Friday, May 25, 2018

Friday Morning Before Work




  The sun sort of came out this morning...Glory Be! 
  I was wasting a little time between getting ready for work, and going to work.
  I figured, what the heck...I'll take a few more pictures of the ever changing garden, and maybe write a quick post today.

Ta-DAH!


  First stop, a couple of Italian ceramic items in the kitchen I just had to share-



We bought these 14 years ago in Montelupo...
We were with Mom & Dad, and they were showing us some favorite spots.


A 'must take home' from the Venice Biennale, 2013.
This poster puts a big smile on my face.
Every morning.

  
  Next stop, the compost bins to do some kitchen scrap recycling. So, why not take this picture of the potting shed/bicycle house?
  My darling-est hubby in the world built it for me around twenty years ago.
  Bless his heart.


Mostly made from recycled wood that a contractor pal tossed our way.
Cool! 


  So what was happening in the garden this morning?

'John Cabot' rose. Once he lived in the ground, and was not doing so great, so he was cut way back
and put into a large container. He's happier now.

  In my last blog post, there are lots of garden shots, but I also wrote about harvesting and eating some of our Italian purple artichokes.
  Those that are still on the plants are being left to flower.  They look pretty amazing right now...
  Check out the thorny spine things they have! Man, do they let you know that they don't want to be messed with!
  OUCH.




Great graphic design, Mother Nature!



A wee baby. Still a danger, though.
Spiky little thing.






They are like claws, man. Really dangerous claws.
Even the foliage is nasty. I've learned not to wear shorts around these bad boys.

 

Then there were just some little garden moments...



This succulent has finally taken hold.
I was starting to give up on it...so glad I didn't.
I love it's 'spider web' look.

These are buds from a member of the onion family,
but more of the ornamental type. Bulbs I planted years ago.
They come up all over, and are really beautiful.
You'll see soon enough.


I just can't get enough of this pot-o-succulents!



  The succulents along the front walkway and sidewalk are out of control right now.
  I don't mind one bit.



I took (well, I stole...from a friend who wasn't looking) a small cutting of this lovely gal many years ago, and now she thrives in various areas of my garden.
I have passed her along many times to friends and neighbors.

  Also all along the front fence/sidewalk...these fine ladies, in all their prettiness.
  These make excellent arrangements, either alone or with grasses...anything.

They are getting in the way of passers by, so I started cutting some back this week. For bouquets, etc.



Kinda pretty, right?



  So that was my Friday morning before work.
 

Friday, May 18, 2018

An Evening In The Garden...




  Geez...I didn't think the garden could get any prettier than when we first got home a couple of weeks ago, but she's gone and done it...
  More roses, fuller maples and geraniums and all the shrubs are just bursting. 
  Sigh. 
  How delightful to gaze out from the back porch, or the kitchen window. Birds galore, enough sunshine (for now) to soak in the warmth, and color, color, color.







  So on our day off this week, we decided to putter around the yard, maybe do a little laundry...and grill a pizza. Why not?
  And while we were in the "deciding what to do" part of the day, we went ahead and harvested three artichokes to prepare 'Roman Style'.






  These are actually a variety of Italian 'carciofi' that I bought many years ago. They start out purple on the stalk, and I usually just let them flower. 
  There's still just a touch of lavender on the tips. 
  Note the 'spikes' on the chokes as well as the big leaves. I kid you not, these things could be used as weapons. I am so ready for the Zombie Apocalypse.



Picked and ready to clean.
Ouch. Double ouch.
   I know I've mentioned sneaking some herbs back to the states from the Umbrian fields, and this is why.
  Mentucchia is a wild herb that tastes like a cross between oregano and mint. It is an essential ingredient in true 'carciofi all Romana', so I just had to bring some home for my herb garden.

  The recipe calls for a good amount of the herb, as well as an even more than good amount of garlic. You can finely dice these two ingredients, along with parsley(I don't use parsley), and sort of stuff them into the cut and cleaned chokes. I just toss the herb and garlic into the water/oil/white wine mixture. Add the carefully cleaned chokes, and let them braise until soft. Then gently boil off half of the excess water, so you just have a gorgeous golden liquid to dip bread into...







