Christmas Cran – A Holiday Tradition

Many of you have asked for the cranberry sauce recipe that my daughter affectionately named “Christmas Cran.” For my rose friends, Elena Williams tried this recipe and is a big fan!

I was introduced to this recipe when I bought my first microwave and was given the gift of a free microwave cooking class!

Several of the recipes I learned in the class I still make — but none more consistently than the cranberry sauce! Our family enjoys “Christmas Cran” every Christmas AND every Thanksgiving!

Sweet, citrusy goodness….

3/4 – 1 Cup of Sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of ground cloves, cinnamon and allspice (I usually add more cinnamon)
1/2 cup of apple or orange juice  (This year I used the juice from the tangerines I had on hand and it was fab.)
1 lb of whole cranberries
1 medium apple – peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts (They go in AFTER the cooking process.)

Combine SUGAR, SPICES and JUICE in 2 qt casserole. STIR. Add CRANBERRIES and APPLES. STIR.

COVER

Microwave on HIGH for 9 – 10 minutes.

Remove and add NUTS. STIR. (Caution: This is screaming hot!)

Pour into pretty dish and COOL.

Stirring up some Christmas Cran...
Stirring up some Christmas Cran…

Hope you enjoy and I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Even though we love our traditional recipes, we also love trying new things! Share your family favorites for the holidays!

La France. First. Fragrant. Fabulous.

Someone had to be first and in the case of hybrid teas, it was La France. When you hear the terms Old Garden Roses and Modern Roses do you ever wonder how to know which is which? Old Garden Roses are roses bred before 1867 …. when the first Hybrid Tea was named and that first Hybrid Tea — La France. This pretty, fragrant rose was found in France by the Rosarian, Andre’ Guillot. Parents of this rose are said to be Hybrid Perpetual “Madame Victor Verdier” and tea rose “Madame Bravy” —giving us a new classification of roses—Hybrid Teas! (Note: Her parentage is sometimes debated!😉)

While most old garden roses are one time bloomers, this new hybrid gave us blooms throughout the growing season. Hybrid Teas are said to be the most popular class of roses, much of that popularity comes from their being commonly used as “florist” roses with their long stems and high centers.

La France is a large shrub that would NOT be considered disease resistant–black spot and other fungal disease find her very attractive! She grows best in warmer climates. As a hybrid tea she has been surpassed in beauty, form and is no longer welcome in many gardens, however, few can surpass her in fragrance! As the first, she has historical significance, making her a sentimental favorite with a warm place in my heart. Yes, she blazed the trail that led us to the amazing repeat bloomers we have now.

LA FRANCE AND THE BILTMORE

The most beautiful bed of La France roses I have ever seen is in the Biltmore garden and what a perfect place for her. She is in the company of many other historical giants in the rose world like Blush Noisette. You cannot walk by La France without stopping to take in the damask fragrance and delicate features of this rose. The pictures show that this first hybrid tea does not have the growth habit of the more modern hybrid teas but a growth habit more like that of her historical parents with delicate stems that bow in the breeze — just adding to her charm.

La France is the beauty on the right.
La France is the beauty on the right.

LA FRANCE AND FRIENDS

My time at the Biltmore is filled with beautiful roses of course, but also rose friend reunions. Friends like Jim Wilson. Jim is a wealth of rose knowledge and in particular La France. In fact, he says the rose world is sometimes confused on which rose is La France (that parentage debate I mentioned!). At the end of this post is a video interview I did with Jim last year where he talks about this debate.

Fast forward to this year when Jim presented me with my very own La France! He grew a lovely plant for me to take home! This rose is over-wintering in my potting shed and has already given me several blooms with that amazing damask fragrance it is known for.

La France blooming in the Potting Shed.
La France blooming in the Potting Shed.

Fingers crossed that she can be happy all winter long in less than perfect conditions—dry, dim light. 😳 I am excited to see what she can do next year in a large pot in my garden. She’s a “diva” for sure and will require extra care but I’m up for it.

Jim’s thoughts on La France…

Bloom Thyme Friday: The Ritual Begins

It is that time when the weather is UP and DOWN. We have been close to frost on more than one occasion already. It comes quickly!

THE RITUAL: Bring them in!

For as long as I can remember, I have overwintered plants and cuttings of favorite plants in the potting shed. While the potting shed is my happy place, it is a tiny place and believe me, I sometimes feel like I am working a jigsaw puzzle to fit everyone in and have room for me!

This week I took the first inhabitants into the potting shed. A pot of this, a snip of that and the overcrowding has begun.

Hudson’s single African Violet leaf is growing! Exciting!
Mint in my grandmother’s pitcher–a prized possession.
One of the new kids on the block. Too small to be thrown out into an Indiana winter!
This simple verse always reminds me that gardening was God’s idea first.
The neighborhood.

The geraniums and pot of mint, a bay tree, some succulents and a couple of roses are still outside looking in — wondering if she is going to forget about them or give their space to some of the new kids on the block like those cute little Perle d’Or roses. Hummmm I still believe there will be room for all of them. 😳

Don’t forget about us!

I am rushing to get some of the plants in this week, due to the fact that we are leaving tomorrow to lead a mission trip to the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

Please remember our team in your thoughts and prayers as we go to serve and show love to those who have so little by the world’s standards. We have not been to this area before but those preparing us have told us to think 3rd world conditions.

We intend to bloom where we are planted this week and hope you do too.

Happy Bloom Thyme Friday

Hey speaking of blooms…. this carpet rose and  Señorita Mi Amor Cleome will not stop. Blooming machines! I would highly recommend growing them in your garden next year!