Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Last of the Spring Flowers...

Its been a chilly and wet Spring this year here in NE Ohio but the plants have loved it.   We're enjoying the very last of the spring flowers here at my house..  I thought I'd share them with you so I can extend it just a little bit more...

 These natives are growing between my neighbors house & mine.  They're tiny & exquisite wild violets and Im not sure what the other tiny tiny flower is.. I'll have to look it up. Its so sweet..

 Bleeding Hearts, one of my very favorite with daffodils in the background..
  The sweet and simple daffodil dot my woodland garden.. 

 Beautiful purple pansy's are still blooming away..

  The Siberian Bugloss came out early and is growing like a weed..
    the Muscari, Grape Hyacinth are always a welcome friend..
   And this gorgeous one,  Flowerdrift Double Daffodil

 They are just such a happy plant.. they bring me a great amount of joy...  :-)
 Soloman's Seal is doing a fine job of spreading happily under the large ash tree
 and a couple white Trillium continue to come back year after year...

 as do these Red Trillium...not quite in bloom yet here...
Wood Hyacinths are just ending their vigil now...
 and Vinca minor, a wonderful little semi-evergreen that fills in bare spots here & there along the way...

Many of these spring flowering bulbs I got from American Meadows  http://www.americanmeadows.com/flower-bulbs?p=7&planting_time=291     There is also currently a 50% off sale of orders over $75 and FREE SHIPPING as well if you're in the market for fall bulbs. 

This sale is the one I took advantage of last year to get a nice start of nice healthy spring flowering bulbs at a really great price.  They sent them to me right at the correct planting time for my area in the fall and Im completely happy with each & every bulb I recieved.  Every one was nice & healthy and the results look pretty good to me.  And no, <G>  Im not getting kickbacks from American Meadows.. Im really a satisfied customer. ♥

The Most Beautiful Violet Syrup.. or not.

I was reading one of my very favorite blogs a month or two ago... and Suzy from Chiot's Run http://chiotsrun.com/  was making the most gorgeous syrup from wild violets that were growing in her yard.

I thought to myself, "I can do that!" and proceeded to follow her directions step by step..

Pick wild growing violets where you know they're growing pesticide free...got it..

Pour boiling water to just cover and let steep overnight to infuse the tea with all the rich color and goodness.  Got that too.. 

  And soon after is where my awesome little project took a leave from the awesomeness that Suzy shared with us.  

You add honey to your infusion in a pan and bring to a soft boil on the stove-top for about 30 minutes and let it thicken into a nice gorgeous soft violet colored syrup. 
 Sadly, mine wasnt beautiful.. I used a very dark colored honey, so guess what?  It came out a very nice dark honey color. Haha.. It tastes wonderful though, truthfully. 
  If you're ever inspired, and when I do this again some day, I'll use light colored honey and you'll have what Suzy did.. a beautiful Wild Violet syrup.  

Go check out her blog and her syrup. You'll be so glad you did. 

Rhubarb Pie

My honey D loves rhubarb pie... He really loved his mama's rhubarb pie but she isn't with us anymore and really didn't use a specific recipe, just a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. <G>   I've been trying to recreate it and I'm getting close, I think..  Aren't I?

I have one really nice rhubarb plant along one side of my house.  I should plant another one or two, or actually I should probably divide this one.

Wiki How says you can harvest rhubarb from late spring until late summer.  I've also read to remove the seed heads before they bloom to make your plants more hearty..I decided to follow that tradition this year.

I harvested a very nice bunch of rhubarb stalks once and I am planning on at least one more harvest, maybe two if my plant continues to grow so well..  I dont want to weaken it but I honestly dont know when enough is enough at this point.  This plant is at least 5 or 6 years old so I would imagine it can handle 3 cuttings. If not, I'll pamper it a little more next year. ;-) 

A great place to learn more about rhubarb is http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/growing.   I read there that 50% of the red varieties will produce green rhubarb types which mine seems to be. It has the faint red coloring but is actually more green as you can see.  It all tastes the same, and you just add a drop or two of red food coloring to your sugar so your pie has a beautiful red color. 

After I admired the beautiful stalks for a while, I got busy in the kitchen..

Pretty darn pretty, huh.  I served it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top..  Wish I had a pic of that too.  Next time, since thats the way D loves to eat it.  Either way.. Yummm....  :D

Do you like rhubarb & have you grown it? 

Time Flies When You're Having Fun..

Wow..  April & May have flown by in a hurry...   I really thought I would start posting at least once a week but so many weeks have flown by...  

So, Im going to back up so I can share a few photos (haha-understatement)  of what I've been up to and how my little garden is coming along.

The difference in two months here is amazing..  I couldn't wait for a bit of color in my little back yard Sanctuary.. First day of Spring.. March 20.  Color at last!  

And then 10 days later as is typical in Ohio...

and then thankfully on April 15th, color returned to my life..   :D

This brings new meaning to "Colour My World" 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'll work for asparagus

Today has been a wonderful day..  It was supposed to rain but thankfully all we saw were beautiful clear skies.

I spent a good part of the day cleaning up my little backyard sanctuary, and getting other planting areas ready for spring planting which comes late in NE Ohio.

I have been looking for some decent sized asparagus crowns for a couple weeks and finally decided to try my luck on ebay.  Surprisingly enough, the crowns I wound up getting were bigger & better than any I've seen locally. 

 I soaked them for a few hours while I was digging up their new home...

I planted 20 crowns and I'll be looking forward to eating lots and lots of grilled asparagus eventually. .

 I dont really have a lot of space to plant but I already have 7 or 8 healthy crowns growing here that have been happy for about 5 years but I just cant seem to ever get enough.

I usually just roll the asparagus around in a little extra virgin olive oil then add just a little bit of sea salt and grill for about 3 or 4 minutes and roll them around a time or two.  They're done at the same time our steaks are.
Yum!  We love this so much, we had it for our first grilled meal of the year..
Delmonico steaks & grilled asparagus. ♥ 

I imagine I'm going to be a bit sore tomorrow.. but it'll be worth it!