Saturday, August 25, 2012

Portabella Mushroom Tamales

New Find at the Oak Park Farmers Market.  
(my favorite mushroom vendor) 
has these wonderful Portabella Mushroom Tamales.   
I topped it with some extra hot picante sauce 
and had a perfect breakfast 
for what promises to be a hot Saturday in the garden.  
Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Patient Gardener: Bottle Gentian

Bottle Gentian
Gentiana andrewsii
Gentian family (Gentianaceae)

This is an beautiful plant for the patient gardener.   
I discovered on a garden tour Roy Diblik 
was giving at Lurie Garden recently. 
When starting from seed, 
this plant takes 7 years to get to the point where it will bloom.   
It will bloom each year after but most of us will weed it out 
prior to that stage as the leaves are rather unremarkable.   
This is especially the case if you plant it in a freshly tilled area 
 where the plant is competing with the weeds.
As a result, the best way is to wait until your plants are established 
in your garden for 3-5 years 
and then sprinkle the seed in the middle of the plant, 
such as this catmint variety, 
and hope it pops up between the stems.  
 Now, if you do the math…
that means you won’t see a flower for 12 years 
if starting your garden from scratch.   
Talk about about planting for the next generation!

There is another option.  
 Find a patient purveyor that has planned ahead for you.   
You can purchase it, at an understandably premium cost, 
and obtain some immediate gratification.   
Not surprisingly you can find it at Roy Diblik’s 

It’s on my list for my next visit.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

from where I sit...

 From left to right:
Thumbelina Zinnia, Verbena, Sedum, Calendula

Monday, August 20, 2012

Bird Bath

I love my bird bath. 
It’s shallow and perfect for the birds 
to take a bath which can entertain me 
for longer than I care to admit.  

I purposely keep the area 
around the bird bath open 
to allow the birds to see predators 
heading their way.  
If I've created a space for them 
I feel an obligation 
to not put them at a disadvantage.  
And let's face it,
 they are more likely to come around
 if they feel safe.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lurie Garden and Roy Diblik

 Driving into the city at 7 am on a sunny Saturday is joy.   
Very little traffic and the quiet city streets are surreal.   
What is even more surreal 
is finding an amazing meadow 
amongst the skyscrapers and sculptures. 
 And that’s Lurie Garden.  

One of the gardeners that has been involved 
with the garden from the day the first plant 
was placed in this meadow is Roy Diblik.   
Roy is a visionary gardener, educator and owner of 
Northwind Perennial Farm in Burlington, Wisconsin.   
 He is educating Americans 
on what it really means to be a gardener.  
 Not the person that buys a bucket of annuals in May 
and places them at their front door.   
But the gardener that respects the earth, 
the climate and the structure of a plant. 

Roy gently explains that Americans have been gardening
for less than a century and we are just beginning to really learn 
what it's really all about.   
Our history is more about farming than gardening.  
 He is wonderful at illustrating how gardening 
does not need to be a chore 
and there is a lot more joy to be found in the garden 
than trying to figure out how to make a plant bloom the entire summer.

If you live in the area make his farm a stop.   
If you see he is conducting a tour at LurieGarden 
sign up immediately.  I know I do.

 Yes, I’m feeling a bit like a groupie.

Monday, August 13, 2012


Coneflowers are becoming a thing with me.  
 When I look at blooms like this  
 I don’t have to question why that is.
Love the color.

After Post:
By the way,  even though this looks
remarkably like the flower on my garden journal cover,
especially when side by side like this,
it is not. 
The cover flower of the garden journal
actually is a Helenium flower. 
Yet another favorite flower. 
How can you choose just one favorite? 
....or even 10 favorites?
I know I can't.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Chemistry Experiments and Labels

These days my kitchen is looking a lot like a science experiment.   
I’ve been canning and experimenting so much with herbal infusions 
my hardware store greets me with news 
of the latest canning supply sales items each time I come in.

For those of you with similar pursuits, 
below are some labels  for tinctures, 
infused oils and honeys.  

I print them on card stock, trim 
and slip in between the mason jar ring and lid.    
This way I avoid the whole sticky reside thing 
and the need to buy actual labels. 

Hope  you’re having a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Refrigerator Pickles

Love growing cucumbers 
but I have difficulty finding recipes.
Odd, but true.  
 A recipe I used to make all the time 
calls for fresh dill, which I grow in abundance.
But by the time my cucumbers are ready for harvest 
my dill is going to seed.  
 Recently I learned I should plant dill seed at the same time 
I plant the cucumber seeds 
rather than expecting to use your self seeded dill.  

 Good to know for next year but what to do this year?

I’ve begun making refrigerator pickles 
and above is a Persian Tarragon Pickles 
 that I have to let cure for 4 weeks 
and the other (center) is an Indonesian Quick Pickle 
that you can dip into within hours.   
Both are perfect for having just one or two pickles available 
which is ideal for me.   

Waiting to try the Persian Pickles but 
the Indonesian Quick Pickle is a hit with my family. 
Super fresh tasting and practically begs 
to be put on a Chicago Hot Dog.    
I’ve made 3 jars in the last week 
and intend to make more this week. 

It’s so much fun finding new recipes 
 I have several more pickles recipes flagged 
to try from this book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


I picked this plant up from a bargain table for about a $1 at the beginning of July while in Sawyer Michigan.

It had no label but I believe it’s a type of marguerite daisy.  It would explain the deal as it is a cool season bloomer.  I stuck this in an area that gets only 1-2 hours of sun in the morning and it’s continued to bloom for me.  A rather amazing micro climate I have is this corner considering the heat we are experiencing this summer.  

I love how the color of the petals  change as they age.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Turkish Eggplant

Last week I found these Turkish eggplants at the farmers market.   
When I got home I started browsing the web for tips on how to cook them.
I didn’t run across any recipes specific to this type of eggplant.   
However, found a fantastic recipe for a

It does take a bit of time to make 
and it makes a lot. 

 I was a little worried I would be tossing some of it out 
as I’ve never been someone who likes to eat 
the same thing for more than 2-3 days in a row.     
It’s so good that after eating it daily 
for the last 6 days 
I am considering making some more today.   
Never had that happen before!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Something New – Sunflower Set of Postcards

For the certain to be hot August days ahead 
I decided to make my sunflowers 
into postcard/notecards.
Sunflowers are one of my favorite end of summer blooms. 
End of summer...can't believe I'm writing that.

The cards have a textured linen finish and 
are suitable for framing.  
For you, my fellow bloggers :-), 
there is free shipping for the month of August.   
Just write BLOG 
in the “message to seller” at check out.

Hope you like them!