This is a post I try to include every few years because it is so delicious!
I learned about Gazpacho when I first moved to California in 1960. It was a huge fad at that time, and I was knocked over by it! It’s been given a number of names, including “liquid salad,” but whatever you call it, it’s simply delicious!
This may seem like a summer-only dish to many of the mainlanders, but in California, and especially here in Hawai`i, we can eat it year-round.
The beauty of a healthy serving of Gazpacho is that you can put almost any kind of raw veggie into it. Take your pick from:
fresh tomatoes (about 2-3 pounds cut into quarters, skin and all – or canned, peeled tomatoes) cucumber
bell peppers (I used a combination of orange, red, yellow baby bells)
maybe a Jalepeño for a little kick?
Zap it up in a blender or food processor until thick and chunky.
Store it in the fridge until it’s good and cold.
Ladle it into a bowl, top with crumbled feta and sprigs of cilantro.
To go with this, I like to serve a good loaf of crunchy rustic bread fresh from the oven, and maybe a big hunk of sharp cheese.
Nothing spells the approach of autumn better than a bright orange pumpkin patch. How my daughter manages to get such beautiful pumpkins is beyond me! Many of you have been keeping up with my daughter Inga’s gardening in Boise, Idaho. Here is an update on what’s growing in her yard, including the pumpkin above.
Her yard is full of orange and yellow blossoms, just ready to produce fruit, but beautiful in their own right.
I have an old wooden ladder in my shed. I need to drag it out and use it as a backdrop for some plants (if the drought will let something grow)!
She finds odd bits of metalwork to add a fanciful touch to her garden.
I love the brilliance of sunflowers – another touch of the approaching fall season.
She tells me of all the wonderful fresh veggies she brings in for her supper.
But the biggest envy I have is for her “taters!” Inga and I just love our fingerling potatoes, sliced and fried in butter with fresh eggs!
I promise her (and myself) that I will get to Boise next summer and enjoy the garden with her.
Two of my favorite landscapers (Bob and Monty) invited a group of us “tree huggers” to come tour their garden. Since the land on their property is much like that of Ocean View, I gathered lots of how-to ideas on what to grow and what not to grow.
Their elevation is about the same as mine (2300 feet), same rocky lava ground, with perhaps a little more rainfall than I receive, although everyone is experiencing the drought now. Even without much rain this year, my first impression of their acreage was very tropical, what mainlanders picture as being “Hawai`i.”
Since I have said this post is about gardening from A to Z, I suppose I’d better start with A. The rest of the alphabet will be mixed up, however, and maybe I’ll end up at Z!
I love these large deep blue Agapanthus, shown here in front of Stromanthe. The Agapanthus in my garden is smaller and more of a baby blue.
The guys have concentrated their efforts on saving the native Hawai`ian trees, like this tall ‘Ohe Makai by their gate. Like many of the Hawai`ian natives, this particular tree is on the endangered list.
A couple of other native plants they have growing are the Ulei or Hawaiian Rose . . .
Monty’s primary interest seems to be the palms. Soft paths through the palms were everywhere.
I lost track of how many varieties of palms we saw. It seemed like we walked for miles through palm groves.
What rests below the top layer of rocks is one of the factors we all deal with here. If the drainage is stopped by a solid layer of lava, plants don’t grow well. Of those palms planted at the same time, some are quite tall, and others look like they have never grown, due to this layer that hinders root growth.
This Fishtail Palm could be one of the largest of its kind. They are rapid growers and intimidate all the other palms.
No tropical garden is complete without its anthurium plants. . .
. . . or ginger . . .
. . . or banana. This particular banana is not common. (Dare I say it’s “rare”?) It puts out two stalks of bananas each time. If you look closely, you can see them. Even the keiki (babies) that come up after the mama plant has died have the double growth.
Bob tells the story of them going to a nursery in Pahoa to buy a rhododendron, and came home with 39 of them! He said to place the plant on top of the lava, then mound cinder around it. The roots will go down between the big rocks and the small feeder roots will spread out into the cinder. I’m going to try (just) one, I think.
Spots of color were scattered throughout the acreage.
Tucked here and there were other familiar plants, such as donkey tail, ti plants, butterfly bush, and stromanthe.
We saw a few familiar plants in a variety that weren’t as typical as what we have in our own gardens, like this tri-colored jade and variegated monstera.
There were several healthy specimens of staghorn fern.
Various protea are usually found in our tropical gardens, like these banksia (not in bloom at this time), king and pincushion proteas shown here.
