Stay Hydrated!

enviro_drinking-water_minisite_banner

 

The dog days of summer are now upon us and is important for all of us to adjust our patterns a little bit. In the summer we are exposed to the elements more than usual, and trips to the beach, or working or playing outside for extended periods can take its toll on a body and even put you at risk for sunburn, sunstroke, exhaustion and dehydration. You need to drink up. Here’s how to stay hydrated this summer. Continue »



Plant Profile: ‘Quickfire’ Hydrangea

quickfire-hydrangea

‘Quickfire’ Hydrangea flowers, white with beginnings of gentle pink on the petals.


‘QuickFire’ Hydrangea is a fantastic, newer variety of Hydrangea paniculata that blooms about a month earlier than other familiar and well-loved varieties, like ‘Annabelle’. It also attracts pollinators like crazy. The one blooming now in my sister’s garden is humming with bees, pollinator flies, moths and butterflies. It’s definitely going on my home garden Wish List.

The somewhat flatter flower form is open and starts out white, then turns pink as it matures. The variety was bred by Mark Bulk, in the Netherlands. Spring Meadow nursery has some great info on the people behind the plants.

When we first met Mark Bulk, we knew that we had come across an exceptional plantsman. His small, but rich Boskoop nursery is a treasure trove of novelties and rare plants, especially hydrangea. Mark has a special fondness for hydrangea. He collects them from around the world and is always on the lookout for something new and better.

During a visit in early summer, we were immediately drawn to a specimen of Hydrangea paniculata that was lit up with the most intense pink flowers. “What is it?” we chimed in unison. “It’s way too early for a paniculata to be this color.”  The plant was Quick Fire®, a unique seedling of ‘Pink Diamond’ that flowers and turns pink before other paniculata cultivars even begin to bloom.

This plant is amazing.

The new varieties of shrubs available to the home gardener in 2014 is due to the work of many plant breeders all over the world. We are so lucky that our gardens benefit from their combined passion for plants.



Plant Profile: Egyptian Walking Onions

egyptian onion

The Baroque twisty-ness of the Walking Onion.

Do these onions really walk like an Egyptian? Read on. This unique, heirloom perennial onion plant (Allium proliferum) serves both an ornamental and edible garden function. Once you have Egyptian walking onions in your garden, you’ll never again have a “we’re out of onions” moment. Your onion supply will be there, faithfully waiting. Yes, the onion bulbs, or bulblets, that grow on the top of its stalk are small, like teeny shallots. Still, they make a great addition to any recipe when you need onions and are out of the big round ones.

Continue »



The Humble Radish

Martha Stewart's radishes with chive butter

Martha Stewart’s radishes with chive butter

 

Continuing on our series of summer fruit and vegetables we present the humble radish; with local grown varieties just coming into season now, the brilliant radish is fresh, crisp and bursting with a bright and lively balance of peppery and sweet.

Radishes (raphanus sativus) are siblings in the brassicaceae family, known as “the mustards.” They are thought to have originated in South East Asia and India, and introduced to Europe in the third century B.C., with records of their cultivation occurring in Greece and Italy in the first century A.D. Radishes made their way to North America during what is known as the Columbian Exhange,
the period in the fifteenth century when European fruits, vegetables and livestock were introduced to the New World and vice versa. Continue »



A New Approach For The Grill

ngm_may_2014_cvr1-275x400  
 
In a recent issue of National Geographic devoted to food* I discovered some eye opening stats. Consider this-
 

“Today only 55% of the worlds’ crop calories feed people directly; the rest are fed to livestock (about 36%) or turned into biofuels and industrial products (roughly 9%). Though many of us consume meat, dairy and eggs from animals raised on feedlots, only a fraction of the calories in feed given to livestock make their way into the meat and milk that we consume. For every 100 calories of grain we feed animals, we get only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork, or 3 of beef.”

 
You’re probably asking yourself – So what does that have to do with my backyard barbecue?
 

Continue »