Cold Hands, Warm Heart

February 14th, 2018 § 2 comments § permalink


H A P P Y     V A L E N T I N E S     D A Y

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Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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The Vintage Rose: A Valentine’s Cocktail

February 11th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The Vintage Rose Cocktail: Perfect for Valentine’s Day (or any day!)

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and with Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Flower Garden still on my mind, how could I resist sharing a romantic rose-cocktail made with real rose petals and homemade rose syrup? Long time readers may recall this recipe from nearly a decade ago, when The Gardener’s Eden was just getting started. Time to revive a long-standing favorite in the name of love and flowers!

Although it’s easier to locate fresh, organic rose petals in June, many florists now offer organically grown flowers year round. Request imperfect roses —or bags of fresh, organic rose petals— since you will be dismantling them. Be sure to ask for organic roses, making certain that no pesticides have been sprayed on your blossoms. Remember, you will be making syrup and sipping wine soaked in these petals! I make my own rose syrup for this recipe (best made 24 hours ahead, to steep). Some recipes simply use water, sugar and rose petals, however, I like to add food grade rose water and sprigs of French lavender, plus a few drops of organic red food coloring for a pretty pink hue.

Vintage Rose Cocktail

Adapted from The Bubbly Girl, Maria Hunt

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Ingredients (makes one cocktail):

¾ oz      Rose syrup (see recipe below)

5 oz      Chilled, brut prosecco, cava or champagne

Twist     Meyer lemon

6           Organic rose petals

Method:

Add the rose syrup* to a chilled champagne flute. Top with sparkling wine or champagne. Twist the lemon peel over the glass to release the oils and then drop it into the flute. Garnish with fresh, organic rose petals.

Cheers !

*You can buy rose syrup at many specialty stores, however we made our own:

Rose Syrup

(Adapted from versions by Bubbly Girl, Maria Hunt & Rosalind Creasy)

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Ingredients:

2      Cups Organic Rose Petals (Rugosa, English and Heirloom Roses are best!)

1/2   Cup Water

1/2   Cup Rose Flower Water (or sub water if unavailable)

3       Sprigs French Lavender

2/3   Cup Granulated Sugar (use up to 1 cup of sugar for thicker syrup)

2       Drops Organic Red Food Coloring (optional)

Method:

Mix water and rose flower water (if using) in a medium saucepan and bring the mixture to a slow boil. Immediately add the sugar, stirring constantly. Once the sugar has melted, reduce the heat to a simmer. Slowly stir in the rose petals and lavender. Stir for a few minutes to thicken. Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool. You may add a couple of drops of organic red food coloring at this point, if you so desire.

Pour the syrup mixture into a bowl with a tight fitting lid and allow to steep and cool overnight in the refrigerator. Remove lavender sprigs and seal the rose syrup in a small bottle. The syrup will keep fresh in the refrigerator for approximately 2 weeks. Freeze rose syrup for longer storage. Rose syrup can be used in many recipes —including cocktails, desserts and even main course entrees— so it’s very worth keeping some on hand, with your emergency stash of ice cream!

Heirloom & English Rose Petals are Especially Large and Fragrant 

Heirloom & English Roses from my Summertime Garden

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Designing Spring’s Prettiest Potager & Rosalind Creasy’s ‘Edible Flower Garden’

February 8th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Flower Garden

When you begin plotting out your spring vegetable garden, do you include space for edible flowers in your planting plan? Wait, did I just say edible flowers? Indeed I did. Gourmet gardeners will already be familiar with the delicious flavor of stuffed squash blossoms and the zing of spicy nasturtiums, but there are many, many more flavorful flowers to consider when drawing up your potager design. Looking for fresh inspiration while designing a long-time client’s 2018 vegetable plot, I pulled out Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Flower Garden and found myself dreaming of candied flowers, lavender ice cream, rose petal syrup and beds filled with Johnny Jump-Ups, Violets, Begonias, Calendula and Hyssop. What great wintertime reading for a gardener, and a perfect Valentine’s Day gift for your favorite flower lover.Image: Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Flower Garden

Long time followers of this blog will recall many posts on potager design and edible gardens; including those featuring the use of herbs and flowers. The addition of flowers —especially edible buds and blossoms— to a vegetable garden is beneficial in so many ways. Not only do colorful flowers make an edible landscape more beautiful, they also provide sustenance to pollinators, beneficial insects, birds and yes, even the gardeners themselves. Designing a pretty potager is not only desirable, it also makes good gardening sense!Nasturtium Tangle in My Own, Summertime Potager

