My Garden – Late May 2018

Here’s what has popped up in the last couple of weeks and what I’ve planted in the last few days. We’ve had a rainy week, so I took advantage of it to plant my annuals and the last of my perennials for the year.

For annuals this year, I chose mixed green begonias, lavender vinca, white alyssum, and mixed impatiens.

In the perennial category, I added a few chrysanthemums, gaillardia, daylilies, ajuga, more lamium, and my new recent favorite, several varieties of agastache.

New to bloom since I posted last are perennial geranium, iris, more azaleas, honeysuckle (which I forgot to take a picture of), and the peony is so close to blooming.

So, let’s get on with the pictures.

Red azalea – such a bright, beautiful color in the front flower bed. (Also pictured, tulip foliage, iris and chrysathemum daisy rose.)

Shocking Pink Azalea – my favorite azalea color I think.

Purple azalea. My grandmother grew azaleas this color in her front yard.

Light pink azalea.

A new baby azalea to match the large shocking pink on the other side of the flower bed.

Flower box outside our front window. Pink begonias and white alyssum.

Pink begonias, white alyssum, lavender vinca on the bottom.

Annual lavender vinca.

Our pansies and orange impatiens grown from seed. They were hard to start so I’m pretty proud that they grew.

Bushel basket filled with a white begonia, white alyssum, and three mini chyrsanthemums from Trader Joe’s, one which we overwintered.

Red geraniums and white alyssum.

Begonias green basil, and purple basil in the large pot. Two lavender vincas in the little one.

Annuals – red begonias, white alyssum. Perennial – aster coming up in the center of the pot. I transplanted the aster out of the flower bed last fall.

Red pot includes annual begonia and white alyssum. Perennials pictured from behind the red pot moving clockwise are iris, Echinacea Tomato Soup, Agastache Summer Glow, salvia, fading muscari, lamb’s ears, Daylily Holiday Song, Chrysanthemum Daisy Red. In the center of the bed are Coreopsis Moonbeam, Chrysanthemum Mickey, Agastache Rosie Posie.

Annuals – begonias and white alyssum.

Pictured clockwise from the mailbox are iris, red azalea, Echinacea Pow-wow, lantana, fading muscari, lamb’s ears, wooly yarrow, Sedum Pachyclados, white alyssum, lavender vinca, lavender, rudibeckia, Agastache Champange. In the pot are begonias and white alyssum. In the center of the bed are red perennial salvia, begonias, chrysanthemum daisy pink, and annual lavender vinca.

Iris.

Perennial geranium.

The peony is so close to bloom.

Clockwise from top: Echinacea Mama Mia, Agastache Rosie Posie, Liatris, Gaillidaria Arizona Sun, Chrysanthemum Daisy Red. Pictured on the left side are the edges of the peony leaves.

The big clump is Black-Eyed Susan, peas and tomatoes along the side, and minature roses in the front.

Begonias, lavender vinca, white alyssum, and on the far right a sprig of transplanted Chrysanthemum Rose Grenadine.

Excuse the mess, we’re preparing to build a sandbox for the kids. Along the edges I’ve planted Ajuga Burgundy Glow and Ajuga Bronze Beauty as a ground cover to fill in the dirt under this shade tree.

Clockwise from top left: Pulmonaria Dark Vader, Astible Plumila, Tricyrtis Tojen, Ajuga Burgundy Glow (bottom right), Impatiens, and Fern (center of bed). Two other ferns and cyclamen are planted in this bed too but haven’t woken up yet.

From right to left: Daffodil foliage, Helleborous Pink Frost, Lamium White Nancy and Hostas across the front mixed with annual Impatiens. Far right is Lamium Orchid Frost. In the back are Spanish Bluebells and Bleeding Heart.

Hosta, Lamium and Impatiens.

Clockwise from bottom left: Phlox Amazing Grace, Rose Quietness, Cosmos and Carnation seedlings, Sweet William Cherry Jolt, Yellow Sedum, Lavender Vinca. Center: Sedum Firecracker, Sedum Autumn Joy.

Annual basket I received as a gift full of petunias and verbena.

Purple pansies.

Our pansy and orange impatiens seedlings with our little spring bird decoration and a sweet little girl for cuteness.

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My Garden – Early May 2018

Our new House has a few flower beds, so I’ve spent the last couple of years reading, experimenting, and learning about gardening. I hope to compose a few upcoming blog posts highlighting some of the things I’ve learned, mistakes I’ve made, what’s worked and what hasn’t, etc. But until then here’s some pictures of what’s growing in my garden (zone 6b) so far for Spring 2018.

Lamb’s Ears

Daffodils.

Tulips.

Hellebore Pink Frost.

Ajuga Burgundy Glow.

Plumonaria Dark Vader.

Rose Wild Ginger.

Forsythia.

Red Tulip.

Red Tulips and Peony srouts in the background.

Vinca Minor. Evergreen perennial Periwinkle.

More Periwinkle.

Overwintered red Geranium.

Overwintered pink Geranium.

Red Tulip and Muscari or Grape Hyacyinth.

Mixed Tulips with perennials coming up around them.

Phlox Blue.

Purple Tulips with an Azalea that is about to burst.

Phlox Amazing Grace.

Lettuce.

Radishes and spinach seedlings.

Tulip Pretty Princess.

Bleeding Heart.

Crabapple.

Yellow and red Tulips.

Cherry blossoms!

Bright pink Azalea.

