Wednesday, June 12, 2013

GG Update...

Recently, several people have asked me about the new Black Diamond series of crape myrtles. There are 5 in all.

Black Diamond™ BEST RED
Black Diamond™ BLUSH
Black Diamond™ CRIMSON RED
Black Diamond™ PURE WHITE
Black Diamond™ RED HOT

I haven’t had any experience with these but did a little research and spoke with a few "experts" on the topic.

The Black Diamond crape myrtles provide unique options for added color throughout the landscape. The distinctive black foliage emerges in early spring (just like most crapes) and persists until late fall.  The Black Diamonds flower in late spring and last through late fall.  The “black” foliage and bright, contrasting flowers creates a striking color contrast. The plants are intermediate in growth habit, reaching 10’ to 12’ in height and 8' wide. They can be grown in a patio planter as a blooming hedge or as a more traditional, landscape specimen.

Several trials around the state have highly rated these new cultivars for heat/drought tolerance. The jury is still out on pest tolerance. I see my across the street neighbor just planted 3 in the front yard. I’ll be watching to see how well they perform in our environment.

NOTE: My Crape Myrtles often look this black - but it's usually sooty mold.

News from Home...
For such a small landscape garden we seem to spend a lot of time working in the yard. This has become much more of a challenge now that summer weather has arrived. We usually have to call it quits by noon – after that, it’s just too hot and humid to work outside!

Our latest project has been the development of a 4’ x 45’ bed running along the fence outside of our vegetable garden. Removing the sod (by hand) was a killer but a necessary step towards making weed control manageable. I installed drip irrigation with a battery operated DIG controller/solenoid. I love the DIG irrigation products – BTW they’re available at the Island Home Depot again.

For a while there I thought maybe my Esperanza were going to be a casualty of the late cold temperatures we experienced. It took them forever to kick in to high gear. But once it warmed up they recovered nicely and look better and more lush than ever. Also - my Oleander renovation project turned out better than I had expected. Now there’s even enough light for the Rangoon Creeper to flower.

Esperanza looking more like "normal"

Rangoon Creeper finally in bloom...
Garden Update…
Our garden has had numerous successes and failures and in general, this has not been one of the best gardening years ever! Much of this I attribute to our weird spring weather. Our cucumbers, squash and zucchini did great early but finally succumb to powdery mildew and wilt. The potato crop was less than impressive. Although our tomato plants look like hell, they continue to produce lots of tomatoes. The Romas are kicking butt and Sharon is drying them in here solar oven. Peppers and onions also hanging in there. Our herb garden is producing basil, chives etc. We’re getting plenty of eggplant and have been experimenting with different uses. This recipe has been my favorite so far. Best when served on toasted French Bread from Patty Cakes with a glass of wine!!!

Roasted Eggplant Spread

1 medium eggplant
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet.

Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking.

Cool slightly.

Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the tomato paste, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper.

1 comment:

matt said...

Thank you for the valuable tips and info. Matt.