August 26, 2014

Waiting For the Heat to Break

Change is if you needed to be told. TRANSFORMATION, changing from something undesirable into something 

desirable or improved, is even harder. So as ready as I am for the front...especially the look like this again, only better...I must remind myself, over and over again...change is hard, change is hard, change is hard.

And, no, to spin a truly 

Can't hurry just have to don't come easy, it's just a game of give and take.

And so it is and so it goes. In all facets of life and gardening, I am being reminded (on both fronts). Transformation can't be hurried, it can be brutal and ugly and painful sometimes...most of the time. It requires patience and perseverance and toughness and resilience...

and a little blind faith that finally given enough time and toil and tenacity...

 the skies will eventually open up

the heat and pressure will eventually break

and what was just vision will become

 A beautiful and yes, hopefully improved...


So, wait and wait I will to install the new turf and plant more beauty. My patience just one part of the compost needed to transform and feed my new garden space.

As promised, here are some of the plants that are part of the new area...most of them already growing in the overall design and attached to the new bedding space.  I want it to appear as if it has been there all along...mature and consistent and harmonious with the existing plantings. Most are of unnamed variety and have been divided and transplanted from elsewhere. Here goes:

~ Kewensis euonymous

~  Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

~  Purple Oxalis

~  Purple Basil

~  Gold Coleus

~ White and Pink Drift roses   
~ Various sedums as ground cover

~ Boxwood 'Green Mountain and 'Winter Gem'

~ Lorapetalum aka. Chinese Fringe Flower

~ Pink Fountain Guara

~ Barberry 'Admiration'

~ Red Pygmy Barberry

~ Golden Vicary Privet

~ Buddleia 'Flutterby Petite'

~ Black Pearl Ornamental Peppers

~ Abelia 'Sunny Anniversary'
(A PW new variety for 2015 I am testing)

 ~ Jewel of Desert Moon Stone Ice Plant

 ~ Purple Sweet Potato Vine

~  Nana Nandina

~  Common Monkey Grass

~ Ajuga

~ Golden Moneywort

~ Creeping Phlox 'Emerald Blue'

Coming up:

What tulips I'll be planting this fall.  Time to Order!

Design Tips and driving motivation and inspiration for the changed front landscape.

August 24, 2014


I know I promised you more details about the new front bed, and you shall have them. But I am not quite ready to leave the  p o t a g e r  and her peppers.

Along with the Jalapeño Pesto I made this week, I made another recipe of roasted richness from 

those peppery beauties that you may enjoy:



1 (or more, to taste) jalapeño pepper 

cooking spray (I used olive oil)

7 tsp unsalted butter

1 tsp grated lime zest (I used more)

2 tsp honey

1/4 tsp salt

Roast pepper on gas stove, grill, or under broiler until blackened and charred. Place in small paper bag and fold lightly to seal. Let stand for 5 minutes. Peel and discard skins; cut pepper in half lengthwise. Discard stem, seeds and membranes. Finely chop jalapeño. Combine pepper, butter, lime zest honey and salt in a small bowl (or use a food processor); stir well and shape into desired mold.

Incredibly delish on roasted corn, corn bread, tortillas, hot biscuits.

I have some to Color Girl yesterday as part of a housewarming gift...along with a basket of corn.

She just sent me evidence that it is truly a fine combination.

May just have to make some more  :)

August 23, 2014


It's as hot as a jalapeno out there, and while most of the garden is lying in wait for cooler temps, my Pablano and Jalapeno peppers continue to produce mightily. In late summer I always have pesto-on-the-brain, so I
searched the web for 

a version using hot peppers. The result was absolute summer deliciousness.

I slathered it on thinly cut, bone in pork chops before cooking them on my stove top grill...leaving extra pesto to swipe on the accompanying corn bread 

LC and I make it yesterday on our Four Your Garden segment.

( Watch it here). I did make one slight modification that in my humble opinion sent the recipe over the top.

 I roasted the jalapenos before adding them....still deseeded and de-membraned, but with the charred skin included to add a smokey richness to the blend of flavors.  I also used three peppers...I wanted the extra spiciness.

Husband loved it and it will be a new staple in my easy SUMMER DINNER arsenal.  Multiply the recipe...I assure you, more is better  :).


1/4 cup walnuts (I toasted them to add to the smokiness.)

