Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review, Recipe, And Gardening This Week

Let's sit and rest for a spell. It's a beautiful, unseasonable cool
morning. My bike ride met with a slight wind from the north.
Can it be? Do you feel it? The ever so slight change, a variance 
perhaps but the season is about to change. Oh not right away,
mother nature still has some hot days left in her, but a change
will happen. The morning light is subtle, the dew in the grass
heavier, and did I actually see a few leaf changes. When I
spotted the squirrel with a big walnut in his mouth scurrying 
up the big maple tree my mind jumped to FALL…it's around 
the corner. Anticipation of all things autumn began to play
out. But I stopped that train, yes I think I'm ready for glorious
October but I don't want to lose the warmth of today, the joys
of porch sitting, cutting fresh flowers from my gardens, ripe
tomatoes just picked. It will be over soon enough. So I'll note
the seasonal signs, the cues from mother nature and smile at
the anticipation of what's about to happen. I'll just ride my
bike and journey into the next seasonal happening.

Now for my book review and quite timely thank you. This
is a fantastic seasonal go to book for decorating, displaying,
showcasing your garden areas through an evolution of the
seasons. If you like home-spun, rustic, crafting from nature,
if you like seasonal changes in the garden, holidays, collections,
and ideas galore, this book is yours. It's warm, personal, and
I'm in my happy-place when I read, no devour, this book.
I love it! 

From Seven Gates Farm, where James Cramer and Dean Johnson
lived and created the most beautiful surroundings of garden 
wonder. You'll move from the decorated spaces of the various 
gardens, green-house and their home, filling you with idea 
after idea of primitive composition. It's my very favorite 
decorating book. From 1996, I've had it for years, recommending 
it to everyone who share the love of seasonal home decorating 
and gardening. 

A really big shout out to my most wonderful children. August 
babies they are celebrating birthdays, Wednesday the 26th 
and Thursday the 27th. Shakira and Ben in a favorite picture 
that I keep pinned up on my bulletin board. I look at it everyday 
with love. Ron and I are blessed. LOVE you guys.

Now, how another zucchini recipe? Well this one is very easy to 
make. Chocolate Zucchini Cake from a great website I read 
regularly. To view this website go to 
You'll find all kinds of wonderful ideas. Thanks Ann. See 
EARTHLY DELIGHTS for the recipe. It was delicious and 
it uses no eggs.

Now just a few words from the garden. With the weather being 
at its best for outside work, that's where I spent my mornings.
It was such pleasure being outside. Weeding continues and I've
also begun pulling up some annuals, deadheading, and trimming
small bushes. My climbing rose needed some clean-up and I'm
trying to rework the long branches through the arbor. Last year 
we severely cut it back when we had to replace the arbor. I had
my doubts whether it would survive, but it's coming back slowly
and there are roses. I'll keep you posted. You can visit a very
early post showing what the rose use to look like, I was standing 
underneath. It was beautiful and filled with red roses. I'm
doing a turnover of the mulch for a final time, this allows me to
get at the many weeds too. Also, I'm starting to put away the
yard decor, undress my garden ladies, and then tear down the 
fairy gardens. I'll transition to fall decorating as soon as the
summer stuff is tucked away. This will take a couple of weeks.
I'm still cutting zinnias and hydrangeas for bouquets, they are
producing nicely. Today I harvested more lavender to dry, and
cut some black-eyed susans to dry as well. They look so pretty
in a dried flower arrangement. I'm hoping for some rain, we
really need it. 

next up: the lawn

thanks for stopping by

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Happening Herbs, And "Dog Days"

I hope you planted herbs this past spring. The bounty is 
continuous throughout the summer and the sensory experience 
is yours for the planting. I've collected samples of all my herbs 
to show you how beautiful they are. I did a harvest and cut back 
severely on some of the herbs that are starting to "peter-out."
Parsley is all but gone and the basil is starting to bolt (flower). 
I'm snipping the flowers off to get the leaf growth strong at 
least for awhile. 

It was a picture waiting to happen! Two of my favorite edibles, 
basil and tomatoes 'oh yeah baby!' 

Slice them up, add mozzarella, drizzle with reduced balsamic 
vinegar glaze, and top it off with some aromatic basil..well the 
taste DIVINE! It's called Tomato Caprese. See the recipe on
EARTHLY DELIGHTS from last summer.

Maybe a little liquid refreshment is called for. Minty Lemonade
will hit the spot. For us it's just Crystal Light Lemonade, we 
don't want the extra sugar, but adding some of my mint herb,
fresh lemon slices and ice, this will quench that sweaty brow.
Now wait not done…for a tasty cocktail to have on the porch,
say about 7…add a splash of cold, cold vodka…mmmm!

