Posts tagged with garden:

An Olive Plant For My California Garden Deck

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I have begun planting on the deck of our new home. On an early visit to one of the local nurseries I spotted this beautiful olive plant.  It is more of a shrub than a tree, and I’m pretty certain it won’t bear fruit, but I absolutely love it! 

As for the olives, I can buy them weekly at the olive stand at the local farmer’s markets! And I do, cause I adore olives, any size, shape, or color!

I can’t express  how happy it made me to come home and plant that beautiful greenery in one of the urns I brought with me from Maryland…  a little bit of my east coast garden transported to my new west coast one.

San Luis Obispo has a Mediterranean climate, perfect for so many of my favorite plants…lavender, rosemary, hydrangeas to mention a few.

I am looking forward to learning more about the plants native to the area including some of the endless varieties of succulents that thrive here.

And I think I might finally be in the perfect place to plant that Meyer Lemon tree I have always wanted.

Food, Flora, and Father’s Day

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Yesterday was the final Father’s Day celebrated in our home of 25 years. 

We have had countless celebrations over these years in our backyard (for years we grilled on the grass until we had our patio built). 

From everyday barbeques to Bar-Mitzvah celebrations we have so many memories of good times in what to us has become a little bit of paradise that we developed over our time in this home.

From a new home without so much as a a stick in the backyard we created this with a lot of hard work and perseverance…a work in progress that was truly a labor of love.

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Each Spring I would look forward to planting pots on the patio, but always something different than the year before…here are just a few from previous years…

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This year I had to rely on my perennials since there was no time to plant with us moving by the end of June.  In fact, I’ve been gradually giving my perennial pots away to family and friends…parting gifts that are hard to part with, but knowing they will be in good hands makes it easier.

So with my husband still recovering from his surgery, and in the midst of my packing I really wanted to have one last cookout for Father’s Day. 

The weather turned out to be perfect for eating outside (a rarity in our area in the summer),  family and friends turned out for the day, and we enjoyed a really great summer meal.

My husband rose to the occasion and even managed to man the grill, cooking the brick chicken and hot dogs and Italian sausage to perfection…image

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There was corn on the cob…with all the toppings…

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and I made Ina Garten’s Greek Panzanella Salad , a terrific salad to serve that can be prepared ahead , dressed 30  minutes before serving, and served at room temperature.

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For dessert I made the  Strawberries and Cream Spectacular Cake and my best friend brought fabulous homemade  brownies.

And  by the end of the day we had one more memory to tuck away and take with us to California. 

Chantilcleer Gardens

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I mentioned on a recent post that my sister, cousins from St. Louis and I visited Chanticleer Gardens in Wayne, PA several weeks ago. 

This estate began as the country retreat of Adolph Rosengarten, Sr. and his wife Christine, and dates back to the early 1900’s.

The photo above gives you a glimpse of what the 48 acres of  Chanticleer has to offer.

An excerpt from the brochure says it best…

Chanticleer has been called the most romantic, imaginative, and exciting public garden in America.  The garden is a study of textures and forms, where foliage trumps flowers, the gardeners lead the design, and even the drinking fountains are sculptural,  It is a garden of pleasure and learning, relaxing yet filled with ideas to take home.

Here is just a sampling of some of the photos from our wonderful day spent at this miraculous garden retreat.

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If you get the opportunity you must visit this enchanting place.  What makes it stand out among so many public gardens is the fact that they have made an extraordinary effort to keep it from being commercialized in any way, and have succeeded.

As you walk the paths of the various gardens you feel as if you are visiting a friend’s home and gardens.  If you have questions about the many plants there are numerous gardeners available to answer them.

This pretty much sums up the experience they hope it will be…

Sit and enjoy the views.  Relax, read, converse, meditate.  Feel the sun on your back and the grass beneath your feet as you listen to the birds and enjoy the scents of the garden.

Pan Seared Veal Chops and Rosemary Potatoes

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Lately I find myself looking for all kinds of excuses in the kitchen to use the rosemary that is still thriving in the huge pot it’s been planted in for the past 3 summers.

When the weather turns cold here I take my perennial pots from the patio and move them into our garage for the winter.

In early spring when it appears the days will be increasingly warmer I bring them out and let them adapt to the weather on the side of my house where they are still somewhat protected before returning them to the patio.

I then begin watering them again, and in no time at all they are bursting out of the soil.

I will never tire of that feeling of amazement as I watch this process year after year.

I must admit that some years I’m not even certain I remember what was planted in some of the pots until they begin growing again.

