Friday, June 29, 2012

Chinese Ginger (Boesenbergia rotunda), Basil-Sweet, Tomato-Basil Love Affair, Colocasia esculenta

Tomato with Basil-sweet! Companion plants - love affair!

The chinese ginger, krachai, Boesenbergia rotunda) that I started in the flower vase last May 29, 2012. I potted it, and I am so happy with its first leaf coming out.

Colocasia esculenta - common name: taro, eddoe, elephant ear. While most of my plants are chewed, eaten by some critters in my garden, these leaves is untouched. As an experiment, i put the Red Lily Bettle larvae on the leaf of this plant, and when I came back - it literally melted. "DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF ARUM LEAF!"

Yellowish - very hairy caterpillar chewing my marigold.  Looks like glow in the dark to my camera . LOL

Pots and Pots of Tomato and sweet Basil. I put one pot without basil - will isolate her, and see the difference. Companion planting experiment.

Germinated - Sweet Basil, must be like 50 of them in this pot.

another close up of that glow in the dark caterpillar.
June 29, 2012

I wake up - look at my watch and it was like 5:45 am. Light in my window and I was ready to have a conversation with myself - headed to the garden. I accomplished many things in the first two hours: picking up slugs from my lovely plants - they are all over the place - in my hosta, in my bittermelon, in my beans, in my Iris, in my coleus. They are --oh well - dumped in a jar of vinegar. I cannot picked up these slimy creatures, so tweezers come in handy. Snails were are their peak too. So as a very hairy caterpillar eating my marigold.

One pot of sweet basil was divided and put into grow pots. Tomato -----------oh how late? but I won't compost them, so lets see what happens in the fall. Will I get tomato if I planted them - small on June 29th? Wait and see...

Companion planting. Basil and tomato love each other. They are perfect companions and they grow well with in each others reach. I think at the end of the day Mr. Basil and Ms. Tomato have a good conversation, something like -- oh ms. tomato, nice flower!, and then she said - oh mr. basil - you are aromatic!
I experimented on this - one tomato, one basil in a pot, then 2 basil , one tomato up to 6 basil surrounding a tomato. They said - very good companions, I don't know how many the authors meant - so I am trying my own experiment. They are grown in compost mix - a weird looking bag I bought, it was labeled "peat and shrimp compost", this one did not become good enough for calamari i think.

 two varieties of tomato - yellow pear and broad ripple. These seeds were heirloom and USDA organic - part of the batch i bought from Seed Savers Exchange.

anyways, time for work , and sort of enjoy my day, or at least try to. :)

Garden Jedi

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

golden tortoise beetle, Charidotella bicolor: Sweet Potato Vine

june 27, 2012
sweet potato vine variety -  sweet mexican batata - $2 per pot, starter vine

What is Eating My Sweet Potato Vine?

by K-State | July 29, 2011 at 9:33 PM

It is time to be on the lookout for a picturesque insect called the golden tortoise beetle, Charidotella bicolor. This beetle is oval and bright, metallic gold, orange-red, or yellow-green. They may be mistaken for ladybird beetle adults, but they really don’t look like ladybird beetles. The beetle feeds primarily on ornamental sweet potato vines and plants in the morning glory family (Convulvulaceae). The beetle creates small, round, irregular-shaped holes in leaves during feeding that somewhat resemble slug damage, but there is no slime trail on the plants. Beetles may be present on leaf undersides during the day. Larvae are flattened and spiny, and may be yellow to red-brown. They feed on leaf undersides, and carry their cast skins and feces on their back.
There is usually one generation per year. Control or management is generally not required because ornamental sweet potato vines produce such an abundance of leaves that the adult and/or larvae will not cause significant plant damage.

June 27, 2012. Reading on the article above, I think I still have the larvae eating my Blackie variety of sweet potato. spinny - dark grey, and  I found the golden bettle on some leaves. I thought the golden bettle was cute...darn it was eating my sweet potato.

sweet potato vine - variety blackie - on sale for $2  a starter pot

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Zucchini ribbon salad with lemon thyme dressing

June 22. 2012

Looking for recipe because I have abundance of Zucchini and Lemon Thyme, so I found this on Canadian  Gardening Magazine online...duh, cannot wait for my subscription. While I try to follow the recipe, I would usually have substitute or none of the ingredients, so here is the recipe for now. I will let you know when I modify it to suite what I have in my kitchen.

by Clair Stubbs

Serves 4


    * 1 green zucchini
    * 1 yellow zucchini
    * 4 zucchini blossoms, optional
    * ¼ cup red onion, thinly sliced
    * 1 cob young corn, cooked
    * ½ lemon, zested and juiced
    * 1 Thai chili, finely minced
    * 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
    * ½ tsp Maldon sea salt
    * ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled
    * ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
    * 1 tbsp lemon thyme

