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Ginger

Gingers are one of the most beautiful and colorful flowers in the world of flowers. Botanically, Ginger is a rhizome of the perennial herb which is indigenous to the South west coast of India and the Malabar coast of the state of Kerala. Gingers, a multifaceted herb,enjoy a special position in the botanical kingdom with their elegance in form, texture, sparkling color, and amazing symmetry. The word ginger conjures up images of an exotic oriental food flavoring; however, edible ginger – Zingiber officinale, is only one of approximately 1,300 species of the very diverse Zingiberaceae family

Image may contain: plant, flower, nature and outdoor
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Eye On The Prize

 

Image result for squirrels in trees

 

Eyes On The Prize
“Focused, hard work is the real key to success. Keep your eyes on the goal, and just keep taking the next step towards completing it. If you aren’t sure which way to do something, do it both ways and see which works better.”
— John Carmack

This perky fellow was posting a lookout in the branches of a tree above one of the bird feeders in my backyard, trying to judge when it was safe to try his hand at raiding the feeder (again). As I’ve mentioned before, these crazy red fox squirrels put on quite an entertaining show as they try to scam birdseed (they like the sunflower seeds the best) from the bird feeders. The antics and acrobatics involved can keep one constantly entertained. 🙂

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Sunday Surprise

Best Summer Berry Trifle

Berry trifles are wonderful summer desserts — they’re simple, gorgeous and you can make them ahead of time. Here’s the key to making them taste as good as they look: don’t use imitation whipped cream, instant pudding or store bought cake! No need to make everything from scratch either. After many trials, I discovered three cheats for making a delicious and easy trifle: (1) store bought lady fingers are just as good (in fact, better) than homemade cake, (2) an easy cream cheese-whipped cream filling makes an excellent substitute for homemade pudding, and (3) tossing the berries with a good quality raspberry jam enhances the fruit flavor and creates a delicious syrup that melds the trifle together. This one is perfect for the 4th!

Servings: 8-10
Prep Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes, plus at least 8 hours to chill

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (8 oz) seedless raspberry jam
  • 1 quart (1-1/2 pounds) strawberries, hulled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pint (12 oz) raspberries
  • 1 pint (12 oz) blueberries
  • 16 ounces cream cheese (preferably Philadelphia brand), at room temperature
  • 1-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (7 oz) package crisp lady fingers (also called savoiardi biscuits)
  • Fresh mint spring, for garnish (optional)

ingredients

To begin, warm the raspberry jam in the microwave. Toss it with the berries and let it sit while you prepare the rest of the trifle.

berries-and-jam

 

Beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form, then set aside.

whipping-cream

 

In a large bowl, beat together the softened cream cheese and Confectioners’ sugar.

cream-cheese-and-sugar

 

Add the vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy.

beating-in-vanilla

 

Beat in a third of the whipped cream, then add the rest to the bowl and fold in with a large rubber spatula.

folding-in-whipped-cream

 

To assemble the trifle, begin by layering the lady fingers in the bottom of the trifle dish.

lady-fingers

 

Top with a third of the berry mixture.

fruit-layer

 

Followed by a third of the cream.

cream-layer

 

Continue alternating until all of the ingredients are used up, ending with the cream.

lady-finger-layer

 

Let the trifle chill for at least 8 hours, then top with some fresh berries and a spring of fresh mint, if desired.

 

 Summer-Berry-Trifle-1
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Camillia

The most familiar and iconic of these winter-blooming shrubs are Camellia japonica, Asian natives that arrived in the United States around 1798. Despite their aura of Southern gentility, they were introduced in the chilly Northeast and became a status symbol among those who could afford greenhouses where they could be grown. Decades later these tender plants became popular in the milder South, where they could thrive outdoors in all their abundance and diversity.

Camellia flowers are universally adored for their gentle, regular form and their pure colors. ‘Otome’ (left) is a deeply venerated Japanese variety with porcelain-like flowers and delicate veining.

The Wild Orchid will be using camillias in flower arrangements this Mothers Day.