When it comes to selecting seed for your spring planting, The Edible Flower Garden is filled with great information about flower flavors and textures as well as advice on how to grow and prepare your blossoms. From easy-to-cultivate annuals to long-lived perennials and investment shrubs, The Edible Flower Garden will help you decide what to grow.Most Tuberous Begonias have a crisp texture and pleasantly light, lemony flavor. Image: Rosalind Creasy, The Edible Flower Garden

One of the best parts of this book, as well as others in Rosalind Creasy’s edible gardening series, is the recipe section. From simple sauces and salads to delicious-looking main courses and desserts, there’s something for everyone. Spring dreaming? May visions of Edible Flower Canapés and Rose Petal Sorbet dance in your head ’til springtime. Gather your seed packets and tubers, I’ll meet you in the garden come May!

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A copy of this book was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

***

A Winter Wander

February 7th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

A bit of golden sunlight through the trees. Traces of warmth in this cold, dark season.

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Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. At no additional cost to you, a small commission will be paid The Gardener’s Eden, to help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Spicy & Savory Winter Squash Stew

February 5th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

Winter Squash Stew from The Edible Herb Garden

After posting my recent review of Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Herb Garden last week, I decided that I simply had to try one of the many tempting recipes at the back of the book. Cooking with fresh herbs and homegrown vegetables is a bit more challenging at this time of year; especially in cold climates like New England. But with a good supply of windowsill herbs, a root cellar and/or freezer, attempting a few of Rosalind’s recipes is certainly not out of the question —even in midwinter. Onions and garlic are items most gardening cooks have on hand throughout the cold season, and butternut squash stores well right through the early days of spring. Of course, I always have homegrown herbs, even if they are just little, potted plants on my countertop. Who could live without fresh herbs?

Many of the recipes in Rosalind’s wonderful Edible Herb Gardening book sound both tasty and simple to make, however it was the hearty, native squash stew that leapt out at me on this raw, Superbowl Sunday weekend. Butternut squash has always been one of my favorite vegetables, but I often find it underrepresented in cookbooks. For this reason, I’m always looking out for creative ways to use this mildly sweet, hearty vegetable.

The Edible Herb Garden by Rosalind Creasy

The basic recipe included in the book is delightful, however on my second batch, I chose to jazz it up a bit with homemade vegetable stock, a few smoky chipotle chiles and ample hot sauce. Spicing is always personal, but otherwise I recommend following Rosalind’s cue.  Served with crispy corn chips, this thick and satisfying soup is as perfect for Meatless Monday as it was for Superbowl Sunday. I’m looking forward to trying many more of Rosalind’s recipes; including her Fancy Carrot and Onion Soup from this wonderful book, next weekend.

 

Winter Squash Stew

(Adapted from Rosalind Creasy’s Native Squash Stew, The Edible Herb Garden. Posted with Permission)

Ingredients:

3      Tbs  Olive Oil

2      Medium-Large Onions, Chopped

10    Cups Butternut Squash, Peeled & Cut into 2″ Cubes

4      Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped

2      Red Bell Peppers, Roasted, Peeled & Chopped

6      Anaheim Chiles, Roasted, Peeled & Chopped (or equivalent canned, roasted, mild chiles)

3      Chipotle Chiles, Chopped (canned, in adobo sauce)

1      10-12 oz Package Frozen Corn (in season, use 2-3 ears of fresh corn, scraped)

3      Tsp Ground Cumin

3      Cups Vegetable Stock (or sub Chicken Stock for meat eaters)

1      Tbs Hot Chili Sauce (or to taste)

Salt & Ground Black Pepper to Taste

4      Tbs. Freshly Chopped Cilantro (plus more for serving)

Corn Chips or Corn Tortillas for Serving

 

Method:

Heat the oil in a large stockpot set to medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until translucent. Add butternut squash, garlic, peppers, chilies, corn, cumin. Pour in 3 cups of stock and simmer on low heat until squash is tender (approximately 45 minutes). Mash the stew slightly with a potato masher to break apart some squash chunks and thicken the stew. Add salt, pepper and hot chili sauce to taste. Sprinkle pot and individual bowls of stew with cilantro and serve with a side of warm, homemade corn tortillas or chips.

