Bloom Thyme Friday: Christmas Trees & Things

I love Christmas trees. I love most evergreens. I particularly love boxwoods. I know. I know. There are two kinds of people in the world — those who love boxwood and those who don’t. But, I do. Can’t remember without looking if I shared with you my boxwood horror this year. For about 6 years we have had a boxwood hedge around our patio. They did not make it through the winter. I thought it was “winter kill” but I now suspect from the look of things, it was blight. They had to be taken out — all 15 of them! Mr. G was my hero as he took them out one by one. He put up with my tears and was very sweet about it. What a guy! 

Back to the original subject, Christmas Trees, I love them. Fresh ones. Filled to the brim with ornaments and twinkle lights!

This year due to so much travel, we decided not to have a tree but we have twinkle lights everywhere!

CHRISTMAS TREE TRIVIA

The first recorded Christmas tree can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Alsace in 1576. German Protestants are often credited with the first circulation of the Christmas Tree, using them to decorate their houses. Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther is said to have added the first lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The inspired decoration came out of admiration of the snow glistening from the trees on his walk home Christmas Eve. From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Wooster, a small country town located in north-central Ohio, claims to have hosted the first Christmas Tree in America in 1847. German immigrant August Imgard might be the first to decorate the tree with candy canes; “Imgard cut a blue spruce tree from a woods outside town, had the Wooster village tinsmith construct a star, and placed the tree in his house, decorating it with paper ornaments, gilded nuts and kuchen.” From Meg Bucker’s The History and Meaning of the Christmas Tree  

Artificial Christmas trees have outsold real ones since 1991.

In Poland, spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations because according to legend, a spider wove a blanket for Baby Jesus. In fact, Polish people consider spiders to be symbols of goodness and prosperity at Christmas. (Almost makes me like them. 😳 Almost. )

 

MY 2018 CHRISTMAS TREE…

Lucky for me I still have many boxwoods around the garden. Plenty for making boxwood trees. Such a fun project. When I was a florist I made so many of them and never tired of the project!

 

PROCESS PICS…

BLOOM THYME

David Austin roses in my garden…

This week we lost one of the giants of the rose world – David Austin Snr. Mr. G says I have had a secret crush on him for 30 years. That might be true. When I was putting my first real rose garden together, I was feverishly researching all types of roses (without the benefit of the internet) and happened on the “something and someone new” in the rose world – Mr. Austin. He was a pioneer that followed his heart and used his gifts to bring us the beautiful Engish roses by blending historical roses (for form and fragrance) with modern roses (for repeat blooming and additional colors). I never had the privilege of meeting him, but he was very well represented by Michael Marriott who worked with him for more than 30 years and shares how special he was. 

Thank you Mr. Austin for all the beauty you shared with our world. Well done, Sir.

Whew, that was a long post. If you made it to the end  — Thank You!

Merry Christmas friends. Wishing you a holiday filled with joy, peace, love and plenty of twinkle lights!

Grandma B’s Fruitcake Cookies

The pictures of my fruitcake cookies on social media have been receiving a myriad of comments — everything from “Yuk” to “Yay” to family stories! I love the stories so keep them coming in the comment section below!

A cake once revered, is now the butt of many holiday jokes—and with good reason. Have you tried some of the things they sell as “fruitcake”???? 😳

The fruitcake is traced back to at least Roman times and is often the cake choice of royals. Did you know that Charles and Diana’s wedding cake was a fruitcake with cream cheese frosting.

We are the third generation to make these cookies. Christmas would not be Christmas for Mr. G without these cookies. For me they were an acquired taste, but I have crossed over the line and totally love these cookies too.

The recipe is so simple!

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Five ingredients:

  1. 1 lb candied fruit (mixed) chopped in small pieces.
  2. 1/2 cup self rising flour
  3. 3.5 – 4 oz of shredded coconut
  4. 2 cups chopped pecans
  5. 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • Dredge fruit through flour
  • Add coconut, nuts and milk
  • Bake on parchment paper lined cookie sheet for 15 – 20 minutes.
  • 300 degree oven

Makes approximately 4 dozen.

Store uncovered — as much as possible.

Note: If you have trouble finding candied fruits … check here.

Give the cookies a try and let me know what you think!

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!

ROSE BUZZ: 2016 Gift Ideas for Gardeners!

 

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We as gardeners love what we do! But, the right tools can make all the difference and Christmas is the perfect time to share ideas with Santa to get just what we want and need for the coming growing season! Plus, getting garden goodies in the middle of winter is just FUN!

Below are some garden gifts that I highly recommend you buy for yourself, your garden friends OR whisper in Santa’s ear so they show up around your Christmas tree or in your stocking! NOTE: Make sure you have a BIG STOCKING!

A YEAR IN MY ROSE GARDEN

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Teresa Mosher has written a book that all rose gardeners will want on their Christmas list.

Teresa is President of the New England Rose Society, and one of the leading Garden and Rose Consultants in New England.  This book is a wonderfully practical book that rose growers at every level will benefit from having! With this book comes the best gardening journal I have seen. Teresa has been so thorough with information that even a novice gardener could pick up this book and be good to go! From basic rose care information, a list of tools and supplies, rose terminology and ideas for garden design — it’s all there!

ORDER BOOK HERE.

To hear Teresa talk about her book and her gardening experiences, listen to a recent Rose Chat Podcast here

 


COW POTS

  • All Natural Made with 100% Renewable Composted Cow Manure
  • CowPots stay intact for up to 12 weeks before planting in the ground
  • Roots easily penetrate the walls of CowPots.
  • Perfectly odor free

Available on Amazon here.

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AMERICAN ROSE SOCIETY TRIAL MEMBERSHIP

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WHAT A VALUE!! All rose lovers will enjoy this gift! With a trial membership comes discounts at public gardens, copies of the ARS award winning magazine, American Rose, plus a ton of other benefits … all for only $10Details at Rose.org.

 


 HANDCRAFTED TOOLS

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My good friend, Chris VanCleave, the Redneck Rosarian, has partnered with DeWit Tools to bring us a beautiful, handcrafted line of tools. These lovely tools come with a life-time guarantee and are destined to be heirloom pieces you will want to hand down to the next generation. Take a look at these beauties on Amazon.


 THE GARDENER’S HOLLOW LEG

The Hollow Leg was given as door prizes at the Indianapolis Rose Society this year and everyone wanted to be a winner! So, even though the Hollow Leg appeared on last year’s list, I wanted to feature it again.

Bob Blomberg’s  Gardener’s Hollow Leg® makes yard and garden clean up tasks easier! This handy “hands-free” debris holder is a must have for all pruning, weeding and harvesting tasks.

A 15% discount!

FROM BOB: Tell  your readers to use GHLUSER at check out for the discount!

To learn more or to buy online, read on.

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Even Mr. H has the Hollow Leg Jr!!

Heading to the green compost bin.
Heading to the green compost bin.

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Find the ripe tomatoes.
Find the ripe tomatoes.

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The wonderful items on last year’s list are still available and you can read about them HERE.

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Christmas is really the most wonderful time of the year!

ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!