Dana’s Plant of the Week : CROCOSMIA

Introducing, the Crocosmia or as I like to call it the Jurassic Park flower, I think I should be a flower namer… it would be much easier to remember if I was the one to make up names. Alright, this has nothing to do with Jurassic Park; I just think it looks like it should have dinosaurs munching around it. Don’t you? In reality it should be called the Butterfly flower because according to Arnold, “butterflies love it, they love love it!”

Every Monday morning Dana hands me a well though out  list of traits and tips for a plant with little dirty finger prints surrounding the edge of her transcribed plant knowledge. She is a new addition to our outdoor plant experts and let me tell you, she is perfect for the job!

Crocosmia ‘Lucifer – Foliage mimics that of a gladiola with upright spike flowers and is mass clumping.

Brilliant Fiery Red Blossoms with touches of orange

Full Sun

3-4 ft tall

36-40” wide

Average soil, well drained

Crocosmia ‘Emberglow’

Large Flowers with different hues of bold reds and burnt oranges

Full Sun

2-2.5 feet tall

2” wide

Same foliage , growth habits, soil and blooming times as ‘Lucifer’


Complimentary Companion Plant: Threadleaf Coreopsis

Coreopsis have dainty bold yellow daisy type blossoms, they have fine fern leaf type foliage and make a great cut flower all summer long!

Full Sun

18” tall and wide

Average-poor soil, well drained

The Crocosmia and Coreopsis have a great color combination, both work well as cut flowers and both attract butterflies. If you are planting these two together,  space 3 feet apart so that each plant can grow properly.

Crocosmia are a member of the iris family and native to South Africa. These flowers were used in classic Victorian gardens as early as 1880 because of a French plant breeder named Lemoine, famously known for peonies and lilacs. But fear not, these  brilliant beauties are making a comeback! Selling for $11.99 per gallon pot.

Acacia and Dana

Strawberry Fields Forever

These red beauties are the first fruit to show up in the garden each year! Although some would consider it an inconvenience to go out and pick berries at a U-pick farm, I love it! Going out to the strawberry fields and having that irreplaceable smell as I sit…and snack on the rows of berries while sitting in a little hay covered bump. My mum used to tell me stories while we sat out picking in the sun and said that when she was a kid growing up in Nova Scotia picking berries was on her list of daily chores. Although, these weren’t the big juicy strawberries we see here in B.C. they were the teeny tiny wild strawberries that are about the size of you pinky fingernail. She would wish everyday, “if only I could just find one giant strawberry to fill up my container and then I’d be able to go play with my friends!”

Alas, a garden fresh strawberry cannot even be compared with those shipped in from Florida, that unadulterated sweet, tangy taste of something fresh from BC! I can hardly believe that I’ve been satisfied with those watered down, thick skinned, light red berries all winter!

Interestingly, although strawberries are quite common in B.C. summers, they do have some unique characteristics, for instance, did you know strawberries are one of the only fruit that have their seeds on the outside rather than the inside?

History: Strawberries are a member of the rose family. There are many ideas for where the word strawberry truly came from; some believe it is because of the method of growing the berries with straw around the base of the plant for protection. Other believe it is because the plant spreads outward coming from the word to strew or spread, originally known as the streabergen, straberry and eventually ending up with strawberry! These berries originate in North and South America and cultivation began in the 19th century – hence the popular dessert strawberries and cream!

When to plant: Plant in early spring, in a sunny and protected area. Harvest as soon as they become red to mid July.

Companions: Borage, Bush Beans, Caraway. Not Cabbage!

U-pick Strawberries in our area:

Maan Farms

790 MacKenzie

Abbotsford

604 864 5723

Driediger Farms Market

23823 – 72nd Ave

Langley

604 888 2403

Krause Berry Farms

6179 248 St

Langley

604 856 5757

Another great way to celebrate this wonderful, nostalgic berry is at the Abbotsford Berry Beat Festival!

As many of you likely know, Abbotsford is the raspberry capital of Canada, but the Berry Beat festival celebrates that we are rich in many berries! Mark your calendars to head down to the streets of Montrose and Essendene on July 3rd from 10:00am-9:00pm and the 4th from 11:00-5:00 and get your fill of the Valley’s berry varieties!