For me, one of the most stunning flowers was the passion flower, not the same as the lilikoi we normally have growing.
It seems everyone is suffering from either drought, effects of vog, or critters like rats, sheep, pigs, caliche pheasants. A few veggies are still producing here.
I particularly loved the delicate little “society garlic.” I was given a few small bulbs to bring home and plant. The flower can be tossed into a salad and the flavor is heavenly. My car probably still smells like garlic (not an unpleasant odor for me)!
Bob said his primary passion is xeriscaping, which is designed to reduce the amount of water generally needed for growth. That means succulents and other drought-resistant plants. I have some of these in my own garden, and I plan to do more.
At the entryway to their home are these lovely cycads, both male and female. Need I point out which is which? It’s the biggest one, of course. (smile)
I started this post with A=Agapanthus. Even though this bromeliad is called “tiger-striped bromeliad, I’ll pretend it’s a Z=Zebra-striped bromeliad to keep with the alphabet theme. (Don’t tell on me!)
A touch of serenity concludes the tour.
Enjoy this slideshow for more pictures than I could include in this post, and for individual shots of those plants I’ve made into a collage.
Click here to view the slideshow. If it takes you to a web page instead of the slide show, click on “slideshow” in the upper left hand corner.
This particular post was published exactly one year ago! It’s a “remember when” rather than “how it is,” I’m afraid. You see, I didn’t think my garden was doing much last year, but all the beautiful things you see here are no longer in existence.
Ka’u District, the part of the Big Island of Hawai`i where I live, has been having a terrible drought. No amount of extra soil, watering or drip system is helping things to grow. Even critters (not bugs) are chewing what little bit has been growing in order to get a bit of moisture.
So I decided to post this “August 2009 Update” to get back a little hope that growing food and flowers in this lava is possible. Looking through the pictures and remembering helps me to realize how harsh this environment can be. The rains must surely come soon!
So here is the post from one year ago:
The July 2009 meeting of our Ocean View Garden Club was at my place. I told them I was definitely a work in progress and not a show place (yet)! They all wanted to see what was growing on my acre because they’d read my blog and seeing a garden that was not finished gave them hope. This post is my monthly catch-up with what’s going on here.
At my front door is this hanging fuschia.
Just below that is my cluster of orchid plants. Here is the latest bloom poking a head through the leaves.
As I stand on my front stoop and look out, this is what I see.
Here it is when I step down and look at these plants from another angle.
These are the Atom Gladiolas. The description from Old House Gardens states that it is a “brilliant red cooled by the finest edging of silver.” They are smaller than most glads and they provide a bright spot of color against my gray/black lava.
I cropped out the Spic and Span Glad from one of the photos above so you could see the difference in color. This is closer to the normal size of gladiola and runs from coral to pink. Both the Atom and the Spic/Span glads are heirloom bulbs dating from 1946. It’s too bad that the blooms don’t last longer.
Let’s walk on around to the right side of the house and look at my small beds of veggies. The sugar snap peas are full of blooms, and I’ve gotten a few pods to add to salads. You can see a piece of my patch of mustard greens.
I have several of these Thai hot peppers that will give me something to toss into my hot Thai cooking! If you’ve seen the little firey hot peppers in a Thai dish, that’s what I have here. It takes a mighty brave soul to bite into those with haste!
One of my students gave me a pot with a macadamia nut seedling. I was afraid it wouldn’t make it at first, but suddenly new leaves started to shoot out. I’ll give it a fair chance to make it before I transfer it out of the pot.
Walking back toward the shed, I have arugula and tomatoes, string beans and okra. I’m making salads with the arugula, but the tomatoes only have blooms so far. There are a few tiny beans that are in the process of becoming bigger beans. Here are a few pods of okra I’ve harvested. I toss a few of these in with whatever I’m cooking up in the skillet.
In the patio area I have beets growing, but not as many as I’d like to see. I need to buy more seeds for a fresh planting. These coffee berries will eventually turn bright red and I’ll be able to harvest them. How exciting to see these green berries. I hope I can get a pot of coffee out of my own trees.
Here is the Little Beeswings Dahlia that produced a few small blooms.
I think my favorite dahlia is the Prince Noir. I hope that eventually I’ll get a whole bush full of these gorgeous blooms.
Recently, a colleague gave me several bags of bromeliad and one has actually bloomed for me already!
Of course, I would love a whole yard of daylilies. Some of the ones I’ve planted have started to bloom.
