Sombreuil Climbing Rose 1850

Friday, May 7, 2010

Willows Home & Garden Saturday Flea Market

It's been such a busy time. The veggies, fruits and flowers are all bloomin' like mad! And it seems everyone wants a bit of flower heaven to take home or take to the office. Here are a few of the places of work outings that the girls have been on.

the place to go for antiques and gifts, often with French or Scandanavian heritages.
Even paying for your purchase is pleasant with a bunch of sweet peas scenting the air at the check out desk!

As beautiful as the pieces are at Schmitt Jewelers, flowers brought them the spark of life.

Here. Lean closer. Can you smell that intoxicating light sweet scent?

Tomorrow, Saturday May 8, I am again teaming up with Bev and her ladies for the Child Entrepenuers edition of their First Friday Flea Market. Since I have been too busy in the gardens at Tre Soli to blog or take photos, please go to their blog to see the girls as well as some of the exqusites gems the Willows offers for the bed, body and table! http://www.thewillowshomeandgarden.blogspot.com/
For tomorrow I have picked arm loads of larkspur and dozens of dear watermelon sweet peas. Both were planted as companions for the roses. Who knew I'd fall in love with these heritage flowers, but don't tell the girls.

So many people mistake the girls for peonies..and this is peony season. The midwestern girl in me got the best of me. Memories and talk of lilacs and peonies are circling wherever I go.

And that is how you mix a vegetable with a flower! Actually the green artichokes are members of the thistle family, though the peonies are not.

Well guess what I found while researching why we don't grow peonies here in hotland...a fragrant flower farmer like me! And what do they grow...peonies! As they say they grow respectful of the soil and practice agricultural methods that are kind to their plants. I am so excited to bring these in just this once for Mother's Day. They are fragrant and some have been grown since 1846. Among the varieties coming tomorrow are a pink Sarah Bernhardt and pink and white Mr. Ed.

Last week I brought in some purple lilacs for an event. They sold out and I could have sold them 10 times over. So again I will have lilacs for this short season that they bloom. I will have both purple and white this time. So don't be late they will sell fast!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do Me A Favor

Please join the ladies at Do Me A Favor tomorrow as they celebrate their 4th anniversary. They have brought in a wonderful variety of local vendors...sweet food for the hand, eyes, nose and palette! In addition they will have many of their luxurious gifts discounted up to 30%. For full details go to www.favorfinegifts.com The girls and I will be there with some of their friends from the herb and flower gardens as well as some cousins from California! We're all so excited to get out of our farm duds and mix it up in a lady-like manner! Now if I could only figure out how to upload the photos you could see the girls in their regalia. They loved their photo session.

A water glass serves as a lovely vase for fragrant jasmine, by your bedside perhaps?

Lavender Larkspur in a bucket. Why Not?

A box of Sweet Peas to be delivered as gifts... from my garden... to Do Me A Favor... to the patron... to the honored receivers. What a lovely way to end a beautiful day.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rose Petal Tea

Whew! The heat is on. No need to sweat it, just made some tea to refresh.

Rose Petal Tea

1-1/2 cups rose petals

3 cups water

honey to taste

Slices of Sweet Orange cut in half

Choose fresh rose petals. Strip the flower gently under running water then place the petals in a saucepan. Take care to look and see that all hitch hikers have been rinsed off of the petals. Cover with fresh filtered water and boil for 5 minutes, or until the petals become discolored. Strain into teacups over an orange slice or two. Add honey to taste. For iced tea chill until cold and ice does not melt quickly. Or you can reducce the boiling water by 1/2 and add ice and cold water after honey. A couple of mint leaves add a nice zip. Serves 4.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Out and About

"The Girls" are planning an outing to the Scottsdale Old Town Farmers Market on Saturday.  They asked if you'll be there too.  They heard that ME and Carol may be coming.  They're choosing their fragrance as I write.  Well...will you be visiting on Saturday?  If you do please stop and smell the roses, I mean "The girls".

