Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 48: Wrapping Up The Summer Season

Although the growing season began with such promise, Jim is bemoaning that it has been a disappointing year in the vegetable gardens, as he harvests the meager take of vegetables. Last year at the same time, he was bringing in 30 or so tomatoes a day, and now he only finds about three or four ripe among the hundreds of …


Unheralded

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 47: The Daylilies Are Waning

Peak daylily bloom here at Red Oak House has passed, and I can’t help but feel a bit wistful about this. The focus of this past July has been daylilies of all kinds, and not just in my garden. Late in the month, I took in an exhibit of daylily art at Bismarck Art Gallery Associates, where it was delightful …


LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 45: Life Is A Garden, Friends Are The Flowers

The riotous beauty of the daylilies has me feeling that I’m somewhat neglecting the glory of my hostas, so today I’m featuring the front yard. As I’ve written in the past, I’m no fan of lawns and mowing, thus we’ve converted nearly every foot of our yard to beds, including the front yard. The sight in the first few years …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 44: Daylilies, Daylilies, Dayliles … And A Bunch Of Voles

The daylilies are coming fast and furious, accompanied by a fierce outbreak of mosquitoes. I have 189 varieties of daylilies. My sister, Beckie, and I collect these and together we have 225 varieties. We also belong to the Bismarck-Mandan Daylily Club and have great fun together at the annual auction. On Sunday, my absolute favorite of all of the 189 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 43: The Daylilies Enter The Stage With A Bang

Now is the time when all of our hard work in the gardens of Red Oak House pay us with the joy of abundant blossoms and fresh vegetables. We’ve eaten the first of our tomato crop ― all juicy and scrumptious, along with fresh peas and beans. Now are the days of meals we call “nothing from the store.” Meanwhile, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 42 — A Mostly Cool June

Although we had a few scorcher days in June, most days it was cool and the Red Oak House windows remained wide open. Late June also brought the blessings of rain, an inch and a quarter in the last days of this week. We can finally breathe a sigh of relief that the drought is over. The vegetable garden looks terrific, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 41 — Cutworms Get Broccoli, Grill Goes On Fritz

Every gardener experiences successes and failures and must learn to go with the flow. Here at Red Oak House, the cutworms killed the heretofore vigorous broccoli. Mr. Green Jeans has replanted broccoli and protected the plants this time with milk cartons. On the bright side, the tomatoes look terrific, as does the rest of the vegetable garden. And for now, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 40 — It Rains!

The days continue to grow longer here in the northern latitudes as the calendar progresses toward the summer solstice, and our garden is proof of that inescapable rhythm. It finally has rained, although not much. Yet, we are extremely grateful for the precipitation, in spite of the fact that some of it fell as we were conducting our book sale. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 39

The air is fragrant here at Red Oak House because all of the crab apple trees and lilacs are blooming. Thus, it is exceptionally pleasant to work at our gardening chores. The juneberry bush is loaded with blossoms, and our resident house wrens have returned. Their cheerful call makes our back patio an even more pleasant haven. Jim has finished …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 38

That Champion Red Oak tree drops a massive quantity of leaves and I’ve just spent much of the last week picking these up, schlepping each garbage can load to the compost pile. Phase two of spring gardening also included cutting back the few perennials I did not trim last fall and transplanting those I’d noted in need of a different …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 37

Saturday I planted the zinnia seeds, pushing each tiny seed into a peat pellet. The seedlings had already begun to emerge Monday, and I can almost watch ’em grow. In the dining room, Jim’s tomatoes are thriving. He says these are the best he’s ever had. Outside there is almost a foot of new snow and a big dump in …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 36

Winter is hanging on here, with a vengeance. We have about a foot of snow on the Red Oak House gardens. Although we are weary of winter, we do view this as critical moisture — moisture that we were lacking last summer and fall. This is what the first day of spring looked like out our windows. Tuesday, there was …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 35

March 15 is “plant the tiny tomato seeds” day at Red Oak House. When I wandered into the kitchen this morning, Jim asked me, with great delight in his voice, if I knew what the significance of this day was. I had not yet had coffee and was stumped (I’ll admit that I didn’t try very hard). This project is …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 34

Last week one night, I dreamed of the upcoming garden season, a dream filled with blossoms and bounty. The gardening season has begun here, in the basement, as Jim has planted the pepper seeds and tiny sprouts have emerged. In about a week, he will plant his tomato seeds. Many of the seeds we are using were purchased at Seed …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Thoughts Of Spring, Tomatoes And Peppers On A Cold Winter Day

