Summer means trifle in our house. I made two huge ones for my grandparents’ 60th anniversary, and also a chocolate and vanilla layer cake with swiss buttercream. I was so delighted by the flowers I put together on the top – phlox, sweet peas, oregano and geranium leaves. Ignore my super crooked writing though! And the little raspberry cake pictured below we ended up eating the next day with some unexpected guests. Always fun to share cake! I used the sour cream chocolate cake from Sky High which you can find on Smitten Kitchen, and then two different vanilla cake recipes also from Sky High. I still prefer the buttermilk one that I’ve posted here. To punch up Smitten’s swiss buttercream I added raspberry jam.
The garden continues to explode with flowers and I’m so excited that the roses have started! All except Poseidon I’ve never seen in person so it’s been fun to study them as they open. Incidentally Poseidon has the most immature buds of the 7 bushes but it’s also the most shaded so perhaps that’s why it’s slower. It’s gotten overwhelmed by the cobea vine which I am contemplating butchering if it doesn’t bloom in the next two weeks.
A good read from Wired on the DNA editing technique Crispr
The best of Poppies and Posies’ bouquets
A review of Hidcote
I always appreciate the sneak peek at Molly’s cookbook shelf
The raspberries are almost done but I might try and make these fresh raspberry scones
Fascinating article on two sets of fraternal twins who were actually identical twins
A quick recipe for zucchini
Summer snowflakes (Leucojum) with summer snowflakes (elm seeds… bane of my existence after thrips, stinkbugs, and drought)
Hard to believe it is already June. Since I’ve gotten back into garden blogging I instinctively want to start each post about the weather, but that’s lame, especially in Alberta. Suffice it to say that the weather gods did not rejoice at my return and grant us a gentle transition from spring to summer.
The irises were done in 3 days due to the heat
No matter. I have been diligently spraying things with insecticidal soap and patiently spending hours watering. It’s hard to remember what the point of it all is right now, when everything looks kind of small and straggly. What does look good are the older perennials – epimediums, thalictrums, astilbe, etc. A few years of settling and they are starting to increase in size. I’m kind of excited to see how everything looks in another three years after my little seedlings develop and I have a chance to move things around.
I would like more of these Thalictrum aquilegifolium – only thing really blooming in the border right now and is about 2 1/2 ft tall!
In other news I made several Smitten Kitchen recipes. I would heartily recommend the Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon Torte, but everyone really liked the Key Lime Pie as well. I was less excited about the key lime pie because it required zesting and juicing way more than the suggested one dozen key limes but apparently the recipe also works with regular limes. Other things I have made: microwave oat bars. Breakfast of champions.
From bottom left: Chocolate-Hazelnut Macaroon Torte, Key Lime Pie and Best Cocoa Brownies
– an omelette for a crowd
– already ordered Hummelo, the new book by Piet Oudolf, reviewed here
– fascinating visit to a historic dock yard
– would have loved to see Dan Pearson’s Chelsea garden – am contemplating buying tickets for next year
I’m trying not to get teary eyed at the early loss of my beautiful ‘Dream Touch’ (pictured above) or ‘Brown Sugar’ tulips. It’s been a classic Alberta spring – snow one week, plus 25 the next. I can’t say I missed it. The only thing I did miss was the smell of Mayday trees which perfume the air.
Over the past few days I’ve been putting in dozens of seedlings and the dahlias that I pre-sprouted. Still dozens and dozens left to go. The perennial border is definitely filling in now, although it is increasingly haphazard. I figure I’ll give the seedlings a few years and then I can do a big move if necessary.
Many of the perennials that went in 2 years ago are looking quite good right now (of course the heucheras never came back last year – that was my second try with them and still a total fail). The thalictrums, epimediums, aruncus and ‘Splish Splash’ geranium are starting to really dominate their spaces. Of course am I learning from this lesson and planting my seedling perennials far apart? No.
