When our kids were small they had their own gardens. Mr. G built each of them a 10 by 10 raised bed for them to “garden” in. They could grow whatever they wanted. It was so fun!
Fast forward to today and our entire family is still into gardening!
As most of you know, I am just back from time in California with my daughter’s family where she and her husband are not only growing a garden they are growing the best things yet… three adorable boys. The 4 year old can tell you about everything in their garden and even has a garden patch of his own with lemon thyme, succulents and nasturtiums – all of his own choosing!
I would love to take you on a tour of the Lynch Family Garden… a garden filled with good food, herbs, pretty flowers, boys and loads of fun!
Guess whose speciality is watering!
Yes, gardening is serious business and sometimes it is good to wear your helmet.
Little hands. Little tools.
This boy’s specialty is planting, plant identification and eating straight from the garden.
So many rewards!
Be still my heart. They are the very best things growing in California.
I am fully out in the garden today — this will be our first weekend in a while without snow… yes, Mother Nature has thrown us some curve balls.
March 25: At the end of the day we had 10″ of snow.
April 1: California has the weather and my little loves…
(It was snowing in Indiana.)
My daughter’s beautiful garden…
And, her ‘Easy Does It” rose.
April 9: NATURE’S WELCOME HOME FROM CALI
(Thankful Mr. G’s welcome was warmer!)
BACK TO TODAY…
Yes, I am out in the garden and while the heart of a gardener is optimism, I am a “bit” discouraged at some things I’m seeing. At the top of the “oh no” list is that my beautiful New Dawn rose on the arbor looks like it has some major winter kill — I mean major. If you don’t remember the one I am talking about, it’s this one…
Is it wrong to ask for prayer for a rose?😉 (Asking for a friend.)
While I would appreciate a miracle for my rose, there are so many more important things in my life and yours. Life and nature do throw us curve balls from time to time, but the Original Gardener (Genesis 2:8) has it all under control. He is very good at what He does. My life has taught me that when He closes a door, He opens a window.
AND, WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS… MAKE LEMONADE!
Here are the best lemons ever. My beautiful daughter grows these outside her kitchen door! If you want to read more about LEMONS, ROSES & SWEETNESS, click here for an article I wrote about our family’s lemon life.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned, there are so many more spring things to come. Things like new roses … I have to tell you about all the new roses I am testing in the garden this year! Oh I can’t wait!
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.
Microwave on HIGH for 9 – 10 minutes.
Remove and add NUTS. STIR. (Caution: This is screaming hot!)
Pour into pretty dish and COOL.
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!
When God put Mr. G and me together, it was surely a match made in heaven. In more ways than you can imagine.
But, one of the most obvious ways is that I am a gardener and he is a builder. If I can dream it, he can build it. I’ll admit I’ve dreamed up a ton of stuff through the years!
Last year “we” decided that the main gate to our garden needed refreshing. (Well, maybe that part was “I”.) “I” wanted it to look more like the gate/trellis’ we had done for another area in the garden. The layout of the entrance is a bit different but Mr. G, the engineer, figured out just what we needed and started building in between rain storms a few weeks ago. Digging the post holes was a two-man job and our son came to lend a helping hand. From building snowmen to building gates, these two have worked on countless projects together and are a great team!
It is now complete! I just love it! Time will give it the rustic patina we love and allow for the New Dawn roses and Etoile Violette Clematis to climb and wind and add their charm.
This is New Dawn this week over the other main gate/trellis when she was going “up and over“. When she blooms she blooms. And, such a sweet fragrance too.
Behind New Dawn is the arbor with Francis E. Lester and Peggy Martin. Picture day for these was a rainy day, but they are holding up pretty well in all the rain. Good thing!
Yes, I have planted two New Dawns that will head up and over this new handcrafted “work of art” and two Etoile Clematis. Blue Angel Clematis is already getting cozy!
TA DA! The finished product…
He is a true craftsman! The roses and the clematis will have a firm foundation. And, our guests will have a “handcrafted” warm welcome!
BACK TO “MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN”
Before you get to thinking that things are toooooo perfect around here, know this… If you know anything at all about “birth order” — we are two strong-willed first borns. Need I say more! Yes, on occasion there are “strong” conversations in our world. 😉
If you want to know more about “birth order,” read Dr. Kevin Leman’s book The Birth Order Book … Why You Are the Way You Are, immediately, from page 1 you will find yourself, your kids, your friends and yes your spouse. He will shed light on how these relationships work—with all the humor you can imagine. I read it back in the late 80s and even gave it to my children when they were in jr. high! You can purchase here. A fun and helpful read for only $12!
Whatever your birth order, I wish you buckets of blooms, a sturdy foundation, a warm welcome wherever you go and an outstanding BLOOM THYME FRIDAY.
I wanted to share with you some pictures and a video from the “veriest back” of my garden.
My children coined that phrase “veriest back” for the back area of the garden as well as the 3rd seat in the back of our family station wagon. A spot that was often sought after and sometimes fought for! 😉
Remember the station wagons of the 80s? That was pre mini van. The station wagon worked so well for us, we never went the mini van route. Secretly, I believe that Mr. G who loves sporty cars, trucks and SUVs, never could bring himself to buy a mini van. But, he did provide a state of the art station wagon for me and my little crew, and later an SUV for me, a sporty car for the girl and a black truck for the boy.
But, oh how I loved my station wagon. L O V E!!! #memories #family #children
The “veriest back” of the garden is where the wild things grow — and things that do not need much care from the gardener (me). With limited time to “garden,” this area sometimes gets left out in the “care department.” But it is still very beautiful to me. Today it seemed the Black Forrest (Kordes) and Candy Oh (Proven Winners) roses just begged to be photographed! This is not their biggest flush of the season, but still they beckoned me today and I found myself remembering my children and my station wagon as I took time to enjoy “the veriest.”
