Our sweet mama Anna's Hummingbird made it through 60 mile per hour winds, relentless rain and cold, and she is still sitting on her two jelly-bean sized white eggs. Hurrah!
Next week will be all about this wonderful flying jewel of my garden. Stay tuned.
Where do I begin? During the past week, we've been in a whirlwind of activity. First, the drive north to the Bay Area where we attended a peek press preview of the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show. It was great to view the gardens up close and to see the amount of creativity and energy that went into the installations. Amazing. I walked away with some good, do-able ideas for my own gardens. I think that is what we always want to gain from a garden show, not only the wow factor, but also the things we can master on our own. Sustainability was the star of the show, and one of my favorite displays was the edible garden outside under a tent, which included some Sunset Magazine container garden ideas, a fabulous hexagonal bee hive, and a chicken coop and hen house with a living green roof.
I think this is gorgeous. Look for the hex hive at www.hexhive.com.
The area below the hen house is screened for a run. Note the dominant theme of the garden show–a green roof of succulents.
An outdoor eating area with a living roof. I think I would make a wider over-hang.
A side view of the dovecote.
I am going to make this hanging chandelier. I'll use one of those wire formed moss baskets (they're inexpensive) and fill it with moss and soil, then plant succulents all over the top and sides. Finally, I'll just tuck candles into the soil or I'll use those green florist candle holders that have a long, pointed end. They wouldn't show and would work beautifully.
Sections of gutter mounted on the wall, filled with soil, and planted. Great vertical idea for people with tiny garden spaces.
Even trellises can be added to straw bale gardens. Look for directions on how-to create this garden in my new book Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars.
A dovecote studded with kazillions of succulents.
Repurposing corrugated tin for raised planters. Great ideas from the hort students at Foothill College.
Sweet Comforts Tom and Rebecca Style
After the preview, we attended a party at the home of author Rebecca Sweet (Garden Up!: Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces) who also writes for magazines and has a blog called Gossip in the Garden. Rebecca and I have known each other for years (she was a loyal Heart's Ease customer), but this was my first visit to her home, gardens, and studio – all stunning and worthy of a magazine article. Rebecca, her beautiful daughter Emily, and her adorable husband Tom made us all feel like royalty.
Rebecca's "shed," and I use that term loosely, is a heartbreaker. I love the use of old windows. Wouldn't you love your own shed for your creative moments alone?
Don't you love it that she used an antique mantel against her fence?
Rebecca told me I could spend the night in here. Ok, but where is the bathtub?
Kentucky Comfort and Hospitality
The next day we flew to Lexington, Kentucky. What ever happened to the adventure of travel? By the time we arrived in Kentucky, we felt and looked like two deflated balloons. I had consulted the weather forecast for Lexington, but the temps dropped 30 degrees in one day and dipped even lower the next. Thank goodness that our energetic hostess Sue Fosson took pity on me and supplied me with a jacket and gloves. Thanks, dear Sue, not only for this kindness–for everything you did to make our trip successful.
Marcia (aka the Lady Tornado), Richard Weber, the landscape designer, and I discuss how to add some vertical elements to the children's butterfly and metamorphosis garden.
The auditorium was filled to capacity the night of my Founder's Lecture. Several people brought in copies of the Country Gardens magazine article that featured my little garden. Yea Country Gardens, let's all support them and keep the magazine thriving. The Spring issue features the fabulous gardens of my friend Tovah Martin, who lives in a tiny cobbler's house in Connecticut. A must see.
The cold weather was tempered by the gracious and warm welcome shared with us by the folks who organized my Founder's Talk, which was proposed and supported by Marcia Farris, a relentless force in the creation of the new children's garden at the arboretum. Marcia had an original (1991) edition of Sunflower Houses, which she said inspired her to begin this project. Hurrah! That makes the lonely chore of writing a bit easier for me.
The Bluegrass Herb Guild Luncheon and Tea
Jeff and I were the lucky guests at a tea hosted for us by the Bluegrass Herb Guild, a thriving group of creative gardeners. The event was held at the home of lovely Susan Daole, who lives in a storybook cottage overflowing with books and art. Jane Lowery (standing behind Jeff) was the original instigator of this luncheon. Thanks Jane and Susan.
Lucky Jeff, oh, I guess this time he wasn't the only man. At the far left is author, photographer, potter, and garden designer Ezra Haggard.
My friend Yuki writes for the Japanese Herb magazine. We talked about the tragedies of the recent earthquake, tsunami, and now the devastating radiation leaks.
The food was not only tasty, but also gorgeous. It speaks for itself.
Different herbs on each cracker. Love this!
A delicious rainbow.
The first asparagus of spring topped with the first sweet violets.
A tray full of bunnies and mice. Hilarious and delicious.
The group spoiled me with cards (thanks photographer extraordinaire Patsy Anderson), a landscaping book (thanks Ezra), Shaker cookbooks from the herbies, a letter press poem and cards courtesy of Deborah Kessler of October Press and Susan Daole. If you love the old fashioned look and quality of letter press, you'll love her exquisite works of art.
Warm Beans and Olive Salad
Patsy Anderson made this dish for our herbal luncheon and it was a smashing success. Everyone wanted her recipe and I am going to make it Wednesday night for some friends. Give it a try, I think you'll be thrilled with it too.
2 cups small cauliflower florets
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil-divided
1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced red onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup white wine vinegar (NOT white vinegar, make sure it is white wine)
1 tablespoon honey
2 16 ounce cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (I'm using dried beans & cooking them)
1 7 ounce jar of halved kalamata olives
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Garnish with fresh sage.
Cook cauliflower in boiling water 5 or 6 minutes (until crispy-tender). Plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain and set aside.
Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add celery and onion; saute 3 minutes or until almost tender. Add garlic; saute 30 seconds. Stir in vinegar and honey till dissolved.
Combine cauliflower and sauteed vegetables in a large bow. Add remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, beans, and next 5 ingredients; stir well to combine. Serve warm. Yields a dozen servings.
Patsy added the fresh herbs to the sauteed veggies and cooked them for a couple of minutes, then she also added a dash of tabasco and Worcestershire sauce.
Thanks Patsy! Give it a try and let me know how y'all like it.
A Tuscan Feast
That evening we were hosted by artist Holly Salisbury at a special Tuscan supper. We got a sneak peak at the pastels she created plein air in Tuscany.
Holly hosted 18 with ease, graciousness, and style. Thanks dear Holly.
The Give-Away Winner & a Great Recipe
Jeff just said, "Ok Sharon, we agreed that you would write shorter postings." Uh oh, but how do I write a short one now and leave out all the wonderful people I've been with in the past week? Can't do it, but I promise to make it short next week when I focus on the life-and-death drama of my little Anna's hummingbird who is surviving despite all sorts of natural calamities.
The winner of the From Seed to Skillet book give-away (chosen by the random number generator) is Thea! Thea dear, I do not have an address for you and need you to send one so we can tuck your book into the mail. Congratulations!
That's it for now – phew. I still haven't had a moment to catch my breath or catch up with gardening, house chores, and letters from friends. Forgive me if I haven't answered you.
Thanks for your caring thoughts and words.
p.s. My Lowe's blog posting has finally changed. Take a moment to visit and read about spring flower fireworks, and please leave a valued comment.
Read my interview on EarthMama101.com and sign up for her giveaway.