Using a sharp vegetable peeler, shave strips from both zucchinis, discarding the very centre core of each. Lay out the strips on a large plate. Chop the blossoms, if using, into fine strips and sprinkle over the zucchini ribbons along with the red onion slices. Holding the corn cob upright, slice along the cob with a sharp knife to remove the niblets a few rows at a time. Sprinkle fresh niblets over salad. Pour the lemon juice over the salad and sprinkle with the zest, chili, olive oil, salt, feta, pine nuts and lemon thyme. Toss gently and serve.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

June 21, 2012 Ottawa City, ON, Canada

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie
My frontyard is blooming with lots and lots of Liliums. it is very upright, and resitant to lily bettles. Resistant being that it has few holes, but did not hinder it from giving me a flower show.

The height is about 2-3 feet, and flowers from each plant is massive. It is so different from my liliums last year, which only has one or two. I was looking for its name online and the website above caught my attention.
I will tentatively call her Asiatic: Orange Pixie, because of the look alike, unless i found out that she is something else.

Here are my garden pictures!
early morning shot - in focus, using my blackberry!
10am picture - front yard  
10:25 am shoot, front yard walkway
7:07 am photo, front garden:)

Asiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

tAsiatic Liliums: Orange Pixie

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Coleus spp - splashes of colors under the shade.  ANNUAL PLANT.  No other annual has this beautiful foliage. In fall, you can take a cutting, stick it in pot of dirt and make it a houseplant.  $2 per pot.

Basella rubra - [common names:  Malabar spinach, alugbati, Philippine Spinach] Heat loving, beautiful flowers, and edible - for your salad and soup. Safe for children and pet. ANNUAL PLANT. Cuttings can also be grown indoors as houseplant in winter. $3 per plant.
GOLDEN LEMON THYME: annual herb, great for salad garnish, and fish recipes. You can bring the pot in for winter, and treat it as a houseplant. $3 per per plant, starter plants.
Impatiens Balsamina - Rose Balsam, Touch me not Flowers, Kamantigui or Surangga in the Philippines. A unique annual flowering plant, very exotic. $3 per started pot. It has 2 to 3 plants. ANNUAL.
Ajuga Reptans - [common name: carpet bugle, purple groundcover]. PERENNIAL. In the shade, she has lots of shades of green. In the sun, she has the nicest shade of  purple. In the fall and spring, she comes out really nice purple hues. This plant has survived 3 winters in my backyard. Hardy is her lastname - even kids stomped on her and she prevail. She can spread nicely, and you can easily pull her out when she cross boundaries. $3 per pot with lots of rooted cuttings in it.
HOSTA STRIPTEASE: a famous tri-colored hosta, green on the outside, a white streak in the middle and very light shade of green in the center. Can grow into nice specimen. A medium to large hosta. It is in a one gallon pot. About 2-3 plants are growing. Has been overwintered in my backyard. PERENNIAL, SHADE PLANT.
Tiarella Cordifolia - Spring Symphony. PERENNIAL: SHADE/SUN.  She is a nice groundcover, and send this tiny flowers in spring. Native to Canada, the leaves remind me of the maple leaf.  She is done flowering now and good for division. Successfully overwintered in my backyard, and very hardy.  $3 per pot. 
Heuchera sanguina "firefly" - the tiny spikes of red flower is good for cutting and accent to flower arrangement. PERENNIAL/SUN/SHADE. $3  per pot.
Heuchera Sanguina "firefly" - PERENNIAL FOR SUN AND SHADE. this picture show with the buds before flowering.

collectors hosta:

 hosta chariots of fire, hosta red october

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012
Ottawa City, Ontario, Canada

After the rain, some plants fall to ground, flowers bent, but it is still beautiful. I snap few pictures, update on how they have grown since spring. I don't think it is proper to call my backyard a garden, it is sort of a mini experimental greenhouse, full of odd looking plants, some native, some tropical, and one gardener who touch everything and turned into green. I know, it is a curse when you live in the city. Where do you think I will grow my pumpkins and squash?

June 12, 2012. Pink aAtilbe is ready to bloom.

June 12, 2012. Rows of Liliums ready to bloom, Heuchera "Palace Purple, Tiarella "Spring Symphony, Bush Bean - Tendergree, Hosta Janet, Heuchera "Caramel", Heuchera Firely, Lamb's Ears, Heuchera "Miracle". 

Coleus Buttercream with Coleus Red Dragon

Coleus Palisandra - grown from seed last winter 2011. Slow growing eh?

June 12, 2012. Eddoe (Colocasia esculenta)

June 12, 2012. The dainty flower of Heuchera Sanguina "firefly" toppled over after the rain. A proud Lambs ear was standing tall, in between Heuchera "caramel" and Heuchera "miracle".

