plate of Hoppin' Poppers

Ingredients:

  • 12oz Cream Cheese
  • 6oz Blue Cheese
  • 4oz Real Bacon - crumbled
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • around 20 Peppers (either Jalapeno or bite-sized sweet peppers)

Directions:

Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl

If you are using a hot pepper such as a jalapeno, we recommend wearing latex or nitrile gloves to keep away from "the heat".

The peppers can be prepared one of two ways: First, if you don't have a pepper stand, you can slice the peppers lengthwise leaving the ends intact (like a canoe) so the filling doesn't run out. Or, if you do have a pepper stand, cut the top of the pepper off. Then, using either a pepper corer or a paring knife, remove pepper ribs and seeds.

Next, using a small spoon, drop the filling into the peppers. Don't over-fill the pepper as the filling will bubble and possibly overflow while cooking. Place peppers (or pepper stand) on hot grill and cook covered until cheese is bubbling and the outside of the peppers are just turning brown.

(Speaking from experience), Let it cool down a bit. Enjoy!

 


With a warm summer predicted, every gardener starts to think about watering and water consumption. Depending on your watering habits and your choice of plants, your actual water usage can vary greatly. Some great water wise options come from the Perennial family.

June is Perennials Gardening Month

Perennials are drought tolerant after at least 1 year of being planted in the ground. For perennials planted now, make sure they get ample irrigation this summer and next, and add compost when planting to ensure good drainage.

Here are a few of our favorite water-wise perennials:

blooming lavender

Lavender

Lavender fills the early-summer garden with sensory delights: beautiful purple-tone blooms atop foliage that oozes fragrance on a sunny afternoon. Every part of the plant is infused with aromatic oil, making this a choice herb to place along pathways or near outdoor seating areas so you can savor the fragrance. The darker the flower, the more intense the aroma -- and the flavor in cooking. Drought, heat, and wind-tolerant, lavender doesn't like poor drainage, waterlogged soil, or high humidity. After flowering, trim back plants to induce bushiness and subsequent bloom. Avoid cutting plants back to the ground. Dried blooms retain fragrance for a long time; crush dried flowers to release aromatic oils anew.


  • Loves the sun
  • Butterflies & hummingbirds drink the nectar
  • English lavender is great for culinary uses
  • Use in fresh or dried flower bouquets
  • Deer resistant!
close-up photo of Hens and Chicks

Hens & Chicks

From dark burgundy, to green with burgundy tips, to grey-blue, Hens & Chicks come in many colors. They are great for stone walls and crevices because they only require a small amount of soil volume. You’ll have many chicks which can be propagated by removing these offsets and potting them. Individual Sempervivum grows a star-shape flower, but there are cobweb varieties also. Allow them to dry slightly between waterings, as overwatering can cause rotting. Water very little during winter dormancy.


  • Perfect for small hot and dry areas in your garden
  • Assortment of shapes and colors and sizes
  • Great for containers and wall art too!


Groundcover Sedums

Tall Sedum & Groundcover Sedum

Sedum is a perennial with thick, succulent leaves, fleshy stems, and clusters of star-shaped flowers. There are many types of sedums, such as low–growing varieties for ground covers and tall varieties for back borders. There are few plants more forgiving of sun and bad soil than sedum plants. When growing sedum, keep in mind that sedum plants need very little attention or care. They will thrive in conditions that many other plants thrive in, but will do just as well in less hospitable areas. They are ideal for that part of your yard that gets too much sun or too little water to grow anything else. A common name for sedum is stonecrop, due to the fact that many gardeners joke that only stones need less care!

Tall Sedum

  • Assortment of foliage and late season flower colors
  • Flowers are loved by butterflies and bees
  • Leave faded flowers on for fall interest
  • Nice for fresh bouquets

Groundcover Sedums

  • Perfect for filler plants for hot and dry areas in your garden
  • Assortment of shapes and colors and sizes
  • Great for containers too
beautiful red Yarrow blooms

Yarrow

While often sold as a flowering perennial, yarrow plant is actually an herb. Whether you decide to grow yarrow in your flower beds or in your herb garden, it’s still a lovely addition to your yard. Yarrow care is so easy that the plant is virtually care-free. Yarrow has many uses as an herb. It is commonly used as a medicinal herb that can treat the bleeding of minor wounds, swollen or cramping muscles, reducing fever, or to help with relaxation. On the non-medicinal side, yarrow herb is an astringent and makes a good facial wash or shampoo. Whether you grow yarrow as a decorative plant or an herb, you can be sure that it will add beauty and interest to your garden.


