Unheralded

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 …


Unheralded

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 …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Hosta Meditation

When we purchased Red Oak House, we were thrilled to have so many mature trees, however, we recognized how these should shape what we would do with our landscaping, especially in the smaller front yard. I’m no fan of mowing grass, and it grew in a rather insipid fashion under the shade of the red oak. Hence, I purchased these …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 20

A drought sky (above) here in North Dakota. Everyone who has half a brain is worried about the drought. July has turned hot, hot, hot. After a pleasant interlude at Crooked Lake with family for the July Fourth holiday, where we talked with our brother-in-law about how sparse few hay bales he’s been able to make this year, we returned …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 19

Spring flowers have given way to the summer blossoms in our garden. We eat fresh greens every day and give away radishes. The garlic crop is pathetic, and it makes me sad to look at it as, the new bed Jim prepared last fall was too rich. Our purple-hulled pea crop is also a disappointment, as I fear we were …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Riding My Bicycle

These lovely summer mornings I’ve been riding my bicycle on Bismarck’s trail system. This morning, as I pedaled, my mind wandered back to riding on Slope County dirt roads. On many occasion, I had to dodge bullsnakes and rattlesnakes, giving them a wide berth. Once, a pair of raccoons wandered out from our shelterbelt, startling me. I remember them as …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 18

On Thursday, I spent the day on my hands and knees pulling weeds at Red Oak House. I have no complaints, as this is a quiet task, and I like quiet, solitary tasks.  The millions of elm seeds that blew in have sprouted and needed to be removed, and aspens sprout in all sorts of unwanted places. While I worked, …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Notes No. 17

Back to Red Oak House garden notes for the summer of 2017 in Bismarck. This tree peony given to me by my friend, Bob Martinson, three years ago has become one of my favorites, not only for its yellow beauty but also because it is a symbol of the generosity of a fellow gardener. My sister and I agreed that …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Birding The Apple Creek Wetlands

Went to the Apple Creek wetlands east of Bismarck on Sunday morning to bird with my daughter, Chelsea Sorenson. She is a budding photographer and quite a good birder in her own right. May was such a windy month here that we didn’t do much birding; hence, we missed many of the migrating birds that hurry north to the Arctic. But …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Odds And Ends No. 1

Odds and ends it is. While we had frost on our cooler Tuesday morning in the Bad Lands, by Friday, the thermometer in our Bismarck home recorded 100 degrees! That, gentle reader, is too extreme. But the walleye are biting on the Missouri River, and the gardens look splendid (well, some of the new annuals are pretty wilted from the …

ERIC BERGESON: The Country Scribe — Prairie Cemetery Tips

The Country Scribe, Eric Bergeson, knows a bit about caring for flowers, trees and shrubs in the Northland, being the third-generation owner of Bergeson Nursery in Fertile, Minn., a business started by his grandfather in 1937. Here, Eric offers some tips about caring for plants that you may have at your family cemetery plot, which is particularly pertinent on this Memorial Day weekend.

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Got That Darned Garage Sale Out Of The Way!

Finally, that darned garage sale is finished! My sister, Beckie, and I pulled it off Saturday, in my driveway. Since we both had perennials for sale, I figured why not? Just when I figured the whole exercise was a waste, someone would drive up and buy stuff. We did best selling our plants. Had I charged for garden tours, I would have …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Gardening In North Dakota In May

So here we are. Gardening in North Dakota. Not for sissies. The weather has changed. Again. Frost warnings. I’ve taken in some of the patio pots. It’s a drag, but it is what we must do. Too much invested in these plants, after all. It’ll just be a couple of days, and we’ll be back to normal. The columbine have …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Busy Times At Red Oak House

It is such a busy time at Red Oak House. So much is happening in the garden.  More on that later. But first, this past weekend was filled with the gift of family. My sister, Sarah, brought my daughter, Rachel, from Dickinson, N.D., for the weekend. Sunday, my day started with brunch with my daughters and husband. They presented me …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — 1 Corinthians 13 and Birdsong

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — The Fragrance Of The Day

Tuesday my yard was filled with the intoxicating fragrance of our blooming crabapple trees. Sunday there was a hint of blossom in the fat buds, and with Monday’s sunshine, these fully opened. Bismarck is filled with crabapple and other blossoming trees, and the pollinators are quite busy. Although we don’t have one, the fragrance of the plum trees takes me …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Wild Violets

It was a blustery spring day Monday at Red Oak House with the front passing through that brought thunder and rain to the northern Plains and a stiff breeze to rustle the new leaves everywhere. I could hear the chipping sparrows in the backyard. Any day, now the white-crowned sparrows will pass through. We are mostly done with the cleanup from Sunday evening’s …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Red Oak House Garden Update

Here at Red Oak House, it was a sunny 84-degree Saturday, and so many things in the garden are popping it is worthy of a photo update. It was a very busy day here. Jim did some cultivating and got some vegetables planted. It is pine pollen season, and everything is coated with the fine chartreuse pollen dust, including the furniture …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Grubbing Raspberries With Homemade Margaritas For My Reward

After my morning yoga class, I made another foray to one of our local nurseries, then it was home to the work in the garden. After I’d planted my new treasures, I had to turn to grubbing raspberries. Until the last couple of years, I’d not had much experience with growing raspberries. When we grew them at our Dunn County …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Time For A Cold Glass Of Chardonnay

It’s time for a cold glass of Guenoc chardonnay on the patio of Red Oak House after a perfectly delightful afternoon in the garden, time to savor the goodness of life. Late morning was spent at the local garden shops and then it was home to plant my new treasures. Is there anyplace as happy on a May day than …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Earth Day 2017

Jim and I spent Earth Day 2017 working in our yard in the dee-lightful spring sunshine. We might have joined the marches for science around the country, but the yard work beckoned. I remember very clearly the first Earth Day in 1970. We got out of school that day to pick up trash in the ditch along state Highway 12 …

DARREL KOEHLER: The Prairie Gardener — Easy-Care Roses

No one has done more to create the easy-care modern roses you now find in so many gardens than Canadians breeders. Unless gardeners were ready to battle subzero cold and hot and humid summers, they were just out of luck. A modern rose is any cultivar introduced since the advent of the hybrid tea in 1867. Only a few, however, combined hardy …