Monday, August 27, 2012

The Giant Pumpkin Club

Dill's Atlantic Giant Pumpkin
My first attempt at growing a giant pumpkin ended up in a lopsided 65-pounder.  Not great considering the biggest pumpkins can weigh more than cars.  This year I'm going for 100 pounds - hopefully big enough to stick a small nephew inside of.  Right now it is about the size of last year's so it's gotta put on another 40 pounds in the next month.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Blog is Metamorphosing...

I have always wanted my blog to have a cheesy pun for a name, as well as it's own registered domain.  I tried to get but it isn't available.  Zone 8 isn't a cheesy pun either.  I've also realized over the course of the couple years of doing this blog that I'm not interested exclusively in subtropical plants anymore, but much, much more.  Therefore, I am changing the name of my blog.  Say goodbye to Zone 8 and hello to (ta-da!) Growing Steady!  If you don't believe me, just look in the address bar of your web browser.

The name change will take a few weeks, since I am not yet finished with graphics for the title and the ever-important favicon.  If you link to my blog, it will automatically redirect to the right place so there's no need to change that.  You can if it will help you sleep better at night though.  Other than the name, things will remain about the same.  The name change is really a reflection of the blog as it is currently.  That's it for now.  Get out there and get some dirt under your fingernails before it rains!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tomatillo Time

With about a dozen ripe tomatillos, I decided to make some home grown salsa.  Every single ingredient came from the garden.

Ignore the peaches.  I was initially going to dice them up and put them in the salsa but decided against it after I tasted it and it was perfect as it was.

It was delicious with some freshly made tortilla chips and beef tacos.

Here is the recipe:

1 cup diced tomatillos
1/2 cup tomatoes (I used a combination of Sungold & Early Girl)
1/4 cup minced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 oz. finely chopped fresh oregano (I used spicy oregano)
1/2 oz. finely chopped fresh thyme

Simply mix everything together and enjoy!

August Haiku

The sun's glowing rays


Solanum aviculare
Cynara cardunculus var. scolymusin (aka Artichoke) in full bloom

Shining through ocean breezes


The fish are always begging for food
Musa basjoo, approximately 20 feet tall now
Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii' dwarfing Gunnera manicata

Splash colors freely


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sea of Bees

If bees could vote on their favorite plant, it would be this one:

Echinops bannaticus 'Blue globe'
Echinops bannaticus 'Blue globe', otherwise known as sea holly, is covered in bees this time of year.  They walk around it like its a small planet, collecting pollen.

It is a deciduous perennial, hardy everywhere except perhaps arctic tundra.  It naturalizes by seed but is not aggressive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

NHS Board Garden Tour 2012

The Northwest Horticultural Society's annual Meet the Board tour was on Sunday, August 19th, 2012.  Five great NHS board member gardens were open to NHS regular members to walk though and be in awe of.

This board member has an apparent love affair with coleus, among other things.

Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nanus'
I like the dwarf mondo grass lawn (Ophiopogon japonicus 'Nanus'), although it is apparent that it does not tolerate foot traffic.  At least it doesn't require mowing.

This garden was home to many subtropical/tropical plants, including this schefflera.  Not sure of the species or if it is given any protection in the winter.

Nepenthes alata, center
The backyard was about the size of a living room and was just as cozy, although I'm not sure I'd want to relax underneath the pitcher plant (Nepenthes alata).

Rhodocoma capensis
Seeing this nice clump of Rhodocoma capensis made me want to give this plant another try after murdering one a few years ago.

Eucalyptus archeri
Look!  A eucalyptus tree that is alive!  This species is I believe Eucalyptus archeri, and was either transplanted as a very large tree from California or weathered the several recent harsh winters with flying koalas.

This bird netting over the patch of blueberry bushes is doing double-duty, keeping people away as well.

Rain barrels
Someday, I think it would be great if people built houses with rain storage containers hidden underneath the roof of the house.  UV lights could keep bacteria from growing, and the elevation difference would create an adequate amount of water pressure in order to be able to use a normal garden hose to water plants.

This "compost fence" looks like it was just recently stuffed with a bunch of yard debris.  I would love to see what this looks like in a year, when the material on the bottom has decomposed.  It's a cool idea, especially for smaller gardens.

I counted 12 chickens.  They must take their morning omelets seriously.

Eriobotrya japonica
Loquat tree (Eriobotrya japonica)

Edgeworthia.  Not sure of the species.

And finally, a contemplative Easter Island head.

If you want to be a member of NHS, click here to join.