Thursday, July 28, 2016

My colorful patio

I love having color in the garden. Many times we can achieve this by using lots of flowering plants. Bright beautiful flowers against green foliage is pure magic. When I use flowering plants, often I have to replant to bring life into my patio before the season ends. But I have a different approach to bring color into my outdoor living space. I use foliage plants in the containers to bring the long-lasting color.  Coleus are my all time favorite foliage to use in my patio. Please come along and enjoy the tour. This is the place I entertain all through the spring, summer and fall. 

In this space Ambuliton, also known as flowering maple, gives the height and drama against contrasting blood coleus. 















These flowers are called cassandra, which was a favorite of my mine growing up in India










For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Kitchen garden update and harvesting

This year, I have encountered a great disappointment after I planted the kitchen garden. One fine morning in April, all of cucumber patch were vanished. On the next day, the same thing happened with kale; after that, it was Swiss chard and Indian ridge gourd. I couldn't tell what was happening and who was eating all my vegetables without a trace. First I blamed it on gophers, then I thought it was a possum. I couldn't tell who was the culprit who was relishing my tender plants. I planted again and this time I secured my plants with chicken wire. Well, the problem was not solved. Someone got in anyway and got all the tender plants. Whoever was eating the vegetables didn't like bitter melon, tomatoes, and chilies. Someone had a sweet tooth!
With great disappointment, I was wandering in the kitchen garden, not knowing how to deal with the problem. I can't imagine summer without a kitchen garden. Finally I had my aha moment right in front of my eyes...I saw a squirrel leaving the garden! Now I know who the thief is but how do I deal with it? One of my friends came to my rescue with the solution, trapping them. I decided to trap them and leave them in the empty fields. I caught five of them so far. I replanted my cucumbers, Swiss chard, ridge gourd and salad greens. Over the last couple weeks, my plants have been thriving and I am harvesting and enjoying fresh picked vegetables.

The harvest

This was the bed of kale, after the squirrels indulged in all the leaves


Swiss chard, beyond recognition


All the plants were eaten by squirrels, except the weed purslane. Although it is a weed, purslane is full of omega-3. It is very good to include in our diet.


I planted cucumbers in the bed and totally encased them with chicken wire. The squirrels still got them!


Luckily, squirrels didn't like bitter melon. This particular vegetable is very good for health, especially for people with diabetes



Newly planted  ridge-gourd and Swiss chard patch after catching the squirrels


Tomatoes are more than six feet tall. The success is because of homemade compost enriched with chicken manure.


Banana peppers


Newly planted cucumbers



Today's harvest:Bitter melon, tomatoes loki(opo squash),different varieties of eggplant, tindoora and Indian beans


While I was harvesting vegetables, I harvested some purslane to incorporate in some of my stir frys. Whenever I used to see this weed, I would to pull out. Now when I see this weed, I am watering it to make it grow.




For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Ikebana flower arrangements

From time to time, I get very enthusiastic about brushing up on my ikebana flower arranging techniques. It is much easier to do western arrangements than ikebana. You do need to think about the container, flowers,alignment etc. I don't claim to be an expert with this art form, but I am a lifelong student trying to practice my favorite method of flower arranging. These are the two arrangements I made for the house. Hope you like them.

In this arrangement, since the container is so beautiful I used only one branch filled with berries, which was gathered on my hike.




A single leaf from the garden was added 

In this arrangement, along with the berry filled branch, the ming fern acts as an accent to two pin cushion proteas and one gloriosa lily arrangement.





For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Gardening

Today, I am sharing my front garden. Even though my garden is a mature garden, I have been tweaking, deleting and adding throughout the years.  As I was walking into the house today, I thought this front garden was almost to the point where I wanted it to be. Well, for the time being, or until I find an another plant I can't wait to grow.
My front garden is mainly made up of many palm trees, bird of paradise, proteas and agapanthus. My idea is to build a tropical themed garden. The main color theme is orange and yellow, which is striking against green foliage. Recently I added an accent of color with Japanese maple. Now that all the bird of paradises are done blooming, the color is peeking out from the hibiscus and bougainvillea.













For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes),please check out my books, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen and Trader Joe's Simply Indian at my website komalinunna.com.