Pot Luck June


Lewisia rediviva

June was hot at all the right times, and rainy when needed. Thank goodness! Most of the recent-arrival seedlings and small plants put down deep roots. And there were quite a few flowering events. Of course, performances in the new xeric crevice garden were associated with the care of other growers. I cannot claim credit, only reap the pleasure.

I was concerned about the spells of sticky heat. The result - determined watering for all the new additions, especially for the high crevices. And I succumbed to adding transplants from the neighboring sand beds as I weeded though them. Paronychia serpyllifolia, for one, had crept well beyond its borders and covered a good part of the flagstone path. So it was easy to cut off with a spade and move over into the crushed rock bed. I usually place a cover of some lily tray or the like for a few days and water daily. So far, the transplanted paronychia has held its own. Very amenable.

Echinocereus fendleri

Campanula sartori

Of those on the daily watering attention list, the acantholimons headed the list. Remember I ordered plants instead of growing them myself. What came were fabulous, throw-in-a-trough and take-to-a-show-now plants. But they were also cosseted and pot bound, roots hanging out the bottom in many cases. And the roots were very fragile. Cutting them as well as disentangling helped with the planting.  But such voluptuous plants never root the same as smaller seedlings, who are accustomed to unlimited stretching. For those suffering the most, I placed a lily tray to cover and provide relief from the sun.

Is it politically correct to specify only young plants (first year best) be shipped? Acantholimon seed can be so finicky to start I gave into the impulse and purchased. But I should have recalled how many past plants were successfully installed from that genus. Seems to me, in 15 years time about two store-bought plants made it. I should probably have started some cuttings, instead. But without an automatic mister, wow, does that require determination.

Kniphofia caulescens


Well, maybe I can find some seed and give it a try next year. It is difficult to find in the lists, though. So another alternative is to this fall, re-order those that succumb. Then I should keep them in the plunge bed and collect my own seed next year. Whew! Talk about make-work.

The more established sand beds and woodland walk had their share of June do-ers too. I was particularly enthralled with a self sown penstemon that is blooming now into July. Penstemons are as notorious as aquilegias for promiscuity. So there is no telling the parentage of this one. The glaucus leaves have a nice sheen in the sunlight. And the two tone color of each flower really catches your eye as you pass. And yes, most plants bloomed earlier this year. Rhododendron maximum usually waits until July. But it bloomed in June, well two weeks ahead of schedule for Goshen.

Podophyllum hexandrum
Rhododendron maxiumum

Sarracenia sp.
What would I do with my spare time if not awaiting plants? June was always a good time for garden parties, starring badminton, croquet and the new sensation: "cornhole". Ok. ok, I did not choose the name. The head of human resources, an upstanding woman, full of propriety, extolled the virtues of this game from the midwest. She also mentioned it was best played with a glass of wine in hand. Yes.

What goes along with a party but a pot luck menu! From my earliest days, I remember going with grandma to a big church social by the banks of the Red River in Texas. I was thrilled to see all the different choices from basically the same ingredients. This June, I leaned a few new ideas. I am posting them for all of you who made it to the picnic as well as those of you who want try something a little different:

Nancy's Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa ( prepare as directed on pkg)
1/2 teas cumin
1/4 teas salt
freshly ground pepper
15 oz can black beans (drain and rinse)
1 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned corn (cooked or drained)
1 cup cherry tomatoes ( halved or quartered)
1 cup any kind of salsa ( peach mango is good)

Cook quinoa and remove from heat.  Uncover and toss lightly with fork. Remove to large bowl and let cool slightly. Add remaining ingredients to the quinoa, tossing well to combine. Serve slightly warm or let cool to room temperature or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days and serve chilled.
Note: Janet made this dish and added jalepenos. Oh yes!

Ruth Ellen's Sweet Potato Salad

 4 large sweet potatos cooked (but still firm) and cut in 1" cubes
1 small red onion thinly sliced
1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime jiuce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Mix and chill. Outstanding!

Gun's Swedish Rhubarb Pie
Cut rhubarb in chunks into pie pan, add some strawberries, cut if large. Sprinkle on about 1/2 cup sugar, depending on the tartness of the r'barbs.
Stick of butter or substitute
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats (optional)
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
Mix until crumbly and sprinkle on the rhubarb.
Bake 350-375 1/2 hour to 45 min, should be golden brown and you should see the liquid at the edges.

Swedish deserts are much less sweet than American, so this  desert may appear tart, or refreshing. It can be mellowed with vanilla ice-cream.


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