Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Colors of Summer - Yellow and Red Flowers

Every spring I have to figure out which flower to pick for matching colors, and making sure they are not too expensive for a large flower bed. For some reasons, red and yellow flowers are easier to grow than purple one, and they spread faster too. Are you a big fan of yellow/red flowers?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Landscaping Plants Around Swimming Pool

It's nice to swim and cool down during the hot summer (especially morning or late evening swim). I like to have some shades close to the swimming pool, but the problem is we have to find plants that won’t drop leaves and dirty the pool. Landscaping near the pool can provide privacy and beautify the surrounding view, it also increases the property value. Low-maintenance plants need to blend naturally with the environment. Watch out for some needle-bearing evergreen trees that can be messy if the wind blows those leaves into the pool, or any invasive root plant that can damage the swimming pool foundation. Also, never plant something that will attract bees or insects. I like the broad-leaf Holly, evergreen plants, ornamental grass in a large flower pot, coconut tree, or palm tree. I’ve seen some people plants banana trees close to the pool, I guess it works if you live in warm area, and you can enjoy banana fruits next to the pool :-D
***Must see: 23 Breathtaking Natural Swimming Pools
Plants near a swimming pool?
Pool Landscaping Makes Your Pool And Patio Area A Sanctuary

Pool Landscaping Ideas

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Harvest of the day

Harvest of the day: basil, squash, parsley, mint, and okra. I'm thinking to get some sweet potato leaves, but I've put too much fertilizer few days ago, ended up killing it...too bad the leaves turn brown.
Join Daphne's Harvest Monday

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ornamental grass around the pond

What should we plant around the pond? How about adding evergreen or ornamental grass to add a dimension of texture in the pond garden and avoid cleaning up the leaves? Not everyone likes the look of grasses, but they usually grow well under the hot summer heat and drought resistant. They are perfect for dry area around the pond and also attract some wildlifes (deer resistant). Some of the perennial and maintenance free grasses are feather grass, ruby grass, northern sea oats, zebra grass, and silky thread grass.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lime Leaves and Fruits

This patio/dwarf size fruit tree is producing close to 20 lime fruits. I found about 890 lime recipes for the fruits, but I just realized that lime leaf can also be used as a seasoning to provide a fresh citrus overtone in cooking, or enhance tea beverage flavor. Lime leaves add flavor to soups or salads / stir-fried dishes (use the whole or slice it into narrow strips). The leaves can be stored in a sealed ziploc bag for up to 6 months in a freezer.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Okra, Lady's Fingers, Gumbo, Abelmoschus esculentus, Hibiscus esculentus

Okra a.k.a. Lady's Fingers or Gumbo is part of hollyhock family. It is an annual vegetable that grows in warm-season and harvest in 52-56 days. Every spring I have to buy Okra seeds, they don't keep well over the winter, but it is worth the effort. Okra has good source of dietary fiber, Vitamin A, and potassium and Vitamin C. The carotenoids in okra can prevent arthritis. More info can be found in food/diet therapy.

Texas Okra Gumbo
Okra, Corn, and Tomatoes Recipe -

Friday, July 24, 2009

Cantaloupe blossom

Female flowers bloom a week after male flowers, the difference is females have small swelling at the base of the flower. How to tell when it's ready to be harvested? A ripe cantaloupe will have a deep golden yellow cast to the rind, have a pleasant cantaloupe aroma, the surface should yield slightly to moderate pressure, light thumb pressure on the blossom end. Overripeness is indicated by a softening over the entire rind, watery, and insipid flesh with a sign of decay.

Honeydews can grow vertically on the fence or arch just like cantaloupes, they get more sunlight and save space.

How to Grow Cantaloupe and Honeydew Melons

Thursday, July 23, 2009


This cantaloupe is a new generation from the grocery store's fruit. It is one of the follow up from previous post.

