Today I want to share with all of you my copper Dragonfly Weathervane. The picture above shows how he is flying high over my back shade garden. A couple of years ago, my children and their spouses got together and purchased a gift certificate from Yankee Weathervanes of Maine for my Christmas gift. I have always wanted a weather vane of some type for the top of my garden post in my back shade garden.
It was really difficult picking out just the right one, because there were so many great weathervanes in their catalogue. When I saw the dragonfly, I just knew it was perfect for my garden. Dragonflys are my favorite insect. I have quite a few in my gardens all summer long. They come up out of the stream at the base of our ravine and grace my gardens. Their gossemer wings and aireal stunts are amazing. I love watching them as I garden or just relax on my garden bench reading a book or magazine.
I can see the little guy from my kitchen or great room windows. As he weathers, he will have a verdigras patina.
The bark and moss bird house on the hook off the post is still awaiting a bird family. I am hoping it will be this Spring. It is a real working birdhouse with the bottom removable for cleaning. I will keep you updated as to a possible renter.
As late Spring arrives, I keep fushia and begonia baskets on the other hooks along the post for the hummingbirds that frequent my gardens all Summer long. I also have wrought iron hooks from which I can hang baskets off the rails on my decks. Every year I try to make them different. They really attract the hummingbirds.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my dragonfly weather vane. He is anxiously awaiting late Spring and Summer. It is his favorite time of year!
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone. Weather is just warming up this week. Supposed to be 66 degrees today. I plan on tidying up my front garden today so that the crocus bulbs and hyacinths can bloom. Also plan on repotting and adding new soil to some of my indoor plants today.
As promised, I will post some more pictures of my shade gardens and ravine today. Hope you enjoy them.
The picture to the left shows my Oak Leaf Hydragena. The bark cracks and peels and adds winter interest to the garden. The small tree shrub starts with white conical blooms that turn shades of pink, then purple then brown. I usually let the blooms stay all winter for interest. I have had to cut the shrub back once in the seven years it has been in my garden. The next year it did not bloom. I have boxwoods in the form of hedges in front of the garage and in front of my front porch. Also have them flanking my garden arch. The Oak Leaf Hydragena gets full sun all day and really thrives. When you first plant them, they need water everyday for about a year to get established.
The picture above the first one is my "Forest Primeval Tree" Most of the tree is dead, really large in diameter (4 feet around), has all these dead cords from other plantlife running up the trunk and when the ravine greens up in the late Spring, this tree really is neat. It sits down in the ravine in front of my side compost pile. We have a Pilated Woodpecker (Woody the Woodpecker variety) that runs up and down the tree all year looking for insects. This bird is the largest woodpecker of its species. It has a large red head and black and white body. It is really loud and the neatest thing to observe. I have only seen one of these in the area where I live. Always wonder where its mate is. Later on this Spring, I will post another pic of the tree surrounded in green. Then you will understand why I named it my "Forest Primeval Tree".
The topmost picture is my back yard (or what there is of it) showing the stream with the sandstone base running through it. All the water from our section of Sagamore Hills drains into that stream and runs down to the Cuyahoga River. When we have a storm or hard rain, or when the winter snow melts, this stream can get up to 6-8 feet wide, 5-6 feet deep and it just rushes. The sound from inside our home is like you live beside a rushing river. It is awesome to see. A few years ago we had flooding and the main road into our street was washed out where the water rushes into our stream bed. We had an extremely large snapping turtle (2 feet long) wash up into our yard. With the help of my husband, a large bucket and a very large stick, we managed to put her back into the ravine. There are several small waterfalls all along the streambed, and with every major storm, the streambed kind of shifts and remakes itself. I feel blessed to have this as part of our property (all four acres of it).
Hoping you enjoyed my pics for today. See you all soon.
Spring is in the air, I can tell because the birds are all out there singing, the Robins are singing, green buds forming on the trees and shrubs. At last!
