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[ Mockernut (Carya alba) | Posted on October 18, 2017 ]

At this time of year leaves of this hickory are brilliant in shades of golden yellow. Although not suitable for landscape trees they are gorgeous in natural wooded settings among mature species of other trees. My only tree was damaged by age and storms and had to be removed a few years back. I decided against replacing it because of the massive volume of hickory nuts produced in autumn. In natural wooded areas they are great for encouraging wildlife.

[ Wilson's English Ivy (Hedera helix 'Wilsonii') | Posted on October 11, 2017 ]

Wilson's English Ivy is cold hardy in Zones 5a/b, but may still be damaged somewhat in harsh winters or in exposed locations. I bought this cultivar in a "10-pack" with the express purpose of introducing it to climb on large mature oak trees. It has, after many years, done that real well, and has covered the trunks of two large trees up to a height of 20-25 feet. It has also withstood winter temperatures down to -20F with bone-chilling winds with no major damage. It can spread out at the base of trees and grow into grass. However, a shovel can be used to keep lateral growth in check around the tree base. Foliage is attractive year round, but is a fresh dark green in summer months.

I originally posted these comments at Dave's Garden back on March 11, 2006 when Dave & Trish were still at the helm over there. While taking some pictures this morning I realized there was no entry for me at NGA. Therefore I went out and took a few close up photos of the leaves and vines. I will post them here on October 11, 2017; 11 years after my original post at DG.

[ Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo 'Pride of Wisconsin') | Posted on September 27, 2017 ]

Today marks the date for picking my first ripe Pride of Wisconsin cantaloupe (September 26, 2017). I had planted these late because of cold, wet, frosty weather in April & May. I knew then that I was taking a chance for enjoying any home grown melons. However, I am happy to report that my first one was picked yesterday (Tuesday) and I am happy with the results. The flesh is a golden deep orange color; and is surprisingly juicy and sweet. Also I am posting pictures in the database for it. I am saving seeds for next year too.

This cultivar was introduced in 1923 by the St. Louis Seed Company; and seeds were sold in the 1940s and 1950s by Burpee and others. It is considered an heirloom variety well worth growing. I am sold on the easy growth and development, as well as the delicious taste and sweetness. I believe it requires 85+ days to maturity which seems about right for mine which were planted late in mid-June.

[ Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo 'Pride of Wisconsin') | Posted on August 30, 2017 ]

This is my first year growing 'Pride of Wisconsin' cantaloupes. With such a cold wet, spring my seeds were planted late. My hopes for any fruits were minimal due to late planting and abnormally cold, wet and frosty spring weather. At this point (August 30, 2017) I have several young fruits in the 1 to 2 pound range developing. I am hoping for good September weather to finish their ripening.

[ Garden Onion (Allium cepa 'Red River F1') | Posted on August 29, 2017 ]

This is my first year growing Red River onion plants. I ordered them from Texas in April, and was unable to plant them until the first week in May because of cold, wet, rainy weather. Soil was too wet for tilling, therefore the delay. Normally my onions are in the soil by the second week in April if not sooner.

Even with bad weather all of my onion plants seemed no worse for delayed planting, and many grew into larger than average size bulbs. This hybrid variety is said to keep in storage from 3 to 5 months when properly stored. "Properly Stored" are the key words; meaning well cured, dried & ventilated in non-freezing conditions. A good root cellar is most helpful for storing ("remember well-ventilated").

This comment is from my own words, and is not intended as advice to others.

[ Onion (Allium cepa 'Copra') | Posted on October 9, 2016 ]

This year was good locally for onion crops. Copra is the mainstay in my onion patch, being an all-around good onion for cooking, soups, stews & grilling. What's more, it keeps through the winter when cured and stored properly. I've kept them successfully over winter through March into April. This year produced large, firm onions, with the largest weighing 1 pound 2.8 ounces. I might add they add a nice zingy flavor to grilled burgers.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Bradley') | Posted on September 4, 2016 ]

I got these plants on sale at the local farm store in late spring. The cost was something like .50¢ for four plants! That was a smart investment for .50¢ since these three tomatoes in my photo would easily sell for $1.50 at the market! It is a first time growing these moderate size fruits for me, but I wouldn't hesitate planting them next year! The semi-pink flesh is very appetizing and dresses up any salad.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Homestead') | Posted on September 4, 2016 ]

This is my first year raising Homestead tomatoes. I found the plants on sale in late spring at very low cost; something like 4 plants for $1.00. They have more than repaid me with their large firm fruits and delicious taste. A dollar well spent!

[ Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Janice Brown') | Posted on September 1, 2015 ]

I am not a "specialist" in any one genus of plants. However, with my limited knowledge of Hemerocallis I find they form an important anchor in many perennial gardens. One of the very best for me is Janice Brown. It is a good looking daylily, easily transforming any drab corner of the garden. And it requires minimal care as long as the drainage and soil are fairly good. She withstands some of the worst possible weather conditions, ranging from bitterly oppressive winters to suffocating, humid, scorching summers. I highly recommend this cultivar for difficult climates similar to mine.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Pink Girl') | Posted on August 18, 2015 ]

I had grown Pink Girl in the past and found the fruits to be attractive in their subtle pink skin color. They are average in size for me, usually 4 inches in diameter and weighing up to 10 to 11 ounces: Just right for salads or eating right off the vine! This year I bought two plants at a local nursery and added them to my tomato patch. They have done well in spite of adverse weather including nearly continuous rainfall in June and July. They make a good snack any time, especially chilled.

[ Pepper (Capsicum annuum 'Sweet Heat') | Posted on August 3, 2015 ]

I ran across this plant at a local Amish garden center in late spring. It was the only one left on the shelf, and the label 'Sweet Heat' caught my eye. Being curious, I brought it home and planted it in the row with other bell peppers. I watched it grow, and it seemed to stop growing at about 14" tall and about the same spread. There were lots of buds and blooms. I picked the first peppers on July 26th, and they are the ones I posted pictures of today, August 3, 2015. They are very colorful, but the taste is what I had waited for! I expected them to be hot, but I was pleasantly surprised with a mild, tangy flavor, suitable for salads or for eating raw. I liked them so much that I ate the one pictured above. They are crispy, juicy, and delicious! The size of the fruits is about 4+ inches in length. I am glad I found this last plant at the garden center. I had noticed that Burpee Seed Company had the seeds available in early summer.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Health Kick') | Posted on July 6, 2015 ]

This is my first year growing this F1 hybrid. It is similar in size and shape to the hybrid 'Roma'. It is also a deep red in skin color with reportedly (from several sources and the plant label itself) twice as much lycopene than other cultivars. Lycopene is said to be a powerful antioxidant, supporting healthy immune function of the body.

[ American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) | Posted on October 14, 2014 ]

The American Hazelnut is a North American deciduous shrub that produces edible nuts. It is classified as Corylus americana and is part of the Betulaceae (birch) family. In addition to the hazelnuts, this family includes birch and alder trees. There are other trees and shrubs in this family too. Common names may include American hazelnut, bush hazelnut, American filbert or American hazel. It can be found in USDA zones 4 through 9 ranging roughly from eastern Canada and the United States southward to Florida; then westward toward Louisiana then northward to Minnesota. These plants when mature can vary from three 3 to 18 feet in height, and as much as 8 to12 feet across.

The leaves can range from two to eight inches in length. They are like elongated ovals in shape, with serrated edges. As I research this plant, it is autumn (October 14, 2014) and the leaves are in various evolving color shades and hues. Locally the colors are found in shades of green, yellow, purple and orange, but the most prevalent shade to date is a very attractive red! They are even more attractive in bright sunlight.

This is a monoecious species. Its reproductive parts are on separate flowers on the same shrub. The male flowers are brown catkins and the female catkins are red. The males are also longer than the females, which are about a half-inch long. American hazelnuts are edible. They are much smaller than other hazelnuts, but just as tasty.

When I searched the internet for “American Hazelnut (Corylus americana),” it came back with 40,800 entries. This is a tremendous amount of information, and I cannot help but wonder about the accuracy of some of these entries! There are articles relating to many hybrid varieties, USDA developed hybrids, named cultivars, and of course the genus Corylus L. – hazelnut which contains 7 species and 13 accepted taxa according to the USDA. These can be found from Turkey to Tibet, and China to California; as well as Siberia and the Himalayan Mountains.