 

A Week of Waffles

A Week of Waffles

We eat waffles for breakfast every morning. Why you ask? Because when members of your family are allergic to oats, eggs, and pork you’re pretty limited on your breakfast food. This is something that I can make that everyone can eat. So, I make a HUGE batch every Saturday to last us the week. If you want a week’s worth of waffles, try this recipe.

Waffles:

4 eggs (I use 8 egg yolks as we can’t use the whites)

1 cup mild tasting oil (I use light olive oil)

1 tsp. Vanilla

1 tsp. Salt

Stir.

4 cups buttermilk (I sour milk with vinegar)

Add to egg mixture and stir.

5 – 5 1/2 cups flour (I usually use 2 cups all purpose, 2 cup whole grain spelt or whole wheat, and 1 cup millet)

1 tbls. Cinnamon

1 tsp. Baking soda

Stir. If you used whole grain flour, let it sit a few minutes so that the flour can absorb all the liquid. If your batter is still too runny add a half cup of all purpose flour.

Cook in my favorite Cast Iron Waffle makers. 🙂

Store in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze.

Enjoy your pre-made breakfast.

Click this link for some tips on using these cast iron waffle makers to their full advantage.

Easy Roasted Chicken and Veggies


I made this colorful concoction for our Easter dinner this year. It was delicious and so easy to prep ahead when you have guests.

I started the night before by washing and chopping all my veggies, and setting some minced garlic to marinate overnight in olive oil. 

In the morning I tossed about 8-10 red potatoes and a handful of carrots in a big bowl with my garlic and olive oil mixture from the night before. Then I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and put them on my baking stone. I coated the chicken thighs (boneless, skinless, about 2.5 pounds) in the same oil and garlic mixture and placed them around and on top of the potatoes and carrots. Then I threw in some chopped onion pieces and celery stalks for flavor and good measure. 


Next, I coated all my veggies. I had pre-chopped red onions, yellow squash, red peppers, broccoli and asaparagus. For this tray I chose veggies that were colorful for spring and ones that would roast quickly. (The potatoes and carrots went on the tray with the chicken because they would need a longer cooking time.) I coated them in an olive oil, garlic mix with rosemary and oregano added, and sprinkles of salt and pepper. These all got spread on a second tray.

Before roasting


I baked the chicken first. 45 minutes at 400 degrees. When it was done, I took it out to sit and put the second tray with the veggies in the hot oven (still at 400 degrees) for 20 minutes. Everything was perfectly roasted. It was an easy, delicious and flavorful meal.

Roasted to perfection. 400 for 20 minutes.


We had carrot cake for dessert, but that will have to be another recipe. 🙂

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Turkey Chili


I’ve always used my Mom’s chili recipe. It’s Tex-Mex all the way. My allergy kid is off tomatoes right now however, so that recipe is out. Recently, I’ve been experimenting with alternatives and honestly, we haven’t like any of them….until this one.
It’s a keeper. A Facebook friend posted this recipe for a black bean, sweet potato vegetarian chili. It sounded appealing because it used many of the same spices that I typically use in chili, so I tweaked it a bit and made it my own. 

The first change was to add meat. Sorry to my vegetarian friends. I added ground turkey, omitted the tomatoes and changed a few other ingredients based on what I had on hand and what sounded good.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Turkey Chili:

1.5 lbs ground turkey

1 yellow onion, diced

6 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced 

1 tbl chili powder

3 tbls cumin

1 Jalepeno, seeded and diced

Salt and pepper

Brown the turkey meat adding the chopped items and then the spices.

Next add…

1 can each black and pinto beans (or 8 oz. dried and soaked beans)

2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped

1 cup chopped red pepper

2 cups chopped red Swiss chard

3 cups vegetable broth

If needed, add enough water to cover all the ingredients. Simmer until heated through or until the beans are tender if using dried.

This would also make a great crock pot meal if you cooked the meat ahead and tossed all the rest in the crock pot the day of.

I like this recipe because it tastes similar to my standard chili and has a good enough base with the sauce, peppers and sweet potatoes that none of us missed the tomatoes. Eat well everyone!

Pantry Help – Organize Those Bulk Herbs and Spices


I love my herbs and spices. One of the biggest perks of living near the City is that you can get bulk herbs and spices very cheap. (See last week’s post bulk spices on the Since Your Last Visit page.)

But a cute little spice rack will not do for keeping them organized. These bulk containers were wreaking havoc with my pantry shelves. So I came up with a handy DIY solution.

Over-the-door shoe organizer to the rescue!


I labeled all the lids of my spice containers with a permanent marker and filled up all those pockets. 


I love the results. My favorite herbs and spices within easy reach and I don’t have to shuffle through my shelves looking for them anymore. Hooray for organization!

City Life: Save money buying Bulk Herbs and Spices


So much in the City is so expensive – mostly rent! But if you live in or around NYC stock up on bulk herbs and spices at the local city grocery stores. The herbs and spices are soooo much cheaper than the typical suburban grocery store chain. Trade Fair is my favorite NYC grocery store with Associated coming in second. 
If you don’t live in the NYC area there are still options other than paying $8 for a tiny jar of cloves at your local supermarket. I have actually found reasonable prices on bulk spices on Amazon. So check there. My favorite online stores for bulk herbs are Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store. And be sure to check your local Walmart. They have some basic spices in the $1 category. So save some money and add some spice to your life!

(Note: None of these are affiliate links.)