Image result for how to use camellia in floral arrangements +

 

by them selves they are gorgeous and when added to other flowers just stunning

 

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Butterfly Garden

Butterflies not only add to the beauty of our garden but they also help with pollinating flowers. There are over 500 known species of butterflies in Canada and United States, that help the flowers grow. I have gathered these easy handmade ways to make butterfly feeder. These are great for attracting bugs and birds along with butterflies in your garden/ backyard. And lots of fun to make with kids.

Make butterfly feeder

Instant feeder for your garden made from sponges and plastic plate. Butterflies love red, orange, purple and yellow, they have good color vision.

 

Make butterfly nectar:

 

Mix 4 parts water with 1 part sugar and boil for a few minutes until the sugar dissolves. Cool the nectar thoroughly before adding it to the feeder. Large batches can be made and stored in the fridge for 3-4 weeks.

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Peonies Mothers Day Special

GROWING PEONIES

Last month when I was posting photos of peonies from my garden on Instagram, people started asking me questions about growing peonies.  So I thought I’d put a post together about what I’ve experienced in my 8 years of growing them.

 

WHERE TO PLANT

Peonies do well in cooler climates– growing zones 2-8. Click here to find out which USDA Plant Hardiness Zone you live in if you don’t already know. Central Indiana, where I live, is in zones 5

Peonies love full sun. Mine are planted on the south side of our house, where they receive sun from morning to evening. But if you live in a warmer climate you may want to plant them in partial shade.

Plant peony tubers no deeper than 2 inches. If peonies are planted too deep, they won’t bloom.

 

WHEN TO PLANT

If you purchase peonies from a nursery, you can plant them in the spring or fall. Although I recommend planting in the fall.

Plant roots divided from a mature peony in the fall.  If you need to transplant a peony bush, you should do it in the fall.  And plant peonies 2-3 feet apart.

Here’s a good article on how to divide and propagate peonies.

 

GROWTH THROUGH THE YEARS

Peonies take a few years to get established, but there are a couple ways to encourage growth.

As you can see, the blooms will start to droop due to the weight of the flowers. To keep peony plants from drooping, you can use these or these. Just put them over your peony plants as they start to sprout out of the ground. The peony stems will grow into them and be supported.

Tips and tricks for growing peonies!

 

 

Tips and tricks for growing peonies!

WHEN TO EXPECT BLOOMS

I have two peony bushes I purchased from a nursery and five bushes that were divided and replanted from mature peony bushes.

Also, keep in mind that the blooming period for peonies is very short and they only bloom once.

I planted the two nursery-purchased peonies in the spring of 2010.  These two bushes didn’t bloom until the spring of 2013.  It took them three years to produce any blooms.  It was disappointing to not see blooms for 3 years, but that’s typical with new peonies.

Below is a photo of one of the nursery-purchased peonies.  You can see it had a good amount of flowers for the first year it produced blooms.

I’ve had much more success with the peonies that were divided from mature plants.  I would plant the divided peonies in the fall, and they would produce at least a few blooms the following spring.

 

Let’s talk about ants because I’ve received a lot of questions about them.  Ants are attracted to the nectar peony buds produce.  If you check out your peony buds early on, you’ll see the shiny, sticky nectar on them.  I’ve read contradicting things about ants.  Some people say they’re beneficial to peonies and help them open, some people say ants don’t make a difference.  Either way, the ants aren’t harming the peonies so there’s no need to spray them with chemicals to kill the ants.  Let nature take its course.

 

ANTS

If there are still ants on the blooms before I bring them inside, I gently shake the blooms (holding them at the base of the bloom). If that doesn’t work, I run the bloom under water from the outside hose or fill the kitchen sink and dunk the blooms in the water so the ants float off.  Then I send the ants down the drain with the water. And sometimes I’ll pick the ants off with my fingers.

DEADHEADING

When the peonies wilt, I deadhead them. Deadheading is when you cut off a bloom that has run its course. By cutting it off, you encourage the other blooms on that stem to open because the plant is no longer trying to support the wilting flower. Deadheading isn’t necessary, but it promotes root growth.

 

 

PREPARING FOR WINTER

After the first frost in the fall, I cut the peonies down to 3-4 inches above the ground and throw away the dead plants. That’s it.

 

I don’t use plant food of any kind on the peonies.