The pikake plant is full of fragrant blossoms, about three times the number just since I took this photo a couple weeks ago.
I was given a small shoot of this plant. People have given it several names, but after looking on the internet, I’m still not sure what it is. If anyone can give me a link to what it is, I’d appreciate it. It’s been called a “stick plant,” but I’m sure that’s not it. It has also been called “zigzag plant,” but it doesn’t look exactly like the pictures on the web.
It seems like there’s always something waiting to be planted – like these bags of plants given by a friend.
And like most gardeners, I have so much more to be done. Like any addict, I keep buying more seeds than I’ll ever be able to plant!
Several weeks ago, I showed Inga’s garden, promising a review of her latest project – a roof to provide shade for her patio. I just received the pictures for your enjoyment. As you can see, her father and brother-in-law pitched in to help. Inga and her sister kept everyone supplied in nourishment and beverage.
There’s something wrong with this picture! While we struggle to get through a drought here in Paradise, my daughter’s Boise patio looks more tropical than our own tropics! Of course, a mister system helps.
I am impressed with her ability to make such a small space hold so much and still look spacious. I can’t seem to get that effect on an entire acre.
Even the necessary utilitarian area is beautiful.
So many beautiful things growing!
I keep trying to get a few tomatillos to grow. She has no problem.
Her fruit trees keep her well supplied.
With so many things growing . . .
. . . it’s a wonder she has a chance to sit here and relax!
As always, I get lots of ideas for my own patio and garden.
Mahalo nui loa, Inga!
As I work in my own garden, I watch some plants thrive while others struggle for survival. So I love to see the gardens other people put together.
In the past, I’ve written about my daughter’s small historic home in Boise, Idaho. I’ve shown her garden as it makes the seasonal transitions through snow and spring. Each time I see her newest pictures I get ideas and inspiration.
When she visited me here in Hawai`i this past spring, she installed the beginnings of a new drip system, which I was able to expand over the following months. Now, even though it might be a lost cause here on my lava field, I’m trying to figure out how I can put in a brick patio!
People talk about edible gardens, but my daughter has taken it to a new level. Without a lot of front yard space, she utilizes the space between her downtown sidewalk and the street to great advantage. How in the world does she keep anyone from helping themselves?
I have a couple of blueberry bushes in my garden that were designed for subtropical climates, but they don’t look nearly as healthy as these.
Every spare inch of space is used for flowers, veggies and herbs.
Looks like she has an eager helper.
Even fruit trees have found their home in her tiny garden!
I really do envy her little lean-to greenhouse.
She recently added a roof overhang for her patio so she can sit in the shade and sip tea while her drip system does the watering for her. I don’t have pictures of that yet, but I’m sure you will see those soon. In the meantime, enjoy this stroll through a small garden in Boise.
It’s always time to plant here, but I haven’t had the chance to really concentrate on it lately. With the springs semester finished and graduation over, I’ve been enjoying my time with soil and seed.
The plastic containers that had contained Costco cherries, tomatoes, blueberries, and other berries had small holes to allow the water to seep through. I put a coffee filter in the bottom of each one, then filled them with potting soil.
Saved fudgesicle sticks made good markers. The lids of the containers protect the seeds and future seedlings from birds and other critters, while letting the sun get through. It’s easy to sprinkle them with water.
I’ll keep you posted on their growth (or non-growth)! I’m trying to keep an optimistic attitude.
My list: zucchini, yellow squash, patty pan squash, acorn squash, kabocha, tomatillos, fennel, thai peppers, cauliflower, artichokes, roma tomatoes, eggplant, kale
Before you go scrambling for your dictionary, I’ll save you the trouble. The word “gallimaufry” originally came from the French and it was a hash made out of meat scraps. So that’s what today’s post is going to be – sort of a hash of miscellaneous items that I find interesting.
After my post on watermelons and blueberries, I got a note from my Cuz’n Don, telling me about his own watermelon crop. On a visit to their daughter in Atlanta, they went to a new nature center that had just opened up. I think you’ll enjoy his comment on that.
