Archive | July, 2017

Cleome “White Queen”

27 Jul

For my “White/Chartreuse Moon Garden,” I searched all over the area for the tall Cleome, “White Queen”.

Cleome hassleriana White Queen

“Clusters of large white blooms show off against the dark green leaves below and add sparkle to every other color in the garden.  This beauty blooms without pause, beginning in late June here and continuing until frost.  It produces large, globe-shaped flower heads composed of amazingly delicate, spidery blooms.  It is tough and vigorous, smiling through heat and drought in every corner of the country.  It can be used as a backbone plant in a mixed border, and is a constant companion in the cottage garden.”  (Quote from White Flower Farm)

Cleome “White Queen”

 

White Queen was an important part of my Moon Garden last summer.  For this year’s garden, I started looking in May.  I tried 5-6 sources, but couldn’t get my hands on any.

Then crazy luck.  I think it was July 4th holiday weekend.  Driving around, late afternoon stop at a garden center to peruse their nearly sold out annual rack.  One unlabeled 6 pack, bone dry, nondescript, almost weedy appearance.

I recognized the structure and leaves as tall cleome.  Studying it really closely, one tiny solitary bud looked white.  The other tiniest buds in the 6 pack looked pink & violet.   I figured it was a Queen Mix and hopefully had at least one white cleome!   Fingers crossed, this would be too good crazy luck.  I had to take home this incredibly far flung, promising, unlabeled, neglectedly dry 6-pack.

Immediate water to help them & consider locations for potential pink/violet colors I don’t need in White/Chartreuse Moon Garden.   Popped in the ground and within a few days, grew taller and stronger and revealed, yes. . . guess what?!?!  YES, score!   One white tall cleome, here she is, 4 times the size when I found her.

Growing strong

If you look closely at the ground in above photo, you can see the additional twist to the story.    In the bit of space I cleared to plant her, same as last year,  I noticed the tiniest green sprouts in the area.   As days passed and White Queen got stronger, I watched the tiny sprouts nearby developing tiny leaves the similar shape as bigger White Queen.   Hey, wait a second… this could be really amusing.   I gave the tiny spouts some water, diluted fertilizer and watched.   Days went by and I was curious if all the sprouts would crowd each other out or be too weak.   Last fall, when the Cleome flowers were done and I put the garden to bed for winter, I noticed some dried seed pods opened.   Similarly, I took all the seed pods I could find and also sprinkled them like nature would do.  These seedlings were going to be tall white cleome!  The tiny seeds had unexpectedly sprouted.

Self-seeded Cleome getting taller and even flowering

A month ago I barely had ONE white cleome, now these little ones appeared from last year’s seeds.   Lots of them!   Over the weekend I marveled at the appearance of one, only 1/5th height of the big one and already flowering.  (little one is lower right corner)

White Queen cleome (center) with little self-seeded White Queens (left & right) and lower right, one already showing flowers!

close-up of self seeded Cleome flowering (quickly!)

 

Enterprise Bank Boot Scootin’ Boogie 5k and Brewfest Music Festival, July 15, 2017

20 Jul

Londonderry Athletic Field Association Complex

Podium day,  1/111 AG

6:30 PM race start

Boot Scoot Ready!

Bonfire, beer tasting, concert, mechanical bull, 16 breweries, 1400 people! Millennium Running continues to expand on the fun!

My third consecutive year competing at this race and like last year, grabbed a black Dunkin’ Dark Roast iced coffee on the way, hoping for some energy. YUM!!!   Concerned because I’ve been dealing with heel pain the past month and Thursday before the race, I even had to stop my run because it was so painful… no expectations, wondering about the pain to gut through a race… at least it isn’t marathon distance. (At podiatrist appt 2 days post-race, heel x -rays and ultrasound showed I have a calcaneus bone bruise – ouch!!!  “a bone bruise can be described as a stage before the fracture”)

Superfast friend Pat Bourgault was racing (2nd race of the day) plus a very large field of competitors… gulp… extra daunting.   Picked up my race number, singlet, wrist band, tasting glass (5 oz) for the Brewfest and walked back to the car for some banana & warm up.   The start line was located differently from last 2 years.   We lined up in the start corral for the national anthem, nervous anticipation, the gun fired and we were off!!!!   After we got to the bottom of the first hill, right on Mammoth Road (128) I tried to not let a few friends get too far ahead of me.   Greg, Ellen and Pat are all so fast.   We looped into the residential neighborhoods where we were cheered on and I tried to keep pushing . . . keep it together. . . I didn’t have too much extra, just hang on.   I think Violent Femmes (alternative rock 1980s) were on the iPod Shuffle.   Hoping for the next mile marker, keep hanging on.   I tried to keep Pat in reach, she is such a strong, fast, tough competitor.

Back out on the main road for uphill climb towards the school (Millennium Mile start).   When you’re in race mode, roads seem extra long and steep . . . focus on form, nothing to set off right heel.   Mammoth Road hill, up, up, up – then right on Sergeant for some more uphill . . . focusing, go, go, go!

Coming towards finish line

Yay, I could hear announcer Andy Schachat’s voice coming towards finish line.   Anything left I could find, kick with it. . . . go, go, go, strong finish . . . I rounded the final left, the finish arch will be soon, kick it super strong . . . finish clock in view and hearing Andy Schachat’s super generous, complimentary shout out “Sarah Prescott, future NH Hall of Famer” makes me feel so rewarded. . . over the line!!! WHEW!!!!

