RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Fall Gardening in Dallas

Fall Garden Tour, The Bowers Garden, Saturday, October 1, 2016

bowers-garden-pic-photoA regulation-size tennis court (with lights!) and a bamboo hedge didn’t quite fit into Jody Bowers’ vision of an English garden for her Swiss Avenue home.  Fire destroyed most of the original 1914 structure, and the home was rebuilt in 1924.

As part of a yearlong garden renovation, the tennis court and bamboo were removed. Designer Patrick Butterworth worked with the Bowers’ architect and contractor to replace them with a summerhouse and conservatory in the architectural style of the English/Norman French residence. The new formal garden mixes perennial beds and boxwood hedges filled with ‘Belinda’s Dream’ and ‘Grandma’s Yellow’ roses.

Jody then tackled the compacted soil that had been underneath the tennis court. “It was like asphalt.  Totally dead,” she says.  Dozens of bags of composted leaves and loads of topsoil were hand dug into the area to revitalize the soil.

She has been careful to relocate or reuse plant material when planning her garden. The boxwood in the parterre hedge was recycled from another garden. The scraggly plants had a good root structure and with some pampering are now thick and green. Two large Arizona Cypress were saved in large pots during the garden construction and are replanted in the back corners of the property.  “I love the challenge of trying to find things a new home when they outgrow their old home!”

In the summer, you’ll find Jody working in her vegetable beds filled with tomatoes, peppers and okra. She enjoys planting heirloom Brown Crowder Peas and Pencil Cob Corn, a field corn variety traditionally ground for “hoecakes.” Jody was given seeds for the peas and corn, as well as butter beans and miniature gourds, by the gardener at the Blackberry Farm hotel in the Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

In the warmer months, Jody enjoys cutting fresh flowers, herbs and greenery for arrangements. “Whether it’s zinnias or bee balm or bridal wreath or just a magnolia bloom, I love that I can walk outside and find something for a vase.” In cold weather, Jody fills the conservatory with tender perennials and starts cuttings and seeds under grow lights. “It’s my happy place outside in the winter months.”

She and husband Bill look forward to crisp evenings and a crackling fire in the summerhouse. “No matter the season, I know what lies beneath the soil, and it gives me great joy to just sit and ponder what will be returning and blooming the next season that rolls around.”

Elizabeth

Click here for full garden tour information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 1st, Dallas County Master Gardener Fall Garden Tour

alexander yard

Call it love at first sight. Linda and Art Alexander were in the market to purchase a new home in 2006.  They swooned over a Bluffview listing awash in April wisteria, dogwood, azaleas and tulips.  They quickly signed the contract.

Her landscape reflects a love of entertaining. One of Linda’s favorite quotes is: “The ornaments of your house will be the guests who frequent it.” The Alexanders have hosted more than 100 get-togethers at the 1948 ranch designed by noted regional architect Charles Dilbeck.

Visitors to the Alexander garden can see how Linda carefully edited mature landscaping from previous owners to frame the historic home. She developed cohesive garden rooms on the large lot, adding shrubs and perennials along the circular drive to welcome visitors.  Tall live oak trees shade conversation and seating areas for backyard entertaining.  She even planted Oklahoma-red pentas for the fall Texas-OU Red River Showdown post-game party. Linda’s updated raised vegetable beds are tucked behind the guesthouse.

Following herb expert Marian Buchanan’s advice, she particularly loves to grow herbs and uses them for cooking, flower arrangements and in the landscape. She says Art likes the herb scents when he brushes against the plants on a garden path.

You’ll often find Art and Linda in the garden swing in the backyard patio. They welcome the morning sun, cuddle a new grandchild and enjoy the yard they call “our sanctuary.”

Elizabeth

We will be featuring one garden a week until the October 1st Fall Garden Tour on Dallas Garden Buzz. Tour tickets can be purchased now online at the Master Gardener website.  Brunch will be served at the Alexander home and are also available now.  Plan ahead and purchase your tickets because the brunch tickets are limited. The menu will be based on recipes from the Master Gardner cookbook, A Year on the Plate. To pre-order the cookbook, click here.