It was was a pretty nice setup. As we were coming out there was a large number of plants that gardeners had planted. I came up on a plant that I had not seen in years. A group of people and one of the volunteers were trying to figure it out what it was. It was the size of lemons and green and growing on a vine. I heard their conversation and told them it was a wild MAYPOP and we used to pick it from fence rows in Mississippi and pop them open and eat the seeds. This is the same fruit as your PURPLE PASSION [Passion Fruit or Lilikoi] or a variety of it. Anyway, I followed the volunteer back to her office and she wanted to find it on the Internet and sure enough there it was. Now I hear I have a cousin in Hawaii that makes jelly out of it. OUTSTANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (from Cuzn Don’s email)
I’ve been thinking about what grows well in my yard, and what doesn’t – and about what is worth the effort and what isn’t. I put out some gladiola bulbs that grew quite well and had beautiful blossoms. The problem? It took a lot of precious soil to get just a few blooms that didn’t last but a few days. If they do something on their own, that will be fine, but I don’t think I’m going to waste a lot of water, soil or energy on them. I’d rather put that into growing something I can eat.
My latest project, after pulling out the last of my summer garden, was to sweeten the soil in my raised beds and add some fresh soil. So far, I’ve put out seeds for red leaf mustard, thyme, sweet basil, broadleaf sage, cilantro, string beans, and beets.
I never knew there were so many kinds of basil! I’m going to plant Cinnamon Basil, Lime Basil, and Purple Dark Opal Basil, in addition to the Thai Basil and Holy Basil I’ve planted before.
Is there such a thing as seed addiction? If so, I’m an addict! I always buy way more seeds than I’ll ever get around to planting, but I think that’s the hazard of gardening. Can you tell what I want to plant next? Pattypan squash, leaf lettuce, collards, and tomatillos. The little clear package in front will be an experiment – ceratonia siliqua, what most of us know as carob. The tomatillos and carob I’ll start in little pots for replanting later.
My small lime tree in a big pot is full of deep green limes that look like I could start picking right away. Container gardening seems to be the answer for many things here.
Orchids don’t seem to have much trouble growing here, but what did you expect? This is Hawai`i, after all! My plants are full of tall spikes covered with buds. Here are the first two to pop out!
My few sprigs of donkey tail are starting to take over my front steps. I need to make some hangers for them so they can gracefully hang over my deck.
Here are a couple more plants that should be hanging up instead of sitting on my steps. One of these days I’ll get around to making some macramé hangers.
One of my favorite growing things right now is the Thai hot pepper. I carefully pick off a few to toss into slow cooker chili or pulled pork, or anything that needs a bit of heat. They are such a brilliant color in my garden!
“There are never enough hours in the day.” How many gardeners have said that? At this time of year when the days are getting shorter I especially wish I had more daylight hours after I get home from teaching. Fortunately, I can grow veggies all winter long here without worrying about snow or frost.
While I wait for my seeds to grow (they’ve already sprouted), I have arugula, spicy mesclun and red leaf lettuce still available for a fresh salad, and plenty of red chard for stir-frying in extra virgin olive oil with lots of garlic.
The opening photo above is my daughter Inga’s two kitties. They are always so cute as kittens, and two make good company for each other. I’ll show you her summer garden in another post. She does so much in such a tiny space! But she has real earth!
Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium-high heat.
When the oil is hot, toss in lots of sliced garlic, fresh string beans cut into 2” slices, thickly sliced okra, whole sugar snap peas, maybe a few greens like kale, chard, mustards, or even arugula, plus any other veggie you happen to pick from your garden.
If you have carrots or little beets, add a few of those for color, flavor, and nutrition. Add whatever herbs and spices you enjoy – or none at all.
I like my veggies slightly underdone, but when they are the way you like them, an optional finale is to shake in a tad of balsamic vinegar or some red pepper flakes for a bit of extra flavor.
I literally went out and picked a few string beans as the oil was heating up when I made this dish for lunch last week! Now that’s fresh!
Except for the garlic (plus the olive oil and balsamic vinegar), everything comes out of my own garden. I plan to put out garlic this winter, however. There is an old saying that you plant garlic on the shortest day of the year, then harvest it on the longest day. No one knows exactly where that saying comes from, but it’s a good guide.
Also, I don’t mince garlic – I slice it, or quarter it! Can you tell I like my garlic? It’s good for you, too.
When this is all ready for eating, dump into a bowl and eat with chopsticks so you don’t gobble it down too fast. Take time to enjoy the flavors. This is definitely a heart-healthy meal.
When I returned from my trip to California mid-June, I saw how much some of my plants had grown. Of course, a few things had run their course and were regrouping for the next growth spurt.
For instance, a few little snippets of ivy geranium that I’d broken from a friend’s plant had actually grown and was covered with brilliant magenta blossoms. What richness! Above is a single bloom. Here is a view of several together.