Winter Squash Stew, Perfect for Lunch or Dinner on a Cold, New England Day

 

A copy of The Edible Herb Garden was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

***

Spring Planning with Rosalind Creasy’s ‘The Edible Herb Garden’

January 28th, 2018 § 0 comments § permalink

The Edible Herb Garden, Rosalind Creasy

It’s late January. The ground is frozen, the hills are grey-brown and the garden is covered in ice. Convincing clients that now is the best time to create a landscape design for spring planting has never been easy. But it’s smart to begin now —when the snow is piled high and you’ve no garden centers to visit/distract you— with inspirational books, graph paper and tape measure in hand. Come May, you’ll be ready to snap up those seeds and six packs when the greenhouses swing open their doors.

Dreaming of a beautiful herb garden to replace that dry patch of front lawn? Or maybe you want to create an herb knot for the center of your potager? Thinking of something more formal this year, but not sure of just where to begin with your design? I’d suggest heading to your local library, bookseller, or online equivalent, to grab yourself a copy of Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Herb Garden.

There are two types of books every gardener should have in their library: the how-to garden book and the how-to landscape design book. The Edible Herb Garden rests squarely on the latter book shelf, but also contains a bit of practical, hands-on gardening advice. If you have some growing experience, but need help in the layout and design department, and perhaps a few herb garden maintenance reminders, this is the book for you. And, if you are a gardening cook, this title rewards your hard work with some wonderful, summertime recipes and tips for preserving herbs in a variety of ways.

Rosalind Creasy’s Beautiful Garden Design Sketches will Inspire Your Plan

Flavored Vodkas from Rosalind Creasy’s The Edible Herb Garden

I’m designing a new vegetable/herb garden for a client this winter and plan to write more about potager gardens and layout in the coming weeks. Rosalind Creasy’s books on the subject of edible gardening are great inspiration. And, who wouldn’t want to conjure up a bit of summertime color, scent and flavor on these long, dark, wintry days?

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A copy of this book was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

***

A New Year’s Wish

January 2nd, 2018 § 2 comments § permalink

Welcome 2018

Wishing you joy & happiness in the New Year!

Frosty Morning

Article & Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. At no additional cost to you, a small commission will be paid The Gardener’s Eden, to help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Solstice Season in the Secret Garden

December 11th, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Solstice Season in the Secret Garden

 First snow. Powder swirls about the Secret Garden, dusting peaks, tracing lines and filling every crevice. The forest, enchanted, drifts softly off to sleep . . .

Winter bares her beautiful bones

Article & Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. At no additional cost to you, a small commission will be paid The Gardener’s Eden, to help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

VivaTerra - Eco Living With Style

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Calamondin Orange: Sunshine in a Pot

December 9th, 2017 § 3 comments § permalink

Calamondin Orange Tree in the Kitchen

As we move closer to the shortest day of the year, and the long, dark nights of winter, sunlight begins to feel like a rare and precious commodity. During the cold, colorless months, I find myself seeking out warm hues —bright yellow, orange, lime green— and all things tropical. Something tells me I’m not the only northern gardener dreaming of a far-away paradise.

Last year, my sister and my nephew surprised me with a beautiful Calamondin Orange tree (Citrofortunella mitis), for my birthday. With its glossy-green foliage and abundant, golden fruit, this tree is a total knock-out. But the real surprise? Insect and disease resistance. Not a single battle has been waged with scale or spider mites. Of the three citrus trees growing in my home —which include an Improved Meyer Lemon and a Lime Tree— the Calamondin Orange has proven easiest and most productive, by far.

Calamondin Orange Tree in the Kitchen Today, with River Stone Mulch

If you’re new to growing citrus trees as houseplants, I highly recommend starting with an indoor-tolerant Calamondin Orange. And if you happen to be looking for the perfect gift for the gardening gourmet in your life, this tree could be it!

Small but abundant, bright-orange fruits appear at regular intervals on this cross between a Kumquat and Mandarin Orange. Calamondin oranges are quite tart and a good substitute for Persian limes in most recipes. Their tangy juice and sweet zest is delicious in many drinks, desserts, savory dishes and condiments; including salad dressings, marmalades, salsas, chutneys and pickled preserves. I love adding tart Calamondin juice to cocktails and spicing up a simple crème brulée with a bit of the sweet & tangy zest. Imagine the creative, culinary possibilities!

