Book Review: Chez Panisse Café Cookbook

by Karen on July 31, 2015

Chez anisse Cafe CookbookHere is a cookbook that elevates fresh ingredients to a new level. Chez Panisse Café Cookbook, like the other cookbooks written by Alice Waters, focuses on foods that are locally grown, certifiably organic, and sustainably grown and harvested. Providing both simple and complex recipes, this cookbook offers 140 recipes featured at Chez Panisse Café located in Berkeley, California where the Mediterranean based menu changes seasonally to ensure the freshest possible ingredients. [click to read full post]

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Coral bells ‘Palace Purple’ & Variegated Hakone Grass combinationThese two herbaceous perennials will provide color in a shady spot all season long. The chocolate purple color of the wide coarse leaves of coral bells contrasts nicely with the bright yellow green of hakone grass’s delicate blades. Further interest is added by the difference in texture between the broad coarse leaves of coral bells ‘Palace Purple’ and the slender leaves of hakone grass.   Plants grow well together in humusy, medium moist soil and part shade. [click to read full post]

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agave-americanaThis native of Mexico, and southeastern United States is a tender evergreen perennial or shrub. Large sword-like leaves form a basal rosette to six feet tall. The leaves are gray green to blue green, and up to six feet long by ten inches wide with sharp spines on the sides and tip. The terminal spine can be an inch long and capable of inflicting serious injury to man or cattle. The leaves are often embellished with white or yellow markings that distinguish different varieties and cultivars and older leaves often curl downward in an attractive way. The branched flowering stalks rise up to forty feet tall and bear a mass of white to yellowish-green flowers three to four inches long. The plant blooms once in the summer when it is about ten years old in warm climates, up to thirty years in cold climate, and then dies. Offsets are produced to carry on, however, so continuity in ensured. Century plant is heat tolerant and an excellent choice for xeric sites. It can be used a fence or impenetrable hedge, and grown in containers. [click to read full post]

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Monilinia fructicolBrown rot is a common disease of stone fruits including peaches, nectarines, cherries, and plum. It may also affect almond and pome fruits such as apples and pears. It is usually caused by the fungus Monilinia fructicola and can cause damage to flowers, and twigs, as well as fruit, on or off the tree. Brown rot is especially significant in reducing crop yields when the climate is wet and warm. [click to read full post]

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agapanthus-praecox-A native of South Africa, Agapanthus praecox has naturalized in Australia, Britain, New Zealand, Mexico and elsewhere, and is considered a weed in some parts of Australia. It freely hybridizes with other agapanthus and has given rise to many cultivars. There are three subspecies of A. praecox, and Agapanthus praecox subsp. orientalis forms thick clumps and is the tallest of the three. It produces more leaves (up to 20/clump) than the other two subspecies and the leaves are arching and not leathery. The white or blue flowers are produced on thick, hallow, leafless stems in large dense umbels consisting of up to one hundred flowers. The flowers are long-lived and excellent for cutting. A. praecox subsp. orientalis does well in the garden or in a container and may be grown indoors in a sunny window where climates are cold. [click to read full post]

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About Birds A Guide for Children Cathryn SillBirds are easy to love and Cathryn Sill’s book, About Birds, is an excellent way of introducing birds to young children.  The book presents the basic characteristics of birds and introduces seventeen specific birds from cardinals and robins to ovenbirds and road runners.  The birds are depicted realistically and shown in their natural environment to add to the learning experience.  The colorful pictures and rapid pace of the text will hold the attention of very young children, while older children can quickly learn to read the book for themselves.  [click to read full post]

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Galeopsis_tetrahit_Hemp nettle is native to Europe and northwestern Asia but has been introduced into North American and is a problem in the cool areas of the United States. It is considered invasive in Wisconsin. An annual in the mint family, it grows well in disturbed areas such as fields and waste areas and can diminish crop production when it becomes established in cultivated fields or home vegetable gardens. [click to read full post]

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aeonium arboreum ZwartkopThis tender succulent subshrub is a native of Gran Canaria Island in the Canary Islands of the Atlantic Ocean. Also known as ‘Schwartzkopf’ and ‘Schwarzkopf’ meaning “black head’, it can be grown as a house plant where it is not hardy. Its leaves are dark purple to almost black when grown in full sun and form large terminal rosettes on long bare stems. In summer, mature stems produce racemes of star-shaped yellow flowers in their centers and then die down. The plant becomes semi-dormant until fall when it develops its darkest colored foliage. A. arboreum ‘Zwartkop’ tolerates salt and some drought so can be used in coastal plantings. [click to read full post]

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Veterans HonorThe American Rose Society published its list of top exhibition roses in itsMarch/April 2015 issue of its magazine, American Rose. If you are interested in competing successfully in local or national exhibits this list is important as it tells you what roses the judges are consistently picking for prizes. No matter how much you may like ‘Tiffany’ or ‘Mr. Lincoln’ if you enter those roses in rose shows your chances of winning are slim. [click to read full post]

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Plant Profile: Actinidia kolomikta

by Karen on July 20, 2015

Actinidia kolomiktaThis twining climber is native to eastern Asia and is grown for both its variegated leaves and its small fruits. The leaves emerge with a tint of purple and then turn dark green with bright pink and white splotches on the upper half. They are heart-shaped and about five inches long when mature. Clusters of three small greenish- white flowers are produced in late spring to early summer. In fall, edible greenish-yellow smooth-skinned fruits about once inch long are produced. Male and female flowers grow on different plants so if fruit is desired at least one male must be present for every three of four female plants. Male plants, however, produce the best foliage color. An excellent choice for growing on a trellis, wall, or fence. [click to read full post]

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