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!

BLOOM THYME FRIDAY: COMFORT AND JOY

I have always loved the Christmas Carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. If you are not familiar, the verse is…

Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy

This season I have thought of it so often as our family has been in need of comfort and has been given so much joy.

COMFORT

Our need for comfort came as we walked through finding care for our beloved matriarch this year as she needed extra care and in slowly handing her over to her Heavenly Father. Our comfort came from our family, our friends, and our faith. Faith in the scripture that tells us in John 14,

“Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”

We know she was welcomed into her forever home with open arms. JOY!

 

OH, THE JOY!

Joy in remembering stories and hearing new stories of a life well lived.
Joy in the man that I am privileged to share my life with.
Joy in our grown children who inspire us every day.
Joy in our friendships – we have the best.
Joy in our “littles.” These little boys make our hearts want to sing. Their innocent faces full of wonder and unbridled expressions of love can erase all the murky dust our world sprinkles around us.

Just look at them! JOY!


 

BLOOM THYME

When we left Indiana is was cold and “frosty.”

But here in sunny California, there are roses and their companions in bloom! JOY!

I leave you with wishes for a wonderful Bloom Thyme Friday and Pentatonix singing God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen…. JOY!

 

 

OH, ONE MORE THING!!

The African Violet cuttings the littles worked on in the Potting Shed a couple months back (read about that here) are starting to grow! JOY!

 

 

Yep,  just looking at their pictures, I could just break out in song!!!

Wishing you a week filled with all the things that fill you with Joy!

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. 4-6 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!

Whisper these gift ideas in Santa’s ear…

We as gardeners love what we do! But, the right tool 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!

Below are some garden gifts that I highly recommend you buy for your garden friends OR whisper in Santa’s ear so they show up around your Christmas tree or in your stocking!

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THE GARDENER’S HOLLOW LEG…

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.

To learn more or to buy on line, read on … http://thegardenershollowleg.com/welcome.html

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THE RING WEEDER

Vinnie Suozzi’s Ring Weeder has a forked tip that pierces the ground with ease allowing you to loosen the soil around the weed to “pluck” it out without breaking off the root of the weed. Made of light weight high strength injection molded ABS plastic, The Ring Weeder allows you to get your weeding done swiftly.

For the details of how this product found it’s place in the garden, read on…HERE.
Listen to Vinnie tells his inspiring story HERE.

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MOO POO TEA

Annie Haven’s Moo Poo Tea has been a staple in my garden for many years. Whether I am using it to soak my bare root roses or bulbs before planting or adding moo poo tea to the over all care of all my plants in containers and in the ground, moo poo makes a major difference!

Try it for yourself … HERE. Shipping is always free!

 

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BARNEL PRUNERS AND BIONIC GLOVES FROM WENDY TILLEY, THE ROSE GARDENER

Who doesn’t want to be more bionic in the garden. I am convinced that without my Barnels and my bionic gloves … I would have a major loss of power!

Read all about these amazing tools and many more on Wendy’s website HERE.

Listen to Wendy give you the background stories, HERE.

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And, what about a membership to an organization that is near and dear to my heart!?!

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If you know someone who is interested in knowing more about roses, now is a great time to give them a trial membership to the American Rose Society.

You’ll receive discounts at public gardens, copies of their award winning magazine, American Rose, plus a ton of other benefits … all for only $10.

Details at Rose.org.


 

Christmas is really the MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR.

ENJOY EVERY MINUTE!

 


 

Merry Christmas!

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We wish you and your family and friends a very Merry Christmas and an amazing 2014!

THE COUNTDOWN…

The day after Christmas I will start the official countdown to spring. But, just to get you started—it’s 85 days! 🙂

I am just crazy about spring and here are two of the reasons why—ROSES & LILACS…

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Spring’s gonna be so much fun!

Christmas Cran

Many of you have asked for the recipe that my daughter affectionately named “Christmas Cran.”

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!

Tools of the Trade

My good friend, Wendy Tilley, TheRoseGardener.com, and her husband, Ryan, have a garden of 350 roses and a business of caring for 85 rose gardens in the Atlanta area. So, they made it their goal to find gardening tools to make their job easier, more fun and give them the ability to be gardeners for a long, long time. This goal led them to some wonderful products for gardeners. Some of these products I already have and highly endorse, and others are high on my Christmas list. (Hey Santa!)

First up is a product that I’ve used for more than 20 years–

Harlane rose markers...
Harlane rose markers…

Harlane Plant Labelsread all about them here.

pruners-trgBarnel Pruners

  • Blade features include high carbon sword steel produced with a hard chrome finish and cold forged blade process.
  • Anodized finish repels sap.
  • Pressure injection die cast handles/body.
  • Drop forged heavy duty steel handles/body.
  • Self oiling center bolt for ease of maintenance.
  • Patented two-position lock for reduced effort.
  • “Auto-Unlock” – squeeze handles to automatically unlock shear.
  • Ergonomic TPR (thermoplastic rubber) non-slip grips.
  • Rotating handle reduces fatigue.

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Bionic Gloves...

Bionic technology was first developed for hockey gloves, and evolved to batting gloves, catcher’s mitts and first-base mitts.

This technology is available in garden classic, garden extended-wear, driving/dress, golf and heavy duty gloves.

And, they are machine washable!  Read more.

Easy-Arranger324-571Easy Arrangers … Grids that fit over the top of vases. I have these and they really work! For more details, read on.

Wendy has many other great products for gardeners like the Muletto garden cart and even cute little rose purses!

Check them out here.

ROSE CHAT RADIO GUEST…

I had the pleasure of talking with Wendy on the Rose Chat Podcast. To hear all about Wendy, how she and Ryan got started growing roses, their products and garden advice, listen here.

WENDY SIGHTINGS…

Wendy travels around the South East to garden shows and holiday markets.  Click here for Wendy’s schedule. You can also find Wendy on Facebook (here) and Twitter @thegarose.

Merry Christmas!

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

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There are so many wonderful Christmas movies out there and it is hard for me to pick just one favorite but here is a clip from ONE of my  favorite Christmas specials…

Enjoy this special season with your family and friends!

I look forward to sharing my garden adventures with you in 2013 and hearing about what’s going on in your world.

Teresa