Flowery Friday: dianthus and yellow flax.

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This wasn’t planned, of course – it was a case of “I’ll just stuff this plant into that currently unoccupied bit of soil” – but the colour combination of ‘Flashing Lights’ dianthus and yellow flax makes me smile.  Especially as it is now the end of November, and June, when I took this photo, seems like a very distant memory….

Calgary snapshot: Scabiosa.

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A late bloomer – really late. I can’t say I’ve ever had anything blooming in my garden at this time of year – and this is the only plant that is. It’s November 16th and there is a single Scabiosa caucasica ‘Perfecta’ flower merrily swaying in the frosty, foggy breeze.  How sweet and beautiful is that?

Flowery Friday: ‘Picasso in Purple’ supertunia.

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Here’s a flashback to a gorgeous sunny morning in mid-June, and these new Supertunias from Proven Winners were really putting on a show in my garden.  What do you think of the brilliant green edge on ‘Picasso in Purple’?

(You can preview the 2017 collection from Proven Winners here).

Recipe: Roasted pumpkin and lentils.

In lieu of photos of skeletal trees, interesting living sculptures, and a harrowing (!) trip to a ghost town, this year I’m offering up a Hallowe’en post with a recipe.  It’s a frighteningly good one, though, and it uses pumpkin, so it will hopefully meet with unanimous approval and gifts of tiny individually-wrapped chocolates.

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Roasted Pumpkin and Lentils

SPOILER ALERT:  Gratuitous pumpkin gore ahead*

1 small pumpkin

2 tbsp olive oil

1 cup red lentils, washed and drained

4 cups water

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tsp ground curry

1 tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 large tomato, diced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Metric conversion table here.

*First, prepare the pumpkin. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Carefully cut the pumpkin in half, and scoop out the seeds. (Save the seeds to roast later on).  Place the pumpkin, cut sides up, on a baking sheet lined with parchment.  Brush olive oil into the cavity of the pumpkin halves.  Roast the pumpkin in the hot oven for 45 minutes.  Cool, then scoop out the flesh into bite-sized pieces.

Using a colander, rinse the lentils under cool water. Into a large saucepan, place the 4 1/2 cups of water and lentils.  Bring to a boil.  Add the turmeric and salt.  Cover the pot and cook at medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add the cumin seeds, curry, garlic, ginger, tomatoes, and red pepper flakes.  Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Add the roasted pumpkin and lentils (including the liquid) to the pan.  Mix well.  Cook about 5 minutes, then add fresh parsley.  Serve over hot cooked rice or noodles.

I think it would be highly appropriate to chow down on this festive comfort food with a side of miniature chocolate bars while enjoying a recording of Vincent Price and Basil Rathbone reading Edgar Allan Poe stories and poems (the link may be found here; you’ll need a Spotify account to listen).  Freakishly fantastic!

Flowery Friday: ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum (Hylotelephium).

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‘Autumn Joy’, indeed.  As always, I am delighted by this ubiquitous Sedum (I mean Hylotelephium) – it is seriously the very last plant blooming in my garden, bravely weathering multiple heavy frosts and more than one snowfall.  But this might actually be it for the year.

Do you grow any Sedum spp. (ahem, Hylotelephium)?

Garden journals.

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Although I’m still waiting on a super late bulb order that I hope makes it to me before the ground is so frozen I can no longer dig, I’ve pretty much packed in the gardens for the year. (The snow has certainly helped to expedite my work). Before things get too busy and I forget, I made a bunch of notes in my garden journal – a list of things I want to accomplish next year, plants I want to either avoid or repeat, doodles of potential layouts for my raised veggie bed, etc..  Prior to this year, I had a gorgeous 10-year bound paper garden journal that my parents had given to me, but I stretched it out beyond ten years and it is so crammed with notes and lists of plants that I no longer have any room to write more.  For 2016, I’ve been using a Word document and writing dates, tasks, and notes – but it’s not as refined as I would like (or as lovely as that paper journal).  One tweak I will make right away is to keep a separate list of the plants I added this year – just so they don’t get lost in the notes when I want to quickly refer to the cultivar name that I’m struggling to recall.  I am waffling on the creation of a map, however – I used to make little crude, not-to-scale-but-sufficient-for-my-purposes diagrams of my flowerbeds but I haven’t done so over the past couple of years. Recently, I have performed quite a few changes to the beds (and intend to make more), so a map might be useful.

How about you?  Do you keep a garden journal, and if so, what format do you prefer?  What types of information do you keep track of? Do you include diagrams and maps of your gardens?  Do you save plant labels, seed packages, and other information about the plants you grow?  Have you ever moved onto a property where the previous homeowners kindly left you with a record of the plants in the garden?

Foliage Friday: Autumn leaves.

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Leafy fun with the scanner on my printer….

The leaves haven’t all fallen from the trees yet, but I’m not sure we have much more autumn left in store here on the Prairies – we’re headed straight into winter, it seems! Plenty of snow in some parts already and, as I write this, the white stuff is accumulating on the ground here in Calgary.

Early wishes to everyone in Canada for a very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

Art: Outfit for the Afterlife.

A former co-worker of mine is currently holding an art exhibit at the Glenbow Museum here in Calgary and I finally managed to take it in yesterday afternoon (it ends on 5 September). Beyond the significance and meaning of the work, anyone interested in textile design and beadwork would be captivated by Pamela Norrish’s “Outfit for the Afterlife,” which features half a million glass beads.  There isn’t a stitch of fabric here – the garments are created entirely from beads, painstakingly strung together with nylon thread. Not a single detail is missed – from the frayed, worn knees, rivets, zipper, and durable seams on the jeans, to the pocket and label on the t-shirt. To say that it is incredible is a massive understatement…and that’s even before you read about why she created it and how long it took her to do it.  The piece was surrounded by works from other artists that reflected a similar theme, among them the black garments of a Victorian widow, an exquisite bead-and-embroidery velvet vest created and worn by a Ukrainian-Polish girl who had been imprisoned in Germany during World War II, and several beaded birth amulets made by indigenous North American peoples.

To read a review of the exhibit and see photos of Pamela’s “Outfit,” click here.

The curator of the exhibit wrote this piece for the Museum (unfortunately, I fear this link will not be permanent, but you will be able to read it until the show ends): click here.