Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Garden Walk ~ Say Goodbye to July

Today was the kind of Washington day that makes up for all of the cruddy weather we've had the rest of the year. Deluxe is what we call it at our house! The day started a little overcast but soon enough the blue sky broke through and it stayed in the 70s all day.

The plants are all pretty happy right about now

I started very few annuals from seed this year and this convolvulus was one of them.

This abutilon spent the winter in the garage and is finally blooming! Yayy!

The butterflies, hummies, bees and who knows what else is really enjoying the butterfly bush this year. Its gotten so big and heavy, it will need a serious trim at the end of the year or it may just prune itself during the wind storms we have in November.

My crocosmia is just starting, but it seems a little sparse this year. I may have gotten rip out happy when I was doing spring cleaning!

My hydrangea at the back patio door is beginning to bloom and it has a neat blue purple color

Around on the other side i get pure blue

I just love the way the bee balm mixes with the hydrangea to make a patriotic little corner in my yard. I always say I'm going to pull the bee balm out because its in a place that's not really suited for it, but it seems happy enough!

Here's a shot from farther back

After our long wet start to summer the veggie garden is finally settling in. I have tomatoes coming! These are San Marzano which is a famous Italian plum variety. I was suprised to see how many I'm going to have since its not a cool weather type.

Have you heard about this new miracle variety of corn that grows full sized ears on plants only 2 feet tall??

OKAY OKAY I LIE...its really just our puny corn already starting to tassel. Whatever corn we do get is going to be just as puny as the plants, I predict. To make myself feel better about our veggie garden short comings I intermingle flowers with the veggie wannabes.

This is another bloom in the veggie garden that I didn't really plan on, but I don't have the heart to rip it out. I planted escarole this year ~ too much for just me~ so some of it started blooming. And what a pretty little scallop petaled bloom it has!

I made a small harvest while I was poking around the garden..mostly herbs, but I do have a couple of handfuls of green beans & some onions in there. Keep reading for a cute little appetizer recipe using those nasturtium flowers.

The tall phlox is really starting its show now

As most of the daylilies are seeing their final days

They have really done well this year

Randy did some pruning of the wedding arbor today and Super Fairy is looking super once again!

I bought a couple of more delphiniums because I feel like I don't have enough and they are beginning to bloom.

I really am lucky to live in a place that has so many things blooming in the midst of summer. From primroses - silly thing

To fuchsia

To Raspberries

And Sunflowers....we pretty much have the gamut covered

Its a great time to sit outside for a little late breakfast. This morning I had fresh Alaskan smoked salmon on bagels, with dill from my garden. Fresh (from the farmer's market) tomatoes and a side of local blueberries and raspberries from my yard drizzled with Greek yogurt sweetened and flavored with brown sugar and a squirt of lemon juice.

Do you see the plate? I have been looking for some like them for ages. They are a knock off of some more expensive plates from Horchows, but shhh..nobody will know. I found them at TJ Maxx along with some red ones. I wanted 4 but couldn't decide which color to buy, so I went with two of each lol. Now if only I could find some purple ones like my friend Kathleen has (only hers are the genuine article).

For snack time we had blueberry streusel muffins that I made a couple of days ago. I made a mistake at the grocery store and bought white wheat instead of regular all purpose flour. I used it anyways in this recipe because its all I had and it really ended up in this case to be a happy mistake because it gave the muffins a great graham flavor. Please pardon the Valentines papers...its all I could find in my pantry!

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

From a cute blog called Dianasaur Dishes

makes 6 large muffins


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
about 1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
2 TBS white sugar
2 TBS brown sugar
3 TBS cup all-purpose flour
3 TBS butter, cubed and softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a muffin tin or line with muffin cups.

Mix the muffin dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, baking powder) in a large bowl. In a glass measuring cup, pour in the 1/3 cup oil. Add an egg and then pour in enough milk to make a full cup of liquid ingredients.

Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and mix well. Carefully fold blueberries into mix and spoon into muffin cups.

Mix topping ingredients together with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over the top of the muffin batter.

Bake about 25 minutes or until golden and a toothpick inserted in one comes out clean.


Okay remember those nasturtium blooms? I was thinking of making nasturtium butter, but this appetizer recipe caught my eye as I was surfing recipes on the internet. I skipped the jicama, but they would be neat little canapes for an outside party in the summer. And any excuse to make and eat guacamole sounds like a good deal to me.

Nasturtiums Filled with Guacamole
(could we maybe come up with a more original name?)

Found on this blog devoted to Nasturtiums, but the original source is cited below the recipe.

1 large avocado, preferably a Hass avocado

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 small ripe tomato, very finely chopped

2 tablespoons finely minced onion

1 jalapeno or serrano chili, seeded, finely minced

1 small clove garlic, finely minced


About 20 nasturtium blossoms

1 small jicama

Lime juice

Peel avocado and remove pit. Mash avocado with a fork and add 2 teaspoons lime juice. Blend in tomato, onion, chili and garlic. Add salt to taste. Let stand, covered, while preparing the nasturtiums and jicama.

Rinse nasturtiums carefully and pat them dry. Peel the jicama and slice it about ¼ inch thick. Cut slices into pieces about 2 by 2 inches, large enough to accommodate a nasturtium filled with guacamole. Squeeze a little lime juice over the jicama slices.

The guacamole, flowers and jicama can be kept for a few hours in the refrigerator before assembling.

When ready to assemble, hold flower at the base and use a teaspoon to fill with guacamole. Set each filled flower on a slice of jicama and arrange on a serving platter.

Serve immediately.

