Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Lazy summer days in the garden

It has been a lazy summer, we are staying mostly home and we are enjoying our garden as much as we can. I try to find a little time to work on the garden in the evening after work and after the little one goes to bed.

We are harvesting beautiful and delicious tomatoes. For lunch I made myself a fresh tomato salad with basil just a little bit of olive oil. It was perfect. 

Let me show you in pictures how days are here in our Philadelphia backyard. 


Pretty zinnias

Giant sunflowers

We had a lot of concord grapes

A mix in our planters


Bird bath and a garden fairy

Garden fairy 

The last of our peaches. We had so much I wasn't ready. I mostly ate them fresh and baked a couple crumbles ( mixed with blackberries ... delicious )

What about you ?
What is happening in your gardens ?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Berries - cheesecake popsicle recipe !

I am glad to sit and take the time to write here. Life has been busy as it should be, but I was missing sharing my garden with you. In July I love to see the different berries maturing, we have black currants, raspberries and blackberries. Every day I can pick some for Chloe ( my 18 month old baby girl) and I collect extra to prepare some yummy treats like these popsicles for which I am about to share the recipe with you. 

It's really quick to prepare, just think that it has to sit in your freezer a minimum of 5 hours.

I harvested a bunch of different berries for this recipe but feel free to adjust quantities if you want to make more.

Summer Berries Cheesecake Popsicles

You will need: 

- 1 1/2  package of regular cream cheese
- 3/4 cup milk ( I used whole milk )
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
- 2 cups fresh or frozen berries ( I used a mix of blackberries, raspberries and blackcurrants from my garden)
In a food processor mix the berries together to obtain a thick juice, leave some chunks if you like, it could also be very smooth. 

Reserve the berry juice in the fridge and in a food processor or blender mix the cream cheese, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. 

Then you can start to fill your popsicle molds, I used Solo shot glass cups and mini popsicle sticks so I could make so many of them...

First fill it with the berries and then add the cream. You can also add some graham crackers like in this recipe.

Fresh blackberries and raspberries 

I like that the berries and cream are mixing together, these popsicles are so cute and so yummy !

I like to share these tiny treats with friends...

Enjoy !

Monday, July 13, 2015

July Blooms

I've had such a busy summer with family visiting from out of state, my garden has taken a back seat lately.  We've had such unusually warm and dry weather here in Seattle, keeping up with the watering has been difficult.  Things are pretty crunchy out there, but that hasn't stopped some of my perennials from blooming.  Times like these, I'm grateful for the tried, true and hardy varieties I have planted.  Some of the more fragile plants I have growing have already withered away for the season.  For now, I'm enjoying these lovely blooms.

 dahlias, shasta daisies and joe-pye weed.

i planted this shasta daisy last year.  it has already spread so much, i think i'll need to thin it out next spring.

the columbine has already faded, i leave the pods to dry so i can reseed.

 thalicturm (meadow rue) is not quite as lush as last year, but still flourishing.

 yarrow, more shasta daisies and camellia

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Broccoli Leaf Smoothies

Green smoothies are a staple around our home during the summer.  Although, lately with the bounteous berries the Pacific Northwest offers, our smoothies are more of a purple color.  My boys love them!  This year I've been adding broccoli and cauliflower greens along with kale and spinach for added goodness.

Here's a versatile recipe that offers a lot of room for your own adaptations.  It's raw, vegan (we use honey), and so very healthy!

1/2 C raw almonds
1/2 C raw oats
2 T raw coconut
2 T flax meal
2 T raw sunflower seeds
-----Pulse until smooth, then add,
1 handful greens
1 handful frozen berries
Water or fresh orange juice to your preferred consistency
Raw honey to your liking
-----Blend all until smooth.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A little tour in the garden and a mint syrup recipe

 The garden is growing so much, we had our first eggplants, tomatoes, raspberries, and black currants. The plants grow fast and every week there is a new plant we could use in our cooking or to preserve. 
It's a question of good timing and make time for it. 
I wanted to give you a little tour of the garden. The flowers, it's such a delight to smell the roses, honeysuckle, and lilies. I feel I am becoming more and more of a flower collector. 
I like that we grow vegetables and fruits and have flowers in such a small space. It is a challenge to make space for all of the plants, we need to be creative. 

The hollihocks are doing so good, I brought the seeds from France, they come from my parents yard. 

The honeysuckle. ( See I am really in the city ) 


Some kale, we do eat a lot of it...

First beets are almost ready !

A potted tomato on top of the chicken coop.


And so much mint !

We dry some of the mint but this year I made some mint syrup !
Here is the recipe.

Mint Syrup Recipe 

- 4 big bowls of mint leaves washed 
- 4 cups of water
- 4 cups of sugar 

In a large bowl add the fresh mint leaves, add the boiling water over the leaves and cover for 24 hours.
Filter the liquid you obtained, add the sugar and cook in a large sauce pan for an hour. ( on high first then on low )
Let the syrup cool and store in a bottle.
Keep it in your fridge. 

Enjoy your syrup in a cocktail, or just with sparkling water ( or not ) and a lot of ice. 
It's very sweet so you really just need a little bit, it's fresh and delicious on a hot summer day! 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Pedestals and plinths in the garden

As promised, I am here to talk about my love for pedestals and plinths in the garden. Adding just a few of these to your landscape can add character, height, structure, texture and originality.

I find a variety of heights in any scene, both indoor and out, is very pleasing to the eye. Giving a pot or planter, a lantern or concrete statue a little lift up to a place all of it's own can make a dramatic difference in a garden vignette.

Many of the plinths in my garden were foraged or found. It's fun to think outside of the box and make pedestals out of something you already have.  Search around your garage or shed and you will be sure to give a new life to something that's been laying around or even broken. Upside down pots, a log or stump, a broken birdbath all make lovely little perches to showcase your favorite things.

Create a cluster of plinths in all different shapes and sizes or showcase something big and bold to make a statement in the garden.

Below you will find some of my favorites.
A cluster of plants by my back door sit on various pedestals such as upside down pots, stumps and logs offering a variety of height and texture.

 A frog friend perches on top of a broken terra-cotta pot back by our grill.

 A pot of succulents sits upon a foraged tree stump on the patio.

 A bird feeder turned candle holder placed atop an upside down faux bois planter.

 A sailboat sun dial afloat in a birdbath.

 A frog birdbath nestled inside a concrete plinth next to our rabbit hutch.

 A toadstool atop a freshly cut stump greets everyone onto the patio.

 A hand me down urn on top of a concrete plinth against our chimney gives this shady area some height and bright color.

A trash picked broken birdbath stand turned upside down creates a platform for a fairy house made by Chris.

A cluster of larger pots softens a corner of the patio  The larger pot behind sits upon a three legged tree stump while the smaller pot in front sits upon an upside down planter.