It has been a busy week, TGIF! Hope y'all have a good one!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Blueberries ~ 10 minutes No-Bake Cheesecake

I'm harvesting the last crop of blueberries, and use it to make quick and easy no-bake cheesecake from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 8 Size: 1 piece Time: 10 minutes Calories: 239 Points: 5.25 ww points
  • 8 oz Fat Free Cool Whip
  • 8 oz 1/3 less fat Philadelphia Cream Cheese
  • 9 inch reduced fat Graham Cracker Crust
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Decorate the top with blueberries and strawberries.

Video: How to Make No-Bake Cheesecake

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hardy Mums - Chrysanthemums Tea

Today I welcome you with the yellow blossom of Mum/Chrysanthemum flowers. Mums need sufficient moisture as they grow during the hot summer. They multiply rather quickly and can be treated as perennials. The roots continue to growth even after the flowers have gone dormant. Pinching mums or removing the tips of new growth will stimulate the mums to send out side-shoots and become bushy plants with more blooms. Cut back the stems and allow mum plants to go dormant over the winter, they will return next spring.

Hope y'all have a great week!

The chrysanthemum teas can help to prevent/ treat mild heatstroke, cleanse and restore balance in the body.
Mums/ Chrysanthemum tea recipe from
* 10 - 20 Golden Chrysanthemum Tea
* 1 - 3 teaspoon of honey or rock sugar
* 3 cups (850ml) of water

1. Wash and drain chrysanthemum flowers.
2. Add 10 - 20 yellow chrysanthemum flowers into teapot.
3. Add 1 - 3 teaspoon of honey or rock sugar.
4. Pour boiling water on to content.
5. Allow tea to stand for 5 minutes.
6. Pour tea into cup and allow to cool slightly before drinking.

Hardy mum winter survival care tips
How to make chrysanthemum Tea
Health Benefits of Chrysanthemum Tea
Chrysanthemum Tea for Heatiness, Sore Throats, Headaches

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Garden plan for next few months - planting and maintenance

There are plenty of planning, planting, garden maintenance for annual/ perennials and vegetable garden. The summer heat can cause lawns to look rough, but it is time to clean up the weeds before they go to seeds. Deciduous trees that loose some leaves or experiencing summer heat stress need some light thinning or pruning to stimulate new growth. My annual flowers still look great but they are not performing up to expectation. Am I having too high standards for those annual? Next month is time to start a fall garden. What is your fall plan? I am thinking to plant some cauliflower and cabbage. Warm soils can dry out faster, so probably the seeds need to be planted a little deeper than spring plantings. Gardening and clean up are essential to avoid having safe harbor for insects and disease. Sometimes the heat and humidity can be discouraging, that's why I need a plan to avoid abandoning those essential garden tasks.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter

I bought this upside down tomato planter from Amazon, the price finally drop; I guess it's not too late to plant tomato, or it can be reused next year. The review seems ok.

Make it yourself? See instructions here:

Orange flowers

This is tiger lilies, I found the name from fairegarden's recent post.

I saw these beautiful orange flowers when taking a walk close to an executive mansion. Possible someone will recognize this flower, I think it is perennial, possible part of the lilies family?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Herbal Remedies for Fever

Usually most the body problems are due to unbalance in daily living and diet. I was looking for healthy herbs to improve my garden, found out that some of the herbal remedies can reduce fever:

Herbs for Fever
Green pharmacy to reduce fever

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Petting zoo and vegetable garden project in the city

This is a city vegetable garden project to introduce the history of local farming - corn, beans, squash, cotton, peanuts, and tobacco.Three sisters: Corn, Beans, Squash.
These three crops were grown to companion planting. Every plants required different nutrition, but together these three provided each other with nourish. Corn supported the pole beans, and supplied calories and lysine. Beans provide protein and crucial amino acids. Squash/ pumpkins contain calories, vitamins, minerals, oils, and protein. Eaten together squash provided a well-balanced diet with a stable food source. Local feasts and dances always begin when the harvest of corn is ended.

You can laugh at me… I did not grow up on a farm, this is the first time I ever seen a live baby pig :D
I don't recall they have it in a regular zoo though...

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