Tour Tickets purchased before October 1-$15

Brunch Tickets-$15

Cookbook-$40

Gardening By The Yard

2016 FALL GARDENING SERIES

9:00 AM – NOON

  Raincatcher’s Garden Midway Hills Christian Church

 11001 Midway Road, Dallas, TX 75229

Cost: $15.00/session or $60/for all 5 sessions

 

July 23        Fall Into Gardening

Stephen Hudkins, County Extension Agent/Horticulture Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Dallas County

  • Establishing the raised bed garden- construction, soil, irrigation
  • Square foot garden design
  • Selecting the vegetable varieties
  • Planting dates for successful fall harvest

August 6     Water Conservation in the Home Landscape

Dr. Dotty Woodson, Extension Program Specialist – Water Resources Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

  • Rain Water Harvesting – Rain barrels and cisterns
  • Drip irrigation for landscape beds
  • Calculating needs and programming your lawn sprinkler system

 

August 20            The Earth-Kind® WaterWise Landscape

  • Dr. Steve George, Extension Horticultural Specialist Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
  • Fall is the best time to plant shrubs and trees in your landscape. Come and learn what are the best proven Earth-Kind® plants to have in your landscape that will stand up to the tough soil and weather conditions that we have in the Dallas Metro area.

September 3                   Establishing a Backyard Vineyard

Michael Cook, Viticulture Specialist, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Come and learn the art of backyard viticulture production

  • When do I plant
  • What varieties are best for our area
  • What soil conditions do I need
  • What about frost
  • What do I need to have for support
  • When do I get to have my first glass of wine from my grapes

September 17       Healthy Home Lawns

                   Stephen Hudkins, County Extension Agent/Horticulture Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, Dallas County

    • Fall maintenance- fertilization, aireation, weed, insect and disease control
    • Maintaining the lawn during the winter
    • The pros and cons of over-seeding
  • You will also have the opportunity to see five turf grass types which are growing in the demonstration plots as well as view the drip irrigation system that has been installed under each plot.

Reservations not required, pay at the door. Master Gardeners can receive CEU credit. Public is welcome!

Flavorful News from the Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook Committee

A new Dallas County Master Gardener Cookbook is on the way.  Our members have submitted a wheelbarrow full of recipes and gardening tips that the cookbook committee has been dutifully busy tasting and testing.

cookbook collage

We jumped into July with forks in hand. Tomato recipes were tasteful and tempting.  Corn, in abundance, brought comfort to our tummies.  Blackberries had us beaming with their beauty.  And, peaches just pushed us over the edge with their juicy goodness.  What could be better?  Well…

Cookbook August cropped overhead shot

In August we anguished over the okra. Which do we like best?  Fried, roasted, simmered, stewed or even finessed into little muffins?   And, oh how the squash recipes raised our spirits.  Shaved into salads, grated for quiche, pureed into soup, carpaccio and casseroles to consider.  How will we decide?

September, October and November we celebrated the harvest bounty. Sweet potatoes to savor, pumpkin recipes to ponder, an over-the-top apple recipe, a unique and very elegant pear presentation that left us swooning while Meyer lemon pie made us pucker with pride.

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Creamy Southwestern Pumpkin Soup

Our journey has been filled with flavor, fun and friendly evaluations. We’ve tasted, tested, eliminated some and accepted over 140 recipes.  Profound thanks to our faithful volunteers who have traveled with us.   The adventure continues to grow more exciting and we can’t wait to share our discoveries.

Until then, stay posted for more “flavorful news” from the cookbook committee and a special 2016 unveiling.

Take a peek at some “behind the scenes pics” courtesy of Ann and Starla!

Linda Alexander, Cookbook Chair

Fall Tomatoes at The Raincatcher’s Garden

Listen to Dorothy! I always do! Here’s our fall tomato report:

 

We have talked about green tomatoes almost as much as red, ripe tomatoes:

Green Tomato Primer

Fried Green Tomatoes

Dorothy’s Chow Chow

Fall Tomatoes

Ann

Video by Starla

Green Tomato Primer

Green tomatoes are usually seen at the beginning and the end of tomato season.  Sometimes they get harvested at the beginning when you just can’t wait another minute to have a tomato, and when the weatherman announces the first frost of the year, the rest of the harvest comes inside in a hurry.

If it’s been a good year, that leaves you with lots of tart green balls; some may continue to ripen, but they usually don’t have the depth of flavor and sweetness of those that finish on the vine.  But it’s a pity to compost all that hard work and potential goodness.  So what do you do?

Above: 13 cups of green tomatoes were harvested  for Green Tomato Recipes. The ripe tomatoes were eaten.

Above: 13 cups of green tomatoes were harvested for Green Tomato Recipes. The ripe tomatoes were eaten.