Freshly Harvested Calamondin Oranges

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Tips for Selection & Care of Indoor Citrus Trees

Selecting: Ready to begin growing your own crop of tiny, golden oranges? Choose a two to three-year-old specimen from a reputable nursery for the earliest showing of blossoms and fruit. Look for healthy, green foliage and a well-pruned, full framework. Avoid trees with spindly growth, curled or yellowing foliage, and suckers at the base. Online, you can find beautiful Calamondin Orange Trees at White Flower Farm and Four Winds Growers.

Potting: When potting your newly acquired citrus tree, choose a ceramic, clay or plastic pot with adequate drainage. Ensure that the selected container has several holes at the bottom, and fill the drainage dish with gravel or stone to allow good moisture release and airflow. Well-drained soil is also critical. Buy pre-mixed potting soil specifically blended for citrus, or choose a slightly acidic, loamy potting mix with a pH of 6-7.

Placement: Citrus trees need 8-12 hours of sunlight per day. During the fall and winter months, place your Calamondin in a draft-free, south-facing window with even temperatures (55-85°F is ideal). Avoid locating the tree where temperatures fluctuate radically: such as near wood stoves, ovens, radiators or exterior doors. Calamondin Orange Trees may be moved outside in late spring (after the last frost date in your area). Be sure to slowly acclimate your tree to outdoor conditions by placing it in a protected spot. Try to find a dappled nook, shielded from high wind. After a couple of weeks have passed, the pot can migrate to its summer home in full sun.

Watering: Water your tree regularly (using a meter helps tremendously), and cover the soil with decorative river stone, moss or other mulch mulch to help reduce evaporation and temperature fluctuation at the root zone. Soil should be kept on the drier side during winter months to avoid root rot and fungal infections. Like most tropical beauties, Calamondins enjoy humidifiers and/or regular misting as well.

Feeding: Citrus are heavy feeders. Fertilize your tree every three weeks using a citrus-specific fertilizer, like this one from Jobe’s Organics, throughout the spring and summer months. During the fall and winter months, fertilize once every six weeks.

Harvesting Calamondin Oranges from My Tree

Harvesting: Calamondin oranges take about one year to ripen from the time blossoms appear. However, because the tree will produce flowers and fruit at the same time, harvests can happen over a period of weeks or months. Snip bright orange fruit from branches with sharp pruners (I use Felco 8s) to avoid tearing the tender skin. You’ll know the oranges are ripe when they are just soft enough to give slightly under the pressure of your fingertips.

Pest Management: Calamondins do seem to resist insects and disease, however all houseplants are vulnerable to infestations and stress increases the risk, so be sure to meet your tree’s needs as listed above. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, tiny insect pests hitch a ride on newly acquired plants or on fresh produce and flowers from the grocery store. Insects will also set up camp while potted plants are living outside during the summer months. Once the trees come inside, away from predatory insects —boom— bug explosion. Should your citrus tree become host to spider mites, scale, mealy bugs or aphids, try treating organically with insecticidal soap and horticultural oil, or neem oil for tougher pests like spider mites and scale. The key to success is repeated treatment at regularly scheduled intervals (see manufacturer’s recommendation by pest), until the infestation is under control.

With proper attention and care, a Calamondin Orange Tree will provide many golden harvests of fruit and years of beauty, inside and out.


Article & Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale, at no additional cost to you, will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden to help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

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Cranberry-Basil Margarita with Homegrown Citrus & Herbs

December 8th, 2017 § 4 comments § permalink


Cranberry-Basil Margarita

Tis the season for entertaining, and for many of us, that means welcoming guests with refreshing, festive cocktails. At the moment, I’m planning a Winter Solstice get-together for family. This will be more of a roam-about the room and chat party than a sit-down dinner, so I’m dreaming up tasty libations to set out in punch bowls and pitchers, or perhaps even prepare —at least in part— a day in advance. I’ve been trying out a few different twists on favorite cocktail recipes and this fresh take on a classic Margarita definitely fits the bill.Don’t you just love cranberries? They glow like ruby beads and they’re so willing to wait around in the fridge! As a life-long New Englander, I always make my own cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving, and an extra batch or two for using on sandwiches, later. While they are in season, I pick up a few extra bags of fresh cranberries whenever I’m at the market. I freeze what I can’t use and thaw them when I need some bright color in the dead of winter.Calamondin Orange in the Kitchen

