43. Lawn and Garden

Today was a retina-searingly gorgeous day. Crisp and perfectly clear: I love October!

Thai Red Roselle beginning to bloom!

Thai Red Roselle beginning to bloom!

The lighting was finally ideal to capture this awesome plant in its full glory!

A closer look at a bloom

A closer look at a bloom

The buds are so shiny and deep red:

Buds

Buds

They remind me of intricately shaped gummy fruit snacks. The “Spy” agreed with me and was willing to give them a taste:

Thai Red Roselle "fruit" snacks!

Thai Red Roselle “fruit” snacks!

We tried them. They are chewy and sour, much like a fruit snack! They need a bit of sweetening and then they would be the ultimate natural sour snack! I really need to take advantage of this plant because it is full of tart flavor (both the leaves and the buds). More blooms abound elsewhere in the garden:

Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash

Patisson Golden Marbre Scallop Squash

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

Winter Luxury Pie Pumpkin

Jack Be Little Pumpkin

Jack Be Little Pumpkin

And lots of white blooms and new fruits are still appearing on the Serpente di Sicilia edible gourds on the teepee:

Teepee (half of it anyways)

Teepee (half of it anyways)

Looking up at the top of the teepee

Looking up at the top of the teepee

Puppy trying to help with the fall cleanup (she's gnawing on a little amaranth plant). It's ok, she's trying to help.

Puppy trying to help with the fall cleanup (she’s gnawing on a little amaranth plant). It’s ok, she’s trying to help.

Helping to till

Helping to till

And digging in another spot

And digging in another spot

There are lots of plant-less patches of dirt for her to practice her digging (and thankfully she seems to stick to the “plant-less” areas!)

Tall sorghum (and look at that blue sky!)

Tall sorghum (and look at that blue sky!)

I was looking in the area where I pulled up some purple cauliflower plants (they had been eaten by cutworms) and I saw this:

Cauliflower sprouting up from some of the roots I missed!

Cauliflower sprouting up from some of the roots I missed!

If I had known the cauliflower would grow from the roots I would’ve just cut the plants at the base, but this is the next best thing!

This next picture doesn’t look like much:

What do you see?

What do you see?

But this was one of my favorite sights from today and tells so much about a garden in fall. The little green sprout in the left corner is a clove of garlic that somehow dropped to that spot and is happily growing. The shriveled slightly reddish things in the middle are lemon cucumbers that I had picked and left sitting there. They’ve dried up, the seeds have matured and fallen out (can you spot the seeds?) Nature is such a good seed-saver and will do all the work for you a lot of the times! In the top of the picture is a mass of clover. It is just regular clover, but this particular mass has lots of purple tones. Even though clover is a “weed” it is edible (and tastes lemony) and is also a perfect thing for “green manure”. At the end of the season I just let the clover grow wherever it appears in the garden. Then at some point (fall, winter or even the following spring) dig it up and till it into the soil and it adds organic matter to your garden.

Another pretty clover plant

Another pretty clover plant

There are so many interesting plants that grow wild. I’ve said before I cannot even begin to understand why people would use chemicals to try and kill dandelions or clover (and whatever other “weeds”) just so their lawn would be one type of grass. I don’t use anything like that and let weeds grow freely and try to appreciate every little variation in our grass. And this approach still yields a very green lawn:

Tree shadow

Tree shadow

I also like the grassy paths between the garden. Nothing like the feeling of cold fall grass between your toes!

I also like the grassy paths between the garden. Nothing like the feeling of cold fall grass between your toes!

Closer to the treeline (we have a small patch of woods in our backyard) the ground yields more interesting sights:

Here is a spiky weed I spotted at the treeline.

Here is a spiky weed I spotted at the treeline.

Thanks to Eliza Waters for identifying this thorny weed as a thistle. I didn’t recognize it without the purple flower (they are very common and invasive around here). She also identified the plant below as white snakeroot and shared this link.

Some type of aster.

Some type of aster white snakeroot

Here is an interesting story about white snakeroot:

Leaves and stems of white snakeroot plants contain tremetol, which is extremely poisonous. The plant is unpalatable to animals, but they will consume it if other forage is scarce. If sufficient amounts of white snakeroot are consumed, animals develop a condition known as ”trembles” that may cause death. Lactating animals excrete the toxin in their milk, which can then pass to humans drinking the milk. The condition produced, known as “milk sickness”, was common in early colonial times. A great milk sickness epidemic occurred in local areas of the eastern U.S. in the early nineteenth century resulting in many deaths. Abraham Lincoln’s mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln, was among those who died. Eventually, the toxin in white snakeroot was identified as the cause. The condition is rare today because it is common to pool milk from different areas and herds for commercial production thereby diluting any tremetol present. Meat of animals that eat white snakeroot can also contain tremetol at levels toxic to humans consuming it. Dried plants in hay are toxic but not as poisonous as fresh plants. (source)

I will be weeding both of these two little plants! Thanks again for the info!

