Monday, June 11, 2012

"What? Again?!"

A delightful, dainty, dwarf iris… ‘What Again’

There is nothing typical about THIS bearded iris!  Sword-like foliage grows to a height of just 10” – 12”  (not 24” – 36”  like an ordinary iris).   The showy blossom presents lower petals in soft yellow, with upright petals in shades of lavender.  

‘What Again’ may seem like a peculiar name for a cultivar, but it makes sense when you understand it will bloom in the spring and again in autumn!  This iris may have been more appropriately named:  “What??!!  Again???”   This easy-care perennial plays nice with a variety of perennials, such as Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’ and  various spring flowering bulbs.

To encourage the autumn bloom, simply cut away the expired blossom in late spring, and then look forward to your second blooming session in Sept/October.

Low maintenance is a bonus; tubers will multiply underground and should be dug out every 3 – 4 years to encourage maximum flowering.

This dwarf iris (Iris pumilaWhat Again’) is drought tolerant and is rated for USDA Zone 3 through Zone 9, which means it will thrive virtually anywhere in the USA except Alaska and Hawaii.   Plant a few tubers of ‘What Again’ in your yard, and look forward to a show next spring, with an encore in autumn!

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture

Monday, June 4, 2012

Grow spices - bake cake! Cinnamon Crunch Rhubarb Cake recipe :)

Most herbs are the leaves or fleshy tissue of an edible plant.  Spices, however, are usually derived from the bark or seed pod of a plant, such as cinnamon and nutmeg.  Following is my own recipe I’d like to share which incorporates cinnamon and nutmeg to take a rhubarb cake to a higher level. Enjoy!  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From the Kitchen of Lynn Schmid  
(Horticulturist at Lammscapes)

Cinnamon Crunch Rhubarb Cake -- a delicious treat that uses fresh rhubarb from your garden  (can use frozen rhubarb, if desired)

Topping can be mixed and set aside:
½ cup white granulated sugar, one tsp. cinnamon, ¼ tsp nutmeg

½  cup Crisco® shortening
1  cup light brown sugar
½  cup white granulated sugar
Cream above ingredients with mixer until smooth; then add:

1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour milk (2 TBSP. vinegar + 7 ozs. milk; can substitute buttermilk)
1 tsp. baking soda
Mix until batter is creamy and smooth; then add:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted, plus one tsp. cinnamon

Gently fold in the final ingredient: 1-1/2 cups THINLY SLICED rhubarb (note: if using frozen, thawed rhubarb, suggest draining excess liquid before adding)

Use cooking spray to prepare 9x13 Pyrex® glass baking dish.  Spread batter evenly; then gently spoon sugar & spice topping over batter.

BAKE 50 MINUTES AT 325ยบ  (the aroma in your kitchen will be lovely!)
Allow to cool for 30 minutes to serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Topping forms crunchy, lightly browned surface.  Yield: 24 servings