Friday, July 30, 2010

Ferrety Friday

My daughter is disappointed that I don’t write lengthy ferret posts like I used to. I’m disappointed too, but I just don’t have as much free time as I used to during the colder months. And I don’t spend much time on my computer in the summer, so there’s that too.

I hope to get back on track with my informative ferrety posts sometime in the fall. Until then, I will post photos of my fuzzies; like this one of Clair being utterly lazy.

That’s our Clair. Cute but unbelievably lazy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Plants, Plants, Plants

It’s that time again, folks, where I write about new additions to the garden. I know it’s not the most exciting post but it’s my blog, after all, and I get to decide what goes in it. Not that I don’t care about your feelings and such, but, you know, it’s still my blog.

So, for those of you that are willing to stick around for yet another post about plants that have been added to my garden, here’s what’s new:

1) Hibiscus ‘Luna Red’

I found out recently in a gardening magazine that there are hibiscus plants that will survive my northern winters. My thoughts: ‘Hibiscus as a perennial in my backyard? OHMYGOD! Can it get any better?’

Well, as soon as I made that discovery, I was on the lookout for one of these plants because I just had to have one. I found one at a garden center a couple of weeks ago and added it to one of the flower beds in my backyard. Can’t wait for the blooms!

2) Monarda panorama ‘Red Shades’

I picked up a couple of these and added them both to the center of my backyard. They’re still fairly small, so it’ll be awhile until I see the vibrant red blooms that these pretty little things are supposed to make. No problem; I can wait. In the meantime, the foliage smells very nice. And it’s quite attractive.

3) Aquilegia McKana mixture

I picked up this lovely columbine a long time ago but failed to write about it; its tag got mixed up with many others and I lost track of it. Apparently, the flowers on this perennial are an array of pastel colours, but I haven’t seen them yet, and might not even get a glimpse of them this year since the plant is supposed to bloom in spring. No big deal; it’ll be something to look forward to next year. I picked up one of these and added it to the flower bed under my kitchen window.

4) Alcea rosea ‘Chater’s Double Mix’

I don’t know whether hollyhocks (common name for Alcea rosea) will make a comeback or not (they were quite popular once upon a time), and I don’t necessarily care. I picked up one of these and added it to my garden because I’m curious about the lovely blooms it’s supposed to make. The plant is going to get quite tall, too, and it’s attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. So it’s all good.

5) Anemone × hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’

It’s always nice to have some late summer/early fall blooms and this plant is supposed to provide me with that. We’ll see how that goes. I picked up one of these and planted it under my kitchen window

5) Astilbe ‘Diamant’ (Astilbe × arendsii Diamond)

With all the sales recently at garden centers, I couldn’t resist picking up this lovely Astilbe with its lacy green leaves. I added it to the right side of my backyard where it will grow as tall as three feet and produce pretty white flowers each year from June to July.

6) Pulmonaria ‘Sissinghurst White’

I picked up this Pulmonaria at a great price and added it to the right side of my backyard where there is still lots of room to spare. I don’t care whether this plant blooms or not; I like it for its attractive foliage.

7) Astilbe x arendsii 'Bridal Veil'

This is another pretty Astilbe that happened to follow me home. Actually, two of them did. I planted both in the flower bed in front of our home.

8) Tricyrtis ‘Empress’

There are two things that I love about this plant: 1) it produces gorgeous, orchid-like flowers and 2) it has no problem with shade. I picked one of these up (on sale) and added it to the right side of my yard.

Well, that’s it for today. I have about 7 or 8 more plants to write about and that should be it for this year. Unless I pick up something on sale. Or something amazing that I can’t resist. And then there’s the fall bulbs and stuff, too. So maybe I’m not quite done yet.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Buttermilk Loaf Cake

I never would have discovered this awesome recipe if it wasn’t for the fact that I had leftover buttermilk (purchased for another meal) that I wanted to use up instead of tossing out.


I searched the internet for recipes where I could put my buttermilk to use and VOILA! I ran across this one. Lucky me. And now, lucky you, cause I’m sharing it.



