Wordless Wednesday: Evening Sunlight’s Magic

marigolds

Marigolds

I think I’m getting the hang of this Wordless Wednesday thing.  Here are just a few pictures which I think have a magical look to them simply because of the evening sunlight.

Marigolds

Marigolds

The flowers are not spectacular, really, but I think they look spectacular in this light.

Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea Rose

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea Rose

And then my favorite … I captured a picture of a Speckled Wood Butterfly on my Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susan).  This was the picture that inspired me to post on my blog tonight.

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Speckled Wood Butterfly

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Dana

Winter Blooms in my Irish Garden (An anemone steals the show!)

Mr. Fokker Anemone

Mr. Fokker Anemone

When I think of winter certain things come to mind:  snow, cold temperatures, skiing, sledding, ice skating, hot chocolate!  Living in Ireland has changed that idea a bit for me. Our winters are usually fairly mild, with only a quick cold snap.  Snow is unusual. Cold is cold, but not like what I’d be used to while living in Central New York. And the winter is short. Really short if I look back to my days of having snow around until March!  I do miss the snowy side of winter.  But the tradeoff is having flowers in my garden even in January.

A frozen anemone

A frozen anemone

We had a deep freeze the other day: -5 degrees Celsius. I took some pictures in the morning, and by the afternoon the rain had come and everything thawed out!

First morning light over the frosty field

First morning light over the frosty field

This close-up of the crystals is my favorite

This close-up of the crystals is my favorite

Frosty evergreenToday was yet another mild day, 8 degrees Celsius, and sunny.  I am not complaining, I just hope it has been cold enough to keep the slugs at bay!  My garden has a few flowers which are blooming. The anemone have multiplied over the past few years. They don’t seem to mind that it is January.  Also giving some color in the garden are a few daisies and a black-eyed Susan plant!  I think they are simply confused. The primrose are a lovely bright color. There is also a lot of green in my ditch wall garden from poppies. Lots and lots of poppies!

The day after the frost

The day after the frost

This is flowering in January.

This is flowering in January.

A sunny winter day

A sunny winter day

January in the garden

January in the garden

Dogwood plant

Dogwood plant  has lovely red branches

Our area has really been very fortunate with the weather.  Even just seeing the sun for a bit of the day is refreshing to the soul.

Evening view from the front yard

Evening view from the front yard

The very last rose.

The very last rose.

Do you have any flowers growing in your winter garden?
Happy winter!
Dana

A final farewell to summertime flowers

Echinacea Salsa Red

Echinacea Salsa Red

It really was such a lovely summer.  I have so many pictures that I’ve taken that I want to share!  There have been a few new additions to the garden.  The Salsa Red Echinacea is one of my favorites!  A red cone flower, it has been blooming since I bought it in late summer.  I have it near my Black eyed Susan flowers.

Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

Black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) in evening sunlight.

Butterfly enjoying the Black eyed Susan

Butterfly enjoying the Black eyed Susan

Paniculata hydrangea

Paniculata hydrangea

The Paniculata hydrangea is another new addition to my garden and another one of my favorites! 🙂  I bought it late in the season while it was still mostly white. But as it ages, it turns pink, and mine turned quite pink in the end.  It is just about ready for me to give it a really good pruning. I’d like to give it a nicer shape for next year as it is quite gangly at the moment.  But the blooms were so lovely and delicate!

Paniculata hydrangea

Paniculata hydrangea – reminds me of lace.

Paniculata hydrangea

Paniculata hydrangea

The Paniculata hydrangea likes lots of sun.  Other varieties of hydrangea don’t require as much sunlight as this one does.  It can grow to about 8 to 10 feet tall and wide, but can be kept at the size you want with regular pruning.  Pruning can be done at any time of year as it does not affect the blooms like other varieties of hydrangeas.  I’m excited to see how this one does in our sunny front yard!

End of season Paniculata hydrangea with its new pink color.

End of season Paniculata hydrangea with its new pink color.

Speaking of pink!  My roses are going for another round of showing off!  We had really bad black spot this year, and I was away when it should have been looked after.  I am still trying to find organic ways to prevent/treat black spot. (Please let me know if you’ve found something that works!)  I’ll be growing something from the onion family in the rose garden next year. But I think I’ll need to find some kind of spray, too, as the conditions for black spot are simply too perfect here.  In the meantime, I’m enjoying the (rose) show!