This weeks recipes are for a salmon glaze topped with an strawberry avocado salsa, serve with rice and a fresh salad of mixed greens and a citrus vinaigrette!

Strawberry Avocado Salsa

Strawberry Chipotle Glaze

Before you go any further, let us address the spice of this dish: Chipotle.  What is Chipotle? Pronounced Chip-oat-lee NOT chip-ottle, chipotle refers to smoked jalapeno and is very commonly used in Mexican dishes. A warning for the glaze, if you are tasting as you go, don’t be turned away by how spicy the glaze is! Because it is a glaze, it will only have a little kick once it is baked on the salmon.

Enjoy your weekend!

Acacia

Steely Blue Sea Holly

Otherwise known as Eryngium ‘Sapphire Blue’ or Eryngo.

Introducing one of the most unconventional flowers you can plant in your garden! It has attitude and spunk that the pansy and marigold just can’t muster. The next best thing? It is essentially self sustaining! Now this is my kind of plant. It strives in desert-like conditions, likes to bake in the sun and lives with hardly any water. I can’t help myself from loving things with a bit of a rough exterior, that can withstand long periods of drought, this is after all the same description as my namesake plant, the Acacia tree!   I fell in love with Sea Holly so much so that I chose it amongst the other flowers for my wedding bouquet nearly two years ago, take a look below!

History: Sea holly is actually in the carrot family. Growing on the coasts of Europe, hence the name sea holly. It was known as an aphrodisiac and was also used in making desserts.

Living Conditions: Full Sun. Drought tolerant.

When to plant: Plant in spring as soon as you are able to dig into the ground. For summer planting, plant first thing in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is cooler.  Blooms from June to September.

Companions: Plant with Euphorbia Wulfenii ‘wood spurge’. This is another sun and drought loving plant.

The essence of this prickly beauty:

“the Eryngo here Sits as a Queen among the scanty tribes of vegetable race, Here the sweet rose would die; but she imbibes from arid sand and salt sea dewdrops strength: The native of the beach, by nature formed to dwell among the ruder elements.”
– William Drummond (1585-1649)

Add a little flare to your garden, we are selling Sea Holly for $14.99 and it’s Euphorbia companion for $11.99!

Acacia

Tomatoes

To-MAY-to or To-MAH-to? Fruit or vegetable? This dubious fruit is one of the worlds most popular no matter it’s designation or how it is pronounced! The tomato is everywhere, whether it is pureed into kecthup, eaten like an apple, canned, stewed, sauteed, baked or used for La Tomatina.  The annual Bunal, Spain festival where 50,000 people gather in an intense one hour, every man for himself tomato war is my kind of food fight!

(www.tomato411.com)

History: Tomatoes originated in South America and then spread throughout Mexico. In the 16th century Europe had it’s encounter with tomatoes through the Spanish. It seems that Italians and Spaniards were the first to implement it as a staple food. Interestingly different regions of Europe had different names for this plant, French – pomme d’amour (love apple) and Italian – pomodoro (golden apple) In France they believed it as an aphrodisiac and mostly planted tomatoes as an ornamental. It wasn’t until the late 20th century that North America became the leading tomato producers.

When to Plant: Because tomato seeds are fairly slow to get going, you can start them indoors in late winter. Wait to transfer your tomatoes outside until the weather maintains a summery evening (10 degrees of warmer)

Companions: A few friends of the tomato are carrots, borage, asparagus and onion. A few enemies -potato, fennel and corn.

Fright of Blight??

What is blight? Generally a bacterial or fungal disease affecting plants fruit production, leaving tomatoes and vines with brownish spots, withered or dying of leaves or stems.

Tips on how to avoid it? Do not put any tomato foliage into your compost (diseased or not). Keep leaves dry as much as possible – avoid overhead watering. Well ventilated  and in some cases use an antibiotic spray.

I can’t help but love all of the names for the plants we carry here at Tanglebank! Black plum, silvery fir, striped German, brandy-wine, great white, tangerine, Berkeley tie dye and chocolate stripes! Just a few of the 7500 varieties in the world! If I listed those names in a game of Trivial Pursuit and expected players to determine what it was I was asking about, I bet they’d have a difficult time guessing!

