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Thursday, December 1, 2011

In all of this, there is always life

This beautiful scene is one I enjoyed on a walk with my two daughters over the Thanksgiving holiday. We took long walks to help combat the calories we were inhaling! Ha

Even though I enjoyed these walks immensely, it was disconcerting that all of nature seems to be turning gray and brown.

Until my heart leaped for joy over  this next little vignette!
Isn't is lovely?? aaahhhh... I love moss....
                             In heaven, I am going to walk barefoot through fields of moss....aahhhhhh...

On the way home from my visit with my oldest daughter, my middle daughter and I stopped in a little town called Lititiz. Home of the Wilbur chocolate factory....

                                              This chocolate "scene" is completely edible!
                                        We had fun at the factory but didn't eat or buy anything!
                                               I think we were still full from Thanksgiving, lol.

                            okay... and this is what we've been baking and delivering... cheesecakes!
A sampling of three: Caramel Apple, Italian with Oreo crust ( delivered with a cup of triple berry sauce),
                                   and  Chocolate-Raspberry with chocolate ganache.

                                                   I was glad to get them out of the house!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My top 10 plants for 2011

At some point, around this time of the year, my mind starts to review how the garden performed,
which plants did well and which ones had too many problems or were thuggish.
There are always pleasant surprises which made me infinitely happy and then there are plants that might have made me audibly groan, swearing to myself that I would rip them out!
( which I find incredibly hard, like editing ones closet!)

Here are my "Top Ten" for this year:

2. Peony

4. Hosta

  5.  Salvia
     6. Knock Out roses 


 8. Lavender

9. Siberian Iris

10. Spirea

So, there ya have it. My top 10... which took me about 2 hours to select! lol.
I wanted to name most of my beloved plants.
But only these 10 really require very little maintenance, hold their own in less than perfect conditions and put on a great show!
Both the lavender and Baptisa are much more vibrant than my poor photography shows.

What were some of your favorites? I'd love to know!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving !

          Poinsettias in a can! lol..how fun is this! A gift from my oldest daughter whom I am visiting in Penn.
                                           Pop the top, spread the packet of seeds and water!
While visiting for Thanksgiving, we also exchange Christmas presents. As my daughters unwrapped their gifts, they made "hats" from their present decorations. It turned into a competition, which pretty much everything these girls do, does! Love the sparkly sticker "beauty marks".
                                                   Do you love the light bulb accessory?

            There is so much I am thankful for...  my life in Christ, my children and my love of gardening!

                                                    May your Thanksgiving be blessed!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Remembering "Show and Tell"

I LOVED show and tell day in elementary school.
When I was young, I would scour our house the night before, for some wonderful treasure, that would be sure to wow my fellow class mates on show and tell day.
Our house always contained different items such as rock collections, seashells, instruments, and the like,
which were pretty interesting, as I remember.

But the all time most exciting show and tell day was the day I ( unbeknownst to my mother), brought into class, a promotional brochure of her from her Tahitian dancing days! I kid you not...
My mother was a wonderful Tahitian dancer who used to perform in upscale restaurants and clubs.
She was the lead dancer who had 3 back up dancers, a fire breathing performer ( whose name was Towoufy), and several musicians including a bongo player ( think Ricky Ricardo) in her troop.
So there she was posing for this brochure, in three different costumes including an authentic war costume with full headdress.
She had made all of her elaborate costumes by hand from authentic materials she had sent for from Tahiti.
Long black wavy hair to her waist. The original fake tan. You get the picture.

So when I came across a stack of brochures in the back of her closet from her dance days,
I knew THIS would be an amazing item to show.

I was so proud of her! I never thought for a moment that a second grade classroom might not be the best venue to showcase my Tahitian dancing mom!

 But my teacher was gracious, seeing how proud I was, as she asked "Is that really your mother?".
"Yes!" I answered, beaming.

When I got home from school that day, I told my mom about my wonderful day, and she looked a little pale as she realized what I was saying.
"What did your teacher say?" my mom asked.
"She asked if you were really my mom" I explained.
"Oh, okay" my mom said and we were onto the next thing, as was often the case in our house.

So, in sweet remembrance of show and tell, here goes...(don't worry, there won't be any dance photos, lol)

                                    The cockscomb is being harvested! Check out this color!

8 Monarchs were dancing around my head! I caught 5 of them on this Buddelia at once

                                              This guy was BIG!!!!  We thought he was going to speak!!   
                                                             It was a good year for "good bugs!"
                         The Peegee Hydrangea tree is lovely with a circle of lavender at its feet!

Okay and here's what we've been baking!

                                               Peppermint swirl and peanut butter swirl brownies
                      Espresso walnut brownies on the left, Raspberry almond white chocolate brownies on top,
                  cream cheese chocolate  chip cake bars on right, and dark chocolate brownies on bottom.

So, I guess I'm a "show and tell" girl at heart. Not that I'm not overly wordy at times, lol.
I just like the visual. And that's what my garden is usually about...the big showy stuff, the take your breath away, big color, billowy, bomb-style, car stoppin, jaw dropping beauty.

I guess it was inevitable...seeing most kids don't have moms with Tahitian war regalia in their closets.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Random thoughts

Lately Ive had internet issues so my posting has been less frequent than I'd like.
And I haven't been able to visit all of you as much as I like to :(
Thank you to everyone who has been stopping by!
Hopefully I will get these issues solved soon.
So, today, I'm posting this from my local library. Libraries are great!
 There are many farm fields that are local to me that grow beautiful crops, but this one is a car-stopper!
This lovely has performed beautifully all summer, through heat, rain, hurricane and more rain.
I have shown it before, but wanted to post it now that we are at the end of September. Or almost.
The garden is starting to go to sleep and I am out there cutting back many perrienials.
 But Mandevilla Pergola ,'Surprise' (an annual), is still going strong and giving me joy.
                                               Hibiscus moscheutos 'Luna Red' is another joy.
                                                  Knock out roses are great - aren't they?
                                                  Being common is not always a bad thing!