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We are honored Do Me A Favor has invited us to share our roses at their Fourth Anniversary Open House on Friday, April 30th. They are the delighful and elegant, friendly gift shop next door to Relics. Those of you who know us, know they are a favorite haunt. Do Me A Favor is one of the great local shops we are so fortunate to have close at hand. They offer the finest gifts from around the world and around the corner. It is a pleasure to be working with Jennifer and the ladies at Do Me A Favor. For complete details please follow the link http://domeafavorphx.squarespace.com/l

Friday, April 9, 2010

Young Artichokes at Tre Soli

Spring Artichokes Steamed

This recipe is very loosely written. There are no hard rules or measurements. It assumes that you have a steamer insert but it is not necessary, though inserts are inexpensive and readily available. This recipe could accommodate 1-4 artichokes. Be sure to choose tight, firm, round artichokes for the most meat.

Prepare a bowl of water large enough to cover your artichokes
Select, quarter and squeeze 1 juicy big lemon into the water
Reserve the lemon quarters to put in the steamer pot

Cut stem of artichoke as close to bottom as you can go so that artichoke can sit flat.
Remove bottom four leaves by pulling them off
With the tip of a knife slice an "x" in bottom
Cut off the top ¼ of the artichoke
Trim leaves by cutting the sharp pointed tip of each leaf off. Kitchen scissors work well for this

Soak the artichokes in the bowl of fresh squeezed lemon water for about 1 hr to help preserve color

Add water to just below the steamer insert
Remove steamer insert
Add to the water 1 tablespoon each of dried Tarragon and Basil, or more!
When the water is boiling place the artichokes top side down on the steamer
Add squeezed lemon quarters
Steam in pot ~ 30 minutes or until a knife slides easily into the bottom and leaves are easily pulled off.

Who ever was the first person to think they'd try eating a thistle, as the artichoke is, thank you for thinking outside the box!   There's something so simple yet special about the artichoke...the time and care of prepping. Then pulling the meat off of each leaf with your teeth. The care we take to cut out the choke to get to the heart. I always use a grapefruit spoon to core out the thisitley choke at the core, on top of the heart. Safer, faster and easier than a knife.  Aahh! The heart of the artichoke, your sublime reward. Delicious with the scent of tarragon and basil permeating it's flesh.  But I've been known to use a "dipping sauce". My favorite being garlic aioli with tarragon but I guess that's not the healthiest alternative! My other favorite is to add fresh pressed garlic and a little squeeze of fresh lemon to butter and melt it until fragrant. But I guess that too is off the health-o-meter. So for a change from the usual mayo or butter dipping sauce I'm going to Martha Stewart and try her Vinegar Shallot Dipping Sauce.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Did you know that April is National Garlic Month?! Did you know roses love garlic? They do! Fortunately when your roses are planted with garlic they will not smell like garlic but they will be healthier. The topper is in addition to your beautiful rose bouquets you have fresh garlic for your sauce, salsa, soup, bread, whatever! Here is a favorite recipe of mine using fresh veggies and garlic. Beware this does have addictive qualities. My friend Gale and I would get up the day after Thanksgiving, while the families still slept, and munch on veggies and dip, giggling about everything, til there was none left. Do you suppose we were drunk on garlic?

Making and refrigerating this a day ahead brings out the fullness of the garlic and mellows the blue cheese.

Garlic Blue Cheese Dip

1 cup (4oz wght) Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 Cup Mayonaise (homemade aioli if you have it)
1 Cup Sour Cream
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
2 Tblsp Sugar
1/2 Cup Cream or 1/2 milk + 1/2 cream
2 cloves Garlic or more. Can you ever have too much, I use 3-4
Whisk all together and let rest in covered container in the fridge for 24 hours. Dip will be a lovely sepia color due to the balsamic vinegar.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"Collette" is my favorite climber. She's the first to bloom, has a sumptuous fragrance and she puts out new blooms all season long!
Hasn't this been the lovliest winter?! And now after all that sweet rain we have gardens bursting. I'm looking forward to my second season making my roses, flowers, fruits and veggies available to others. Here I'll show you what's blooming, what's ripe and what's growing in my gardens as well as other related interests... discoveries, garden shows, green efforts, books, music, movies, humanitarian issues and opportunities. I hope you enjoy taking this ride with me and sharing your insights and finds.