We also sell  “Mighty Mato’s”  which are just as they say, aremightier than just your average plant. These are grafted tomatoes, which grow a larger and bigger crop! It’s also a tougher plant that is less prone to disease or cool temperature. If you have blight fright, these might be the way to go!

Our tomatoes in the garden sell for $2.99 for 4 inch and $12.99 for 1 gallon.

This weeks post will fill your recipe box with some updated classics, starting with Grown up Grilled Cheese. Butter your favorite bread and build your grilled cheese. Load it up with your tomato hummus, oven roasted tomatoes and your favorite cheeses. Chef Sarah likes to use brie, feta and something creamy and gooey like Havarti or Fontina. Grill it and enjoy with a chilled bowl of “Off the Vine Gazpacho”. (recipes below)

Gazpacho

Tomato Hummus

Slow Roasted Tomatoes

Enjoy your weekend and your tomatoey grilled cheese!

And just because it’s Father’s Day this weekend, I can help myself from leaving you with a dad style joke!

“Three tomatoes are walking down the street – a papa tomato, a mama tomato and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Papa tomato get angry, goes over to Baby tomato and squishes him…..and says ‘Ketchup!’”
-Pulp Fiction

Acacia

“Hey Boo-boo, Let’s go get us a Pic-a-nic Basket!”

(click photo to enlarge)

Whether you decide to celebrate it with your family, or have a romantic lunch for two, it’s up to you!

You can take your picnic basket into our gardens and eat you delicious packed lunch in the midst of the lush gardens of Tanglebank! Or, if you’re looking for something more private and secluded, head somewhere in the area; a field, park or local lake!

Please call to reserve your basket!

Acacia

“The Queen of Greens”

( I daydreamed of starting  this post with a photo of teeth laden with kale but no one volunteered…surprisingly.)

Everywhere I look  there are people sipping on green smoothies (yogi’s or not) It seems Dr. Seuss’ “Green eggs and Ham” analogy is back in business, although now it’s no longer fictional.

Kale, Kale, Kale! This superhero green is taking the world by storm! Perhaps because A-listers; Ellen Degeneres, Gweneth Paltrow and even Michelle Obama have drummed up a cult like following or maybe it’s simply that the world has discovered its vast health benefits.

History: Kale is part of the cabbage family, originated in the Eastern Mediterranean. It was very popular in the Middle Ages throughout Northern Europe and Britain although was long forgotten in the days of the popular potato. Interestingly kale is one of the cool kids once again, rising to the top of stardom while the potato falls behind. Nutrition trumps carbs these days.

When to Plant: March through Mid-July. Kale actually improves in taste after a frost.

When to Harvest: Late Spring to Early Fall, you may begin harvesting when the leaves of the plant are approximately the size of your hand, from small leaves to large, in wet, cold, and warm. This is a very flexible and adaptable plant for your gardens! If you have the opportunity to pick the leaves from your garden rather than picking them up at the supermarket, it is best to pick the leaves when they are smaller, for the best taste!

Companions: Cabbage is the best companion for kale, although you can plant it with an assortment of herbs such as dill, sage and rosemary. As well as garlic or beans.

Nutritional Value: Let the list begin, high in Vitamin C, A, K, iron and calcium. And great for detox, lowering cholesterol and jam packed with antioxidants. Kale has low calories and is very high in fiber.

Insert infomercial voice here, Kale, the deliciously healthy green that tastes so good, you won’t even know how good it is for you! Before you decide that the craze for kale is because of it’s delicious taste, try it. In my personal opinion, kale is an acquired taste. After eating it a few times you get a feel for it, it doesn’t hurt knowing that  Kale has more iron than beef! For some of you, perhaps kale is the green you’ve been waiting for!  But for me I need recipes like the ones Chef Sarah has put together for this week. Recipes that enhance kale beyond the point of just throwing a few leaves into a salad! So check them out.

Kale and Quinoa Patties

Dark Chocolate Kale Cake

(click links to view recipe)

It is recommended to try to patties with avocado, garlic oil, or serve with tzatziki and a Greek salad! It’s a delicious and fresh way to get your nutrients!

It’s not easy being green! But I have faith in you.

Acacia