flying dragon marmalade

November 21st, 2014

Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

These are the fruits on Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’, otherwise known as hardy orange. I have written about this small tree many times. Last year one of you blogging buds suggested using the fruit to make marmalade. The thought had never occurred to me. I had always thought of them as purely ornamental, maybe even poisonous.


Well, once planted, it was a thought that grew on me. At the same time I was picking the last ripening tomato and the first ever huckleberries, I decided to give it a go.


A search for Weck jars took me to Sur La Table, where I found these little Italian jobs that appealed to me even more. They have a single, rather than two-part, lid, but otherwise are treated the same. I later found a full array of Weck jars and bottles at Schoolhouse Electric.


I’ve had these two charming books for a long time, so they’re probably out of print.


Sloe Gin and Beeswax is a feast for the eyes. Its recipes use metric measures, but it addresses all kinds of esoteric ingredients, like medlars.


Even it made no mention of Poncirus fruit, but I pieced together a recipe from several sources. Covering the fruit with water, I simmered them for about an hour. Once they had cooled, I halved them, scooped out the pulp and seeds into a small pan and cut the peel into strips. Add the juice and seeds (the seeds act like pectin) of one lemon to the small pan, some water to cover and simmer for fifteen minutes. Strain off the juice into a large pot, add the peel, 4 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar. Bring to a furious boil until it reaches 220 degrees F. I stirred in some toasted walnuts and whole coriander seeds. Process like you would any jam. The result is not to everyone’s taste (but then you could also say that of marmalade in general). I consider it something of a gourmet novelty and will gift it to only the very most special people.


Are you growing anything that presents a culinary challenge? If so, I would love to hear about it. And if it was you who suggested this adventure, I thank you.

ffu: time for evergreens

November 18th, 2014

Cotoneaster horizontalis variegata

I’m wishing I had planted more Cotoneaster horizontals variegata, as it is turning into a nice spreading ground cover.


The two-tone leaves give it a silvery look, and you can even spot the occasional red berry in there.


Ozthamnus 'Sussex Silver'

Ozthamnus ‘Sussex Silver’ adds another shimmery element. It presents a pruning challenge, getting scruffy after blooming. So far, I’m finding it worth the trouble and R enjoys wielding his loppers in its direction.

deodora cedar

One of several successful bargains from Means, this Deodora cedar (sorry, that’s all I know) brings a golden glow to Delusional Drive.

Gaultheria procumbens

Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, is filling in nicely for another ground cover. The red berries are tasty, too.

Viburnum ?

Only a few leaves remain on the mislabeled Viburnum, but they glow to make up for it.

Hydrangea quercifolia

Ditto for Hydrangea quercifolia.

Pam over at Digging has more foliar fun in store, as she does every month for Foliage Follow Up.

in a vase on Monday: slim pickins

November 17th, 2014


No staging, no set-up, just the sunlight pouring in on our breakfast table this morning. I picked the last of the Zinnias, all in tight bud, just ahead of the big freeze. I don’t know if they will open fully, but they did manage to unfurl enough to show a little color after I plunked them into this heavy green glass vase.

two roses

The last two roses, apricot ‘Just Joey’ and an unknown pink, are not colors I would normally choose to put together, but, well, you know what they say about beggars and choice. These didn’t even get a vase. They’re inhabiting a coffee travel mug I just happened to be carrying around the garden on my mission of rescue.


I guess you could say I accessorized some, if you count the sunlight (which can be in short supply of late) and the way it casts shadows that make everything look more interesting. Now Cathy has a dramatic, sophisticated vase to show you this week. Don’t miss it.

gbbd: blooms? what blooms?

November 16th, 2014

mahonia 'Arthur Menzies'

Right on schedule, the Arctic blast came along to foil the plans of Mahonia ‘Arthur Menzies’ to bloom.


Do you think mittens (well, actually sox) can protect them enough to enable the showy display they had in mind?

I would pout if I were thwarted year after year, but Arthur continues to thrive. I wish I were that even-tempered.

Miscanthus 'Morning Light'

Many of the grasses have been decimated by high winds, but Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ is blooming to beat the band.