June 12, 2012. Hosta Guacamole is howing off, Hosta Sum and Subtance is growing too and Hosta Patriot is trying to come out covered by a big leaf  Jack in the Pulpit.

Hosta Guardian Angel - who would not love that Angel?

Basella rubra germinating at full speed ahead!

Touch me not! Impatients balsamina are growing well.....Hope they have pretty flowers this year.

Bush beans flowering - I think these are the Provider beans from SSE. The flowers are so pretty in person.

June 12, 2012. I don't want to tell you what I did to these two love birds?

Bell flower (Campanula persicifolia)

 June 12, 2012 
Ottawa city, Ontario, Canada

The campanula that I got from a plant sale last year started showing off lots of buds. I saw one flower today that bloomed and open after the rain.

I have no clue what specific variety she is, but this one loves the compost in this garden bed. She is now about 4 feet tall and she is in a very sunny position, I would say full day of sun.

For purpose of my ID, I would say - this  is the blue form variety.
Here are the pictures:
June 12, 2012. A single flower opened after the rain.

June 12, 2012 . Series of buds coming up.

Picture take at the base of the clump. June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012.  Leaves picture showing simple alternate leaf arrangement.


Growing Bitter Melon, Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) in my Backyard

June 12, 2012
Ottawa City, ON, Canada

After the rain today, I inspected my bitter melon. They are growing well, very strong tendrils holding on the the makeshift trellis I made. They were put in the ground after Victoria Day weekend.

They are now at about 3 feet tall, and I am very pleased.
Here are the pictures!

June 12, 2012. This plant is about 2 feet tall. The leaves remind me of maple leaf.

June 12, 2012. This one is the tallest of them all, about 5 ft now.

June 12, 2012. This one is about 3 feet all now.

Columbine ( Aquilegia alpina)

 June 12, 2012. 

I acquired this so called perennial plant last year (2011), and I planted it in the fall. I did not expect anything out of it, knowing the Columbine in general are short live in my Zone 5b. Three years max perhaps, then again you have to hope that the seeds will replace your original plant.

I do not know what type I have, but I will call it Alpina for now. Here are the pictures taken after the rain today. 

June 12, 2012. back view of the flower.

June 12, 2012. I have to hold her up to have a close up of the flower and the leaves.

"Aquilegia alpina is a terrific plant if you can find it. Deep sky-blue flowers on 12 inch plants. It is wonderful for the front of the border or rock garden." (1)


Hosta Bridal Veil

June 12, 2012.

Nice rain today. A picture of my Hosta Bridal Veil. She really has nice ripples in her leaves, and she was overwintered in a pot. Hardy, no fuzz, good grower, my kind of hosta.
June 12, 2012 Photo of my Hosta Bridal Veil

The Hosta Registrar says she is a medium grower, registered in 2003 with this description"
cascading clump, with narrow, wavy cream edge". She deserves more than that because she is a fast grower, and very winter hardy.

From Hosta Library, it just says Bob Hird registered it, of unknown origin.
" Cascading clump,with narrow, wavy cream edge.

20" high by 48" wide seedling from Bob Hird of Dubuque, Iowa; beautiful, graceful plant with 11" long by 5" wide; green center; wavy, neatly rippled, creamy margins."

I think the plant is lovely and unique. :) Glad to have her.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Propagating Sugar Cane ( Saccharum officinarum)

June 11, 2012
Propagating Sugarcane (saccharum officinarum)
Ottawa City, Ontario, canada

Sugarcane cuttings, length at about 3-4 inches, with at least one node. 

Today, I put down at least 13 cuttings of sugarcane and 1 in the ground. While this plant is never hardy in Canada's capital city, it is at least worth trying. I found this long cane from Produce Depot last week, and at lunch break today, I manage to cut them in 3-4 inches nodes, and plant it in pots.

My memories of sugarcane growing in my backyard is fun. We never have chocolate growing up, but we got cacao seed pods to chew on...we always have the un-process one.  And so as sugarcane. It is just there growing by the fence line.
On summer days, my lola will cut some, take away the peel and put it in the refrigerator to cool down. By the time we come home from school, we bite on sugar cane to quench our thirst. Of course, we never have "Mr. Freeze" growing up either.

As I was transplanted to Canada, I would see it in produce depot, walmart sometimes. I know how it is grown, I know the node eyes, therefore I am itchy enough to try it growing. No...I do not expect any harvest at all, but will be fun to push boundaries. Growing sugarcane in Canada's Capital City,  ---can it be done?

Cross your fingers and say good luck to me.

This is a sugarcane picture from Wikipedia.

UPDATE: 27 SEPT 2012

of all those cuttings, there were 4 that thrive and  I gave away some of them. I keep one for myself and hope to bring her in this winter, as she needed to grow more. For 2 months, it grow very well.

My sugarcane!