I even found a stunning lily hiding back there! It was in so much shade I could hardly capture it. #shestough
I also found the largest rose hip I have ever seen on a rugosa… bigger than a quarter!
I also found some weeds … they were not in a photographic mood, so I just moved on. 😬
In California everyday is perfect for gardening! And, in my world there is a bonus… a grandboy who is my favorite little garden helper. He may be small but he is enthusiastic, energetic and has all the right tools for the job!
Smooth hand with the water wand.
A gentle touch with the baby plants.
Leaf gathering … made easier using his shopping cart and “garden pouch” as he calls it.
Today I leave the rainy midwest for the sunny Cali coast. My primary reason for going there is to have more adventures with H. While it will be wonderful to see his parents, he’s the main attraction. The world is a different place when you see it through the wonder of a child. Here is Mr. H when I first introduced him to the garden and in particular the fish pond. I am not at all sure who was more excited. But, I do love to look at the pictures from this day and see the wonder in his eyes!
As you can see from the picture below, things have changed a great deal since the first garden picture was taken.
Now Mr. H is leading the charge for adventure…
Stay tuned. This will be a week of amazing adventures and cuteness and sweetness.
I’d love to hear the adventures going on in your world this week. We can’t all be together, but the stories you share with me make me feel I’m a part of your adventure!
As promised my good friend and amazing gardener, Colletta Kosiba, is going to tell us all about the plants that the totally adorable Mr. H and I saw on our morning walk in the woods. If you missed Part 1, you can catch up here.
Don’t you just love knowing stories about the plants you commonly see or hear about? Colletta gives us just that!
Colletta is a recipient of the Honeywell Award for Excellence in Horticulture presented by the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Design at Purdue University and the State Garden Club of Indiana.
She has been a naturalist at Eagle Creek Park for 20 years.
Every time I’m with her I learn something new. So, let’s get started with the plant with my LEAST favorite name (eeeeek!) but, it sure is a pretty plant…
With its fuzzy white flowers, Snakeroot is one of the common native flowers that grow in shady area in the fall. The cultivar “Chocolate” is a stunning addition to the flower garden with its purple leaves. Most of us have heard the story of how Nancy Hanks, (mother of Abraham Lincoln) died of milk sickness from drinking contaminated milk from cows eating snakeroot. Today’s farmers do not let it grow where animals graze.
Sideoats Grama a native grass that has an unusual arrangement of the seed heads. The spikelets line one side of the stem and turn a brown color in the fall. The basal clump may turn shades of purple and red in the fall. Growing 2-3 feet, it makes a lovely ornamental grass in your landscape. Sideoats Grama is easy to grow and laughs at dry conditions in the summer.
Pokeweed is a native plant being used as a ”wow factor” in home gardens. The dark berries ripen just in time to feed the birds during migration: that explains why it comes up just about any place in the yard. Juice from the berries has been used for ink and dye. We have Civil War letters written by the soldiers using pokeweed berry juice for ink. The dye is used by food industry to make red food coloring. Pokeweed is the larval plant for the Giant Leopard Moth.
Exciting studies in animals show pokeweed compounds enhance the immune system and have some anti-cancer effects in animals. It will be studied to see if this is true in humans. Poke toxins are used to control the invasive zebra mussels.
This charming native plant is a member of the Rudbeckia family and often called Brown-Eyed Susan. It has smaller flower heads than Black-eyed Susans and less ray florets. You will find this growing mainly in dappled shade, although I have seen them in full sun too. Brown-Eyed Susan is taller and more bushy than it’s black-eyed cousin. Brown-Eyed Susans make an excellent cut flower.
It must be the year of the ragweed, judging from the abundance of plants I am seeing!
Ragweed has no showy blossoms, so it cannot attract pollinating insects. The plant uses the wind to spread its pollen. The pollen is so small that 100 pollen grains would barely reach across the head of a pin. A quarter of a billion tons of pollen are in the air each season, causing hay fever is some folks. The pollen can travel 1-2 miles. Just shake a ragweed plant in the fall and you will see what I mean. Alas, the beautiful yellow goldenrod that is blooming at the same time gets the blame for the allergies. Goldenrod’s pollen is sticky, not air borne. It feeds the numerous insects that visit the blooms.
QUEEN ANNE’S LACE…
Other common names are wild carrot & birds nest. In this photo it sure looks like a birds nest, the spent blossoms have curled inwards forming a cup.
Introduced from Europe, the flower heads have many tiny flowers that resemble a round piece of fine lace. Some umbels even have a minute red flower in the center. According to the story, Queen Anne pricked herself with a needle when she was making the lace, leaving a red blood droplet in the center of the flower. Early Americans boiled the taproots with wine for a treat. The taproot is high in sugar, second to the beet among root vegetables.
I was thrilled when Teresa asked me to write about the plants she and her grandson found on their nature walk last week. I truly love native plants (those growing here before white man settled this country). As a charter member to the Indiana Native Plant and Wildflower Society (INPAWS) I encourage everyone to plant natives; not only because they are hardy easy plants to grow, but the native wildlife depend on them for their very existence.
Colletta is also a Indiana Master Naturalist and Indiana Gold Master Gardener. She loves to teach and has many programs that she presents. If you would like to contact Colletta about a speaking engagement, email her @ firstname.lastname@example.org. And please join me in giving a big “thank you” to Colletta in the comment section below!
Next week I will start tackling the 2014 garden update and share THE GOOD, THE BAD and THE UGLY. Let me tell you, this year there has been all three!