  This was our first course on our night off. Notice the bowl of liquid gold on the left. We drizzle and dip our grilled bread that has also been rubbed with extra oil and garlic. We couldn't resist having extra bread, un-grilled, too...




Yep. That's pretty much heaven on a plate.
Don't forget to cook the cleaned stems, too!!




Mash all that soft, tasty goodness on that bread, man!
White wine is a nice beverage in this situation.

  Well, after gorging on 'carciofi all Romana', we started the charcoal up, I took some time to photograph the garden again. The light was just so nice, and there are more roses popping open.



David Austin rose "Tamara".
One of my favorites. Killer color combo,
I have to say.


Another David Austin rose, "English Garden"
She is one of the first I bought, almost twenty years ago, I guess.


Lemon Verbena, just to rub our hands in. 



These guys are loving their new digs.
They used to be in the old gallery garden.
I brought them home. The old gallery has been totally demolished.




I love,  just love my "Lady Banksia" rose.




'Constance Spry", again...


Sweet little "Penelope".
Another twenty year old in my garden.


  Back to grilling...
  Pizza. Margherita Pizza. 
  Is there any other? I mean really?



Maybe too thin?



Cooking fast!


Flip that baby!
I do like some char, as regular readers know...

Red, white and green.
So Italian!

I think that our grilled pizza is better than any pizza in town.
Right, Mr. J?



Right.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The Garden In Her Glory



  Warning:
  There are way too many photos on this post. I just couldn't stop adding more.
  
  I'll be brief with the text, though. 
  Just the facts, people.

  Damn, my garden looks good right now. That's a fact.

  Very quickly, before the photo show...We usually return home from Umbria in Mid May. We had to leave early this year because of EU laws about how many days we can spend over there.
  So, I have not seen my garden this early in 8 years. Plus, we had a bunch of rain, which just makes everything happy.
  
  Our garden is small, and very much a country/cottage style of garden. Very fluffy and just a little out of control...



Looking towards the potting shed. Johnny made it!.



Mayhem! In a good way.
That's pink rose 'Belle Story' with euphorbia madness.
And the unknown little pink flower that re-seeds all over my garden.

I never get to see the roses in full bloom.
This is so gorgeous, I've forgotten how pretty they are!
White 'Sombreuil" rose.

  The Japanese Maples are stunning...



Outside the Dining Pavillion.
With rain barrel.








Area in the front garden, by the main street.


Rose 'Wind Chimes' along the front sidewalk.



Massive geranium 'wall' in Johnny's studio garden.

  The big picture is lovely, but I also am enjoying the 'little garden moments'...


Super cool Viburnum.
Can't remember her name.
I haven't seen it bloom in years!

Variegated Fallopia.
Adore.


Tom B's variegated bamboo has taken over...in a good way.
Thanks, Tom!


Clematis.


Another Clematis...

Beauty combo.


Another favorite Japanese Maple.

I didn't even know I had these Iris in this color!


Love this combo, too.


St. Francis has pride of place.



Carciofi!
Dilemma...let them bloom, or eat them?




Color in the front garden.
 

  ROSES!!!!


'Grahm Thomas'


Ummm...Can't remember.
Maybe 'Colette'?


'Constance Spry'.

'Claudia Cardinale'.

'Sombreuill'

'Belle Story'

'Graham Thomas'

  Roses all over the joint!


I think this is 'Clementine'??














I love having succulents border roses.


  My Hellebores have gone crazy, too. There are little babies everywhere!
  These were babies from my dear pal, Tasha. I need to find homes for some babies, to pass along.










  Last, but by no means, least...the succulents.
  They do love having winter rains.















  It's always been nice to come home to my garden, but this year, being home early has been a blessing in disguise, for sure.
  I can't forget to mention my wonderful garden helper and dear friend, Pedro. I couldn't have my garden looking this good without his diligent help, gentle touch, and eye for detail.
  You are my Garden Angel, Pedro!! This as much your garden as mine, these days, and I love having you as a part of it's life.

  Now, I need to go out and do some pruning.