In summary my comments refer only the American Hazelnut (Corylus americana). I cannot comment accurately on other than what I see and find locally and reputable websites. The best external site for research information (with a high degree of accuracy) is the USDA Website at this link: USDA HAZELNUT DATA You must enter 'American Hazelnut' in the search box.

[ Drummond's maple (Acer rubrum var. drummondii) | Posted on October 12, 2014 ]

I found this tree earlier in late summer growing in a swamp with about two feet of water around the trunk. During an outing today, I was surprised at the vivid scarlet color of the leaves. Conditions were breezy, and very bright sunlight made the leaves seem more intense. Having spent the afternoon doing research, I found that this tree is recognized by the U.S. Forest Service as the most common variety of tree in America. It is reported to be found essentially in the eastern third of the U.S. and Canada, ranging from Manitoba & Minnesota eastward to Newfoundland and then south to Florida. From there, it is found westward into Louisiana and Texas.

Its features in leaves, twigs, flowers, bark, and seeds are unique and quite variable in form from region to region. Among all of its characteristics, the leaf color is almost always a brilliant scarlet in autumn. It is adaptable to many growing and environmental conditions. I am especially surprised at its ability to thrive in swampy, watery conditions. There are several hybrid cultivars available from nurseries. It has also been called a "soft" maple, and I have learned that it is the state tree of Rhode Island.

[ Apple (Malus pumila 'Crispin') | Posted on October 8, 2014 ]

This apple was unknown to me three years ago when I discovered it at a local orchard under the name 'Mutsu'. The green color sometimes fades to yellow, and is similar to Granny Smith, but the taste for me is nicely crisp and pleasantly sweet. It is a firm apple and keeps its juicy texture well into winter with proper cold storage. It is equally good for making applesauce, pies, and other baked dishes, but my choice is to eat them right off the tree! It was introduced in 1948 in Japan from a cross between Golden Delicious and a sweet Japanese apple called Indo. Reportedly this was from the Mutsu Province in that country. It is known here as 'Mutsu', and is labeled with that name in our two local orchards. It is also known as Crispin in other places.

[ Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Beefmaster') | Posted on August 27, 2014 ]

This is my first year growing Beefmaster tomatoes. I am skeptical of pictures and verbal claims from some seed catalogs, so I rely on what the "real" critics have to say. Those "real" critics and analysts can be found here posting comments in the ATP Database. These comments reflect actual growing experiences with the cultivars. I am no different: I like these big, meaty tomatoes because of their size and taste. They make perfect slices for BLT's. Or, I make a tomato sandwich with just mayo and bread. On the down side, they are quite large and irregular in shape, but my overall opinion is: Great tomato!

[ Impatiens walleriana Super Elfin™ Cherry Splash | Posted on August 18, 2014 ]

These plants are grown here as summer annuals. They are very sensitive to cold, freezing weather and are among the first to succumb to autumn frosts. With this said, they are among the best annuals for color and non-stop summer blooms. They are a great asset for home gardeners and landscapers.

[ Cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) | Posted on July 31, 2014 ]

I always like planting four or five varieties of cucumbers for summer use. This year I chose Straight Eight, Early Fortune, Muncher, and Homemade Pickles. Two or three hills of each produce more than we can possibly use, so we share them with neighbors. We also donate many to a local food charity in this county. Extra rainfall in June gave us lush, healthy vines with plenty of fruits.

[ Daylily (Hemerocallis 'Silver Pink') | Posted on July 28, 2014 ]

This came directly from Gilbert Wild Nursery back in the Mid-1990's. It has survived several transplants as well as total shade, hot sun, and soggy soil conditions. Although not showy or "glitzy," it has a quaint charm about it that is appealing when viewed along a shady path in the garden. We've grown it approximately 16-18 years: It is a very rugged plant.

[ Garden Onion (Allium cepa 'Walla Walla Sweet') | Posted on July 27, 2014 ]

This is our favorite onion. It is exceptionally sweet, and it goes well on cold sandwiches, such as roast beef with mayo, or sliced roast chicken breast and mayo. There is nothing better to add crisp taste to summer salads. They do not store well, and therefore we use them straight from the garden. That is not a problem here because they are in high demand for the table.

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