Floribunda rose Queen Elizabeth (fragrant) with about a million flower buds!

Floribunda rose Queen Elizabeth (fragrant) with about a million flower buds!

Floribunda rose Burgundy Ice

Floribunda rose Burgundy Ice

Floribunda rose Burgundy Ice

Floribunda rose Burgundy Ice

Hybrid tea rose Pink Peace (fragrant)Hybrid tea rose Pink Peace (fragrant)

A tiny stemmed rose bouquet.

A tiny stemmed rose bouquet.

Dahlia.

Dahlia

I’ve planted a yellow Dahlia next to my Asters which have a bright yellow center, or at least they will when they finally bloom later in the fall.  This little plant is very cheerful right now!

Dahlia

Dahlia

This redish Dahlia plant I received at the same time as the yellow one.  It seems to be much happier in its location as the plant size more than doubled in a very short amount of time!

A very happy Dahlia plant.

A very happy Dahlia plant covered in blooms.

Blue hydrangea

Blue hydrangea

Sure it wouldn’t be summer without a  blue hydrangea picture! This plant is growing just down the road from me at my neighbor Jerry’s house.  I couldn’t resist taking a picture of it, as the color is so lovely!

Pink hydrangea

Pink hydrangea

Things in my yard tend to grow pink!  This hydrangea is in my yard.  That is ok with me.

Autumn Joy sedum

Autumn Joy sedum

My Autumn Joy sedum is turning a pretty shade of pink.  The butterflies like it too!  I cut this plant down early in the season so that it wouldn’t be so leggy.  That worked great and I think it’s now neater.

Old fashioned geranium

Old fashioned geranium

Geranium on a foggy morning.

Geranium on a foggy morning.

Marigold

Marigold

A snapshot of a perfect summer day ... already behind us.

A snapshot of a perfect summer day … already a distant memory.

I love sharing my pictures of flowers with you!  I hope you’ve enjoyed the look back on summer.  I next have to show you a look back on the vegetables from the summer!

Happy end of summer 🙂
Dana

Flower Friday

My favorite flower!

My favorite flowers!

We are having quite a wet, gray winter. Or maybe it just feels that way at the moment, but none the less, I would enjoy seeing some sunshine and flowers!  So I’ve put together some of my favorite pictures of flowers from the past year.  I hope you enjoy them and they bring a little sunshine into your lives!

Dana

Burgundy Ice Floribunda Rose.

Burgundy Ice Floribunda Rose.

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea Rose.

Silver Anniversary Hybrid Tea Rose.

Queen Elizabeth Floribunda Rose.

Queen Elizabeth Floribunda Rose.

Tulips.

Tulips.

Anemone Mr. Fokker.

Anemone Mr. Fokker.

Anemone Mr. Fokker.

Anemone Mr. Fokker.

Zephirine Drouhin (1868)

Zephirine Drouhin (1868)

Zephirine Drouhin (1868)

Zephirine Drouhin (1868)

Poppies.

Poppies.

Poppies.

Poppies.

Marigolds.

Marigolds.

Marigolds.

Marigolds.

Afternoon sunlight on black-eyed-Susans.

Afternoon sunlight on black-eyed-Susans.

Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans).

Rudbeckia (Black-eyed Susans).

There, that feels better! 🙂

Beautiful Poppies from July through October!

Late blooming poppy.

Late blooming poppy.

I planted poppies from seed this past spring. I had my doubts that they were going to take.   It seemed that they took forever to bloom.  But once they started blooming in July, they have kept at it for the entire summer and continue even now during the first week of October!  I don’t really know the different varieties.  I’d say these are pretty plain. I planted Poppy Flanders/Corn American Legion, Poppy Iceland Nudicaule Blend, and Poppy Oriental.  None of them describe a white center, though, so I don’t know what kind the flower above might be.  The deep red ones are the American Legions.  Poppies are such a delicate flower.  I’ll admit their stems can look a bit messy up close. These guys are at the back of my garden though, so I can really enjoy their color without seeing the mess!  I’m so happy with them.

Right next to the poppies I’ve planted some Shasta Daisies.  My father-in-law started them from seed for me in his greenhouse.  I planted them as seedlings.  I think they fit nicely next to the poppies.

Moving right along the ditch wall, I’ve planted Rudbeckia hirta, Black-eyed Susans.  They were given to me from a friend’s garden.  She is a very special friend!