1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
finely grated rind of 2 or 3 lemons (I don’t add this)


Butter a 10-cup loaf pan. Dust with fine, dry bread crumbs, and tap out excess crumbs. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixer bowl, cream the butter. Beat in vanilla. Add sugar and beat only until well mixed. Add the eggs one at a time, beating only until incorporated. Bear for about 1 minute more.

On low speed, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beating until incorporated after each addition. Stir in grated rind.

Turn into prepared pan and shake the pan a bit to level. Bake at 325 degrees on a rack 1/3 up from the bottom of the oven for about 1 hour and 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake tests done (check center of loaf to see if it’s cooked by inserting a knife through it). The top of the loaf should be richly brown.

Let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from pan and place on a rack to continue to cool. Refrigerate (or freeze for about an hour) before serving.

Slice and enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Busy Bee

Because of the abundance of blooms in the garden right now, there are a lot of tiny critters, mostly winged, dropping by. Not all of them are welcome (who the heck would be happy about a red lily beetle dropping by, for example), but the ones that are put a smile on my face. Like this little fellow:

This busy little bee was sweet enough to hang around long enough for me to snap a photo of him hard at work. Bees are one of my absolutely favourite bugs, along with butterflies, so I was thrilled to see this little guy enjoying the blooms on my Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, which looks like this:

If I was a bee, I’d want to dine on this plant too. So many flowers to choose from!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Photo Of Clair

It’s been over four months since Clair joined our household. Since then she’s gained weight, she’s learned to trust us, her fur shines and she’s as gentle as can be. Not that she was ever really aggressive, just a little apprehensive. I believe that all living creatures (my fuzzies included) flourish with love.

And we do love our Clair...

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Photos Of Rose Blooms

I’ve been busy with an assortment of things and haven’t had enough time to prepare a decent blog post. Well, that’s not entirely true; the honest truth is that I haven’t really bothered to sit down and work on any real writing during my free time. Regardless, the day is moving along quickly and the only thing I have available for today is some pictures of rose blooms. So that’s what you’re getting.

In any case, here’s a look at them:

I never imagined I’d like roses in my garden since I don’t like receiving them in bouquets on special occasions, but I do. I like them very much, especially the miniature. So there you have it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Greek Salad

There must be a gazillion different ways to make a Greek salad. However, as a descendant of Greeks who ate this regularly while growing up, I’m going to tell you what the most important thing to remember is when preparing this tasty dish:

"Always use the freshest ingredients possible; this includes herbs. Because the fresher the ingredients, the better the flavour."


What You Need:

2 large tomatoes
1 medium cucumber
1 medium red onion
1 red, green or yellow pepper
3 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
¼ cup black olives, sliced


3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried oregano (or 2 tbsp chopped fresh)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
Salt and pepper

Cut tomatoes, cucumber, onion and red pepper into large chunks. Place in large salad bowl. Add cheese and olives.

Dressing: In small bowl, combine lemon juice, vinegar, garlic and oregano; whisk in oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour over salad and gently mix well.

Serves 6.


Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh My, How You’ve Grown

I think one of the greatest pleasures in gardening is watching your baby plants grow into big, gorgeous specimens while under your care. Some of my own garden babies have shocked me by how large they’ve become since I placed them in the ground. Below are some before and after pictures of a few of my garden’s ambitious perennials.

1) Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

2) Rudbeckia hirta ‘Marmalade’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

3) Morden Sunrise (Roses)

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

4) Blue Girl (Roses)

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

5) Adelaide Hoodless (Roses)

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

6) Lysimachia ciliata ‘Firecracker’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

7) Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

8) Monarda ‘Petite Delight’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

9) Coreopsis grandiflora ‘Sunfire’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

10) Leucanthemum (chrysanthemum) ‘Silver Princess’

When it was first planted:

What it looks like now:

And finally, here are before and after photos of the flower bed in the middle of my yard that we carved out in April of this year.

What it looked like when it was ready for flowers:

What it looks like today:

It’s amazing how fast those tiny little plants that you bring home from the garden center grow. It makes you feel like you’re doing something right.