I’ve always used cranberries in baked goods and savory sauces, but more recently, I’ve been experimenting with them in cocktails. Cranberry juice is one of the most popular mixers, so why not put the whole fruit in your drink? Cranberries combine well with so many things. Citrus —especially oranges and limes— is an obvious choice, but the tart flavor and bright red color of cranberries practically begs for fresh, green herbs as well. Hello windowsill herb garden and potted citrus trees, what do you have on offer today? Basil? Ripe calamondin oranges? OK, lets play.First, I make up a basic cranberry sauce, aka cranberry “jam”, (see recipe, below). This tart, multi-use condiment will keep well, covered in the fridge, for a few days. Obviously, cranberry sauce is great on sandwiches, but it’s also delicious when swirled into plain, Greek yogurt or dabbed atop warm oatmeal with cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup. But wait! Don’t eat it all! You’re gonna love using this jam in cocktails —especially this Cranberry-Basil Margarita!

Cranberry-Basil Margarita

Single recipe serves 1, Pitcher recipe serves 8

Ingredients

Cranberry Sauce

1       12 oz. package of fresh or frozen cranberries

1       cup fresh-squeezed orange juice

½     cup sugar (add more for sweet-tooths, up to 1 cup, to taste)

1        tbs fresh orange zest (optional)

Sugar-Salt 

¼       cup kosher salt

¼       cup granulated sugar

Single Cocktail 

sugar-salt mixture for rimming glass (recipe above)

1       calamondin orange or lime wedge

2       fresh basil leaves

1 ½  ounces blanco tequila (100% blue agave)

¾     ounce fresh squeezed calamondin orange or lime juice

½     ounce orange liquor, such as Cointreau, or triple sec

1       ounce cranberry sauce (recipe above)

½     ounce agave syrup (or simple syrup), or ¾ ounce, for sweeter taste

¾     cup of ice cubes (about 6-8 cubes, plus more for glass)

Pitcher of Margaritas 

sugar-salt mixture for rimming glasses (recipe above)

16     fresh basil leaves

½     cup agave syrup (or simple syrup), or ¾ cup for sweeter taste

1       cup cranberry sauce (recipe above)

4       calamondin oranges or 1 lime, cut into wedges

¾     cup fresh calamondin orange or lime juice

½     cup orange liquor, such as Cointreau, or triple sec

1 ½  cups blanco tequila (100% blue agave)

6       cups ice cubes, plus more for glasses

Directions 

For Cranberry Sauce

Heat a cup of fresh-squeezed orange juice and stir in ½-¾ cup of sugar on medium-high. When the mixture begins to boil, stir in 12 oz. of cranberries. Continue stirring and allow the mixture to bubble for a minute or two. Lower the heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes. When cranberries begin to pop and juice starts to foam, turn off the heat and crush the berries with a potato masher. The sauce should be chunky, with bits of fruit and some whole berries. Consistency will become more jam-like as it cools. Cover and refrigerate (up to 3 days), until ready for use.

For Sugar-Salt

Combine sugar and salt in a small container with lid. Shake and pour onto a small plate (be sure to choose one wide enough to fit the overturned rim of your cocktail glass).

For Single Margaritas (up to two servings will fit in a standard sized cocktail shaker)

Moisten the rim of an Old Fashioned or Margarita glass with the citrus wedge (a wide-mouth, stemless wineglass will also work). Turn the rim down on the plate of sugar-salt and give it a slight twist while digging into the mixture.

In the bottom of a standard-size cocktail shaker, crush the basil leaves with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon. When coarsely mashed, add the tequila, citrus juice, orange liquor/triple sec, cranberry ‘jam’ and the agave syrup. Stir. Add ice. Cover and shake for at least 30 seconds. For a rustic cocktail, pour (or, for a more refined cocktail, strain), into the sugar-salt crusted glass and serve immediately with a citrus wedge garnish and/or sprig of fresh basil.

For Pitcher of Margaritas

In the bottom of a large pitcher, crush basil leaves with muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, until coarsely mashed. Add tequila, citrus juice, orange liquor/triple sec, cranberry ‘jam’ and agave syrup. I like to throw in a few decorative wedges of citrus when using a glass pitcher. Cover the pitcher and refrigerate at least 2 hours or until well chilled.

