Sunday, September 25, 2011

Remember That Blackberry Lily?

Belamcanda "Blackberry Lily" seed pod

Belamcanda "Blackberry Lily" bloom
Belamcanda seed pods

In mid-July, I wrote a post featuring Belamcanda, or "Blackberry Lily".  I talked about how after the bloom fades, a seed pod forms and then it later breaks open revealing something that looks very much like a blackberry.  Well, here it is.  Cool, huh?

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rozanne and Margarita

Rozanne and Margarita
This is the color combination that I tend to repeat most often:  purple and lime green.  Here I did it with Geranium "Rozanne", a perennial that is hardy to zone 5, likes partial to full sun, and blooms all season long.  For the lime green I used Sweet Potato Vine "Margarita", an annual that is well worth buying every year because of its fantastic trailing habit.  (For more evidence, check out my link from last August.)  To the right of the picture, you'll see a bronze colored leaf as well.  That's from Sweet Potato Vine "Sweet Caroline".

Feel free to comment with color combinations that you like to put together.  I'm always looking for new ideas.

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books

Monday, September 5, 2011

Summer Heat

A little summer heat
As if summer all over the country has not been hot enough, here's something to add a little extra spice to that heat.  Although this pepper plant did not come with a tag, I'm 99% sure it's a Serrano pepper.  Serranos are pretty hot, in fact, they are 5 times hotter than a Jalapeno.  The heat of chili peppers is measured in Scoville heat units (named after a chemist by the name of Wilber L. Scoville).  A sweet bell pepper comes in at 0 on the scale; a Serrano is anywhere from 8,000 to 22,000; a Red Savina Habanero registers up to 575,000; and the grand daddy of them all, the Trinidad Scorpion, can reach a whopping 1.4 million.  Someone call the fire department!

The degree of heat of a particular pepper depends on the growing conditions, the soil, and the weather.  So the range for the Serrano can be explained by those factors.  Also, Serranos will change color on the stalk depending on how long you leave them there.  Mine turn red but others might turn brown, orange, or yellow.  I use mine mostly to make salsa, along with tomatillos that I also grow.  If you need to turn down the heat a little, you can always remove more of the seeds and the membrane from inside the pepper--that's where most of the heat is. 

If you've gotten in over your head, heatwise, there are a few ways to get immediate relief.  Some proven remedies are:  drink milk; drink sugar water; drink alcohol.  Some folk remedies are: eat cucumber slices; eat a raw carrot; and, get this, eat more of the same pepper (really??).

Hot peppers are annual in my zone so I'll have to replant if I want more next year.  Also, they like full sun and you can easily grow them as a companion plant in a mixed container. 

Bookshelf:  Container Gardening Books