The brugmansia that had given its first bloom a month before, now had eight trumpets hanging! After waiting several years for a blossom, I can now count on it giving me flowers regularly. Those eight have died now, and six more are waiting to open. I think I was too excited to hold the camera still, or maybe it was the wind blowing the blooms, but you can the difference between my one lonely first bloom and now.
I had planted one small piece of orchid cactus given to me by a friend. I started looking up “orchid cactus” with Google and found many sites that said it is neither a member of the orchid family, nor is it a true epiphyllum. So far I haven’t found a site that tells me exactly what it is, other than it is related to a desert cactus. I’ll keep looking. Whatever it may be (or not be), the bloom was beautiful. I found it when I went out to water mid-day on July 3.
At the beginning of May, I planted some heritage canna bulbs from Old House Gardens. One was a Florence Vaughn Canna (1893), and the other was a Canna Indica (1596). Until they bloom toward the end of summer or in the fall, the leaves are flamboyant and perky. There is something rather wholesome about having plants from bulbs that come from a line that is over 400 years old!
I want to put in a plug here for Old House Gardens. I ordered a sampler package from them online, then got a phone call from a woman there who wanted to know my elevation, what kind of soil I had, typical range of temperature, and the like. Before she put together my sampler, she wanted to know what might grow best here. Everything they sent me has grown beautifully! I can’t say the same thing for another company that sent me bare root plants. After a year, not one of them has done anything! Very disappointing!
These gladiolus bulbs were also from Old House Gardens. This picture was taken on June 27, and they were about half the size they are now. Everything is growing amazingly fast! You can see the cannas growing in several spots behind the glads.
This pikake plant was a gift at our Garden Club Christmas party. I have since planted it in the ground in one of my “lasagna” patches and it’s about twice this size. I took this picture because of the blooms, which are incredibly sweet smelling.
By the time I take pictures and get them into this blog, the plants have at least doubled in size, but I keep trying to let you know how things are growing. This small potted lime tree was covered with little limes that are now about three times as big. I picked off some of the smaller ones to allow the others to grow to a decent size.
There is a fresh crop of veggies coming up, too. Everything here is two or three times this big, also, just since I took these photos two weeks ago!
Only a few kale plants came up, but even those few were looking hearty.
Then I went out one morning and this is what I saw! Something had completely stripped the leaves. Feeling a bit like I was closing the barn door after the horses were out, I cut the bottom out of yogurt containers and stuck them around each plant. At least it will keep whatever was eating them from getting any new growth. And there are already new leaves cropping up in the middle of this disaster.
I did the same thing with the Thai hot peppers that I’d recently planted. I didn’t want the “flesh-eating” bugs to get them, too!
I should probably pick off the beautiful flowers from the Siam Basil, but the bees seem to love it, so I just leave them alone. It’s such a treat to see the bees actually working. I may even decide to keep a hive of my own.
This photo gives you a better idea of how some of these plants are laid out. At the far end you’ll see the Siam Basil, Holy Basil, and regular Sweet Mammoth Basil. You can see my three Thai hot peppers, and the pathetic stripped kale. At this end is a luxurious patch of Greek oregano. You can probably see the pieces of gutter guard I’ve placed over new seedlings of spicy mesclun and a blend of loose leaf lettuce seedlings. It’s not just bugs I need to watch for, but birds – and Kaimana (my cat) who loves to dig in what he considers his private litter box! In the bottom left-hand corner, you see the source of the squash vine.
Here is a closer view of how I’ve put the gutter guard material over the freshly planted seeds. Since I took this picture, the seeds are up about ½ inch. I also placed the same material over okra and arugula seeds.
Another good use for gutter guard is shown here. I was sent some heritage Moon ‘n’ Stars watermelon seeds from my Cuz’n Don in Mississippi. I made a circle around each hill with three seeds in each one. Several of them already have sprouts about an inch high. I may even get a watermelon out of this.
Several people have asked to see my front garden patch from a couple angles.
It doesn’t take a lot of space to provide good food. From these little beds in front, bigger beds in the back, and even the beets growing among the daylilies in my patio, I can keep myself with a healthy supply of food. Here is a bunch of arugula, lettuce, other mixed greens, herbs, and the onion-tasting flowers from the chives – all ready for a big salad. I ate the whole thing, with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and crumbled feta cheese!
Writing this has made me hungry! Must be time to go pick a few leaves and eat lunch!