Thursday, September 24

Random Cuttings

Lately, I keep finding myself with random little snippets of posts, and no good way to tie them all together into a coherent bundle. Weeks later, I log into Blogger and find draft after draft cluttering up my account... so I end up just deleting the drafts to clean up the mess.  In addition to wasting any effort I've put into writing, I don't always remember to go back and chronicle the items in the deleted drafts for posterity.  This may not seem like such a big deal at first glance, but it is, because the primary function of my blog is to serve as a gardening journal.

As a result, I've decided that I'm going to just cull these little post snippets into an occasional post seriess called Random Cuttings. I hope that they turn out as nicely as this little scrabbled-together garden bouquet:

Garden bouquet, September 2009.
Plants include 'Hopi Red Dye' amaranth, 'Sweet Kate' tradescantia, Russian sage, Japanese bloodgrass, and coleus.

I like to take random cuttings from the garden and put them into various vases around the house throughout the season. Some don't live up to my standards and are either revamped or sent to that big compost bin the sky--er, the backyard. But others really work for me, and I'm very happy to have brought the garden inside on days when I can't go outside into the garden.

Remember those apples from the last post?  The ones Steve and I picked off of his grandfather's tree? I'm still whittling down the pile, slowly... but here's how the Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel looked while it cooled:

I'm not sure how the apple crisp turned out, because we dropped it off at Steve's grandpa's last night and haven't heard any reviews.  I used a new topping recipe and made it gluten-free for Steve's uncle (who often eats dinner there) so that makes me a little nervous... but as Steve pointed out:  "It has yummy apples, cinnamon, sugar, butter, oats and oat flour in it. Really, could it have turned out that bad?"  Good point!

The edibles had a really rough year in my garden--and it's all my fault.  I got everything into the ground so late this year that I can only hope for the cold temps to hold off long enough for me to harvest some tomatoes.  My lemongrass hardly grew, the birds got all of my grapes, it was a not-unexpected "off" year for the blackberries, and so on.  But the worst was finding scale on my potted, 3-year-old bay laurels!  I immediately cut the whole plants down below the infestation and harvested the salvageable leaves.  They look pretty drying on my dining room table:

I have no idea whether cutting the bay back will work, by the way.  Since I don't spray, it was just a gut-instinct action as an alternative to throwing out the infected plants.  I keep watching the branch stubs for signs of scale, or for signs of additional leafing out... and see none of either, yet.  I'll keep the blog updated on their progress (or lack thereof) as autumn progresses.  Please keep your fingers crossed for them!


Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Kim. I really like your bouquet, it has a good use of colour, and space. Actually, I think that I will steal that colour scheme and use it at the flower shop tomorrow.

Lona said...

Yum, I can almost smell the apple pie. Sounds so good. Your bouquet looks so pretty.
I know what you mean by cluttering up the drafts. I have Scribe Fire and have all kinds of half written posts ;-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Just keep snipping and posting. It is good to hear from you. Your bouquet is beautiful. It won't be long and we can't be doing this.

growingagardenindavis said...

I like the random clipping approach. I wish I could share my lemongrass with killing freeze last year means mine is TOO big now. I've got scale on my Meyer I'm thinking I should follow your lead and cut that part off. Maybe this weekend if I get up my nerve!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

While the bouquet is striking, that streusel really got me. I need to go buy some apples now.

joey said...

Kudos dear 'soul sister' (although old enough to be your mother), Kim. Random cuttings, a fine post, and your bouquet, delightful. In all seasons, nothing lovelier than random snipping from the garden ... bringing the outside in. A lovely photo of 'stunning' YOU & Steve (and can we talk about your yummy Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel)! Loved your 'getting to know you better' meme ... here is my boring 'Ho-Hum Housewife' one from 2007 ... ( BIG HUGS, dear one!

Anonymous said...

The streusel looks very yummy! Will you make some the next time I come visit? Also, the bay laurels look nice drying in front of that japanese saki set!


Unknown said...

Kilbourne Deborah, what an honor--I hope your bouquet turned out well, too. (Oh, and at work, we don't refer to it as "stealing," we refer to it as "R&D"... "Rip off & Duplicate!" ;)

Hocking Hills Gardener, don't you hate those? I don't even know what to do with some of the half-written posts... I deleted a dozen last week, but still have 3 more that I keep telling myself I "might" do something with. *sigh*

Greenbow Lisa, maybe when we can't be working outside, I'll have more time to blog? Catch-22! :)

Leslie, I wish you could share your lemongrass with me, too. lol. Let me know what works with the Meyer lemon... I have no idea whether it actually DOES work, though, remember. This is just a gut-instinct thing to try.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, the streusel topping was wayyyy yummy. I think I want to try it on a pear pie next. Or maybe on a peach pie, but with pecans in the streusel instead of walnuts? *drool*

Joey, ah... it does my soul good to see you commenting again! And soul sister works--I think many souls just have an "ageless" kind of age to them, so the age of the bodies that house them are pretty much irrelevant. :)

Craig, doesn't that sake set look nice?! It's sitting on an old wooden tray that perfectly corrals it... I'm thinking about decorating my dining room around it, I love it so much. Thank you again for bringing that back for me from Japan--I couldn't have picked out a more beautiful, perfect one myself! I officially take back all of those times growing up when I said that you were a pain in my butt. ;)

Robin Ripley said...

Random cuttings is a grand idea. Can I steal it? Although in my case, the thoughts would be far more random and incomplete than yours.


Benjamin Vogt said...

OMG apple crisp. I would kill for fresh, warm apple crips right now. I hate you. I can smell it. Oh god I can smell it. ARGH.

Shady Gardener said...

Great bouquet. Delicious looking pie (I'm sure it was!). And real bay leaves? Do you cook with them?

I think it's very hard to be able to do everything you need to do (or want to do!). Nice post!!

Unknown said...

Robin, absolutely! Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right? :)

Benjamin, I'm still giggling at your comment--but I promise, if you were close enough, I would bring one over for you and your wife to share! *grin*

Shady Gardener, I ABSOLUTELY do cook with the leaves! This is why I grow the bay laurels, even though they're fussy in the house over the winter... the fresh leaves taste fantastic (you can actually smell them) and even the dry leaves are so much better than the (probably old) packages you can buy in the grocery store. In other words, I highly recommend it. :)

michigangardenmuse.blogspot said...

Hi Kim --

I once treated a 4-year old plum tree with scale (or witch's finger fungus)by cropping back almost all the branches to the trunk -- all that were wrapped in the black "finger" growth. The pruning was done early fall. I also planted a circle of garlic cloves around the trunk (great bacteria/viral fighters, so why not?) Next spring the plum re-grew healthy new, uninfected branches, leafage and plums. Hope you have similar luck with your bay tree, but may take until the next growing season. Cheers!

Kerri said...

Love your colorful bouquet, and oh my, that pie!
Hope your bay trees revive!

Pam said...

I've heard that bay is quite susceptible to scale...but I have to say an advantage to the south is that mine is in the ground - and is over 6' tall now! So if you're in need of some fresh leaves, let me know and I'll stick a few in the mail for you!

As for pruning it way back, I'm guessing that it will be okay. I've had some suckering in mine, which bodes well for you. Good luck!

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