Hot Coral – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as Expensive!

It’s Hot, It’s August and it’s Buggy in the NC Piedmont, a good excuse not to be working in Entwined Gardens, therefore a good time to travel…

One of my Volunteer Jobs being a regional representative for the Garden Conservancy ‘Open Days’ Tour is not only to find great gardeners to participate, but also promote the tour.   One way is making sure posters are delivered & postcards put out and about.  Garden Centers are very kind to help promote the event, so off I went in a 50-mile radius.

Today’s first stop was at Fairview Greenhouses and Garden Center  in Cary, NC…

I love exploring garden centers, like a quest for the Jewel of the Nile or an unexpected plant combination…

Cute succulent roof top Garden for a lucky Pooch – Fairview Nursery & Garden center

Not only did I find this charming roof top succulent garden for a lucky pooch, I gathered up some reduced herbs for a herb planter to take as a hostess gift.

I headed out of the greenhouse to an outdoor covered area, and there it was… Heart be still… just in  –  was it love at first sight?  I circled the tall-shelved wheeled cart, and tried to walk away, but the colors tugged at my heartstrings again… I was hypnotized – lost in the array of hot fluorescent colors – an array of pinks, & corals.

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’

I tried to move away and be amazed at the size of the giant array of Hibiscus lining the next table.   Before I knew it I was back staring at the cart of recently delivered offerings.   A nice clerk who had been giving all the plants water on this 90 plus degree morning… walked over and said “Aren’t these amazing?  They just arrived this morning.”

Echinacea Sombrero ‘Hot Coral’ – Echinacea by any other name won’t be as expensive!

I had tried to be good all summer, limiting spending of any kind in these economic times, but this one I could not walk away from. I could feel the butterfly within circling around and around – flying off but then drawn back in… Oranges are HOT… It didn’t matter the price tag for this perennial – of a whopping $21.00.  My obsessive brain took over… It will keep these kind folks in business…   I couldn’t purchase a cut flower bouquet for this amount…   Well, I’m here and they will certainly be gone, and then there’s the gas if I drive back…  Oh the ecstasy of the color – I am color centric but that’s something to muse on another day – home it came with me.

As my luck would have it, Fairview also had Roses on sale. Again my eye spied orange and I was drawn in.

The great gals I volunteer with, at the JC Raulston Arboretum Mixed Border affectionately known as the ‘Border Babes’, are a diverse, opinionated, yet congenial group.  We are all gardeners, our styles are as distinct, as we are, but this is a plant we all agree on  Rosa ‘Paprika’ – delicate in size, but intense orange buds, that evolve to a soft coral when open with a sunny center – a real show stopper.  Disease & spot resistant.   When we first planted it in the Mixed Border several years ago, the official plant marker said ‘OSO EASY Paprika (R. ChewMayTime ppaf)’.  We were delighted when this plant hit the market! Talk about Smokin’!   We all like to cook and many of us are fond of Smokey Spanish Paprika – so this Rose like its spicy culinary counterpart is sure to Spice up your garden life.

R. ‘Paprika’ will be perfect further back in the bed and will color echo the ‘Hot Coral’. The eye will samba from E. ‘Hot Coral’ over to R. Papricka.   Supporting players will be Barberry ‘Crimson Pygmy’a dwarf Japanese Barberry.

I can visualize it from my deck butterflies swirling around.  No guilt, no shame, we’ll have Mac n cheese tonight – I’ll add some cherry tomatoes, a little cilantro and finish with Smokey Paprika!

Colocasia Royal Hawaiian®
‘Black Coral’.

Next it was off to Campbell Road Nursery  – a no frills nursery, but always cool, cutting edge plants!   I spied a  Colocasia ‘Black Coral’  – hardy black taro… I hadn’t had lunch and it looked the color of a dark chocolate bar – It would be great behind & to the left of the ‘Hot Coral’ … the bed anchored by a pink & yellow nesting box with ‘Hot Coral’ & ‘Black Coral. ‘  An analogous color scheme of oranges & pinks… Ahh…. I asked Plantsman Layne Snelling about ‘Black Coral’ and he mentioned it was part of the breeding program by John Cho (not to be confused with the actor of the same name) at the University of Hawaii Plant Breeding Program.  One of the benefits of Cho’s breeding work is short  or no stolons – which means no chance of invasive runaways… plus hardy to zone 7B… this went into the floor of my back seat!  I can’t wait to get home to plant this fiesta!