Note: I am reprinting (reposting?) below a story I first ran three years ago this week. It’s about tomatoes. I was thinking about it because today I am preparing my basement “greenhouse” for spring. I’m getting ready to plant peppers, which need to be started indoors really early because they take a long time to ripen on the bush. We …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 33

These past two days back home at Red Oak House found us back to fall chores, and Jim catching walleye on the Missouri River, supper tonight. Wednesday night, with the gorgeous tiger’s-eye beans we’d brought home from Seed Savers Exchange and grass-fed beef from the Striefels, I cooked up a huge pot of chili, making enough so that Jim and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Thousands Of Tomatoes

Well, on Thursday I said it to Jim. That statement that comes around every year: “I don’t want to see another tomato again for quite awhile.” By this point, we’ve converted thousands of tomatoes (Jim says over 1,700, plus my sister gave us some of hers) into salsa, juice, marinara — and Thursday, I canned 14 quarts of tomato basil …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 32

Tuesday morning, I worked in the cool autumn sunshine on yard chores, getting things done before the snow flies. First, I tackled the pile of limbs we had accumulated over the summer in our trailer, breaking and sawing up the branches to add to our kindling pile. Lizzie the springer spaniel happily nosed around in the fallen leaves and disappeared …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — ‘Finding Beauty In A Broken World’

“A mosaic is a conversation between what is broken.” — “Finding Beauty in a Broken World,” a book by Terry Tempest Williams In what has been described by many as a “soul-crushing week” in the United States, I’m trying my damnest to focus on the blessings and gifts in my life. One of the finest gifts of friendship in my …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Frost Forecast

Frost is in the forecast for Red Oak House. It was inevitable and is an integral part of the life cycle.  On this chilly and breezy Tuesday morning, Jim and I harvested the last of the vegetables — that is everything but the Brussels sprouts, which are left out until they produce. We’ll see. Together we dug the parsnips, the leeks and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 31

Jim took a break Saturday from fishing and hunting in order to work on his garlic bed. He also cultivated an area in the vegetable garden for me. Now that we have a chicken-wire fence around the vegetable garden, I can plant tulips and the rascally rabbits won’t gnaw them down to nubs. I planted 80 bulbs — yellow and …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 30

Autumn beauty continues to emerge in my yard, including peak hydrangea color, hinting at the frost that is nigh. Jim complains that he has about 500 green tomatoes still on the vine, and the folding table is back in the dining room in preparation for bringing those in for ripening, ending the cycle that began with the seedlings in that …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Autumnal Equinox and Dakota Trails

With the arrival of the autumnal equinox, my writing will begin to shift away from the garden returning to the topic of Dakota Trails, among other topics. My two favorite days on the calendar are the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, when the light of the world is equal, in complete harmony between day and night. Although autumn is my favorite …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Marinara

On Wednesday, I commandeered the canner from Jim so that I could make the season’s first batch of marinara at Red Oak House. He grows a variety of tomatoes, including paste type, starting these from seed in the basement in the early spring. As I’ve previously written, he has harvested more than a thousand tomatoes and cans many jars of …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 29

Something is puzzling me this year in the garden. In the front yard, the impatiens are insipid, but in the backyard perennial beds, these bright shade annuals are robust. What could possibly be the explanation? My first instinct was the hot, dry weather and the lack of rain water, but this would be true both in front and back.  Naturally, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — September, North Dakota

My favorite month in North Dakota is September. It is a difficult choice. June is filled with new growth in the perennial beds and the planting of the garden and with birdsong. But September. Ah, September. The heat of summer has passed. I dislike the hot weather. I wilt easily. My children and husband were born in September, so it …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Rain At Red Oak House

Over an inch of rain in the gauge when we returned from Colorado and some showers this week reminded us that it still “can” rain in this country, and for this we give thanks. I spent Saturday afternoon sitting on the patio, nursing my knee injury and reading a book that I’m reviewing but eventually retreated to the house to listen …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 28

Home now — to return to garden harvest — after a week in which we neglected it for some folks festival fun. I noticed that this is my first of garden notes for August, a sign that my flowers peaked earlier this season. There are just a few daylily blossoms here and there, and I await the emergence of the chrysanthemums. Meanwhile, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Annual BLT Party

Here at Red Oak House, we’ve established a tradition, an annual mid-August BLT party with our good friends Bob and Jodi and Larry and Charlotte.  Some years Clay attends if he is in town. We cook up the bacon from Crow Butte Mercantile and slice up a bunch of our home-grown tomatoes. We were pleased today because, usually, our garden …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Broccoli Pasta Salad

