Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pruning, Deadheading

I love finding an ignored plant/bush in need of TLC. Usually at the end of season you can buy it significant discount to plant and try to revive with your TLC.
Late last summer I bought 3 butterfly bushes that
had been overlooked by the Home Depot waterers, so they had fininshed flowering earlier than usual. I thought at 3 for $10 it was worth my effort to try to revive. Until now I haven't researched care for them at all. they made it thru the winter in their pots and are now starting to grow with tiny budding leaves on existing branches.

Now comes the hard part. Through research I found I must cut these back to the ground (now) in early spring. This will encourage the plants growth to be bushy, and I guess it is a vigorous grower.

I wonder how many gardeners have this issue. You see new growth, whether vegetables, flowers, bushes; and you are so excited. You know you should cut it back and you don't. I've been guilty of this in the past with roses. (Note to self: try roses again next year)

So this year I shall take the 'pruner plunge' and go for it with these bushes. I saw these plants while in bloom and they are magnificant I really don't want to hinder their growth. So, I shall follow directions and we'll see what happens. I'll be sure to keep you posted. I'm in zone 6 (Boston) and would LOVE LOVE LOVE feedback on your experiences with butterfly bushes. Hope to hear from you. I will post pictures along the way.

Info regarding BUTTERFLY BUSHES (Buddleia davidii) Nanho Purple (variation non hoensis)

Requires FULL SUN
Blooms mid-summer to early fall
Water wekly during dry spells
Grows 4'-5' tall,
Space 5' apart
"Sweetly fragrant flowers on compact plants attract a profusion of butterflies to your garden. Stunning in perennial shrub plantings or in large groupings. Remove faded flowers for continuous bloom. Prune hard in early spring.

G6870 Pruning Ornamental Shrubs | University of Missouri Extension

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Vinaigrette Recipes

Hi all, I'm always looking for new vinaigrette recipes. Please add your own to comments if you wouldn't mind sharing.

What is vinaigrette? A basic oil and vinegar combination used to dress salad greens and other cold meats. In it's simplest form , vinaigrette consists of oil and vinegar. Usually 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar with salt and pepper. You can use any fresh herbs or spices to change the flavour. Always use extra virgin olive oil for the best flavour. 

Red and Yellow Pepper Vinaigrette
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons warm water
  • pinch of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until combined well. This vinaigrette will keep, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 3 days. Recipe may be doubled. Makes one cup.
Try these simple vinaigrette recipes with your favorite salad greens.
Citrus Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (juice of one small orange)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon table salt)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
Combine the juices and salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in oils until incorporated. A blender or food processor may also be used. Pour into a glass jar and seal. Serve over your favorite salad greens. The vinaigrette will keep, tightly covered, for a week in the refrigerator. To warm cold vinaigrette, place jar in a bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes.
Mustard Chive Vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon grainy Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Add freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Using a whisk or fork, in a small bowl combine all ingredients except the oil. Slowly add the oil, whisking vigorously, until the vinaigrette is emulsified. Pour over your favorite salad greens and toss. Store remaining vinaigrette in the refrigerator, in a tightly sealed glass jar, for up to one week. To warm cold vinaigrette, place jar in a small bowl of hot tap water for a few minutes. Makes 1/2 cup.