August 28, 2013

Cow Horn Okra from Monticello


After my rather long hiatus from p o t a g e r, I begin anew with three little words:

Cow  Horn  Okra.

I found the seed (buy some here) in the Monticello gift shop on my most recent trip to Virginia in May...

and the historic background for this handsome vegetable
reads:  

In Notes on the State of Virginia, begun in 1781, Jefferson records that the gardens of his native state "yield musk melons, water melons, tomatoes, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." It wasn't until 1809, however, that he began to plant Okra, a native of Africa, on an annual basis at Monticello, generally in late March or early April. In 1817, for instance, he notes its planting in Monticello's Vegetable Garden on April 2 and its arrival at table on July 28, over sixteen weeks later. A member of the mallow family, Okra has large, handsome yellow flowers. The young fruiting pods were often combined with tomatoes for soups and gumbo in Jefferson family recipes. In 1813, Jefferson edged his "square," or plot of tomatoes with okra - a rather unusual combination of plant textures. Cows Horn is an heirloom Okra variety.



I planted mine in early June in quadrant 3 of the potager, where it grew, quite literally like a weed...

and was soon large enough in leaf and height

to not only produce

but also provide welcome shade on brutally hot days when the boxwood hedge gets stressed. (I love the way you can see through its stalks and branches...). And they do fruit mightily.


Most often, I don't even bother to cook the little horn-shaped buggers (not a traditional practice I grant you)...

I just eat them raw, when small and crunchy...

slicing and tossing in salads, or eating pickle-style, straight from the stalk.

Pesty locust prefer the beautiful tasty leaves , irritating creatures I pick off or shoo away each morning

(albeit while grudgingly noting how beautifully
their colors echo one another)...









Earlier in the season, before the heat set in, ants were busy ranching and herding aphid colonies (read more about this fascinating practice here)...but were easily kept under control by the jet spray setting on my trusty hose- end spray gun.

Linda Vater, reporting

from the front lines of the wild, wild, West.
























http://www.monticelloshop.org/600175.html


In Notes on the State of Virginia, begun in 1781, Jefferson records that the gardens of his native state "yield musk melons, water melons, tomatoes, okra, pomegranates, figs, and the esculent plants of Europe." It wasn't until 1809, however, that he began to plant Okra, a native of Africa, on an annual basis at Monticello, generally in late March or early April. In 1817, for instance, he notes its planting in Monticello'sVegetable Garden on April 2 and its arrival at table on July 28, over sixteen weeks later. A member of the mallow family, Okra has large, handsome yellow flowers. The young fruiting pods were often combined with tomatoes for soups and gumbo in Jefferson family recipes. In 1813, Jefferson edged his "square," or plot of tomatoes with okra - a rather unusual combination of plant textures. Cows Horn is an heirloom Okra variety.

August 14, 2013

Expressions of a SUNFLOWER



"Flowers have an expression of countenance



 as much as men and animals.




 Some seem to smile; 







some have a sad expression;





Some are pensive and diffident;  





others are plain;




honest and upright; like the broad-faced




SUNFLOWER

 and the hollyhock...

~Henry Ward Beecher








August 8, 2013

Garden To Vase to Table





Let us put a cherry, preferably a pink one, on the parfait of pink petaled plants we talked about last week. Another perk of these pink pretties for the garden? 

They all look simply smashing together in a lush bouquet.

Complement your rosy posies with lime green 'Envy' zinnias and chartreuse foliage from, in my case, 


weigela, caryopteris, and coleus.


Soft green berries from nandina, and unopened buds of sedum 'Autumn Joy' and crepe myrtle lend texture and glossy round appeal.




Pink celosia, crepe myrtle blossoms, cleome, pink-flecked hydrangea and phlox contribute their ruffly froth.

 Daisies and naked ladies (yes, I said naked ladies)

add their innocence and sweet charm.





Feminine and girly is this consortium of blooms. 

Reminds me of the girly and feminine bedroom I shared with my sisters growing up...

with its pink shag carpet, pink check bedspread and ruffled shams...


and the contorted green Seven-Up bottle with the elongated neck (it was the 60's, after all) that sat on my desk...


holding a single paper mache' flower...

 in hot pink, of course.


Please join Linda Cavanaugh and me tomorrow on NewsChannel 4 at 4:30 for a pink-themed 4 Your Garden segment.