Panicum 'Heavy Metal'

And Panicum ‘Heavy Metal’ shows off against what remains of the red foliage and stems of Euphorbia ‘Fire Charm’

Euonymous europaens

This is a first for me, and more exciting than this lonely little thing would seem to merit. After a number of years, the Euonymous europaens has finally deigned to produce a single flower (fruit?). Can this be a harbinger of greater things to come?

Rosa rugosa 'Buffalo Gals'

And in the realm of firsts: this big fat hip on Rosa rugosa ‘Buffalo Gals’ put in an appearance.


Moving indoors, the Cyclamen that bloomed all summer outside hasn’t missed a beat. It gets interesting when the weather turns and blooms are further and farther between. Why not check out May Dreams Gardens to see what others were able to come up with?

monday’s vase: scrounged materials

November 10th, 2014


The last wind storm blew down branches on our road. On my walk, I picked up a nice gnarly, lichen-encrusted branch with a few fresh, green catkins attached and another, bare but for a multitude of red berries.


The vase is a long-time favorite that gets pressed into service only rarely.


A stone slab tops a receptacle with a permanent frog embedded in the base. It lends itself to Ikebanaish arrangements using sparse material.


The sharp tines of the frog hold the branches in place. I added the silly red felt bird (not too sure about the artistic merit of the bird, but he makes me smile).


The grey bird candle echoes the color of the lichen, as does the small ceramic piece by Betsy Wolfeson. I like this best viewed from above, so I put it on the floor for photos. It will actually live on a low chest this week.

Cathy of Rambling in the Garden started this celebration of indoor arrangements, and this week, celebrating a full year (52 weeks…yes, she really did it), she gives us a bit of history. Let’s see if she can inspire you to join in the fun.

favorites done right…at Treephoria

November 7th, 2014


Patricia of Plant Lust pulled some strings to set up a personal tour of Treephoria, a place that erases the “boring” from Boring, OR. That’s Patricia, with her hand up as if to say “here I am”.


Laura of Gravy Lessons and her pirate, Charlie, met us there.


Here’s our host and tour guide, Neil Buley. He was a fount of information.

Oxydendrum arboreum

They had several specimens of one of my favorite trees, Oxydendrum arboretum, or Sourwood. I wrote about the  s l o w  growth of mine here.DSC_0045

Last year, the poor thing died. That’s the dead trunk (the grey stick). New growth shot up from the roots and soon surpassed the height of the original tree that had struggled for years.


It’s most recent affliction is compliments of the deer, who have nibbled off most of the foliage.


So for a close-up of this splendid tree, we’ll go back to Treephoria. The leaves turn progressively redder and it blooms at the same time, making for quite a show.

Cercidiphyllum japonicum

Next up: Cercidiphyllum japonicum, or Katsura. I wrote about ours here. We love our Katsura, but the fall color, so far, pales in comparison to the mature specimen above.


Just look at the range of color in those leaves.


I couldn’t seem to stop snapping photos, especially when I saw it with a monkey-puzzle tree in the foreground for contrast.


OK, so that’s it for my favorites, but let’s wander around Treephoria a bit more. Cornus mas the Cornelian Cherry Dogwood was adorned with bright red, shiny fruits.


I’m kicking myself for neglecting to carry a notebook to jot down the names of things like these wavy leaves on colorful stems. Will I never learn?


Maples were spangled with their little wingy things.


Each one prettier than the last.



Here’s something for anyone who, like me, has been smitten with Franklinia but to no avail. Gordlinia Grandiflora is a cross between Gordonia and Franklinia, making it much hardier while retaining those wonderful flowers. I’m game to try this one.


There were some peculiarities too, like this thorny tree trunk. It of course calls to mind Danger Garden, whose earlier post of this place will show you more photos of this spiky wonder and an in-depth tour at a different time of year. Loree is also our host for the favorites meme. Be sure to check in this time, as the format will be changing a bit.