When ready to serve, pour the sugar-salt mixture on a small plate. Rub the rims of 2 Old Fashioned glasses with a citrus wedge (a classic margarita glass or stemless wine glass will also work, in a pinch); dip and twist the rims in sugar/salt mixture.

Stir the pitcher of margarita mix. Fill a cocktail shaker ½ full with ice and pour in 1 cup (plus) of the margarita mixture. Be sure a bit of muddled basil gets in! Shake until chilled and pour (unstrained for a rustic drink or strained for a more refined cocktail) into two of the sugar-salt crusted glasses. Garnish with a citrus wedge and basil leaf. Repeat for remaining guests or servings.

C  H  E  E  R  S   !  ! 


Article & Photography copyright Michaela Harlow at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale, at no additional cost to you, will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden to help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

Plow & Hearth

Gardener's Supply Company

***

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America

December 3rd, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

A curving, dry stream at the Hoeschler Garden. Design: David Slawson. Photography: David M. Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

The calming nature of Zen gardens and the allure of Japanese-style has been enchanting and seducing landscape designers and gardeners throughout the wider world for well over 150 years. Stepping into a Japanese-inspired courtyard is the perfect antidote to a day spent in crowded subways, noisy streets and stressful work environments. We crave quiet and order —two areas where traditional Japanese garden designs excel— as a counter balance to our increasingly chaotic lives. But how can a North American gardener successfully integrate elements of the Japanese design aesthetic without feeling forced or veering toward kitsch?

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America, Kendall Brown’s latest book —featuring the work of five contemporary garden designers; Hōichi Kurisu, Takeo Uesugi, David Slawson, Shin Abe and Marc Peter Keane— addresses this question. Filled with beautiful and inspirational photographs by David M. Cobb, Brown’s book highlights Japans’s design influence upon North American public and private gardens in settings ranging from urban corporations and penthouse rooftops to community hospital gardens and secluded forest clearings.

Sculptural ranges and serene expanses: a garden of stone at the Education First Building in Cambridge, MA. Design: Shin Abe. Photography: David Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing.

Shin Abe’s work (pictured above), which may be seen in many public spaces, including The United Nations’ Peace Bell Courtyard in Manhattan and the Education First building in Cambridge, MA, is striking in its natural, calming-effect within urban hardscape. The designer’s sculptural use of natural stone shapes and textures, paired with disciplined plant selections, creates a sense of serenity in noisy, chaotic, city environments. It is within these urban spaces where the Japanese design aesthetic often works so well; bridging the hard-edged and the man-made to the balancing, grounding forces of nature.

Although all five designers push Japanese-inspired garden design forward —distilling and fusing Asian inspiration into the North American landscape— the work of David Slawson (top image), and Marc Peter Keane (image below), seems most successful in the more natural environment.

From a design perspective, I often find it more difficult to successfully introduce man-made elements to nature, than to introduce natural elements to man-made environments. Knowing which aspects of Japanese garden design will translate to natural, North American environments demands a solid understanding of both. Marble chips, clipped azalea and lanterns? Risky. Moss-covered paths, local stone, artfully-pruned, native trees and reflective water bowls? Right on. Lawson and Keane have found a contemporary balance.

The sensation of movement, captured in stone. Bridge view: Tiger Glen Garden, Ithaca, New York. Design: Marc Keane. Photography: David M. Cobb, courtesy of Tuttle Publishing

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America is an excellent introduction to the history and art of blending Japanese-inspired design ideas into urban and rural gardens on this continent; a beautiful book and a great gift for the gardener on your list who is looking for a bit of contemporary, Japanese-style landscape inspiration.

Visionary Landscapes: Japanese Garden Design in North America. Kendall H. Brown, with Photography by David M. Cobb

A copy of this book was provided by Tuttle Publishing in exchange for independent, un-biased review. No other compensation was received. The Gardener’s Eden is not an affiliate of Tuttle Publishing, but is an affiliate of Amazon.com.

Article copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Late Autumn Hues in the Garden

December 2nd, 2017 § 2 comments § permalink

Late Autumn Hues in the November Garden

December may have arrived, but as usual, I’m not quite ready to let go of autumn. Apparently, I’m also not quite ready to let go of blogging. Hello, friends. It’s been a long while.