Salads are for summertime — especially if you have a garden. There’s nothing like a bunch of fresh veggies from the garden — all tossed together in a bowl and seasoned with a homemade vinaigrette — to start off a meal. With a nice crop of lettuce and kale in our garden, we’ve been enjoying fresh salads for going on three months now. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Glen Campbell And Other Musings

When I was a little girl, Glen Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” was a big hit on AM radio. Somehow, because my father had been a lineman in Mississippi in the time period after World War II  I got confused and for a little while and was pretty sure he and Glen Campbell were one and the same person. I eventually got …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Rhythms Of Life: Family And Garden

“… all that we behold Is full of blessings” —  William Wordsworth I spent some of the morning with my nonagenarian father, who teaches me each day about dignity and stoicism. When out in public, he almost always wears a hat, and these hats tell about his life. I think the fact that he was in the U.S. Army Security …

ERIC BERGESON: Photo Gallery — Bergeson Gardens

Bergeson Gardens, located southeast of Fertile, Minn., at Bergeson Nursery, is in full bloom and will be through early September. There will be an open house at the nursery Saturday, which will feature free coffee and donuts, food and ice cream for sale, music (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.) and garden tours (10 a.m. and 2 p.m.). All plants will …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Gratitude, Rachel And Harvest

Sunday morning I was listening to the “Ted Radio Hour” on Prairie Public Radio. The subject of the interview was talking about physics and the universe, and he said, “We should be grateful for what we know and humbled by what we don’t know.”  Amen, say I. I have so much to be grateful for in my life. This weekend, I …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 27 And Lunch With Bob

“Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect any praise or reward.” — Ajahn Chah My father is spending the day with us and while I deadheaded the daylilies, he contentedly read the morning paper on the back patio. Can you tell I come from a line of readers? My delight this morning was in finding a new …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak Garden Notes No. 26: Hosta Harvest

This year, I resolved to try new things in life. After years of my husband urging me to write more, I started my blog. It has been surprisingly gratifying. I spent a lifetime writing newsletters, press releases, letters, memos, emails and the Stoxen Library blog, and one does get better at writing by, well, writing. Reading thousands of books by …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Blossom Blast 2017

I rolled out of bed early this morning (Saturday), eager to attend the Central Dakota Daylily Society 2017 Blossom Blast. The two gardens on the tour this year were members of the club I greatly admire, very serious daylily growers, and I certainly wanted to see their work. The tour did not disappoint. Members gathered, talking of last night’s rain …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 25

How beautiful is Raspberry Griffin daylily, pictured above?  It makes me smile. I cannot express, gentle reader, how happy it makes me to know that my dear friend, Bonnie Estes, of Arkadelphia, Ark., enjoys seeing my flower photos on my blog.  I am deeply indebted to Bonnie and Dr. Jack Estes for their kindness and generosity to me in my …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 24

Three-quarter of an inch of rain in a wondrous thunderstorm this morning (Wednesday) started the day off right here at Red Oak House. For the second day in a row, it will be cool enough for us to leave the windows open all day. Vegetable harvest has begun in earnest and Jim has frozen many bags already. Last night, we had …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 23

Peak daylily time rewards me with new blooms each day.  Here are today’s (Friday’s). Jim did a big-time bean harvest today (Friday) and has frozen a bunch for our winter enjoyment. We are triumphant over winning the battle with the rascally rabbits this year! Pesto/shrimp pizza with our broccoli and tomatoes for supper. And how about this glorious cloudburst? A horrific …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 22 Showstoppers

Gavin Petit Daylily opened this morning (Thursday) and it is, indeed, a showstopper. Out loud I say, “Wow!” each time I first see it. Others are reaching their peak bloom, too. Worthy of sharing. On a pass through the vegetable garden, a bonus was the discovery of the first shelling peas. I added the peas to the cold pasta salad waiting …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak Garden Notes No. 21 — Daylily Time Has Come

Gentle reader, I’ve been writing about the past, but today, it is time to return to my garden notes as the daylilies are exploding in all their glory.  Between my sister and I, we have 219 varieties of daylily. They are fairly easy to grow and hardy in our northern climate. I was first exposed to daylilies by my friend …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Making Pesto Day

After a pleasant morning drinking coffee and reading the paper on the patio, it was time for some work around here. I weeded the asparagus, cut basil and mowed the lawn, while Jim peeled garlic for my later project, homemade pesto. He even had me shoot video of his method of peeling garlic. You can see it here. I use …