*Old Fashioned Cottage Garden are my favorite. All of my gardens are Cottage type simply because I love the natural way they feel and look, not all fuss & pomp, just calm and relaxing. I think that is why I love them, most often life is not any of these and I can escape to the garden's and simply be there. There are certain flowers that speak specifically in a cottage garden~ Hollyhocks, Delphiniums, Foxglove, Bleeding Heart, Climbing Roses, Peony, Phlox, and of course one of my personal favorites, Lupine's. We use to have a childrens story book called, The Lupine Lady. I don't know the author any longer, but I use to love to read it to the children, it was just a happy book! My garden's incorporate picket fences, old wooden posts, arbors and a pergola. This picture is of my front arbor and fence with a Sweet Autumn Clematis growing on it just starting to bloom. These are one of my favorite climbers. They are breathtaking and car stopping when in full bloom, around the end of August. Country Garden's magazine is jammed packed with beautiful garden idea's for creating Cottage Gardens. If you haven't picked up a copy yet, be forewarned, once you start you'll be a life long subscriber!
*Here is a fun project if you are a Bible reader or even if you are not. Plant a Bible Garden- the following plants can be found at the listed verses in the King James Version. Try having a trivia game using the following plants & see who knows where these plants can be found. See who the Bible scholars are!
Rose of Sharon- Song of Solomon 2.1 Roots- Job 30.4
Rue- Luke 11.42 Saffron- Song of Solomon 4.14
Hyssop- Hebrews 9.19 Mint- Mathew 23.23
Anise- Mathew 23.23
*Living Wreaths~ As most of you know we are Farmer's Market vendors. At a market I use to participate in there was a vendor that created the most beautiful Living Wreaths. I gathered the following tips from Country Gardens magazine, Early Spring Issue 2009, Vol. 18, No.1 on how to market them. They are fairly simple and inexpensive to make on your own, and if properly cared for will last you all summer long. You will need a few supplies- here is a brief outline of material's & how to!
*First gather your supplies~ At least a 16" metal wreath form or Grape Vine wreath with pocket, 16oz. bag of Sphagnum moss, small bag organic potting mix, about 12-18 plants- choose one or two varieties; when choosing your plants decide if this wreath is going to be in the sun or shade- this will make a big difference on your selections, green florist wire.
*Choose your plants:
~Shady plants that work well are impatiens, ivy, button ferns or tuberous begonias.
~Sunny plants that work well are pansies, petunias or herbs. A mixture of Thyme's, viola's and a variegated spearmint is just stunning, not to mention smells scrumptious.
*Step 1: Soak moss well in bucket (about 10 minutes) of water and then drain. It should be damp & pliable. Attach a short length of doubled wire to the back of the wreath form, so it will be easy to hang. Place three or four such lengths, evenly spaced, on the back of the wreath so that it can be turned to keep it growing evenly.
*Step 2: Line the form with the moss, with the green mossy side facing out, like fitting rolled out dough in a pie pan. Overlap pieces of moss and patch as you go.
Step 3: Make sure the moss overlaps both upper edges of the form or grape vine basket by a couple of inches. Fill the form about 3/4 full with the potting mix.
Step 4: Arrange the plants on top of the soil. When you are happy with your design, take the plants out of their pots and plant them.
Step 5: Give the wreath a full look by planting the sides as well. Poke holes through the moss in three or four places around the sides of the form, and carefully insert a plant in each hole.
Step 6: Tuck the overlapping edges of the moss over the top, around the crowns of the plants. The moss holds the plants in place until their roots have taken grip. It also helps keep the soil from drying out and falling out when watered.
Step 7: Secure on end of the florists wire to the back of the wreath form. Wrap wire around the front and back, moving in a spiral all the way around. Cut the wire and twist the end onto the form.
This is a beautiful gift as well, and homemade with love can't be more special!
Some people are afraid of Greens simply because they have never been exposed to them, they sound too different or they are just not a real 'go getter' with new foods. Then there are those that dive at the market table when the greens are spread before them. What constitutes the name 'greens' other than the obvious~ lettuces the curious one asks. Well greens include kale, chard, spinach, mustard's, arugula, endive to name the most common. Usually a 'salad mix' of greens includes many of the above combined together to make a yummy salad. Most often when cooked alone these things are steamed or wilted. But there are so many other options! Here is a really yummy recipe, remember that you can interchange any of the above for the 'green' in the ingredients!
Soft Boiled Eggs in a 'Green' Nest
1 Bunch of Chard, Kale or Spinach from Garden Gate, stems & ribs discarded
1 1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp Red Pepper flakes from
1/2 tsp salt
4 Eggs from Garden Gate
1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Chop your greens into bite size pieces and toss in the oil and seasoning to coat evenly. Spread evenly in the bottom of a 10"x10" glass baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes, till crisp. Remove from oven and divide into 2 bowls and create a 'nest' with a hole in the center.
2. While greens are baking, bring a 2 quart pot of water to a rolling boil and gently lower eggs into water, turn off heat and cover. Let eggs sit in water for 6 1/2 minutes for soft boiled eggs.
3. Transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water and let sit for about 1/2 minute. Working carefully and quickly, peel eggs, and place in center of nests. Season with Matt's Mix and serve immediately.