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Garden Photo of the Day

Gorgeous Edibles and More!

Muhly grass at peak in my October garden 

Diane LaSauce from Free Union, VA shares her amazing edibles and heirlooms – truly a labor of love!

"I began this central Virginia garden in 2001. Gardens were non-existent. First years were spent removing invasives, diseased, and uninteresting plant/tree material. A one-half acre in zone 6 now provides many edibles grown using organic methods. Extensive raised bed areas and deep shrub borders contain 24 heirloom peonies, iris, daffodils, boxwood and native specimens, often rescued from abandoned properties. Much of the work I do myself, year round."

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Ichi Ke Jiro dwarf persimmon harvest 

Still life of my heirloom peonies in May 

Sunday breakfast with popovers with fresh blueberry conserve and heavy whipped cream

Happy bumblebee on blueberry flowers

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  1. User avater
    meander1 (Michaele ) 10/07/2015

    Oh, my, Diane, first off, your pictures are stunning. Do you have a professional photographer background? Ha, I had an embarrassing saliva response when gazing at your popover picture...it looks so yummy. The still life of your heirloom peonies is beautifully dramatic ...your garden must be a delight in May with that wonderful fragrance wafting about. And, I saved the best for last...sigh, one of the plant loves of my life...muhlenbergia capillaris...magical muhly holds me in its spell this time of year. I have some wonderful swaths of it and when they are backlit by the sun, they literally stop me in my tracks. You caught yours at a gloriously luminous time of day.
    Free Union is in such a beautiful part of VA. I have some dear friends who live on an acreage there and I am always so captivated by the rolling land and gorgeous mountain views.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Kind words! Photography is my passion, and now that I reside in one of the most picturesque places in Albemarle County, I shoot away and share my views on my blog and on my Facebook page...I invite you to visit both!

      Yes, that popover was memorable, especially crowned with conserve from freshly harvested blueberries!

      The heirloom peonies came from my home place on LI, and were sent to me when I bought my home in 2001. I sold more than 600 stems this past May at our local farmer's market. I adore how peonies evoke such happy memories for customers.

      Early morning and as the sun sets are glorious times here during m. capillaris season! The dew or frost create an over-the-top bonus! And although I dislike pink in the garden, I made an exception here.

      1. User avater
        meander1 (Michaele ) 10/09/2015

        Hi, again, Diane. I often have a researchy bent and had actually done a little sleuthing on line the other day to see if you were a professional photographer or had some other reason to have a website. I came across your presence on your blog and facebook page Although I'm not a "foodie" and hence don't typically pour over cooking/baking sites, I was so impressed with your beautiful food pictures. You're quite a talent in multiple areas.

        1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

          I am so glad you "meander-ed" around the Internet and found me. Your kind comments are sincerely appreciated! I hope you will poke around my 160+ blog posts, as many garden essays and DIY projects are featured there. I enjoy hearing from my readers...Diane

  2. wGardens 10/07/2015

    Well, Diane.... I think you've captured everyone's attention today with those photos! The grass is stunning, the peonies are gorgeous, the popover is mouth-watering! Looks like another round of photos is in order!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Why thank you Margaret! Such nice feedback from garden lovers! I work mostly alone here in my gardens, and share these experiences on my garden blog. I invite you to visit there and please comment! http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com

  3. Chris N 10/07/2015

    Wonderful photos. The muhly grass is amazing. And, though I know what persimmons are, I've never seen one. They don't grow in Wisconsin. I saw the photo of the blueberry popover and assumed you grew the blueberries. Next photo confirmed that. Please send more photos.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thanks Chris for your kind comments! Please visit my garden blog at http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com where I write about home, garden, life here in central Virginia

  4. PeonyFan 10/07/2015

    Great photos! Ah, I envy you your persimmon tree.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thank you Mary. See my notes to Tim regarding the latest news on the persimmon tree. ;-)

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/07/2015

    Oh, yeah! What everyone else said! Gorgeous. I was just having a conversation with Meander1 about growing Muhly grass. I tried one year and they froze solid over the winter, but I'm basically zone 6 (with the occasional zone 5ish winter). I really need to grow that, and if you can, I bet I have a chance. Try, try again. Thanks for sharing your beautiful, artful photos and pleas keep sharing!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thank you Tim for your kind words! The muhly here never missed a beat! I removed many other grasses over the past 14 years, as they grew too large, or were too invasive. Although I do not like the color pink, I made an exception here, when I saw the morning light dazzle the dew! Truly a garden showstopper if planted in a full sun area. My terrace wall appears to be the perfect location. See more of my garden photos and DIY's on my blog, http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com

      1. User avater
        Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 10/09/2015

        Thanks for the link, Diane. Took a quick tour and will return. Your photography is pretty sweet; definitely shows your passion. I've removed a lot of grasses, too. Some seeded about annoyingly, others were just too much work to cut back and divide to keep looking sharp. The muhly is going be given another try, however.

