I planted this fabulous selection from Vilardi Gardens on November 11th: Forellenschluss, Red Romaine, and Outredgeous lettuces, Florence fennel, green Mizuna, French sorrel, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, Kailan/Chinese kale, King Richard leeks, borage, Japanese Giant Red Mustard, Ruby Red Swiss Chard, Gigante di Napoli Marzatico and Snowball cauliflowers, Quarantina broccoli rabe, Red Russian and Nero Di Toscana kales, Gigante di Napoli parsley, Bloomsdale spinach, Dukat dill, Moroccan mint, and Spigariello liscia.
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Though it's still oppressively hot and the autumn cool-down seems far away, I started prepping my vegetable beds for fall planting. This weekend I weeded, cut back herbs, pulled out plants that didn't survive the summer, and top dressed with BioFlora Dry Crumbles, a favorite organic, granular fertilizer. I'm all set for some Vilardi Gardens plants.
My friend Suzanne, owner of Vilardi Gardens, has a fantastic variety of plants that are available at the local farmers markets - look for them at Roadrunner Farmers Market, DeSoto Central Market and Ahwatukee Farmers Market. After meeting up for lunch recently, I came home with some new additions of sesame (black, tan, and white), tomatoes (Indigo Rose, Cream Sausage, Violet Jasper, Tasmanian Chocolate, Dwarf Beryl Beauty, Punta Banda, and Taxi), Hibiscus sabdariffa, purple and Genovese basil, and Lunga Violetta eggplant. I can't wait to get them planted this week.
I'm especially excited to try growing capers for the first time.
Plumerias change with heat and this Queen Amber is showing a little more pink this week with the high temps.
These 3 plumerias are first blooms to my plumeria collection: Kamiyama Rainbow, Hausten White, and Jackie (all Plumeria obtusa).
A combination of Aztec Gold, JJ Desert Sunrise, Monterrey, and JJ Jackie.
The larger ones are Cancun Pink and the smaller ones Dwarf Singapore Pink. So fragrant too - CP smells like cinnamon/Red Hot candy and DSP like sweet citrus. Here they are arranged in a pansy ring.
Time to work on the garden today as we transition into summer - pulling up the cool weather plants, tidying up the tomatoes, and weeding. I have two raised beds which currently contain artichokes, tomatoes (5 varieties including yellow pear and black cherry), peppers (New Mexico, jalapeno, Fushimi, Shishito, and poblanos), radishes, carrots, garlic chives, I'itoi onions, eggplant, cauliflower, Genovese and purple basil, parsley, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme, dill, Egyptian walking onions, rhubarb, and Swiss chard. In the forefront on the right is a large bay leaf bush.
I've tried sowing carrots in the fall the last few years but didn't have any success. They sprouted, but seemed to stall or become woody. Finally, this year, I had my first batch of fresh, crunchy carrots. I'm not sure if it was the variety (Atomic Red), the watering schedule, or location, but I hope I have the same crop next spring. With carrots as sweet as these, I simply toss with extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with garlic-herb salt, and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees.
I fell in love with plumerias on my first trip to Hawaii in 1985. Although associated with the islands, they are actually native to Mexico and Central and South America. They grow in beautiful fragrant clusters which are especially stunning when used in leis, bouquets, and arrangements. The pictures above are some of my collection. Seeds do not grow true to their parent, so each seedling produces a new and unique plumeria. The only way to propagate true to the original tree is to prune and root the branch. There are so many named varieties from different countries (US, Thailand, Italy, Australia), colors (rainbow, orange, red, purple, coral) and fragrances (gardenia, peach, coconut, rose) to choose from, it's easy to become addicted. Hence, you'll find popular Facebook groups such as "Beyond Plumie Addiction" and "Plumeria Addicts". For some great information on growing plumeria locally, join the Facebook group Phoenix Plumeria Growers or visit the website "Valley of the Sun Plumeria Society".
While living in Boston, I had a solitary plant which I kept on a windowsill in a downtown high-rise. It wasn't until our move to Arizona - where they thrive in the ground if provided summer sun and frost protection - that my 'collection' went from one (a Dwarf Singapore Pink) to the 90+ varieties I have now: https://www.pinterest.com/WriteOnRubee/my-updated-plumeria-collection-2016/