Persimmons and seed pods and leaves!

Persimmons and seed pods and leaves!

This persimmon tree is loaded with fruit but is about 50' tall! So you can't reach most of them.

This persimmon tree is loaded with fruit but is about 50′ tall! So you can’t reach most of them.

The persimmons that fall to the ground are mushy and ripe so we pick the best of the fallen and enjoy those! Here the “Spy” is showing what the seeds look like when they still have pulp attached:

Persimmon seeds (with pulp)!

Persimmon seeds (with pulp)!

Click here to read about how persimmon seeds can forecast the winter weather!

Puppy frolicking with a stuffed animal in her mouth

Puppy frolicking with a stuffed animal in her mouth

Golden Fall Decor!

Golden Fall Decor!

Those lime green things are called hedgeapples (also called “osage oranges”). They are not edible, and are made of this squishy white sap that looks like elmer’s glue. They smell like an apple and supposedly keep spiders away! Some people put them around their house for this purpose. I happen to like spiders and we don’t have a major spider issue in our home so I just use them for decoration ahaha. I like how in the above picture the deer fence in the background looks like little lights. Love that late afternoon fall sun!

7 thoughts on “43. Lawn and Garden

  1. narf77

    Your pup is gorgeous. Earl and Bezial would love to lead it astray and teach it how to make you pull your hair out if you are interested in them giving it online lessons ;). As horticulturalists we collected a nice array of expensive grafted specimens that we had in pots till we could plant them out here when we moved. We bought Earl as a 17 week old pup and after a couple of weeks he decided that we needed a bit of a hand with the “pruning” and we came out onto the deck one day and discovered that he had neatly pruned most of our grafts off BELOW the graft…sigh…as penniless student hippies it was a bit of a blow to our hip pockets ;). Gotta love the furries don’t you? :). Your thistle isn’t just a spiky weed. You can use the sap to set cheese as a kind of natural vegetarian rennet.

    Your garden is lovely and I am green with envy about your persimmons. You might be laughing now as they are probably native there but I would dearly love to have a persimmon tree or two here. They are apparently very hardy and we are trying to create a food forest here on Serendipity Farm on a broken shoestring and are trying to grow everything that we can ourselves to minimise costs. It’s hard work but very rewarding :).

    Are you from the south? Just asking because Steve managed to get some unusual wood from a guy who was moving who was selling it. It was yellow and very exotic and the guy said it was Osage orange wood. Turns out it is endemic to Texas and it is almost impossible to cut it is that hard! The son-and-heir is just about to move to Tasmania with his wonderful partner who he met online and brought out here from Texas. Looks like you just made it into my RSS Feed Reader. Here’s to many more interesting and fun posts :)

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Interesting about the osage orange wood, I would assume it is from the trees that the osage oranges grow on! We are in Missouri, which is technically midwest, not the south, but they do grow this far north. The puppy (Dexie) definitely doesn’t need lessons in trouble-making. She is already an expert HAHaha. All of our plants are technically only worth pennies (since they were all grown from cheap seed packets) so I don’t get too disturbed by a little destruction here and there.Your farm and food forest sounds great! The persimmons are good but I haven’t been harvesting/using them like I should. I wonder if you could try growing them from seeds? Interesting about the thistle rennet. Thanks for the compliments and taking the time to comment!

      Reply
      1. narf77

        I will have to go hunting and see if I can’t find American persimmon seed here but we tend to get the Asian ones that are less hardy. No problems about the compliments, I only compliment when I see a good reason to do so :)

  2. Eliza Waters

    I must confess that I’m loving your blog – great photos and antics of the young so great to read about! Your Thai Red Roselle is lovely, the burgundy stems and buds – gorgeous! “Spiky plant at treeline” is a thistle (nasty when stepped on!) It has a purple flower and fluffy flyaway seeds (like milkweed). Goldfinches love them, but I confess I weed the plants out when I find them because I’m thorn-adverse! The white flower clusters are white snakeroot (info: http://www.oardc.ohio-state.edu/weedguide/singlerecord.asp?id=1040 –native americans used it for snakebite.)

    Reply
    1. Spy Garden Post author

      Thanks! Really glad you are reading! I know about those purple thistles: they are very invasive around here (I just didn’t recognize it without the purple flower). And since I am usually barefoot, I ought to be thorn-adverse too!! So I will weed it. Thanks also for the ID on the little white flowers! Very interesting about “tremetol” (the toxin in the plant) and “milk sickness” history related to it, thanks for the link!

      Reply

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