Speaking of hosts, a big Thank You goes out to Neil and Treephoria for hospitality and then some. If you are hankering for a tree and you don’t want to wait for a little bitty thing to gain some stature and presence, this is the place. They will dig, deliver and plant for you, so you know it’s done right.

in a vase on Monday

November 3rd, 2014


Praise be to the birds for all the planting they do around here. The hedgerow along the front fence is populated by many of these Cotoneasters. By the looks of the bumper crop of berries this year, they’ll soon be popping up in even more places.


A little closer look reveals how bright orange and shiny the berries are in natural light.


Out came this shiny black vase. I didn’t quite get it together for Halloween, but the season obviously was influencing my choices here.


Often, when using this vase, I will form a pice of chicken wire into a frog substitute to hold things in place. These branches were stiff and full enough to stay where I put them, unaided.


By inserting them at a low angle, they formed a grid that is able to support the stems of the last two red peppers from the veggie garden.


It went on the table amidst the small white pumpkins that will stay throughout the harvest season, some cast iron bird napkin rings and a few candles.


Losing power is not such a bad thing when plenty of candles are on hand and a stack of wood is ready for the fireplace.

Do visit Cathy to see what she scared up to put in a vase this week.

Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light': my favorite (this week)

October 30th, 2014

Miscanthus 'Morning Light'

The grasses really come into their own about now, none more so than Miscanthus sinensus ‘Morning Light’.


I had admired it in several gardens before getting one of my very own. I had never seen it in Autumn, so had no idea that, on top of everything else, it would burst into bloom like this.

Miscanthus sinensus 'Morning Light'

As usual, Plant Lust provides information and sources, should you be moved to track this one down for your own plot. A dark background shows off the inflorescences, but be sure to site it so that the light (morning or evening) will set it ashimmer.


No week would be complete without checking Danger Garden to see what Loree has crowned fave of the week in her garden and to join the conversation in the comments. See you there!

in a vase on Monday

October 27th, 2014


The turned wood vase with glass liner seemed just right as a base for this autumnal arrangement. Indoors, with flash, I get lots of shadows. They add to the effect, but we’ll move outside to take a closer look with truer colors.


Hydrangea ‘Preziosa’ turns shades of mahogany as the weather cools. Earlier, the blossoms wilt quickly when cut. Now they will last until I tire of them and toss them out.


Same story with H. ‘Limelight’, which starts out green, spends many weeks snowy white, then fades to dusty rose.


A few branches of Stachyrus praecox enlarge on the color scheme.


Spent seed heads of Phlomus russeliana turn dark, almost black. I love them for structure.


There’s one branch of beauty berry Calicarpa bodinieri ‘Profusion’ in there for a boost of color. A few stems of Northern Sea Oats seem to find their way into everything these days. Now won’t you check out Rambling in the Garden to see what Cathy has found to put in a vase today?

how can this be my favorite (this week)? Rosa ‘Dark Knight’

October 23rd, 2014

Rosa 'Dark Knight'

I don’t even like roses all that much, but our friends MC and Lolys were visiting from Mexico and a visit to the Rose Garden was on the agenda. Lolys was searching for a black rose, which led to the discovery that there is an index of all the roses, with a diagram to help find them. We sought out every rose with a name that indicated darkness. It was late in the day, so my photo is far from representative. Instead, click here to see what it really looks like and read cultural info. This source refers to it as ‘Dark Night’, but I like my name for it better (did I misread the label at the Rose Garden, or was I simply blinded by romantic tendencies?)


Here are the happy tourists with one of their guides.


As long as we’re in the Rose Garden, I may as well show you a few of the other specimens that caught my eye. It was the way they caught the light, rather than their intrinsic beauty, that caused me to click my shutter, so no names were noted.




The setting is as much a reason to visit the Rose Garden as are the roses. There are fountains, and paths, and a megawatt view of Mt Hood framed by towering trees. Yay for visitors who blast us out of our ruts to soak in the iconic Portland landmarks we often take for granted.




And hooray for Danger Garden, who came up with the idea of featuring a plant each week that is the gardener’s pet (for that week only, so we needn’t have a stroke trying to decide).