Kept walking, moving for a bit.   WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!   Somehow I got it done and I am ridiculously grateful.   I tried to drink some water and check in with friends, then see how I did at the instant results on TV screen mounted on Millennium Running Timing Trailer. What?!?!? When I saw the “1” in division, it seemed too good to be true!!!  No way!?!?!  Unbelievably fortunate for how it came together.   Truly a gift I’ll savor for long, long time – a podium day is never ever taken for granted.   Dang, holy cow.

Trying to slow down, I picked up a sample of flatbread pizza just out of the fire  http://www.americanflatbreadproducts.com/revolution/ I love watching the wood fired oven and the philosophy of American Flatbread.   I also grabbed a spike bag from sponsor Enterprise Bank (needed one!)

American flatbread pizza. Flatbread pizza oven!!! YUM!!! Loved the Revolution: caramelized onions, mushrooms, blend of fine cheeses and herbs.

Pat and I picked up our awesome cow bell awards!! FUN!!! LOVE them!!!!   Millennium Running is always thinking, perfect tie-in to the event!!!   We also were awarded Millennium Retail Store gift certificates.

With Pat Bourgault and awesome cowbell awards!!! FUN!!

Trying to take it all in, savoring the night, so much good stuff at once . . . awesomeness all around.   My heel gave such an incredible effort and hurt as Pat and I walked the half mile back to the school parking lot.   I totally wanted to see the bonfire, but walking or putting weight on my heel was rough, dang.   What would my coaching advisor do?  Put ice on it, don’t delay.   (At least I got to see “the Northeast’s largest contained fire” bonfire the two prior years!)

On the ride north, I quickly picked up celebratory raw tuna and got home by 9:00 for some asparagus, zucchini/tomato/ fresh herbs/garlic/onion celebration dinner and recounting the events.

Cowbell award, tasting glass

I feel incredibly blessed . . . totally fortunate & living the dream!!!

Singlet, tasting glass, cowbell & gift certificate awards. Millennium does an incredible job!

23:25  Age Graded 71.32%, AG Time: 20:42

Unexpected, lucky Podium Day. . . cherish & savor

Tomatoes with potato leaves?!? Brandy Sweet Plum (BSP)

5 Jul

Yup!!  Brandy Sweet Plum, one of the cherry tomato varieties I grew last year and again this year has potato leaves!  They look really interestingly cool, potato  leaf tomato !!  Photos of my BSP on July 4, 2017.

Brandy Sweet Plum, potato leaf!

 

From Wikipedia: 

Potato leaf (PL) is one of two major types of leaves which tomato plants exhibit. The other type is referred to as “regular leaf” (RL).   Simply stated, potato leaf tomato plants have a smooth leaf edge[1] when compared with the serrated edge of the regular leaf.   The shape is oval and may feature notches separating large lobes.[1] Its color is dark green.[1]

Brandy Sweet Plum – the fruit will be pink when ripe.  Fascinating how the flowers become orbs

Tomatoes and potatoes are both nightshade vegetables… “as they are cousins, more or less, they share some of the same traits, including similar foliage. Leaf color and size can vary with each variety of tomato and is influenced by climate, nutrients and growing methods.  At the end of the day, potato leaf tomatoes can be chalked up to just one of nature’s curious quirks, a good one that allows for further varieties of tomato to be grown even if just for fun.”

Brandy Sweet Plum, lots of fruit coming – hang in there little ones!

 

Description:  BSP   “AKA Brandysweet Plum.   Seeds sent to Gary Ibsen for TomatoFest seed trials via Kenneth Cook from N.H., from Neil Lockhart  and from Gaza Korbely from Hungary.   This is a wonderful indeterminate, open-pollinated, compact, potato leaf, tomato variety that was an accidental cross between Brandywine and Sweet 100, yielding abundant crops of 2 oz., jade-pink, elongated cherry fruit with the rich, complex flavors of Brandywine combined with the pronounced sweetness of Sweet 100.   I’ve been told that it is difficult for these cherry tomatoes to make it out of the garden and into the kitchen because of their superb taste.   A great snackin’ and salad tomato.”

Growing, growing – what are you?!?

5 Jul

Of the 7 cherry tomato plants, the fruit on one has been way in the lead.   Hmm, the fruit is supposed to be 1″ ripe… these guys are looking like monsters!!  What’s going on?!  These are not looking like cherry tomatoes – this is curious…

Looking bigger than a cherry tomato!

Yesterday, I looked closely at the name tag – what I thought was a chocolate  cherry –  then looked closer, hidden deeper in the soil… the rest of the name… what?!?!  I’m not imagining their difference from the cherry tomatoes, the name revealed this is actually a beefsteak heirloom chocolate Cherokee.   No wonder these look different!!!   Rather than 1″ little cherry tomatoes, these are reported to be 3-4″ (although one post said “as large as grapefruit”) 10-14 oz.  I had wanted to try something different this year – OK, this will be fun!  Can’t wait to try them!!

chocolate cher… rest of the name tag – that explains the monster size!

Description of Chocolate Cherokee:  A stabilized version of Cherokee Purple. Craig LeHoullier stabilized this rogue heirloom in 1995, originating from the popular old heirloom from Tennessee, Cherokee Purple. Big, sprawling vigorous plants that yield 3-4-inch, 10-14 oz., mahogany-colored beefsteak tomatoes. Cherokee Chocolate has developed a great following among celebrity chefs because of its exceptionally rich, complex, tomato flavors and wonderful chocolaty appearance.

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