Tag Archives: Arthur in the Garden

This quick, fast Summer!

This summer has gone by so quickly! It seems so much has happened to distract me from the garden!

The heat and humidity has forced me to stay inside. Gus’s cancer treatments have forced me to only plant a vegetable garden this year and not the hundreds of annual around my half-acre lot which I usually plant. It’s a good thing as I do not need to water daily and endure the ticks and mosquitoes.

So I have been enjoying the gardens and plantings around Raleigh. The above planting in Cameron Village Shopping Center of alocasia, coleus, and lantana.

A blooming and fruiting pink banana at JC Raulston Arboretum at NCSU.

The farmers market at NorthHills Shopping Center.

Naked ladies (lycoris squamiger) at JC Raulston

Rudbeckia lanciniata in my garden.

Jewel weed in my garden.

A pale pink rose-of-Sharon in my garden.

A small hydrangea bloom in my garden.

Monarda Jacob Cline in my garden.

Tiger lily in my garden.

Pineapple lily in my garden.

Hardy wandering Jew in my garden. (Tinantia pringlei ‘Panther’)

Woodland phlox in my garden.

Perennial sweet pea in my garden.

Pineapple lily

Unfortunately, one of the cats, Brody, was diagnosed with lung and stomach cancer and was euthanized.

Gus is still continuing his chemo for the lung cancer he was diagnosed with last winter and it has slowed its grown. It is expensive so I am not sure how long I will continue to afford it but for now we continue ….

With temperatures near 100f the Fiat 500 becomes very hot when sitting in a parking lot all day!  Whew!!

It’s hot!


Filed under General Gardening

Crape Myrtles and Southern Gardens

I grew up on the Southeast coast of North Carolina. The weather is humid and subtropical. The winters are very mild and the hot summer days are often followed by short rain storms. I did not realize how much the ocean breezes cooled the air until I moved about an hour-and-half inland to attend college. The summer air was so humid and thick you could cut it with a knife!

The good side, as a gardener, is I could grow so many tropical species down there! Now I am two-and-half hours from the coast and the winters are just a bit colder but not by much thanks to climate change.

Crepe Myrtles are a very popular tree or large shrub throughout the South. The flowers originally came in shades of red and pink but now there are whites and lavenders and purples. There are also a few sections with burgundy foliage, also.

NCSU has a very nice list of the cultivars with descriptions of flower color and growth habits:


A few photos for Crape Myrtles around Raleigh, North Carolina.

I call this color watermelon. These are in my neighborhood.


A pink Crape Myrtle in Cameron Village Shopping Center.


A young group of mixed colors near Cup-A-Joe.


And a beautiful purple Crape Myrtle in front of The Reader’s Corner.


This beautiful red one on Oberlin Road has a very nice shape.


And a white one photographed late in the evening.


Crape Myrtles need to only be pruned to removed crossed limbs or damaged or low hanging limbs. Some varieties have beautiful bark that can peel in beautiful strips which revel shades of red and brown.

Unfortunately, most landscape crews do not know how to prune this heavy blooming plant. They tend to prune crape myrtles as if they are herbaceous perennials.

This promotes an awful water- sprout type growth.

These are weak stems which may eventually split the main trunk where they are attached. This type of pruning creates a look of a pollarded tree. Its not attractive or healthy for any tree.

Just say NO and don’t.

No! No! No! If you are in doubt that your Crape Myrtles need to be pruned. Just don’t do it. They will look better with a more natural shape anyway.

This is a properly pruned crape myrtle.


This pruning allows the a more natural shape to develope which allows the beautiful and colorful bark to be seen.




Filed under General Gardening, Plants

Homemade pizza with homemade pizza dough.

On a day off from work, where I worked all morning in the garden, and now it’s too hot and humid to be out-of-doors I decided to make pizza from scratch this afternoon for dinner.

The recipe for the dough I used is a Basic Grilled Pizza Dough from Martha Stewart’s website. The link is below. I roasted tomatoes from the garden. The remainder of the ingredients are caramelized onions and pepper-jack and parmesan cheese with a prepaired tomato sauce.

Roasted tomato and caramelized onion pizza.

Preheat the over to 500f.

1) Make the dough and allow it to rest and rise. I used Martha Stewart’s Basic Grilled Pizza Dough.


2) While the dough is rising, cook the onions and tomatoes.

Cut the cherry tomatoes and place them cut side up on aluminum foil to speed the roasting and dehydration. Sprinkle with salt. Roast for about 30 to 45 minutes at 375f.


Heat oil in a wide pan on a medium stove. You may add butter if you wish. Prepair the onion by removing the root and top of the onion and remove the skin. Save them for your compost bin. Cut the onion in half. Lay the flat side down and cut the onions with the blade parallel to the top and bottom of the onion to make long strips. It’s important to have them the same size so they cook evenly. Pull the onions apart and then add them to the hot oil. Stir to coat with oil. Stir them often to brown evenly and to prevent them from burning. When they have browned on all sides turn down the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Cook for about 20 minutes to a golden brown.


3) Remove the dough from the bowl and knead flat helping it to become a square with the edges raised to fit in your sheet pan.


4) Use a spoon to spread the sauce up to the raised edge. I am using a tomato sauce but you may use an Alfredo sauce or any other sauce of your choice.

5) Spread a layer of cheese evenly to create a base for your items.

6) Add the roasted tomatoes.

7) Add caramelized onions and a cover layer of cheese.


8) Bake in a 500f oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the crust is browned and cheese is melted.


8) Yum! Homemade Pizza! I like the corner pieces because the crust is so good!


8) I suggest Bad Penny dark brown ale to wash it down!


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Filed under Food