Outside in my garden, it’s a world filled with rust-gold remnants and brilliant-colored berries. Some mornings, frost and snow cap the stonewalls, but by afternoon the water bowl has melted. Inside, I have been catching up on a bit of garden reading, and I’ll be back tomorrow with a new book review. It’s nice to be here again. How have you been?Dancing Light and Color in the Icy Water Bowl

Article and photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

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Welcome Spring

March 20th, 2016 § 2 comments § permalink

Crocus-Petals-Unfolding ©-Michaela @ TGE Crocus Unfolds a New Season

Welcome Spring Equinox!

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

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Mid-March Awakenings

March 16th, 2016 § Comments Off on Mid-March Awakenings § permalink

Raindrops on Acer palmatum,2016 Michaela Harlow, The Gardener's Eden Sunlit Raindrops Dangle from Acer palmatum x dissectum ‘Seiryu’

The switch to Daylight Saving Time always rattles my schedule. I’m a morning person so I’ve just lost an hour in the early part of my day. This week, I feel like I’m constantly falling behind, but I know it’s only temporary. Soon the horizon will light up at 6 a.m. again.

pussywillow_michaela_medina_harlow Delight of Spring: Gathering Pussy Willow

I’ve cut back the ornamental grasses and started pruning deadwood from shrubs. Time to the great thicket of Red Osier Dogwood and encourage new, bright red shoots. As temperatures warm, I’m even dragging a few frost-hardy pots back outside. Nice to have the extra space in my garden room! My favorite harbinger of springtime —Salix discolor, the Pussy Willow— has made an early appearance. Such soft, pearl-like beauty on a grey day.

Article and photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Sweet Reward of Early Springtime: Hamamelis vernalis, Ozark Witch Hazel

March 13th, 2016 § Comments Off on Sweet Reward of Early Springtime: Hamamelis vernalis, Ozark Witch Hazel § permalink

Hamamelis vernalis, Ozark witch hazel in bloom, Michaela Harlow, thegardenerseden.com The Sweet Scent of Ozark Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis), Fills the Air

Out pruning and raking in the garden —lingering late in the garden on these long, warm days— the delightful scent of North American native, Ozark Witch Hazel (Hamamelis vernalis), fills the air. When warm weather arrives early in Vermont —as it has this year— the bloom of Ozark Witch Hazel sometimes coincides with, or even precedes the spring equinox. Flowering nearly a month before most other shrubs, the tiny, golden tassels dangle in late afternoon sun, heady with with honeysuckle-like sweetness. Such a rich reward for getting a jump on my springtime chores.

 Fragrant, Gold Droplets in Late-Day Sunshine

Many of my favorite garden plants have two stellar seasons: spring and fall. And among my favorites, the family of Hamamelidaceae (the witch hazels) ranks very high indeed. Hamamelis vernalis —commonly called Ozark or Spring Witch Hazel— is native to the south-central regions of the United States and is hardy in USDA zones 4-8. This is a tough, colonizing shrub; tolerant of poor, scrappy soil and a wide range of moisture levels. Vernal witch hazel is a great native plant for informal hedging, naturalizing along a woodland boundary or even for something as mundane as stabilizing a steep bank. Although her flowers aren’t nearly as large and showy as those of her more flamboyant Asian and hybrid cousins (read my post on Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’ here), the perfume of her early, coppery-orange blossoms is so sweet and delightful that the petite size is easy to overlook. She’s also a glorious sight in autumn, when her softly mounded form turns brilliant gold; shimmering against the blue autumn sky.

Hello again, my bewitching, springtime friend!

Article and photographs are copyright Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden, all rights reserved. All content on this site, (with noted exceptions), is the property of The Gardener’s Eden and may not be used, reproduced or reposted elsewhere without written consent.

Do you enjoy visiting The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through the affiliate-links here. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to The Gardener’s Eden, and will help with site maintenance and web hosting costs. Thank you!

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Back to the Garden

March 12th, 2016 § Comments Off on Back to the Garden § permalink

Betula papyrifera at sunrise - Michaela Harlow Betula papyrifera on the Hillside at Sunrise

After a light and lovely winter, spring has come early to Vermont this year. I went on two site visits this week and have begun work on my first garden design plans of 2016. Hard to believe it’s still early March.

