October 12, 2013

Sun Dried Tomato Recipe

I can't believe I am typing these words, but 

I have had a bumper crop of tomatoes this year.

Most of them came on in late summer and are continuing to produce...and  produce mightily.

The New Pearl Cherry Tomatoes, as well as the larger ones of an unknown variety, (volunteers that I, very wisely I might add ), decided to keep in residence. :)

The cherry tomatoes are aggressive little things, and I've allowed them

the freedom to scamper and climb the Zepherine Drouhin Rose that grows on the arbor into the potager.

The two make quite good companions actually. The rose canes, denuded of their leaves by now from wind, blackspot, and manual labor on my part,

are quite content to support the lanky tomato tendrils. The tiny red pearls are pop in your mouth delicious, delectable straight from the vine of course.

But I have plans for the larger plum fruits and have been hoarding some to make delicious

Sun Dried Tomatoes.

Put thick slices of tomato on a baking sheet lined with tin foil or parchment.

Spray both sides with a mist of olive oil from a Misto Olive Oil Sprayer (find one here).

Dry in a 200 degree oven for six to eight hours, depending on the thickness of the slices and their water content. Check regularly to prevent over cooking.

Store in olive oil, or freeze in ziplocks for future use. Of course, a mason jar full of them makes a wonderful gift.

Easy peezy. Pricey from your grocer, but simple to make with your own home grown tomatoes or the bounty from your local farmers' market.



October 10, 2013

Abelia 'Canyon Creek'

Fall is wonderful. In fact, I venture to say that October in Oklahoma is its most beautiful month. It is trite to go on and on about the quality of soft golden light and shadow in autumn, but it IS truly a magical thing...and so appreciated after the harsh, white-bleached skies during our hot summers in the South.

I especially love plants that accentuate this golden glow, and Abelia 'Canyon Creek' (read more about it here) does just that. I am currently coveting one down the street in a fellow obsessed gardener's front yard.

This ain't your ol' common abelia...the overgrown, lanky, woody one that threatens to consume your driveway. 'Canyon Creek' is much more dainty...

She has the lovely arching branches, but is far more well-mannered, growing only 2-3 feet wide, and 3-4 feet tall. Its more petite ways are nice, but it is the abundant 

small, pendulous buds and flowers that make me admire it so.

That  prized limey-green shade similar to new viburnum and hydrangea...only in the late summer and fall.

Later turning to dusty, rusty pink as the flowers mature. 

Now, the difficulty of how and where to fit this dwarf abilea, petite as it is, into my landscape.

Something far less difficult?

Clipping a few (with permission, of course)
for a sweet small bouquet.

For more fall ideas tune into to 4  YOUR GARDEN

tomorrow at 4:30 on News Channel 4.

October 3, 2013

Mum Marriages

In this month's issue of HGTV Magazine (read it hereI wrote an article about plants that marry well with mums... shrubs and annuals and ornamentals that bring out the best in this fall icon...that, quite frankly, can all too often

(in my opinion) look a little too rigid, too formulaic, too
kinda... Marriote-hotelish  (if you know what I mean).

I like to plant, or more accurately, nestle, mums into new or existing garden areas that have plants which can soften their form and accentuate their colors and textures. 

Annuals like coleus, ornamental peppers and crotons look great and scream fall.


 Lorapetalum, nana nandinas, and oakleaf hydrangeas 

will happily and beautifully cradle large pots of mums within their branches, hiding their unsightly plastic containers in their foliage, 

while saving you the labor of actually planting these short term beauties.

For more ideas on how to play matchmaker with mums, join me tomorrow on NewsChannel 4, FOUR YOUR GARDEN, at 4:30.