        1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

          Good to hear Tim. Muhly behaves and I manage to cut down annually by myself by cinching the base and cutting off with a wood hand saw...then into the burn barrel. When any babies appear, or the plant base grows too large around, I merely dig out the back side of the base and either share or sell at the farmer's market.
          My one piece of advice: full sun and don't do anything else...no food, no water and voila!

  6. User avater
    gringopeligroso 10/07/2015

    Diane!! You've provided a strong dose of inspiration and gumption to this olde boy with your visions of "how it could be!!" I also just moved to a Zone 6 garden....altho I hesitate to call it that just yet... and am spending an inordinate amount of time removing invasives, have a brush pile the size of a house to be burned, and relocating/removing neglected survivors from ages past!! Seeing the results you've attained gives me much needed hope!! I DO have a nagging question for you, tho: I planted several Japanese Persimmons last year and they all froze to the ground. (They're not recommended for lower than Zone 7.) How are you able to harvest from your realm?? Microclimate?? Pray tell!! While we have lots of the Native Persimmons in this region, the oriental varieties are just a tad more desirable!!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Jesse, join the fight in zone 6! Although many say I reside in zone 7, I am in the foothills, which puts me over the zone.
      I cannot grow Brown Turkey Figs here, as they would never quite ripen by frost time.
      The Ichi is coming down this year, as it drops all it hundreds of fruit throughout the growing season, despite much pampering! Very sad! The seller, who lives on a mountain not far from here, raises them without any problem, yet they will not discuss my issues. SO, slated for removal, as soon as arborist arrives. I love the photo of my first harvest. Loved the fruit, and a local chef wanted to buy all that I raised!

  7. GrannyCC 10/07/2015

    Diane what beautiful photos and plants. I will come to breakfast anytime! I love the Muhly grass.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thanks for your kind comments Catherine! See more of my garden life on my blog.

  8. Sheila_Schultz 10/07/2015

    Diane, I love the softness of your muhlenbergia capillaris, they are magnificent when planted in drifts. (Note to self... plant more muhly!) Your photography is what really blows me away, though, it's definitely professional quality. WOW!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Many thanks Sheila. Photography is my passion. I live in a picturesque part of the US, and have many more images with essays on my blog. http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com

  9. CJgardens 10/07/2015

    Diane, thanks for sharing your gardening story. I admire your use of heirlooms and natives and using organic practices. I believe all of us have to work at eliminating invasives. Your photos are beautiful but I'd love to see your extensive raised beds. Hope you will share more.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      CJ, thank you for your kind comments. You may see many photos and short essays on my blog at http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com ~ just type "raised beds" or "DIY" into the search bar at the top of the blog... Diane

      1. CJgardens 10/10/2015

        Diane, I visited your blog. Spent a couple hours perusing your posts. Very informative and interesting. Will definitely continue to visit. cj

        1. diane_lasauce 10/11/2015

          Thank you cj!

  10. Cenepk10 10/07/2015

    I have Muhly grass jealousy … and the pop over looks mouth-watering ! Lovely photography… Leaves me wanting to see more.

  11. Dvngardener 10/07/2015

    Lovely gardens, and I am coming to your house for breakfast!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thank you Lily!

  12. Schatzi 10/07/2015

    Gorgeous! and about that popover - do you deliver? Yum!!

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Thank you Shirley! Yes, that popover was a real treat. During blueberry season, I must be creative regarding food and harvests...

  13. User avater
    Linda on Whidbey 10/08/2015

    Diane, like the others here have mentioned, I would also love to see more of your garden. Your experience of having to remove invasives to get your garden started mirrors ours here on Whidbey Island, WA, after our move from WI. We also built raised beds and grow peonies ( mostly ITOHS) and blueberries, but here is where the similarities end as I have never created a delicious blueberry treat like you and have yet to photograph our garden as beautifully. I am definitely going to look into Muhly grass to see if it will grow in our zone.

    1. diane_lasauce 10/09/2015

      Linda, you live in an enviable place in the US! Since you would like to see more of my gardens, please visit my blog "home, garden, life" at http://dianelasauce.wordpress.com
      I have posted 160 blogs regarding these topics...enjoy!

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