Thursday, April 30, 2015

Looking forward to Spring Open House!

Spring Open House

Saturday, May 2
8:00- 12:00

How can it be May this weekend?!  This Saturday, May 2 is our annual Spring Open House.  Swing by for coffee, treats, and plants too!  The flowers are looking just fabulous and rumor has it Aunt Cin has been baking up a storm...yum!

See you Saturday!

-Anna Mary

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Garden Gathering Recap: Wet & Wild!

We're onto the second installation of our Garden Gathering recaps!  In case you missed it, you should definitely check out Sue's "Designing with Food & Flavor".  Now it's my turn to share a little bit from my Garden Gathering topic "Wet & Wild!"... so here we go!


Wet & Wild!

Fiberoptic Grass, Water Celery, Creeping Jenny

I've always found water to be an attractive feature in a garden.  Fountains, fish ponds, bird baths... they all add a refreshing and unexpected element to a garden of any size.  It's not difficult to incorporate a water feature into your own garden.  You can get just as much enjoyment out of a small, concrete leaf bird bath as you can from the impressive fountains at Longwood Gardens.  A bonus:  with a small feature like this, maintenance is simple.  Just wash it out and change the water when you water your plants and planters.  Easy!

But you don't have to stop here!  Just like in ponds, small water features are enhanced by adding plants.  Some of my favorite water plants are not for use in water exclusively.  There are a number of versatile annuals that can be used just as well in patio planters as they can in pond planters.  I've compiled a small collection of some of my go-to "marginals", or plants that are happy to have their roots submerged in the water.  (This is not a complete list of water plants by any means!  Just a few of my favorites.)

AKA Elephant Ears, these plants offer height and drama- perfect for a larger scale installation.  Colocasia come in a wide variety of heights and colors.  I especially like 'Mojito' for it's splotchy, varigated leaves.

Perhaps a gimme, but there so many to choose from!  We often think of 'King Tut' and 'Baby Tut' as plants to use in patio containers, but they'll thrive in the water as well.

Great for a sunnier location.  They provide height and will flower for some extra pop!

Similar to cannas, but these plants are all about the foliage.  They will not get a flower, but their rich, dark leaves are just gorgeous!

AKA Butterfly Weed.  Another flowering option, plus they attract butterflies as the name implies.

Water Celery
A gorgeous accent foliage!  Gotta love those lavender edged leaves.  (In photo above.)

Fiberoptic & Twister Grass
Texture adds depth to any planting, and what a better way to add it in than with some grass?  Two of my favorites for water use are Fiberoptic grass and Twister Grass.  Fun! (In photo above.)

Perhaps another gimme, Creeping Jenny adds a nice spot of color. (In photo above.)

Blue Moneywart is just so sweet!  It covers itself in tiny blue flowers...irresistable!

These plants work well in mixed containers for larger water features, as well as in trios, pairs, or singles in a birdbath!  As with any other planting, I like to mix colors, textures, heights, and habits for extra interest.  Maybe even add in some other elements like shells or stones...or whatever you like!

I absolutely encourage you to try out some water plants or water gardening this season, no matter your scale!  Get you feet, hands, whatever wet and try something new!

-Anna Mary

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ketchup 'N' Fries

Every year there are a few plants that we're exceptionally excited about.  A few years ago we were thrilled to be able to grow grafted tomato and pepper plants for the first time- and we loved them! We're still growing a wide variety of grafted tomatoes this spring, and added into the mix is a funky new plant:  Ketchup 'n' Fries. Ketchup 'n' Fries is a cherry tomato grafted onto potato rootstock... so it will bear both tomatoes and potatoes.  Get it?  It's Ketchup 'n' Fries!  This is the first real push for this plant in the U.S., after it has found great interest and success in Europe as the 'TomTato'.  While it's not an entirely new concept (I've read about similar plants grown in the 1990's or so), it's definitely a fun one!  They'd be great in a garden bed or in a pot on your patio.  Tasty, unusual, and what a great conversation starter!

So who's up for some Ketchup 'n' Fries?!

-Anna Mary

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Garden Gathering Recap: Designing with Food & Flavor

Over the next few weeks I'll be doing my best to get recaps from our Garden Gathering "talks" up here on the blog.  Up first is the fabulous Sue!  She is a traveler, and artist, and a friend.  We always appreciate the unique perspective and insight she brings.  Last year she told us all to "Get Out of the Comfy Chair!"- great advice, and worth re-reading for some springtime inspiration!  

Anyway, kicking off our roundup of the 2015 Garden Gathering is Sue, in her own words, on "Designing with Food & Flavor".  Enjoy!

-Anna Mary


Designing with Food & Flavor

All of you know by now that the garden that is my life grows the flowers of art, travel, and teaching, to name just some of my flowers. We are all gardens. We tend, sometimes, different flowers in our gardens from each other. But, Gardens we are.