I love seeing folks with plants in their vehicles… always brings a smile to my face!   Sometimes I have thoughts of following them home to see their gardens, but alas as I merge into I-440 at rush hour, I am satisfied to see the chocolate elephant ears swaying in the rear view mirror headed home to an Entwined Life!

Joy!

Jayme B

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

 

It’s Red, White and Blueberry Time – in the NC Piedmont!

English:

English: (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time to beat the birds and deer to the bushes… to harvest the sweet baubles in varying shades of green, purple, mauve and blue – victory. Yes, it’s Red, White & Blueberry Time in the NC Piedmont!

At Entwined Gardens we grow Premiere, Onslow, Garden Blue, & Yadkin blueberry varieties in our heavy clay soils.

I attended a lecture a few years ago by NCSU’s Jim Ballington

And here Dr. Ballington’s notes* for fool proof Blueberries – But for us I would rather be tasting so here are a few recipes and more information below.

Premiere is our earliest Blueberry – about 3 mm round  Blue pearls of sweetness.

Our first pick yielded about ½ cup…perhaps a Blueberry Tart for dessert.

Simply use premade tart shells, a dollop of Lemon Curd and top with Berries can’t be any easier!

When I get a cup we’ll grill up some wild salmon and top with fresh Blueberry salsa.

Blueberry/Kiwi Salsa

1 cup blueberries or more for color

4 Kiwifuit, peeled & chopped

½ cup thinly sliced red onion,

2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 Teaspoon honey

  • Green Pepper Tabasco (jalapeno) to taste or cut up a jalapeno!

Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside.  Great with chips or grilled salmon

Summer Fruit Salad in Glasses                                                 

  • Mango – diced
  • fresh ginger shredded
  • Avacado – diced
  • Vidallia onion siced – Or Green onions sliced
  • Green Seedless grapes cut in half
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries (sliced) or Blackberries
  • Cilantro – chopped
  • Poppy seed dressing – drizzled to coat
  • Arugula
  • Cracker bread or bread sticks

–         Ahead – Combine everything together except Arugula & cracker bread.

–         Serving time – but arugula in botton of glass, add fruit mixture add a little more arugula

–         Garnish with bread.

–         Fruit keeps for a couple of days in Tupperware.

–         I like to mix in a few other textures and colors of lettuce for color… the arugula gives it a nice spicy flavor to balance the sweetness!

–         Serves 8-10

Enjoy!

Jayme B

Entwined Life

NC Certified Environmental Educator

Garden Conservancy Regional Representative

Some of my notes:

Check with your local extension agent for your area.   Blueberries provide great fall color too, so tuck one into a sunny border!

*Note: For Zone 7 – all recommendations  are Rabbit eye

A. Large Fruit, high quality

Premier (2) – early, self-pollinating (last week June)

Columbus – midseason, not self-pollinating

Onslow – Late, self-pollinating (3rd week July)

B. The very best quality

Yadkin (2) – midseason, self pollinating, medium size, medium to dark blue color

C. The Toughest Plants for red clay

Premier – early, self-pollinating (last week June)

Ira – early-midseason, not self-pollinating

Garden Blue (2) – midseason, not self pollinating – sweet

Tifblue – midseason, not self pollinating

Powderblue – late, not self – pollinating

– Full sun is preferred, but performance will be satisfactory with 50% sun.

– Soil -Acidic (pH 4.0 – 5.5) well drained soils

– Recommends roto tilling in 3 cu. ft of pine bark at the site where each plant is to be established.

– Surface mulch recommended pine bark, pine straw, aged pine sawdust or rye straw.

-Supplemental irrigation will be needed when rainfall is less than 1″ / week.

-Two year old nursery plants are the preferred planting stock.

-Pruning is required to maintain vigor and production of high quality fruit

-Young plants sensitive to fertilizers

-On young plants application of one TBSP of 10-10-10, or one handful of cottonseed meal spread thinly over the root zone several times during the first growing season will usually be beneficial.

-Double the amount the second growing season

-Pests – Japanese Beetles (treat with Sevin), climbing cutworms, fruit armyworms,

-Birds – Netting

-Deer – Wire cages

Now is not the recommended time to plant…. Make a note to plant in Feb./March.