Well Sam just had to share the pool with Mama and her Chicks!
You might remember she decided it was thyme for a swim. Sam
gave in, they had a great shared moment and now all are 
exhausted! The "dog days of summer" have arrived. Hot, humid 
not a breath of air. Let's have a science moment, Sam won't mind
...he's napping. In our Northern Hemisphere, it's the tilt of the 
earth causing the sun's light to "hit" us at a more direct angle, 
and for a longer period of time throughout the day. Hence…
hotter, longer days during the summer. End of July through 
August, early September are typically those dog-days of summer.


Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer Harvest and Chicken Sandwiches

If only summer weather had more of the type we've had the last 
few days we would be extremely happy. You can't find fault with 
low 70's and humidity around 50. Why who wouldn't want to be 
outside. Sam (the Pug) was visiting for a couple days and he just
loved laying in the grass and basking in the sunshine. Garden 
tasks aren't nearly so tedious when you have a cooling breeze 
on your face. Now comes the real fun for a gardener, harvesting 
the crops. There's the pleasure and oh my what good eats! 

Just pulled up the last of my carrots and the larger tomatoes are
really ripening up now, you can almost pick daily. So delicious.
Take a basket out if you're also growing cucumbers, squash, beans
and zucchini. If you are a seasoned gardener you are familiar with
the right time to harvest particular crops.  If you're new at this, 
you will learn soon enough when to pick for ripe flavor. Ask a 
veteran, or google garden info to learn some tips for harvesting 
at the right thyme.

Always an excellent option, visit your local Farmers Market. You
will find the freshest food in season and will be supporting your
local farmers and economy. Plus there are fresh flowers, baked 
goods, crafts and a chance to meet other gardeners and farmers.
It's just a pleasant way to spend a morning or afternoon. some fresh picked sweet corn today!!!

Ok I promised a recipe. How about Shredded Chicken Sandwiches
made from Poached Chicken that you did yourself? You will love
this recipe! DELISH! See EARTHLY DELIGHTS for both recipes.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Summer Beauty and Blooms

The Dog Days have arrived, the sultry hot/humid days that can easily wilt
any of us. We have no say over the upper airway patterns that control our
weather so we adjust and try to stay comfortable. Gardeners like to work in
the morning when everything still has a freshness. Our energy level is high,
we've scoped out our surroundings and move forward with the day. Our
pace is whatever we make it to be. August is summer personified… taking
a bike ride, going to the pool, having ice tea and lemonade, a cold beer, a
grill out, just lazing' about trying to stay cool. We won't complain too much,
we know what's ahead. So yes bare feet, cold watermelon... snow-cones for
every-one. Ron and I will head for the rocking chairs on the front porch
about eight (if no mosquitoes) and wave to the neighbors as they pass by...
yes it's summer thyme… 

Limelight Hydrangea

A beautiful midsummer flowering deciduous shrub, this hydrangea is tall
as it is wide, 6-8 ft. It thrives in full sun which is the main reason I bought
2 of them. They face south/southwest. The blooms elongated, green at the
top as they open, going to white, and then assume some pink hints as they
age. You can cut them for display but I haven't tried drying them. They
bloom on new wood so you can prune in late winter or early spring. I
actually pruned them last year late fall after a first frost. I have not
noticed any leaf diseases thus far, which is nice considering the rain we
have had. Fertilize twice about April and June with an all purpose fertilizer.
With all my hydrangeas, I use an acid-type fertilizer. There is also a smaller
compact version that grows only 3-5 feet, but has the same size flowers.
I wish now I had purchased that variety 'Little Lime'. Next picture you
will notice I really got carried away with some bloom cutting.  It's become
tree-like. Oh my! Not to worry. This actually can be done with this variety.

I want to share another variety of hydrangea, the 'Vanilla Strawberry' which
is an amazing plant. I think it has a wonderful very light creamy vanilla type
scent that I "pick" up every time I smell the flower. But it's not associated
with a scent so don't expect one. It's cone shaped, starting out white then
matures to a rich strawberry-pink color, like an ice cream cone. The stems
will also turn red. The blooms will form continuously all summer. You can
cut for display as well. They also bloom on new wood, so prune in late
winter or early spring. I've had this plant for 3 years and haven't had any
disease issues with it or any serious insect infestations. It's a favorite.

It's thyme for a new word :
In plant speak, to shed leaves annually. The plant is going into hibernation
phase and will return in warm weather, using its energy for growth. Trees
and some shrubs fall under this definition.

Thanks for stopping by