Wordless Wednesday

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, Summer Dahlias

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, Ageratum, a beautiful blue flower

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, rudbeckia is a fabulous late summer flower

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, zinnias make a fabulous cut flower

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, verbena bonariensis

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, zinnias make a great cut flower

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, bumble bee on flowering broccolini

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, tomatoes ripening on the vine

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, the onion harvest

Extravagantgardens.com Wordless Wednesday, cherry tomatoes on the vine

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Savory Summer Tarts

Savory Summer tart: Heirloom Tomatoes

Do you find yourself overrun with garden bounty at this time of year?  Are you up to your ears in onions, beans, tomatoes, squash of all kinds (giant zucchini baseball bats anyone?) and just trying to figure out what to do with some of it?

Savory Summer Tarts: ZucchiniWhen you’ve exhausted the pickle/quick bread/jam/freezer methods, start making my Savory Summer Tarts – they’re ridiculously easy and you can put virtually anything on them which is a great way to use up those stray veggies…

Savory Summer Tarts

Ingredients

  • 1 Puff pastry sheet (rolled out just a bit)
  • Sliced garden veggies (slice them thin) (tomatoes, squash, onions etc. Whatever you have in abundance)
  • 2 Tbspns Dijon mustard
  • 4 oz. Goat cheese
  • Black pepper (freshly ground)

Directions

Lightly roll the pastry out and place on a baking sheet.
Brush the base of the pastry with the dijon mustard, leaving a small edge around the perimeter.
Layer your sliced veggies on the mustard.
Evenly sprinkle with the goat cheese and black pepper.
Bake at 400 degrees until puffed and golden.

My sister-in-law introduced me to a version of this tart several years ago.  I think she used swiss as her cheese… use whatever you have on hand and need to use up.  And thanks to the miracle of puff pastry in the freezer – it’s amazingly fast!  LOVE!

Savory Summer Tarts

So what do you do with all your extra garden bounty?  I’m going to try a chocolate chip zucchini cake with one of my baseball bat sized squash.  Looks like a great recipe!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and have some time to relax and do something you love.  I can’t even believe that next weekend is Labor Day.  It’s gone so quicky!

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Signs of the Season

When you look around the landscape there are always signs of the seasonal changes taking place.  This summer seems to have flown by at lightning speed and I feel like Fall is already upon us, complete with early changing leaves.  I can’t even imagine what this winter is going to be like!

Signs of the Season : Solidago a.k.a. Goldenrod - and no it does not cause allergies...

Signs of the Season : Solidago a.k.a. Goldenrod – and no it does not cause allergies…

The waves of goldenrod that are starting to bloom are a sure harbinger of Fall.  They’re all loaded with insect life too.  The little critters are stockpiling for the coming months.

Signs of the Season : Early changing leaves on an azalea

Signs of the Season : Early changing leaves on an azalea

Above are some of the early changing leaves I’ve mentioned, these happen to be on an azalea by my home, but you can see changing leaves everywhere already.  The birch seem to be going first, but I’ve seen a few sugar maples coloring up as well.

And my personal sign of the seasonal change…

Signs of the Season : Woodpiles all over the northeast

Signs of the Season : Woodpiles all over the northeast

And it’s waiting to be stacked if there are any volunteers out there!

Happy early Fall gardening (ugh!)!

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Wordless Wednesday

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Wordless Wednesday

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Windowbox Love!

Windowbox by extravagantgardens.com

I’m sure all of you are semi addicted to Instagram and Pinterest (if you’re not you don’t know what you’re missing).  There’s something about the purely visual quality of these sites that I love, and it’s so easy to find tips and trends in whatever  subjects interest you.

Windowbox by extravagantgardens.com

What I found myself surfing this year were amazing window boxes filled with bulbs, herbs, vegetable plants, small shrubs etc., it went on and on, and I found myself truly inspired.  There were boxes filled with daffodils/rosemary/pansies or fuchsia/verbena or boxwood/cyclamen/ornamental pepper.  Such amazing combinations and they were inspirational for multiple seasons of bloom or leaf color.

So, I hung two window boxes (meaning my saintly husband did of course) on our little shed in the late spring and filled them with summer plants and flowers since I’d already missed the early spring possibilities.  Normally I would have just tucked in a standard array of summer bloomers, something that would have coordinated with the patio, but instead I popped in some herbs and dwarf tomatoes I had started from saved seeds.  I’m thrilled with the results thus far…

A patio sized cherry tomato plant makes a great addition to a window box. Extravagantgardens.comI confess the tomatoes we’re a bit difficult.  I wanted them to droop but they were uncooperative – I had to coerce them into the desired position by placing a rock on their immature stems.  It’s amazing what you can do to a tomato plant and not kill it!

And here are a few shots of some beautiful window boxes from a firm in London called The Window Box Company.  Absolutely stunning work!

http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

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http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

spring_salad

http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

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http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

herb_box

http://www.thewindowboxcompany.com

Inspirational, no?

Did you have a particularly amazing window box or planter combination this year?  I’d love to hear what you used.  I’m going to try a combo with cardoons next year – just a neat combo I saw on Instagram a couple weeks back.  Happy gardening!

 

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Wordless Wednesday

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Slow Down and Enjoy

Slow down and Enjoy - and take a closer look

I’ve had a very busy few weeks all capped off by a large party this weekend at our home (and all of it was great fun – no complaints here!), but what I realized this weekend was that I’m so focused on trying to make the gardens look their best, not to mention the food, house etc., that I tend to see what’s wrong rather than what’s right with my efforts.  I spot the weeds at the back of the border, the fish that split in half during poaching and the hairball bunny from our very longhaired cats rolling along the baseboard.  My zen moment came when someone said how lovely everything was and I honestly didn’t believe them.  Then I took a moment to step back and look.  It was all actually kind of nice, and no one saw the weeds, the split fish or the hairball bunny (and if they did they were sweet enough not to mention it!).

The moral of my story?  Slow down and enjoy, and in my case stop being so critical of my efforts.  Oh!  And definitely have that extra glass of wine!

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Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

One of my all time favorite things is the little flag that you have on the back of your beach chair in many resorts.  I love having someone bring me a cool drink while I’m lying in the hot sun!  This prior week we we’re at a family wedding somewhere beautiful and (very) warm.  Alcohol was not in the game plan during the heat of the day so I discovered the perfect lemonade on their menu – Strawberry Basil Lemonade…

I laugh at my own picture above because as I walked around trying to figure out where to take the photo, I kept sipping.  They’re really good!

Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Ingredients

  • Lemon Juice (I used fresh on this round but when making lemonade I often use bottled - sacrilege I know. I buy Santa Cruz Organics - it's quite good.)
  • Water
  • Sugar or Simple Syrup (Simple Syrup is easy to make at home, 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water)
  • 2 or 3 Strawberries per glass
  • 1 sprig Basil per glass

Directions

Mix your lemon juice, water and sugar to taste and chill (I hope I really don't need to tell you how to make lemonade)
Cut the strawberries in half and plop them in a pretty glass, fill with lemonade and then pop the basil in. Add straw and sip.

The basil adds such great flavor and odds are you have a ton of it growing in your garden right now.  And if you’re inclined to make it boozy I’d go with a shot of vodka.

And as an odd little note, I’ve been sipping with one of these…

Spoon for Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Spoon for Strawberry Basil Lemonade

Its an iced tea spoon, but it has a straw!  Love it!

Happy sipping everyone!

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Wordless Wednesday

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