State, forcing department stores to bring out their winter wear for sale.   Then comes the lull before the storm, and preparations for Thanksgiving!   

My mother had mentioned that she and my sister would be leaving for Branson, Missouri in November, and, I whined that I wanted to go also.  Mom checked with the touring agent, and there was space on the bus for me.  Before I knew it, I had driven past the Red River into Oklahoma, and through the woods to good ol' Kansas!   A couple of days later, we were on the bus to Branson.  I didn't know what to expect since I had never been there, but, I was pleasantly surprised.

I had longed to see Autumn leaves, and there were still some in Branson.
  Below are just a few of the photos I took.







 




November is the month that brings a lot of us together to share memories, whether sad or happy.  This November has been a pretty emotional month for all, and, I think it will wind down with a lot of sharing and good cheer!   It has been a  month of celebrating veterans and servicemen all over the world.  And, it's been a thoughtful month of vows to help those in need.

 I am especially thankful for this November, because I enjoyed a week with my mother and family in Kansas and Missouri, with ideal weather.   The remainder of the week will be spent with my loving Texas family, and, I am ready for some Thanksgiving food!

***  As for you guys...don't forget the football games! ***


***

Thank you all for coming by, I always enjoy your visits.  Remember, I am the shy one, at least, that's what I told them on the tour bus as we were singing "tweet, tweet, tweet" to the 12 days of Christmas!


But, please stop in and say hello.  Remember to be safe this coming weekend.
   Don't text and drive! 

 Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, from our house to yours, and, love to all from
MyTexasGardens!  


~Pumpkins, anyone?