— From “Flowers in the Kitchen” by Susan Belsinger (Interweave Press, 1991), available at the Richland County Public Library

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Flashback Friday ~Edgewood Garden

One day last month I visited three local private gardens through The Garden Conservancy Open Days which is something like the National Preservation society except for gardens. I did a post about one already and thought it was time to show another (and my favorite of the three). Since this took place last month I'm using it as my Flashback this Flashback Friday.

Edgewood Garden was the last garden I visited that day and I almost didn't go because it was a little farther away than the other two. I am so glad I didn't wimp out, because I truly will never be the same gardening wise after seeing this beautiful place. This Monet like setting may give you a bit of a hint at why I feel this way.

The property is 32 acres and they have about 6 developed. A couple of former Microsofters bought the place 7 years ago and most of the gardens have been put in since, which is incredible given the amount of work that I know went into it. You can tell the place has been a labor of love..they have mixed a lot of styles together and somehow it works. I took almost 200 pictures while I was there and seriously could have taken double that, so this is going to be a long post, but if you are a garden lover it should be worth the amount of inspiration you will get by seeing some of this amazing place. You enter the garden from the road through this beautiful gate

And travel down a long driveway that is flanked in part on the right by tiny can't call it a pond

On the left you get glimpses of a cute out building

At the end of the driveway you find yourself at a gorgeous modern home that sits in the middle of the gardens. The scale of the gardens and home are hard to capture. Trust me when I say that the house is of mansion proportions and the developed gardens would be the envy of most botanical gardens.

The garden is not often open to the general public, but they do about 50 fundraisers there a year and have a huge "sun room" which is really more like a banquet hall. There were tables set up and refreshments being served.

I just have to share their "to be planted" area. More stock than some small nurseries! And so the work to build this wonderful place continues. And Randy fusses when I have a flat or two that sits for more than a few days.

The property has an amazing view of Mt. Rainier and the valley below. In the valley is a major highway and an industrial area, but the garden has been designed to hide most of that from view.

There are intricate stone pathways and stepping stones throughout, like this one

And this, which leads to the potager (fancy for vegetable and herb garden!)

I don't know exactly how large the potager is, but its as long as the white partition and probably just as deep..maybe more.

The whole thing is surrounded by white fencing and gates, with bricked steps, graveled paths and raised brick beds

Here I'm standing at the back of the potager looking back

One common theme to Edgewood Garden is the creation of garden rooms. Even here in the veggie plot.

I captured another Monet like image here

As you leave the potager through one entrance you travel through this wisteria covered structure

As you get closer you see what a nice place it would be to rest a while after hoeing weeds

It has a gorgeous sky blue ceiling

Can you say Nap Time!

Just outside of this relaxing spot you find yourself at an expansive lawn surrounded by roses

And porticos that look like they could have been around at the turn of the century.

I love this little dove fountain

From the rose garden you can travel through an area planted with mostly native perennials and arrive back at the little lake

Then cross the driveway and explore another pathway

In the clearing we get a better view of the neat little building we caught a glimpse of on the way in.

It sits just outside of the labyrinth garden, whose entrance you see here

If you followed the design of the labyrinth you could walk here all day

And smell the lavender

And pick a sweet fruit from one of the many trees. It serves as a little orchard as well.

Here is a view looking back towards the labyrinth

And the neighbors...its such a peaceful pastoral scene

The grassy mowed field served as a parking lot for this event and could hold probably a hundred cars or more at once. I'm sure there must be plans for it in the future..thinking of all those plants sitting on the carport that need a home :-) My destination was the latticed area in the distance

The field is bordered by this deep perennial bed

The "doors" into this garden room are grand with an exotic flavor that sets the tone for the next section of gardens

So many different perennials line the paths it is mind boggling...

Many different varieties of fine plants.

Because of the amazing vistas I took more wide views than close ups

But there were some gorgeous plants. Like these peonies

I really couldn't get enough of the beautiful country side though

Farther up the path you come to yet another garden room with what I think of as a Polynesian islandy feel.

Through and past this room is a section of the garden given to special trees

And more amazing perennials and shrubs

The path would continue around the back of the house, but we were turned around at this spot

On the way back another path leads you into a clearly Japanese themed room and garden

I stopped a minute to snap a closer shot of some of the alliums that were heavily planted throughout

As you enter the Japanese garden you are suddenly transformed to some other time and place

The steep bridge crosses a dry creek which would appear at first glance to be naturally occurring. But closer inspection shows it to be very well planned.

What Japanese garden would be complete without a traditional lantern to guide the way

Looking back over the bridge after crossing

More statuary lending to the asian flair

And a closer view of the ordered chaos of the dry creek, running along the front of the house.

With a little Pacific Northwest touch..salmon swimming upstream?

And we are at the front door of the house. Imagine ringing this doorbell to announce your entrance!

I was reluctant to leave this beautiful place

And had to pause for a few minutes at this perfect little spot by the grassy waters edge

I would have loved to spend a few hours here, maybe reading a nice easy reading book or having a picnic. *SIGH*

But I got myself up off that bench and traipsed back down the drive..glancing once more at the country neighbors

As I was headed to my car parked outside the gate, I noticed the for sale sign on the property across the street. Do you think if I was their neighbor they would let me come visit sometime??? I'm taking donations....

I hope you enjoyed the garden tour and aren't sorry you suffered through all of those pictures. Just be aware I left a LOT out! I know I've been showing a lot more garden than kitchen lately, but when the kitchen's hot I'm not doing a lot of cooking! Winter will be here soon enough...or a rainy weekend! If you've got a Flashback of any kind that you'd like to share please add your link below.

I'm joining in on Fertilizer Friday at Tootsie Time this week. While I didn't share my own flowers this week I think its definitely worthy of sharing! Go check out all of the pretty blooms!
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