So, here are my random thoughts...or questions.

Why do garden centers sell invasive plants? Is it a part of an evil plot?

What do garden bloggers post about in all those long winter months?

How is it that each year by October, I'm so sick of gardening to the point of thinking:
"I cant' wait for the first hard freeze so I have an excuse to get away from all this back breaking labor"

only to be thinking

" Oh, soil, beautiful life giving soil, Is that a new green shoot I see bursting from the ground??" with sheer excitement a few months later?

Randomness... pure randomness.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Meet Celosia

Crested Celosia ( Cockscomb) has to be one of my all time favorite flowers. Why?
This plant has so many good attributes it will be hard to list them all!

This velvety, luscious, wavy flower grows in sun and withstands brutal heat. 

It withstands drought and doesn't have any pest problems that I have noticed
 in the last 18 years of growing it.
It doesn't generally need staking even when it reaches over 3 1/2 feet tall.
It faithfully puts out enough seed to "cockscomb" the East coast of the United States, but is not invasive.
It does self sow, but seedlings are so easily removed.
(when you can bring yourself to pull them out.)
The seed is so easy to harvest and it stores well in a dark glass jar.
It dries even better (hung upside down) and is WONDERFUL at Christmas!
Mix it with dried evergreens or boxwood, in wreathes, ornaments, or in garlands.

Recently, our town experienced very high winds because of hurricane Irene.
I was worried that the Celosia I had growing would be destroyed.
Even though it did flop over a bit, it is still flourishing and I'm about to harvest it.
In the past,I have planted it too close together, have forgotten to water it,
and still it produces wonderfully.

The color can be dark pink, light pink, red or yellow.
The dark pink is my favorite, especially this time of year, when the garden is fading.
The leaf is nondescript, but the flowers are a show stopper.
They can get quite large, some larger than a softball.

One year, I set up a stand in front of my house and sold them. Not only did they sell out,
but people came to my front door wanting me to tell them about this amazing flower.

And I was more than happy to oblige.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September Birth

September is a wonderful month, the weather has regulated, the weeds have slowed, and sitting outside is so enjoyable. The garden is happy.

Not only  is September the birth month of my mother's favorite child (lol),
but the birth month of two of my sisters.

So this month, I celebrate life. 
The Lord has been so gracious to me. He has protected me and shown me more love than I deserve.

 And I am so appreciative.

Some of the ways I will celebrate will be:

*planting more Allium bulbs,

*harvesting flowers for the house... and of course

                                               Cheesecake with fresh strawberry sauce!

This recipe has a wonderful story. It comes from my Mother-In- Law, Emily, who is a wonderful cook.
She has had a lot of practice with a husband and 8 children.

And this is the story.
With a family of this size, my  in-laws rarely got invited out to dinner.
So Emily cooked most every meal.
10 people eating three times a day.
Uuugghh..I can't even imagine.

One year for their anniversary, my father-in law brought my mother-in law to a well known restaurant in Manhattan  for dinner.
After dinner, they ordered the cheesecake which they fell in love with.

My mother-in law asked the waiter if there was any way the chef would share the recipe because she would probably never get to come to this restaurant again.
When the chef heard that a woman with 8 children who rarely went out to dinner was requesting his recipe, he not only shared the recipe, but came out of the kitchen to meet her and congratulate my in-laws on their anniversary.

My mother-in law has made this cheesecake for approximately 45 years.
She has baked it for birthdays,weddings and most holidays.
This secret recipe has been passed onto my generation after many requests.
I am still trying to perfect it, but I'm getting close.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer time is easy

I found this little map and thought I'd post it so you all can see what the east end of the north fork of Long Island looks like. We have beaches on both sides of us ( Peconic Bay to the south and the Long Island Sound to the north.)
So besides gardening, and baking, I've been swimming. Okay, I do clean house once in a while.
I wish summer would never end.
I have circled my town, Jamesport.
This is the bayside, South Jamesport beach. The water is warm and clear, most days.
An $8.00 float from Walmart and life is good!
 Puffy clouds just float on by...

  The garden seems to be flourishing, lots of new growth! I am still pruning and constantly weeding.
This next shot is showing some bare patches. I have been removing an invasive plant, 'Coronation Gold' Yarrow. Horrible Bamboo like runners..
This next shot is from an upstairs window...
I like that the garden is quite far from the house, it makes it feel like a "get away".
Crested Celosia is just coming in..it's an annual that I'm in love with. I will dry it for Christmas decorations.
I have planted the seeds, which I've collected from previous years, in several locations in the garden.
I will be sure to post photos when it matures. Not much bothers it, and it is a beauty!
The first Mammoth sunflower is curving into a bowl shape, so it looks like I will be able to make the basket I spoke of in the last post! YAY!

And last, Whats that you ask? Have I been baking anything yummy lately?
So nice of you to inquire, lol.
Blueberry-Peach Crisp!!!
Lots of yummy ingredients...
So easy to make...
 Sooo easy to eat.
Doesn't even need ice cream.. unless you have some Hagan Daaz Vanilla that has to be used up soon.
I would love to hear what summer time things you are up to!

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