This primer will hopefully help you better understand your green harvest and give you some ideas – along with some recipes – to help you use it all up deliciously! Green tomatoes are tart and hard.  If you have green cherry tomatoes, you may even find them a little bitter (I think that’s from the greater amount of skin to pulp than you have on a larger tomato.)  To mellow the flavor of the tomato, you could cut, dice or slice it (you want to expose the interior), salt it, cover it and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator.  The next day (or the day after that) when you go to use it, drain and rinse it, and it will still be tart, but it won’t turn your face inside out. Green tomatoes can be substituted reasonably easily in recipes that call for:

  • tart apple
  • lemon
  • kumquat
  • tamarind
  • fresh cranberries

Cherry green tomatoes would work especially well as substitutes for kumquats and cranberries if the shape is important.  So if you already have a recipe you enjoy that uses one of these ingredients, go ahead and substitute green tomatoes for it! Below is a list of flavors that would complement green tomatoes, if you enjoy improvising:

  • almonds
  • walnuts
  • hazelnut
  • coconut
  • coconut cream
  • sesame oil
  • balsamic vinegar
  • tea
  • vanilla
  • rose water
  • ginger
  • sugar (brown, white)
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • coriander
  • allspice
  • cardamom
  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • mustard
  • caraway
  • bay leaf
  • chile pepper
  • garlic
  • onion
  • bitter greens
  • corn
  • butter
  • cheese (ricotta, parmesean, cream)
  • chicken
  • turkey
  • duck
  • beef
  • game (venison)

A flavor combination:

  • beef + coconut milk + green tomato 

Other recipe ideas:

  • cornbread with green tomatoes and jalapenos
  • almond thumbprint cookies with candied green tomatoes (or green tomato jam)
  • coconut pie/tart crust with a green tomato filling
  • green tomato jam and coconut milk in your favorite vanilla ice cream recipe (substitute the coconut milk for some or all of the milk and cream)
  • dehydrate and powder the tomatoes to add to any recipe for a little extra tartness
  • added to soups or stews
  • the classic: fried green tomatoes! 

The following recipes were designed for a small batch of green cherry tomatoes, where 1 cup weighed approximately 5 ounces.

Above: Green Tomato Recipe Sampling at The Demonstration Garden

Above: Green Tomato Recipe Sampling at The Demonstration Garden

If your tomatoes are full-sized, you may choose to dice or slice them, and in addition, you have the option of peeling the skins to reduce the acidity, and some of the bitterness.

Hungry for Lila  Rose’s Green Tomato Recipes? Click Here.

Lila Rose

Pictures by Starla

Another Sign of Fall

Many people associate the arrival of fall by the appearance of red, gold, and yellow leaves on trees or seeing groups of pumpkins suddenly pop up on people’s front porches.  However for those of us who have native trees/shrubs, fall also means seeing the clusters of purple berries on our American Beautyberry.

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

American Beautyberry grows best in partial sun and often used as an understory tree.  Found growing wild in East Texas thickets, this deciduous, 4-6 foot shrub or small tree has small, unspectacular greenish-white flowers in the spring, but is known for its showy clusters of purple berries in the fall.

It prefers moist soils but can be grown in the sun with supplemental watering; and it is tolerant of various soil types.  Aggie-Horticulture suggests pruning its long, arching branches back by 1/2 in the winter if a more compact shrub is desired.  Most Beautyberries have purple berry clusters; however there is a white-berried variety, C. americana var. lactea.  The Demonstration Garden grows a Mexican variety called Callicarpa acuminate ‘Texas Maroon”  which has maroon berries.

Callicarpa acuminate ‘Texas Maroon”

Callicarpa acuminate ‘Texas Maroon”

There is some controversy about whether the berries are toxic to humans.  Several sites say that unripe berries should never be eaten.  Native Americans used the roots of Beautyberry as a diuretic, the leaves for dropsy, and a tea made from the roots and berries for colic.  The leaves and roots were used in sweat baths for the treatment of malaria, rheumatism and fevers.  The leaves themselves can be rubbed on the skin as an external mosquito repellent.  Some sites however, including Aggie-Horticulture  say that jelly made from ripe Beautyberries is excellent.  However, as with many plants that are foraged from the wild, “diner beware.”

There is no controversy however that ripe Beautyberries are one of wildlife’s favorite foods.  In my own yard, I only able to enjoy seeing the ripe purple berries for about a week before the mockingbirds have eaten every berry off of my large tree.  Green Dean, who writes about foraging for wild edibles, reports that the Beautyberry is a squirrel’s version of take out.  Other birds that enjoy eating the berries are robins, catbirds, cardinals, mockingbirds, brown thrashers, and finches.

So, if you want a shrub/small tree that will provide fall color and feed the wildlife (and perhaps you too), think about planting an American Beautyberry.  You won’t be disappointed.

Carolyn

%d bloggers like this: