Friday, August 1, 2014

GARDEN & GRILLING TIPS FROM A TOTAL BLONDE


I love to putter around my garden.  This is "putter" season.  I pull some weeds, I water the pots with my little old watering can, I add some organic food to the lawn and most of all, I sit in the early evening (okay...this is the 'slothiness" part, (I made up that word.), and just watch as the sprinkler moves back and forth, catching beads of sun, and hearing the faint splatter as it showers my plants.  Mesmerizing!  It's a shame we can't hear what falling snow sounds like when it hits the ground in the winter.  What do you imagine it to be like?  Maybe that's the beauty of it...that it's a silent wonder,  For someone like me who only has about 20% hearing left, that's a relief!  I don't want to miss anything else in this life of mine!

Oh, by the way.  This is Tickseed, the feathery kind that gets lots of tiny flowers.  I had some extra from the lakehouse and I planted it here in the city.  Isn't it pretty?






    I saw these coming up and wondered what the heck they were.  I've been known to pull up what I think are weeds only to find they are flowers.  Gulp.  I looked at my graph which has a bird's eye sketch of my yard and all of the things I've planted since 200 B.C. and I didn't see anything in that spot.  Then it bloomed and I declared, "Phlox!"  But nothing on my diagram.  The other day I found a big envelope in my shed in which I keep all the 'sticks" that come with my plants...you know, the ones with the name and info, etc.  And I found one for Phlox.  It never made the diagram.  I'm slacking off, but what a nice surprise.  I thought maybe it was a present from the birds!  I get a lot of those.



I love me sprinkler!!  But I only use it on my lawn.  I use it about 2-3 times a week if there is no rain and I let it soak the grass down about an inch and 1/2, or as far as half my index finger can do down and feel moisture.  Again, I'm not an expert, but this works for me.  When we have had a good bit of rain, I am much more stingy with watering.  And I read some advice by the late great Thalassa Cruso, if you plan to be away, like on a vacation and don't have a way to have your lawn watered, wean it off slowly in the weeks before.  Grass can get spoiled! Oh, how I loved this woman...truly the Julia Child of gardening.  Look up her books, I discovered them over 25 years ago.  They are a pretty penny now...collectors items.  She wrote essay style.  A woman after my own heart.

And the last thing...as you can see from my picture above, I like to soak my plants,  with just a regular  hose at a medium type of flow.  This is just for my flower beds.  Leaves don't need or want water and the roots need it.  Why waste water?  Of course it takes time to move that hose around.  I have it going while I'm working in the yard and move it periodically.  Try to position the hose so the water puddles around the plant and ideally flows down to another plant.  Double the money.  I really love when I'm sitting out in the evening, the dogs languishing in the cool grass, getting up to move the hose around a bit, knowing it's making those tender roots plump up and say, "ahhhh!"  As you can see, I love my mulch.  It's work to buy, haul in and spread, but it's totally worth it and  not expensive.  I use shredded bark and put it down every spring.  I love that it smothers a lot of weeds, keeps the plants cool and holds that moisture in.  It looks good, too.  I have some beds that are free flowing and natural...and I have some that are very neat and tidy.  The mulch enhances all of them.  Try the soaking method.  You can almost hear that "slurp!" :)



I am switching to my never ending quest to learn how to grill food!  I won't bore you as I think probably 9 out of 10 of you know tons more than me.  But I am a creative cook so this is more of me passing along a few things I tried that worked on the grill.  Pictured above is a salmon filet that serves four.  I just cooked it skin side down with a little blend of olive oil, apricot preserves, green onions and some garlic salt.  Delish.  Close the cover and let it smoke just a short while...fish dries out fast.

Something that takes longer and I put it on ahead of everything else, are sliced potatoes.  I cut one potato per person in 1/2 inch rounds, just nice and thick so they don't fall apart.  In a bowl I toss the slices with some veggie oil (it just does better at high heat and browns everything better, but by all means, use the oil you prefer), some S & P, garlic and onion powder and maybe some dried herbs that you like.  Grill about 7-10 minutes per side and stick a sharp knife in the middle to test for doneness.  Oh heaven!  A little sour cream or a few drips of melted butter makes this out of sight when you serve.  As for the rest of my grilling experimentation, slow going.  I only test things on The Husband and he has a penchant for liking most everything.  Ha!