In the case of the rosemary, if the winter is fairly mild which it was the past couple of years, ( and so far this year ), it doesn’t die back and I have been able to harvest it in my garage where it sits beneath a window allowing it some sunlight.

 All the other herbs in the garden have long since been plucked and won’t be available til spring again so I do have to buy them fresh in the market whenever I need them.

But my rosemary has been there for me and whatever dishes I impulsively decide to make. Recently these have included the  Roasted Tomatoes   , a Rosemary Gin Cocktail, and the Rosemary Potatoes pictured  above.

The Rosemary Potatoes are a perfect accompaniment to a grilled chop such as the veal chops above.  

Rosemary Potatoes (serves 2)
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Kosher salt to taste (but potatoes do like salt, so be somewhat generous)

Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Toss potatoes with the olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper. (This will help prevent any sticking).

Roast for 25 to 35 minutes, turning once or twice until potatoes are tender, crisp and nicely browned.

Of course garlic is always wonderful with rosemary, but this time I decided to let the rosemary shine on its own! 

And they were wonderful along with the chops which I seasoned liberally just with kosher salt and fresh pepper, then pan-seared on top of the stove at a fairly high heat and finished off in a 350 degree oven.

AUTUMN COLORS 

Most Beautiful Garden Contest 2012

Yesterday it was announced in our local community newspaper that my garden has won first place in our village’s annual Most Beautiful Garden Contest.  I know I’ve already shared many photos of my garden with you this year so I promise to just post these few more.

Gardening has been challenging this summer with the record heat, hungry deer, lack of rain, and  a  back problem which recently has kept me out of the garden as well as the  kitchen.  But I am feeling much better, and this news has given me just the lift I need to get cooking again …. gotta do something with all that mint growing in the urn in the bottom photo!

Happy Second Anniversary To Dinner at Sheila’s!

I ‘ve decided to post some photos from the garden since it will be a little longer until I can maneuver my way around the kitchen for any amount of time.  But I promise something special to come.  These photos were taken throughout this spring and mid summer.There will be more to come of these as well.

I get so much pleasure out of the process of gardening even when mother nature seems to be doing her best to work against us….the deer who stop by for a nightly buffet dinner (they particularly enjoyed the lily buds) this year, the chipmunks and squirrels who seem to dive headfirst into the  pots either looking for treasures or burying them, I’m not quite sure, the mealy bugs that seemed to be everywhere,  and of course the highly unusual triple digit temps coinciding with long dry spells.

But, in spite of all this, and maybe even because of it, the joy is so much sweeter.  When I gaze around my yard and patio it tells a story.  Almost 25 years ago I began this endeavor with little knowledge or first hand experience.  With the help of my sister and best friend I learned so much, and through my own research and trial and error, the successes seemed to outweigh the failures. 

I know I’ve said this before but it’s in the doing , whether it be cooking or gardening, that we learn and  with this knowledge our confidence grows.  And without those challenges we’re faced with, the experience would not be nearly as fulfilling.

I hope you enjoy these photos, and I promise… you will have your cake and eat it, too, before too long!

Thanks again for being loyal followers of Dinner at Sheila’s!

2012 Garden





Summer Sunflowers

Summer Sunflowers

May Blooms

OUR OKAME FLOWERING CHERRY

My husband took these photos of our Okame Cherry Tree, which we planted about 10 years ago…each year we look forward to the beautiful raspberry centered pink flowers heralding spring.  Some years to our disappointment a frost abruptly ends the show…not this year…with our unusually warm early spring temps it is spectacular!

The Okame Cherry Tree, Prunus Okame, is one of the earliest of the flowering cherries. Its carmine-pink petals, with rose-red calyx and reddish flower stalks, open fully before leaf break. It has a very consistent year-to-year blooming habit. The rosy red buds are attractive before flower break and the overall floral effect lasts 2 to 3 weeks. At maturity, ‘Okame’ Cherry trees will attain 20-30’ in height with a similar spread. The young trees display a broad-columnar habit; older trees develop a more rounded habit. Fruits are small, and not ornamentally important. This deciduous tree has an attractive dark red-orange fall color. Shiny reddish brown bark is also very attractive.

Rate of growth is medium-fast, especially when young, so expect 1-2’ or more per year. Prunus. ‘Okame’ does best in moist, well-drained soil, but will adapt to a variety of soils as long as they are not wet. It is pH adaptable. Locate it in full sun or light shade. It makes a fine specimen tree and should be sited where it can be easily seen in late winter/early spring. Flowering is its main feature, yet the ‘Okame’ can be considered an all seasons plant with its attractive bark and fall color. Excellent heat and cold tolerance.