I’ve always said that when in doubt about what flowers to get for someone, buy tulips. They’re generally cheerful and they keep growing in the vase so that every day the arrangement is slightly different. The Dutch grow hundreds of varieties of tulips, from weird parrots to dainty frills. These are double tulips called ‘Flaming Evita,’ which I’m pretty fond of. I love how full the doubles get.
Right now you can even find tulips that haven’t flown across the ocean. BC tulips are everywhere and at the Strathcona Market you can buy some from Red Deer! So for Valentine’s Day, skip the roses and grab some tulips instead. A fresh and dynamic choice – much like your relationship, right?
Humans of New York has done some great work but it doesn’t get much better than helping a student and his school principle raise over a million dollars, visit the Ellen show and sit with the President in the Oval Office
Stile Antico sings ‘Agnus Dei’ from William Byrd’s ‘Mass for Five Voices’
Snowdrops of the Chelsea Physic Garden (Love the idea of a snowdrop theatre!)
High End Dumpster Diving – mom didn’t seem too keen when I told her you could make $100,000+ doing this
Orange glazed polenta cake (for some reason I have a cornmeal craving)
Saipua florals in Mexico
The perfect tea shop, Bellocq
A make-ahead potato gratin
I’m really sad that Gardenimport has closed right when I need an exotic bulb source in Canada, but happy to have stumbled across this article on growing summer bulbs in pots
Filed under Amy, Flowers, Links
So as you may have surmised, I am no longer New York-based. It was time for a change and while leaving has not been an easy decision (cue Coldplay), I think it will prove to be the right one. Of course, I moved partly so I could have my own garden again (October was full of much digging!) but also to explore other careers besides the one I went to school for.
To that end, over the last few weeks I have been putting together a website for my new floral design business based in Edmonton. I hope you take a minute to visit – you may recognize a few of the photos, but I put some new ones up on the blog there for you as well! I’m excited about the future, even knowing it will be full of hard work and learning from mistakes. Flowers and plants have my heart and nothing makes me happier than sharing that love with others.
I’m not going to abandon this blog right now – the winter is long and there are a number of recipes and links that will inevitably need to be shared. Plus I anticipate that there will be more gardening projects through the coming year! Who else is going to appreciate my attempts to germinate auriculas or force anemones? But I will take the opportunity now to say thank you for sticking with me through these last few years as I descended further into the depths of plant obsession. (Un)fortunately, despite an early focus on flour-related topics on this blog, flowers have come out on top. That being said, Jess and I are now back in the same city, regularly elbowing each other out of the way of the stand mixer and making questionable french pastries, so maybe I speak too soon!
Filed under Amy, Flowers, Links
It was an especially good market morning this weekend, even if I did wake up late. I finally met Bernadette from River Garden Farm who grew most of these flowers. She does an amazing job – her flowers are always impeccable. Then as I was wandering off to the subway and juggling my bundles of flowers, Bill Cunningham took a picture of them all and stopped me to ask about the berries. I feel like this mix has his blessing.
Upon reporting of this story, my friend was quick to use it as a reason for me to stay. I hear what he’s saying – New York is where magical things happen. And they’re often magic because you realize it could have happened to hundreds or thousands of other people, but it didn’t. Somehow fate, and New York, conspired for you. Those moments make up for the everyday low-level hum of inconvenience. Look, I admit it, the very same magical day I also yelled at some tourists on the escalator in the Bleecker Street subway station (don’t stand two abreast when we can all see the train is RIGHT THERE).
There are a dozen reasons for leaving and just as many to stay. But I want you to know, even as I begin to close things down here, there’s always a voice in the back of my head saying I can come back whenever I want. People do, for no reason at all.
I went to a more intensive flower class a few weeks ago. It was a lot to process – the sheer number of flowers, the people in the room, all the new techniques and business tips to learn. It was especially good to go after having spent a weekend picking my friend Kelly‘s brain. Kelly has an easy way of breaking things down and making anything sound doable; I admire her spirit. The two events left me more excited about possibilities, more daunted by logistics, but more sure that I want to try anyways. Thanks to Sarah and Nicolette for the beautiful photos and magical two days, and to Kelly for being the best flower friend a girl could ask for.