  • Sturdy plants for sunny gardens
  • Assortment of flower colors, Red, Violet, Yellow & Terra Cotta
  • Deer resistant!

Butterflies love the flowers, birds love the seeds, and we love the generous long lasting bouquets.

Pink Echinacea for Perennial Gardening Month

It's hard to imagine a sunny perennial border without Echinacea! It is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants in the daisy family - Asteraceae. It is also known as the American coneflower, and it’s easy to grow in almost any sunny location.

Echinacea was commonly used for its medicinal properties by Native Americans for hundreds of years before the arrival of European explorers. It is endemic to eastern and central North America and thrives in moist to dry prairies and open woodlands.

 

  • Produces big, bright flowers from late June until frost
  • They love the heat and sunshine of summer
  • Great pollinators -- Birds and Butterflies love Echinacea
  • Blooms work well both cut and/or dried
  • Equally at home in formal borders or cottage gardens
  • Large assortment of flower color and flower shapes

Here are a few of our favorites, available now at Al's!

Pow Wow White Echinacea bloomsPow Wow® White

Pow Wow® White

Big, pure white flowers with yellow-gold centers brighten the garden from early summer to fall. Forms a neat, compact mound with sturdy upright stems that need no deadheading. Perfect for beds, mixed borders and containers. Drought tolerant once established.

Pow Wow Wild Berry bloomPow Wow® Wild Berry

Pow Wow® Wild Berry

Wild Berry is enjoyed for its long season of bloom, compact habit and bright rose-pink, non-fading flowers. This unique Echinacea produces showy, blooms that last throughout the summer, even without deadheading. Pow Wow® Wild Berry puts out more flowers than any other Coneflower variety.

Double Scoop Bubble Gum Echinacea bloomsDouble Scoop™ Bubble Gum

Double Scoop™ Bubble Gum

These echinaceas are absolutely unbeatable for flower power! They are well branched, which means more flowers all season. They do not need to be deadheaded to set new buds, so the flowers just keep coming! They have a compact habit, so they are perfect in containers. What more could you want?

Double Scoop Cranberry Echinacea bloomDouble Scoop™ Cranberry

Double Scoop™ Cranberry

Double flower forms in a rich cranberry red color. This variety has very strong stems.


This beautiful flower is also known as the Princess lily or the dwarf Peruvian lily.

Alstoemerias for Perennial Gardening Month

These throaty tufts of flowers are long bloomers, and provide Hawaii-like intense color that attracts bumble bees and hummingbirds alike. There is a unique way to harvest flowers or deadhead once your alstoemerias has bloomed. Simply snap the flower stalk off at the base of the plant. Alstoemerias send up flower stems quicker than if you just trimmed it back with scissors.

 

  • Flowers bloom late May to September
  • Full sun to a little afternoon shade
  • Unique way to harvest flowers or deadhead for more blooms
  • Makes a beautiful cut flowers
Red Inca Bandit Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Bandit

Inca Bandit is well named... Take care or he will steal your heart! Valentine red blooms with enticing black whiskers are plentiful all spring and summer, and keep going right into fall. Don't forget the lush emerald foliage, so handsome even without blooms. Be sure to pull rather than cut the stems you bring into your vase. Pulling alstroemeria stems gets them reblooming much faster than when the stems are cut.

Purple Inca Nobel Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Noble

A purple blooming dwarf alstroemeria that performs just as well as any pink! If you love rich shades of purple and violet, but only have time or patience for plants that produce a lot of blooms with little care - Alstroemeria noble is the one for you! Velvety purple petals shade nearly to black, with a white spotlight and a spray of black whiskers. Expect months of blooms in return for good growing conditions. Perfect for containers, window boxes, patios and balconies.

White Inca Lucky Alstoemeria bloom

Inca Lucky

This vivacious alstroemeria makes you fall in love all over again! Lush, tropical foliage forms a handsome mound, with plentiful stems rising just 8-12", loaded with magenta buds. The blooms open to petals of clearest white, with throats of luscious salmon pink, and fetching green brushes at their tips. Just the barest freckling and you will feel lucky with these blooms gracing your garden or your vase.


We take a look at some of our favorite tomato varieties to grow in a container