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Equisetum

Equisetum (horsetail, snake grass, scouring-rush, puzzlegrass) is the only living genus in Equisetaceae, a family of vascular plants that reproduce by spores rather than seeds. Native to North America. Equisetum hyemale is a vigorous evergreen perennial with a striking vertical habit with multiple bamboo-like dark green stems arranged in dense clumps. Each stem has vertical ridges and is jointed or …

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July in Our Sunnyvale Garden 2019

July’s garden is full of sunflowers, ripening vegetables and fruit. We were out of town for a few weeks so the garden was on its own — with some help from the extensive drip irrigation.

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Apricot Puree

Our volunteer Blenheim apricot tree produced a lot of fruit this year. Last week, at the end of our harvest, I cut down one branch and harvested over 200 fruits. I tried giving them away on Nextdoor but there were no takers. I froze about a dozen bags of apricot halves. I didn’t want to waste the rest so decided …

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Calla Lily

Calla lilies are easy to grow and add a classy look to perennial gardens, cutting gardens and container plantings. Their smooth, sword-like foliage stays neat and attractive all season long. Native to South Africa, Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia) provide a spectacular effect with their rich, cheerful colors and their breathtaking chalice-shaped flowers (spathe) surrounding a finger-like stalk (spadix). Calla lily flowers …

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Tomatillo – Green

If you’ve sampled a salsa or jam containing these green wonders, you should consider adding tomatillo (toh-mah-tee-yo) plants to your garden. Most years we grow a couple of tomatillo plants along with our tomatoes. Our 2019 tomatillo plants are courtesy of a Sunnyvale garden meetup. Originating in Mexico and Central America, this citrusy plant has been an important food crop …

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June in our Sunnyvale garden 2019

June in our Sunnyvale garden is full of flowers, ripe fruit and ripening vegetables. For more of the story, see below the photo gallery. We have two Blenheim apricot trees. One is a volunteer from a discarded pit. It grows in a two-foot wide trench. It produces hundreds of fruit. Which is good because a couple dozen fruit every day …

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Dahlia

These colorful spiky flowers, native to Mexico, bloom from midsummer to first frost. Each flower has one head per stem. The flowers range in color and  size, from the giant 10-inch “dinnerplate” blooms to the 2-inch lollipop-style pompons.  We have grown dahlias in our Sunnyvale garden for over 20 years. If you are patient then you can treat the dahlia …

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Hollyhock

Alcea rosea, the common Hollyhock, originated in Asia and the area around the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. These stately beauties belong to the Mallow (Malvaceae) family, which includes 1500 different species. Hollyhocks are hardy between USDA zones 3 and 8 (Sunnyvale). How to Grow Hollyhocks Alcea rosea is variously described as a biennial (having a two-year life cycle), as an annual, …

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Passion Fruit ‘Nancy Garrison’

With spectacular flowers and tasty fruit, you gotta try growing this passion fruit. This variety is named after Nancy Garrison, a Master Gardener in Santa Clara County. The vine was found in front of an old farm house and handles the cooler winters of our region. Passion fruit is widely grown and valued throughout the tropics and subtropics. Most Passifloras …

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Pickled Shiso

A few years ago I bought one Red Shiso plant as a novelty. Its foliage was very distinctive and it had the promise of edible pleasure. Now, through the wonders of wind-aided propagation, I have several plants. Searching through the web for recipes, Pickled Shiso leaves is one of the top hits, especially in Korea. Think of it as Korean …

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