  



Lastly...Chicago  is hosting the Lollapalooza Festival for the ninth year in a row.  3 days long in Grant Park, it's a fantastic time and draws huge crowds.  Lots of great live music acts and fantastic food.   I haven't been but would love to go one year, I know many who have gone and just loved it!  I'm bringing it up because you may have heard of it.  And we have just been down for the count as a city if you follow the news.  I want to give a shout out for some of the things we are good at, proud of.  Say a prayer that the gun violence, here and everywhere will end...it's very close to home.  I put my faith in our mayor and police department.  I'm not going political on anyone.  Just please say a prayer for all of the innocent people in our city who are facing this violence and the aftermath in these past few month.  Chicago Pride!

Thanks.

Jane

And

45 comments:

Helen said...

Enjoyed every word! Happy weekend, Jane!

Susie said...

Sweet Blondie, I loved this ost...you made me laugh at times. I like that you have a diagram of your flower bed layout. Your husband is like my Teddy, he'll eat practically any thing, so he would not be a good one to asked ,"How did that taste ?" LOL I like the hint about salmon on the grill. Blessings for a fun weekend. I do pray for all our young people to one day,know carrying guns, does not make you tough, walking away does. xoxo,Susie

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I have the gray and white version of that bathroom rug, Jane! Also gotten at Target. My husband set up some kind of hose system for us here at the condo and he says, "so you can water all your plants". Very nice of him, I'm sure, except he hasn't shown me how and what to hook up where. So I have no idea how to utilize it. I'll have to ask him to show me this weekend. We were having just enough rain that I didn't have to water anything but the urn by our front door {it's under the overhang}.

Laurie M said...

oh you always give us such a fun post to read, love every word, I hope you have the very best weekend away and I will try the grilling tips,

Primitive Stars said...

Morning Jane, loved reading your blog this morning. Your flowers are beautiful, from one blond to another, Hugs Francine.

Rita C. said...

Hi Jane, fun to catch up with you today. Your gardens look so good! I think you may have a Limelight hydrangea variety - they're supposed to be one of the best in terms of withstanding heat, etc., and they just turn a pinkish in fall. So smart of you to keep your diagrams and tags.

Your salmon looks great, and I love those tips you shared in the party post (the chips, smaller canned drinks). I'll have to remember those.

Looks like your summer is turning out great - enjoy your time at the lake.
Rita

Sue said...

Janie girl, your hydrangeas are a paniculata variety (possibly lime lights) and always going to be white and have conical blooms. Check out this link to see how to prune and take care of them. http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/paniculata.html
You may want to buy the Annabelle, Blue Daddy, or Nikko Blue if you want color. They are the macrophyla variety.
Hope you're enjoying summer - I am busy busy and rarely read any blogs . I have become a Facebook junkie! LOL. Hugs, Sue

Theresa said...

Isn't it nice to grill out and be surrounded by beautiful plants:) Love all of your blooms and I always appreciate your tips! Bathroom face-lift looks awesome! Have a blessed and beautiful weekend dear friend, HUGS!

Sarah said...

Jane, wish I were there to enjoy those delicious offerings off the grill. Love the new shower curtain and mat. '-)

deb @ frugal little bungalow said...

I enjoyed the post as usual!

Tickseed....not familiar with it but it is so pretty! :0

Jane I don't think that Lantana will come back in our parts with cold weather. I buy some every year because it flourishes in heat and drought and it's a nice plant for late summer but it never returns on its own ( Western PA / similar climate to you : )

Balisha said...

Hi....I really enjoyed this post. I do love the way you go from one topic to another and not dwell too long on any one topic. Maybe I can learn a lesson from you here.
The salmon looks delicious. Love the addition of apricot preserves.
It looks like Sue answered about your hydrangeas.
Lastly...Thalassa Cruso was one of my favorites. I used to love it when she appeared on Johnny Carson's show. He got such a kick out of her. She knew everything about gardening...
Have a nice weekend,
Balisha

Blondie's Journal said...

