Category Archives: Gardening

Quince

Quince (not to be confused with “quints” – a set of five children born at the same time) is an unusual shrub. It flowers prolifically. The fruit looks like small wrinkled up yellow apples.

There are several kinds of quince and I’m not sure which kind I have in my back yard. I thought there was only one kind of quince bush until I tried to find out more about it. It’s possible that mine is a flowering quince because the fruit is smaller than that of some other types.

Here is my quince bush in April, just beginning to get blossoms.

Now, in May, the flowers have opened up and the whole bush is loaded in lovely blossoms.

Last year in the fall I took some pictures of the quince fruit as it was still ripening on the shrub. The fruit was smaller than the size of a golf ball, which is why I wonder if the shrub is an ornamental variety. Pictures of quince I found in recipes online are a bit bigger.

Nevertheless, I made jam from this bitter fruit.  I strained the juice after cooking the quince and then added the sugar to make jam, so there were no seeds or peels in it. While you wouldn’t try to eat quince raw — too astringent — the jam was pretty good.

Do you know something about quince that you would like to share with us?

Full of Beans

My climbing beans and bush beans both grew well this year. A person can only eat so many beans at one time but frozen, these beans are almost as good as fresh. The trick is to blanch them. I picked two big bread bowls full of beans this morning and gave them a quick rinse. Then I chopped them into small bite-size pieces while a pot of lightly salted water was coming to a boil. I filled one of those bread bowls with very cold water, and set it aside.

Once the water was boiling I dumped in the cut up beans. That brought the temperature down and I had to wait a minute or two for the water to boil again. As the beans boiled, they turned a brighter green than they were when they were fresh. After a minute or so, I took the slotted spoon and scooped the beans out of the boiling water into the big bowl of cold water.

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Climbing beans (broad beans) on the cookie sheet. Bush beans in the pot, ready for the next cookie sheet.

Shortly afterwards I scooped the beans out of the cold water (which was now a bit warmer), and put them into a strainer. In this case, I found that the lettuce spinner worked well. Once the beans were drained I dumped them onto a cookie sheet and spread them out. These would go into my fridge freezer because it has a fan and will freeze the beans quickly. When they’re frozen hard, I break them up and put them into ziploc bags and put them into the chest freezer.

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Bush beans

We may be acting silly this winter because you can be sure we’ll be “full of beans.”

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The One True Poppy ?

I am the one true poppy

The one in Flanders’ fields.

Surrounded here by “wannabe”s

At last my patience yields.

I’m falling prey to apoppyplexy.

Helpless as I am,

Rooted in the ground like this

I’m truly in a jam.

But look at my frustration

The lesser poppies bloom

And I am forced to bear their smirks

While I am filled with gloom.

You see that Missy Paleface

Deceitful all in white?

And what about Pink Poodle?

Her hairdo is a fright.

The crackpots growing opium

Are gossiping again.

Do they not know their sticky juice

Is going to fry their brain?

The bugs may crawl upon my face

My pollen’s falling down,

But I’m the only real one here

And I should wear the crown.

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Pink Poodle

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Miss Paleface

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Crackpots

 

 

Poppies

For years, I mistakenly thought that this is the kind of poppy that you get opium from. But I was wrong.

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The kinds and varieties of poppies are numerous.

I’ve been growing poppies for years, but only because they’re such pretty flowers. Seems I could have kept myself painfree for years now, if I had harvested the sticky latex-like goo that runs out of the seed pods if you score them. I have no interest in going to a lot of trouble to make a tiny smidgeon of opium. I have Advil in my medicine cabinet and that will do for small aches and pains.

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What surprised me is that opium (and then, morphine) is made from many different kinds of poppies. This delicate flower hardly looks capable of producing opium. Such an innocent!019

I have a feeling that these types, with the feathery leaves, are not used for that kind of harvest anyway.

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But now we’re getting into the right kind.

012These purple poppies are the kind you see in opium fields. I grew them because I love the colour. I had no idea I could have started a lucrative business.
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Below you’ll see the same kind but they have a tinge of red.

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Then we have the extra special ones that have many more petals than the usual poppies. Looks like a peony and I think that’s its common name (peony poppy).

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This pink one (below) came from a store in town. I suppose it’s been kidnapped, in a way. I was waiting for the Captain to finish some business while I waited outside the store. Right beside me a window box of poppies with beautiful pink double (quadruple) petals decorated the storefront. One finished bloom sported a dried up seed pod. I snapped off the pod and put it in my pocket. It looked like it should be free for the taking. I felt a twinge of guilt, but reasoned that if the owner had been there she would have said, “Of course. Go ahead.” I treasured that seed pod for months until it was time to plant the seeds the next spring. What you see below is the second generation of my “stolen” seeds. I silently thank the lady at the store whenever I see her progeny in bloom.

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And last of all,  a Eurasian collared dove visits a non-opium poppy. She’s eating corn from under the birdfeeder. She’s not too interested in those orange poppies that somehow made it all the way up here from California just to grow wild in my yard.025a

So if you ever have an “owie” just come on over and I’ll mix you up a potion from those purple poppies to take your pain away.

Warning: It may take a while to make up, and there is no guarantee of the potency or lack of it.

On second thought, maybe a Band-aid and a glass of wine would be a better idea.

The Name of the Rose

The sky had some unique striations in it last night just after the sun had set, and I ran to grab my camera.

Towards the west I took this photo.
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Towards the south, the moon was already trying to inch out from behind the fir trees. I wanted to get more pictures of the moon, but just as it came out of hiding, my luck changed. The camera battery went dead. Quickly, switch batteries. But the spare was dead too, so that marked the end of the evening’s photographic efforts.

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The next morning I managed to get more photos. The rudbeckia was irresistible.

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Then I noticed this very special rose. I’ve had it for about 26 years and never knew its true name. When I bought it, the label said “Tropicana.” Its photo showed an orangey-red flower, but when mine finally bloomed, it was more like the colour of coffee with cream.

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For years I thought the rose had been mislabeled but when I did a search for Tropicana, I saw that one or two of the roses were of this “coffee with cream” colour. The rest were the standard reddish orange. So maybe it wasn’t misnamed at all, but was just one of the few specimens with special colouring. And all these years I had wondered about the name of the rose.