Hello again. It’s been a long while since my last blog post and even longer since I set foot in my own garden. I’ve been busy, and quite happily so, with my painting career. But my sabbatical has ended and this year, I plan to return to garden and landscape design on a part-time basis. Just a few projects and maybe a couple of workshops here and there. A little writing. A little picture making. Hopefully, somewhere along the line, I will find a good balance between art and design.

Tonight, it’s time to reset the clocks. Daylight Saving Time begins. Soon we’ll be springing forward to a fresh new season. Are you ready?

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold's Promise' - Michaela Harlow Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ in the Garden this Week 

 Phalaenopsis Orchid on the Windowsill

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

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Welcome December

December 1st, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

IMG_4262.JPG  Frosted Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) in Morning Light

Welcome, December, with your sparkling, festive ways!

IMG_4264.JPG Blackeyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta) Sparkle like Stars

IMG_4250-0.jpgBlushing, Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Bathed in Rose-Gold Light

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Late Autumn’s Lingering Beauty

November 29th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Viburnum setigerum in the foggy garden with Miscanthus sinensis Tea Viburnum (Viburnum setigerum) paired with Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Gracillimus’) on a Foggy Morn

When nature is generous with her warmth, November is one of my favorite months of the year. We’ve had a long, luxurious autumn; warm days, clear nights and foggy mornings. Blissful days for a gardener.

Two of my late-season favorites at this time of year —Viburnum setigerum and Cornus sericea— have proven particularly lovely this fall. Well worth adding to your garden design plan, I promise (once again).


Cornus sericea in the foggy gardenRed Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea) lights up a moody day

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

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Welcome Autumn!

September 23rd, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

Aerial-View-of-Autumn-Above-Lake-Whitingham-Vermont-Michaela-Medina-Harlow-thegardenerseden.com_Above Lake Whitingham, Vermont 

A warm welcome to the Autumnal Equinox & the glorious season of fall.

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Celebrating August’s Sturgeon Moon 

August 29th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

IMG_2564.JPG In the Moonlit Garden 

There’s a full moon tonight, and if last night’s show was any indication, this one should be spectacular. August’s Sturgeon Moon —also known as the Green Corn or Blueberry Moon— is at perigee, making this another one of those fabulous ‘super moons’ (you read more about that here on the earthsky website).

If you’re on the east coast, moonrise tonight, August 29th, is at 7:23PM and moonset is on August 30th at 5:54AM. I’m not sure if I’ll be in the garden or on the water this evening, do you have a spot picked out?  Wherever you choose to take in this celestial event, it’s bound to be a great show. Enjoy the August Moondance!

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’: Lovely, Late Summer Leopard Plant

August 28th, 2015 § 2 comments § permalink

IMG_2549.JPGLigularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’ in the Secret Garden

Well hello again, Secret Garden. It’s nice to see you. I’ve been away so much this summer, I hardly recognize you. You’re a bit wild and unkempt, it’s true, but still, you look so lovely. Plentiful rain has done wonders for the garden this growing season. Just look at Ligularia dentata ‘Britt-Marie Crawford’! Divided last season, she’s already twice her original size.

Leopard Plant is a lovely perennial for late-season drama in part to full shade. A statuesque beauty —2-3′ tall and wide with large, leathery, deep maroon leaves— Ligularia dentata is grown primarily as a foliage plant in my Secret Garden. But in the late summer —August through mid-September here in Vermont— she bursts into glorious, golden bloom. I love to combine this plant with other dramatic foliage; Lamium maculatum, Athyrium niponicum ‘Pictum’, and Hakonechloa macra, to name a few. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, Ligularia dentata prefers moist to wet soil and protection from scorching afternoon sun and desiccating wind. Given the right conditions and room to grow, this beautiful leopard will add a touch of drama to last throughout the growing season.

IMG_2551.JPGDaisy Rays, Gold as the Late Summer Sun

Photography & Text ⓒ  Michaela Medina Harlow/The Gardener’s Eden. All photographs, artwork, articles and content on this site (with noted exceptions), are the original, copyrighted property of Michaela Medina Harlow and/or The Gardener’s Eden and may not be reposted, reproduced or used in any way without prior written consent. Contact information is in the left side bar. Please do not take my photographs without permission. Thank you!

Do you enjoy The Gardener’s Eden? You can help support this site by shopping through affiliate links. A small percentage of each sale will be paid to this site, helping to cover web hosting and maintenance costs. Thank you so much for your support!

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