Hey everyone! Deb is correct on the Lantana. It is a perennial in zones 8 and higher. I am zone 5. :(

Jane xx

Babs R said...

Jane, I always enjoy hearing what's happening at your house. I think the hydrangea is paniculata And, for the Lantana..it comes back for us, but maybe if you put the pots in a warm garage or basement to over winter them? I need to look at the bath aisle at HD. Thanks for the tip.

Cozy Little House said...

We have that same type of violence here. Drug gangs. Getting worse all the time. Wish they could figure out a way to keep those automatic weapons from even being sold.
Brenda

A Quiet Corner said...

Retreating to a flower garden and nature is a wonderful respite from reality sometimes. Phlox, although lots of varieties, spreads LIKE CRAZY! In VA, I was always tearing & ripping it out!...:)JP

Mary@mydogsmygardenandmary said...

Great post Jane - sounds like you got a lot accomplished. My hydrangeas have not done well this year - to hot and no rain, even thought I water them. This is one of the hottest summers I can remember - no winter at all. I am so looking forward to fall and hopefully RAIN.
Mary

Debby said...

I have to enjoy the gardens of yours and others since I fail in that dept. So pretty. I love TJ Max for bathrooms and bedding. Our Target never has much of either . Like your new touches.
We live about 45 minutes from downtown Columbus. So many shootings every day. It's sad how gun violence is so high right now.
Have a good next week.

Barbara F. said...

I have been a real slack, a slacking sloth! I am glad I popped in for a visit. I like the idea of apricot jam on the salmon. I have a love/hate relationship with it! Your flowers look so purty, and I love the rug and curtain in the bath. There is so much violence everywhere, I pray every day.

Melanie said...

Your flowers are so pretty! I had to smile when I saw the Phlox...just a word of warning from someone who is overrun with Phlox right now: it spreads like crazy! Brian just dug up two "stray" Phlox plants growing in the middle of other plants in our butterfly garden. I replanted them in front of the house...in front of those iron trellises that I didn't know what to do with. Have a great weekend!

Classes n Camps said...

i enjoyed your post.
things to do with kids in houston

Junkchiccottage said...

Good Morning friend,
Loved reading your post this morning. Your flowers are looking so great. Have a wonderful start to the new week ahead.
Kris

Suzanne said...

You're so funny. And your garden looks beautiful. Yummy dinner, too!

The Summer Kitchen Girls said...

Morning Jane! I thought my husband's aunt was the only one that had multiple shower curtains and accessories for her bathroom ~ lol! I LOVE it...but fear my husband just wouldn't understand....maybe another 10 years? hahaha!! Gosh...it's been a long time...but I went to Lallapalooza *gulp* 20+ years ago...can that be? YIKES! It was a blast...love to go again someday (my kids will probably make it before me!) Enjoy your Sunday...the house and garden look great :)

Jennifer Beaudet said...

Your flowers look beautiful! I can't grow anything but mostly because I don't have time. It takes so much nurturing and love to have a beautiful garden! Thanks for the grilling tips! :)

Lisa @ Texas Decor said...

I like all your gardening tips! We have Lantana down here too and it's a great perennial. It loves the heat, so it does very well here. Love your bathroom updates too! I recently replaced my floral bathroom rug with a more modern looking one and I'm loving it! Those little things can make such a big impact. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

must love junk said...

Your flowers are so pretty! And that salmon looks delish!! :)
Susan

Pondside said...

Those potatoes sound yummy - I must try that. Do you grill them on an an aluminum tray or right on the grill?
Up here we don't water grass at all in the summer. Our summers are dry, dry, dry and our winters are wet, wet, wet - so we enjoy green grass all winter long. Just going with the flow!

Linda said...

I'm with you on that Home Depot smell!!! Wish they could bottle it up!

We have lantana and it DOES come back down here!!

Susan Shull said...