Finally, you’ll see some horrible cardboard.  I’m killing some more grass/weeds along the wall.  I’ll have a big job ahead of me this winter, as I’d like to uncover a lot more of the hidden wall!

What is your favorite flower for prolonged blooming time?  I hope you have lots of color in your garden!

Dana

Poppies.

Poppies.

Oriental Blend Poppies.

Oriental Blend Poppies.

American Legion Poppy.

American Legion Poppy.

American Legion Poppy.

American Legion Poppy.

Poppies & Shasta Daisy flowers.

Poppies & Shasta Daisy flowers.

Wildlife 🙂

Poppies, Daisies, Black-eyed Susans & Cardboard.

Poppies, Daisies, Black-eyed Susans & Cardboard.

Growing Shallots and Making Quiche.

I’m thinking about changing my blog name … to “oh boy am I still learning about gardening!”.  A bit too wordy though.  It sure does convey how I feel at the moment!  I love gardening, both vegetable and flower.  I love learning new things, too.  It’s the making mistakes part that I wouldn’t mind skipping over.

I planted shallots for the first time this year.  They did really well, and grew at a nice pace and to a good size.  You *should* pull them out of the ground once the greens start to die.  I left them a while longer, hoping they would grow even bigger.  They did grow bigger, but they also got wet.  Very, Very wet.  Have I mentioned (about a million times) the terrible weather we had this summer?  So I’ve made a note to myself that in the future, I am  to pull them as soon as the greens die.  I guess I’m lucky that most of them are still usable. Some of them I had to use right away.   I was sad to have to dump some, though.  I hate waste.

A great way to use a lot of shallots?  Caramelize them, and make a quiche! Everyone in our family likes quiche (yay!).   I make my own crust – it doesn’t take long and I think it’s worth it.  The time it takes to caramelize the shallots was also worth it to get the sweet flavor; lots of butter, on a low heat, for a long time.  Even non onion eaters can’t resist the caramelized flavor!

The Gourmand Mom blog is one I follow and I love to use her recipes – even if it’s to give me ideas or guidelines.  Quiche is a good example; I like how she puts the additions in first, then the cheese, and then the egg mixture. It’s simple and comes out great.   http://thegourmandmom.com/2010/06/01/quiche-lorraine/#comments  My crust recipe was given to me by a good friend years ago (thank you Leah!).  It’s a keeper.  I use a mixture of whole wheat & white flour, so it comes out darker, but the taste is still delicious.

Have you shared any recipes lately?

Happy baking!
Dana

American Pie Dough (that really is the name of it!)
for an 8 or 9 inch single pie shell
By Christopher Kimball with Eva Katz

My only adjustment is to use ¾ cup whole wheat flour & ½ cup white flour

1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting dough
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (3 oz.) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ¼ inch pieces
4 tablespoons (2 oz.) chilled all-vegetable shortening (in Ireland I use Cookeen)
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Mix first 3 ingredients. Scatter butter pieces, then shortening and mix until cornmeal texture. I use my fingers. Really, it isn’t hard and doesn’t take long.  Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of water over mixture and fold in. Shape into ball, then flatten into 4 inch wide disk.  Dust lightly with flour, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Caramelized Shallot Quiche
Based on The Gourmand Mom’s Quiche Lorraine

2 1/2 cups peeled & sliced shallots
3 tablespoons butter
2 cups Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3 eggs
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of nutmeg

Caramelize the shallots in the butter. Cook low and slow.  They shouldn’t brown like sauteing, but turn translucent first and then slowly turn darker in color.  I usually cook 30 minutes to 45 minutes (while the crust is in the fridge).

Line the crust with foil and bake in 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 15 minutes, remove the foil and bake a further 5 minutes.  While the crust is baking, whisk the eggs & milk, and add salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  When the crust is finished, layer with the caramelized shallots, then the cheese, then the egg mixture.  Bake for 35 – 45 minutes.

Shallots hung to dry out.

Shallots hung out to dry.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots drying out.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better.

Shallots cleaned up and looking much better. (This is one of my favorite bowls; it was a wedding gift that was hand painted for us.)

Shallots.

Shallots.

Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Whole wheat & white flour crust in the making.

Tidying up the crust.

Tidying up the crust.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Emmenthaler Cheese.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots.

Caramelized shallots quiche.

Caramelized shallot quiche.

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden (and another bowl of shallots!).

Some Black-eyed Susan flowers (Rudbeckia hirta) from the garden and another bowl of shallots!