You come to the greenhouse, and we work here, to learn and grow our (G)gardens. You see what I am saying? I am talking about gardens and Gardens, the micro and the macro.

What does this have to do with the recent Garden Gathering and my chat on Designing with Food? Well there is pesto and then there is Pesto. There is the known recipe for classic Pesto Genovese which uses Sweet Basil to create a luscious sauce to use for pasta and pizza.

And then there are all the other possible Pestos. But, these Pestos require you to try new things, to experiment and sometime fail but, other times, succeed. And when you succeed your taste buds are offered something new to savor.

This is creative processing. And I have found in my Garden of art, teaching and travel that the more I expand my senses the more my mind/life expands. So I take the risk and try new things, and my Garden gets larger.

All that being said about trying new things...traditions give us frame work, from which we can begin to create. The structure of tradition creates foundation, a launching pad. The rules of cooking and art act the same way, they are the beginning. Learn them well through disciplined practice. Then break them. 

Here is a start of how to expand your use of the beautiful herbs (and your G/garden) that you will grow this summer...



In terms of PESTO think leaf, nut, cheese - 3 cup leaf - 1/3 cup nut - 1/2 cup cheese = 1 cup pesto

Leaf - basil (try Pesto Perpetuo), parsley, cilantro, mint, kale, arugula, spinach, romaine, watercress
Nut (toasted ?) - pine nuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, sesame seeds etc etc...
Cheese - parmesan , asiago, pecorino, manchego, cheddar, gouda etc etc...

Extras: Seasoning 1/2-1 tsp, plus a little salt
Choose garlic, lemon or orange zest, red pepper, thyme, oregano, tarragon, rosemary all chopped.  Now pulse in your food processor and slowly drizzle in a 1/2 cup good extra virgin olive oil....

Extra Finish:
Try ricotta, fresh or sun-dried tomatoes chopped up, olives, roasted red pepper, mascarpone.



-Pizza on grill or oven - finish with fresh herbs and blobs of ricotta or mozzarella cheese. In ROME this is a perfect meal in one, or drop pesto on top of the pizza.
-Add herbs into leaf salads or salads of just veggies and herbs, dress lightly with good oil, a touch salt or squeeze of lemon or grate of lemon.
-Freeze a lemon so you will always have one to grate.
-Slather pesto on a wonderful slice of bread.
-In a sandwich layer herbs like lettuce or pesto.  Try an INDIA SANDWICH - cilantro chutney layered with cheese, chopped peppers, tomato, red onion, and boiled potatoes on buttered bread then pressed and grilled.
-Use fresh herbs in savory dishes like quiche or muffins (Like Cindy's Garden Gathering muffins!).
-Chop and freeze for soups, stews during the winter.
-On eggs, in eggs.
-Use in soups like PHO, a traditional Vietnamese soup.  Use freshly torn herbs, and lots of them!
-Chop and sprinkle on grilled meats, fish.
-Chop, blend in little oil and spread on anything!
-Ennhance the taste and look of your food... beauty matters.



STEVIA - to the sweets!
- Grind 2 fresh leaves into a smoothie - steep with mint in ice tea, hot tea, or try a Mojito.
-Use to sweeten sauces.
-Dry the leaves (they are sweeter dried) or use fresh.

Recipe for Simple Syrup
-One cup of warm water to 1/4 cup of fresh, finely-crushed leaves
-Set for 24 hours in air tight container
-Strain and refrigerate (cook to reduce if you wish)

Benefits - no calories AND plaque retardant and anti-cavity (so they say)...


Just some ideas to play with and help expand your (G)garden. But remember traditions are the foundation that help us build wings to fly. that that leap. 


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Opening Day

2015 Spring Hours:
Tuesday 9:00- 5:00
Friday 9:00- 5:00
Saturday 8:00- 12:00

Today's the day!  We kick off our 2015 Spring Hours today, Tuesday, April 14.  Come on over for a little spring- we can't wait to see you!

-Anna Mary

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Another Garden Gathering

Well, yet another Garden Gathering has come and gone!  Over the past few years this event really has become one of our favorite spring traditions.  It really is wonderful sharing the new and exciting in the greenhouse with all of you!  

Over the next few weeks I'll do my best to get a roundup of as many of the "talks" as I can.  (Somehow we just get busier and busier this time of year...ha!)  Don't hold me to it, but I think the first one up will be a few highlights from Sue's segment "Designing with Food and Flavor", followed by a collection of my favorite water plants from "Wet & Wild".

Anyway, many thanks to all of you who joined us this morning to kick off our spring season!  We'll be beginning our regular spring retail hours this coming Tuesday, April 14.  So swing by on Tuesdays 9-5, Fridays 9-5, or Saturdays 8-12 and get a taste of some spring!  

See you soon!

-Anna Mary

Friday, April 10, 2015

Getting Ready for Another Garden Gathering!

We're getting ready for tomorrow's Garden Gathering!  Even Beiler has been doing his part...testing out the seats!

See you tomorrow,

-Anna Mary