Hi, Jane! You were not sounding like you thought you were an expert at all, so don't worry about that for a moment. I get a kick out of bloggers who do proclaim to be experts on something. I often wonder if this was really there second or third time doing this or that! Thanks for the tip on the potatoes. I have never just laid mine on the grill, but I will try that for lunch today. we have our big meal at noon if possible since Brad burns about a million calories a day and needs some FOOD at noon. Thanks! Have a great day!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hey Jane,
I just got through both of your last posts! And I love all your gardening and tips. I have let mine kind of fend for themselves that last few weeks...other than watering. I like the update to your bathroom too, very cheery and crisp!
I am really looking forward to our get away...not too far off now either. It's been a hectic few weeks here and sometimes I just wonder where the heck does summer go anyway!
Hugs friend,
Cindy

Traci said...

The flowers are so pretty! There is just too much violence everywhere. It makes me sad.

bj said...

Enjoyed this post very much. Your flowers are so pretty.
I like just about anything cooked on the grill...except fish. I love TO fish but not eat them. :)
xo

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

It sounds like you are enjoying the summer in the tranquility of your yard. Love doing salmon on the grill, yours sounds like it ways great.

Jen Vandervoort said...

Jane, always fun to read about your life, yes it's way more exciting then you think it is.

Truly...grubs, ugh...

But you made me laugh...like always.

Jen

Kelly said...

Your flowers are so pretty! Those white ones you bought that are "conical" in shape look like they're supposed to be that way. It's another type of hydrangea. Now don't laugh when I tell you this, but I know this because I have some fake ones that look just like those! LOL! So, I think they're going to stay like that. I think they're pretty. I like how your bathroom turned out. It looks pretty. I love cooking out, but fortunately, my husband does all the grilling out. So, I just leave it to him.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Jane I love your new shower curtain and rug...Target has such a great selection!! Those potatoes look soooooo good!!

Debbie said...

What a difference a curtain, and a rug can make in a room, huh?!
For me, potatoes make the meal..the ones you shared look great to me!!
I'm glad to hear you are enjoying your gardens so much, Jane. I am, too. Except for the Japanese Beetle situation...they are reeking havoc with the roses!!
Great post!
Big hugs to you dear friend.
Debbie
xo

Linda said...

Hi there Jane....
Very enjoyable read...
Fish looks great...
One tip from Mrs Potato Head...
I do mine in the microwave first...
That way, they are always cooked...
I have even done the sliced version...
Then I do like you...oil,S&P...onto the top shelf!
Just sayin'...nothing worse than crunchy potatoes! Hahaha!
Enjoy the rest of your week...
Cheers!
Linda :o)

Linda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gypsy Heart said...

I've missed you and so enjoyed reading this...as usual! We have such a short window of time here to sit outside. By the time October rolls around, everyone is anxious. I have to say though that our summer has not been horrific this year. We're heading back toward the triple digits but we usually have them constantly beginning in June.

Hope you enjoyed your time at the lake!

xo
Pat

Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

Your gardens are lovely! I learned everything I know about houseplants from Thalassa Cruso...she had a public tv show in the mid 70's, and I took a tv college course of hers!

Stacey said...

You and I have a lot in common with our thoughts on gardening.I think most plants in the flower bed are happier if the sprinkler doesn't wet the leaves much. We are ground soakers too. Oh it is so dry here with our drought but we are hanging in there. Honest to goodness I was jokingly doing a rain dance in the yard the other day. :)

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

If Phlox grows like crazy, then I need some. My husband built shelter for my plants since it is so hot here and they are doing great. Little trees I had that were stunted are now growing like crazy. Have a great rest of the week. Tammy

doreen@househoneys said...

You crack me up :).

I'm making salmon tonight. Don't think I have apricot preserves, but I'm filing that one away.

Your garden looks lovely. I'm jealous. Mine is terrible this year :(. My fault. Lazy I guess.

Bluebird49 said...

You've given me many ideas in this post. I need to get my grill back out and see if it is still working! If not--it will be a trip to Home depot to get one. I really love fall grilling, because it is so hot here in VA in the summer. I wish I loved to work outside--but our land here is so sandy, (and the heat just is too much for me),there's not much that will grow,still my neighbor has some lovely hibiscus and my brother--who is also my neighbor--has a wonderful garden every year. That salmon look so very good.