6/27/08

Friday morning garden

Just a few pictures that I took before going to work this morning...

I'm suffering a lot of raccoon damage. A new garden tragedy unfolds every morning.
It makes my blood boil and I want to stab the beast with my pitchfork.

IMG_1099

Try not to think about it.

IMG_1102

The garden is pretty in the morning light. We had a few hot, sunny days a week ago. Since then, it's been cold and foggy. The sky let some light in today.

IMG_1113

Both of my manzanita bushes have been put out plentiful growth since May.

IMG_1107

The sunflowers are about to bloom.

IMG_1120

Apparently you can eat the young buds. Have you heard that before? I read it in J├╝rgen Dahl's book, The Curious Gardener.

He writes:
Sunflowers are cut before their flowers are fully open so that the buds, boiled and salted, can be put onto the table. The fleshy flower bases are similar to those of artichokes. Four centuries ago, John Gerard, an English herbalist, declared them to be preferable to artichokes. Instead of boiling the buds until they are done, one can grill them lightly and prepare them with oil, vinegar, and pepper. One has only to remove the green sepals as much as possible because these taste just as resinous as they feel. The small remains that are inevitably left add a whiff of bitterness, very becoming in an appetizer.
I'm intrigued.

I'm sure you know you can eat amaranth too, but I'm not going to.

IMG_1114

Maybe next year the wild grapes will make fruit...I'd like to think so. Until then, I get lots of pleasure from the leaves (which I'm also not planning to eat anytime soon).

IMG_1135

Under the deck these lilies are blooming.

IMG_1123

This is an "oriental", right? You can see I've staked it. I bought a bag of these at my nearby nursery last fall. I'm certain the bag said they would be fragrant. Ha.

IMG_1122

No staking necessary for Cobaea scandens.

IMG_1132

In fact, it's grown to the maximum size that I'm prepared for it to attain. There's nowhere left for it to go except on the house, and that makes Guy nervous so I'm pinching it back all over the place. And that seems to be making it bloom more and more.

11 comments:

gintoino said...

The weather here has been very hot and the garden is suffering a bit with it, I wish we had some cold foggy days :-)
I find it so strange to read about raccon atacks in your garden. I mean you live in the middle of a city, right? I live in the contry side, and apart from occasional bird damage no other animal damages happen here.(we don't have raccons or deers hare but we have lots of rabbits and wild boars.

Jim/ArtofGardening said...

Looks like you've got a lot of non-traditional edibles in your garden. I'm told amaranth tastes good with raccoon.

Frances, said...

Hi Chuck, so sorry about your raccoon, they can be very destructive. In our other house in TN we had a raccoon that would come into the garage through the cat door, we had many outdoor cats there on the acre of woods. They would eat the cat food and two times killed whole litters of kittens in their cardboard boxes. We hate them.

Les, Zone 8a said...

If you try the sunflowers, let us know what they are like. I to would be glad to kill a racoon, but I would use my bare hands. Last year they got into the fish pond and flayed my oldest koi. He survived without his skin for about a month and began to grow new scales, only to be caught again and eaten. Furry Bastards!

Nicole said...

I'm surprised you're so squeamish about eating amaranth-its just like any leafy green vegetable. In the Caribbean and some of the tropics its called "spinach"-and amaranth leaves is what people are referring to when they say spinach. That's what I use instead of spinach in any recipe, including lasagna.

Annie in Austin said...

Boiling a sunflower head doesn't sound too appetizing, but at least you'd get some nourishment from them, Chuck! The critters always know when the seeds are almost ripe and steal the entire flowerheads.

Just in case misery loves company, I'll tell you that Philo's plan for a breakfast of peppers and eggs was trashed by raccoons, too - ripped the stalks apart to get the peppers. Phooey.

Your yellow oriental lily and cobaea are looking good.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Christopher C. NC said...

Multiply that little raccoon scratch by a hundred on a daily basis and you have what is no longer considered damage here. It is a given that some plants may need to be planted two or three times when they first go in. Freshly dug soil needs to be investigated.

Granted in your situation every square inch of ground is vital and damage is more disturbing. Here there is always another one or something else.

I still can't believe you have a raccoon. Have you considered rat poison?

chuck b. said...

If it was just that one scratch, it wouldn't be a problem. It's the whole garden he does that too. I've probably lost two dozen plants in the last two weeks. As in, the plants are dead, and they cannot be re-planted.

There must be a family of them. Raccoons are a major urban and suburban pest everywhere in California. We've killed off their predators, and planted gardens full of grub. They multiply unimpeded.

Phillip said...

I bought a cage trap last fall and relocated 8 raccoons. I saw two last week at the back door. The only damage I noticed though was at my bird feeders. I even put barbed wire on my tree branches to keep them off. We were concerned that they would get into our attic. We kept hearing noises up there. :(

Blackswamp_Girl said...

lol at Jim...

I have eaten the amaranth leaves before, so you don't have to. I'll just tell you that the little ones taste (slightly) better than the bigger leaves, but they all kind of taste as rough and hairy on your tongue as they feel on your fingers. That's the best way I can describe it. But that's just fresh--I bet you could saute them in olive oil and garlic and have a delicious meal. But then, olive oil and garlic does that to lots of greens. :)

lisa said...

Your remaining flowers look nice, despite the raccoons. You could always get him with a live trap, then stab him repeatedly with your pitchfork. I know they call the traps "haveaheart", but that furry creep doesn't have one for you! If you do come into contact with him, be careful: they tend to carry rabies.