2 cloves garlic

2 cups packed fresh basil

3/4 cup Parmagiano-Reggiano cheese

1 (or more) jalapeno peppers (roasted, if desired)

2/3 cup olive oil

salt and ground pepper to taste

Pulse walnuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped.  Add basil, shredded cheese, and peppers; process until combined. Stream olive oil into basil mixture while processor is still running until consistency is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Me-thinks this would be divine on warmed tortillas, dolloped into Chili Pork Stew, on scrambled eggs and roasted potatoes, with tortilla chips and get the idea.  Give it a go!

August 21, 2014

Make Believe

Sometimes adults too need to engage in their own game of Make Believe.  I am currently trying to make believe that late summer, i.e. August, in Oklahoma IS FUN!  Like the magazines and Pinterest pages, cooking shows and blogs (like this one...) would have us believe. Full of warm laughter and the Hamptons and ice cream cones and alfresco dining and tomato tarts. All served up on a red and white checked tablecloth of course, with the scent of BBQ ribs filling the air.

Truth be told, I loathe late summer...a character flaw I am not ashamed to admit. For reasons both personal and horticultural I would gladly remove late July, the entirety of August, and the first weeks of September from the calendar. (with all due respect to anyone born during this time...). 

So I will comfort and content myself, I guess, with envisioning how the new bed extension in the front will look in the future...when late summer and its scourge is in the rear view mirror.  Some details are already in place:

Some years ago I installed a brick run down the length of my very narrow driveway...for practical and pretty purposes. Until recently it stopped at the street curb, just before turning the front corner.

Now it rounds the corner and continues in a straight line bordering the curb of the street...where it again turns, in a curve mirroring that by the drive. This turn then becomes the

the new brick and stone border of the new
bed line....

which extends the sweep of the existing garden border...

 thusly. (Did that make one iota of sense?)

I believe I have reason to be optimistic that it will turn out beautifully when it is all said and done. Just over a year ago, I did the same along my driveway...transforming the image on the left (in a matter of weeks) into the image on the right.

...and ultimately creating an effect with which I was most pleased. So I feel justified in being hopeful that my changes will prove to be handsome indeed.

 Do you agree?

To come:  what I planted in the new bed... AND...please do join LC and me tomorrow on 4 YOUR GARDEN at 4:30.  

We'll be cooking up something delicious with all of those jalopenos from the garden.

August 20, 2014

Lawn...on the side, please.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."  Albert Einstein

 A much over-used phrase, but still


MY stupid thing...okay, one of many....that I do over and over again... is to try
and grow grass in my front yard... 

in July and August...  (winter, spring, problemo).

I don't think it is because I am particularly turf challenged, or have inordinately high expectations of a green lawn in hot as the dickens, OKC. Rather, as is so often the case in life, I am trying to have (err, grow) my cake and eat it too...wanting a lush green carpet in ALL seasons, not just fall and spring...all the while growing under the watchful, voracious, all-consuming, (but handsome and much-loved) canopy of my almost 100 year old oak tree...

AND with a south facing exposure that goes from full shade to full sun, literally...

in a matter of days as the sun moves lower in the southern sky... as summer progresses and my heretofore shaded grass now singes and burns, blinking against sudden strong sun, harsh angles, and brutal heat.

I've consulted with every turf expert, done all the things one is supposed to do to encourage warm season grasses:  fertilized organically, pruned my trees high to maximize light, watered less frequently and deeply, never water in the evening (as to minimize fungal nemesis ever since I moved here)...and tried every variety of seed and sod and fescue and bermuda and rye on the planet. 

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you've shared my trials and experiments with turf, most recently Bent Grass last fall.
But this year, I am employing a different strategy...

(I do love having a strategy over an intractable problem, don't you?...even if the strategy proves unsound, it gives me hope and confidence and a sense of empowerment in the short term..).

Any how, my strategy this year is....!!!


(She said meekly...)

This area just doesn't want to play host to turf in the summer. So I will take out as much of it as possible...convert the area to an extension of and addition to the existing beds... 

(as seamlessly as possible with no hint that it was not a part of the design all along),

add some hardscaping embellishments, follow the same curves and sweeps and contours of the existing bed lines...

and, in general, start treating the grass as if it were just a side dish,
and not the entree to my front garden. More vegetables, and less meat, as it were.

So as to minimize, if not save, what brown, summer stressed turf there is.

So, my friends, if you are among the many who have driven by wondering

"What the hell is she doing NOW?"

This is what I have been doing. With much more fine tuning to come as temperatures become more tolerable...and in preparation for the OHS Garden Tour on October 4.

Tomorrow: more detail on the changes.  Until then, watch this video I made last year for Lowe' retrospect, foreshadowing of what was to come. (Don't see it?  Go here)

Didn't see last Friday's KFOR 4 Your Garden segment?  Go here.