Today, I would like to begin to share with you pictures of my yard and shade gardens and the structural elements that go into making it a beautiful garden. Right now it looks kind of barren as you can see from the first picture. This is my larger shade garden at the side of the ravine. I have wrap around decks starting on that side that go half way around the house with another small one off my patio garden room. You can see my Nikko Blue Macrophylia Hydrangeas with their winter interest still intact. I have six of these plants in my garden. I am wondering how they will bloom this year after such a hard winter that we have had in Northern Ohio. I will take new pictures of this garden as the season progresses. It is truly amazing at the transformation as soon as warmer weather arrives. There will be plenty of old fashioned bleeding hearts, white bleeding hearts, chartruese leaf pink bleeding hearts (hybrid variety), brunnaria, ferns, azalias, hydrangeas, foam plants, epidemiums, hostas, Japanese Maple Tree, and lots of other plants to numerous to mention.
The next picture is of an Apple Blossom Heliobore (Lentin Rose). It is just going to bloom. I got this one from my Garden Club Raffle about five years ago. This is the first year it did not bloom under the snow covering, because the snow was never ending and too deep. Aweful winter we had.
The next picture is of my Arbor, just waiting to be covered in clematis and honeysuckle. The entire arbor will be filled by the end of May and blooming away. I cut everything down in November and pull out the dead leaves, etc. to tidy it up for next year. I have a sandstone pathway through this garden to the surround decks. Also, there is a semi-circular bump out to the right of the arbor that will hold my black iron decorative bench. I need to wire brush it down this year and give it a good coat of black matte Rustoleum. The picture above is the bench in my garage waiting for a repainting and a pic of where it will go in the garden, in front of three treallises awaiting various clematis vines to start up again. I also have about seven or eight large yellow leafed hostas surrounding the bench and a collection of my Mother's stone collection from New Mexico surrounding the front of the hostas for soil retention and to remember her by. This is a great place to read a book or relax while your gardening. The ravine is in front of the gardens and the wildlife is amazing.
Hope you enjoyed my garden pics today. I will be blogging a couple of times more this week with other pics from my ravine and back garden.
I don't know if any of you subscribe to Martha Stewart Living Magazine, but, I tried one of her new cookie receipes last week and I have gotten quite a few friends and family members asking me for the receipe. Hope you try this. The cookies are unbelievably scrumptious!
Makes about 4 dozen depending on how big the spoonfuls of dough are.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal (not instant) 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 8 ounces (2-sticks) unsalted butter, softened 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 cup packed light-brown sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 large eggs 8 ounces white chocolate, chopped ( I used white chocolate morsels) 7 ounces dried apricots, preferably California, chopped ( 1 1/2 cups) I used Mediteranean.
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, oatmeal, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Cream butter and sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low. Add salt, vanilla, and eggs, and beat until well combined, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture gradually, beating until just combined. Stir in chocolate and apricots. Cover, and refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
2. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets,(I did not have any on hand, so, I just dropped them onto ungreased cookie sheets) spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies are golden brown around the edges but still soft in the center, 14-16 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack, let cool. Cookies will keep, covered, for up to 1 week.
My grandchildren and sons and husband just loved them. They did not last long in the pantry. Hoping you will try them.
Today I would like to share with you a new receipe that I made for my daughter-in-law's 30th birthday party last night. It was a hit! Not one meatball left in the dish. You can serve this as an appetizer, or, you could make this the main dish and serve mashed potatoes and a vegetable with it.
Makes 12 to 14 Appetizer Servings (2-3 Meatballs a piece) Prep: 10 min. Cook: 50 min.
1 (28-oz.) bottle barbecue sauce 1 (18-oz.) jar cherry preserves 3 canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, undrained (put them in whole) 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce from can 1 (32-oz) package frozen meatballs
Whisk together the first 4 ingredients and 1 1/2 cups water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer with lid off, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes. (Sauce will thicken.) Keep warm in a slow cooker on WARM or LOW, if desired. I put it in a casserole dish and microwaved it at my daughter-in-law's home for about 5 minutes. Put out fancy toothpicks and enjoy!
For a variation on the receipe try:
Chipotle-Barbecue Sausage Bites:
Substitute 2 (16 oz) packages cocktail-size smoked sausages for meatballs. Proceed with recipe as directed, decreasing water to 1/2 cup and simmering mixture 15 minutes. Makes 12 to 14 appetizer servings. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 20 min.