Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mulberry Pie

My mulberry trees are loaded with mulberries Since I just planted them last year I'm surprised at the large amount. Especially the one near the chicken coop. It's at least twice the size of all the others. MmmmHmmm chicken manure makes great fertilizer....and great mulberries! This recipe is a modified blackberry pie recipe from one of my cookbooks, and wow, it is yummy!!! Recipe is at the bottom. Let me know if you try it.

Mulberry Pie
2 pie crusts (I make mine homemade in the food processor with 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 sticks of butter, teaspoon of salt, 5 tablespoons of water, blend butter, salt and flour, add enough water to make ball stick, put in fridge until firm enough to roll)
5 cups of mulberries
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg (ground)
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of lemon juice
1/4 cup of flour
3/4 cup of sugar
Combine all ingredients. Gently stir until well mixed and coated. Put filling in pie crust. Roll out 2nd pie crust and cover top of pie. Pinch down edges. Use knife to cut 7 to 8 evenly spaced slits in top of pie. Put sliver of butter in each slit. I like to use any spare crust dough to make a little decoration in the middle. If you brush the crust with egg white it will come out shiny. You can also sprinkle the top with coarse sugar to decorate after brushing with egg white.
Bake at 375 degrees for 1 to 1 hour and 15 minutes until top is golden and inside is bubbly. Let cool for 30 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Moonglow Iris

They're blooming! I counted 25 iris blooms yesterday. The garden is getting bee-yoo-tee-ful! Pictures coming real soon.

This is a picture of yesterday's harvest. A perfect cabbage, an artichoke, broccoli, Swiss chard, a few strawberries, and carrots (three types). I also picked bulls blood and Detroit red beets (they didn't make the pic).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Private New Orlean's Gardens

Firstly...(if that's a word)...Myself and my family have been through quite a lot recently. My Father had a very serious stroke and the last thing I felt like doing was blogging or attending this tour. I attended the tour mainly because that is what my Father would have told me to do if he could have. I dearly love my father and find it hard to write or vocalize what I think and feel right now. Also the pain is so sharp that I find it difficult to share with anyone but those who love him as much or almost as much as I. Maybe soon I will be able to.

I am a member of a local garden club and serve as the state historian for the Louisiana Garden Club Federation. This year they are celebrating their 75th anniversary and the convention was in New Orleans. So, many festivities this past week were planned. One being this tour. I bought my ticket to this "Private New Orleans' Gardens" tour last October without a care in the world and was just thrilled that I got one of the last four tickets....yippeee!

From the beginning when we moved to New Orleans thirty years ago, every time we went down St. Charles street my eight year old nose was pressed against the car glass gazing at the magnificent houses and gardens.....especially the "wedding cake house". If you're from New Orleans you know what the "wedding cake house" is. No, it's not a bakery....It's a glorious Victorian house that resembles one of those huge monstrous dripping with swags, roses, and columns....and generally overdone wedding's so much more wonderful on a house...especially to an eight year old.

When I heard that this historical home was on the tour....I just had to go. Finally I would get to see the gardens behind the tall wrought iron fence and gates....

Really the lot is large for a city lot, but quite small for the size of the home. The original 1800's bisecting entrance sidewalk was removed and replace with a more visually pleasing arched sidewalk that echoed the shape of the grand entrance steps with each end of the sidewalk ending at the street and exiting through two wrought iron gates.

That day the azaleas' blooms were just ending, but the Chinese fringe tree more than made up for it. The front entrance was framed with them and they were a floating cloud of white. The very small front yard had an arched garden in the front filled with pink camellias, boxwood and impatiens.

Another exciting aspect of this tour was the fact that each garden's designer was flown in to give the tour and answer questions. Sweet. Okay....I want to know this...I want to know that....blah blah blah blah blah....thankfully they were all very patient and at least one was full of himself....not John Sidney Steele of McDugad Steele Associates, he was very very nice and patient with all our questions.
They made use of urns to bring color into the garden and serve as focal points. The garden has very few color spots and are kept purposely small. The design makes use of boxwood, small trees, magnolias, bamboo, and other plants to direct vistas and form frames around lawn areas.
A close-up view of the small clipped boxwood and flowers.
This walkway runs along the side of the house leading to side entrance and pool area. A row of tall crepe myrtles separates this walk way from a lawn area that is framed with clipped boxwood and edged with a walkway bed of grey limestone.

One of the two cute statues by the small play pool that doubles as a water feature viewed from the breakfast room.

I adore this large palm. The building in the back was once a carriage house and then a garage and now, since the driveway area has been transformed into a garden, it serves as a cabana and guest house.
The front porch had this nice sitting area. I really dig the coffee tables.

I love the way carefully pruned crepe myrtle trunks look. This young one looks great nestled among the azaleas and Japanese holly fern, and it'll look even better as it gets older.

Here is one of the two lawn areas that are frames with boxwood and lime stone. It suits the house very nicely and I imagine it provides a place to congregate when giving outdoor parties.

A parting shot of the side facade and another one of those magnificent palms.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Around The House and Gardens

With spring finally arriving (the pecans have budded) there is so much to do! These 50 bales of pine straw should provide mulch for my whole potager and other gardens. I use pine straw from north of lake Pontchartrain all delivered in one huge load to last the year. The straw falls from the trees each year, is baled, and then the trees live on to make another batch the next year.

I do not use cypress mulch. Cypress trees are cut down and fed whole into shredders to provide people with cypress mulch for their gardens. It surprised me to find out that these trees were removed from the swamp....huh? These trees provide valuable land erosion deterrents. With Louisiana eroding away at an alarming rate and making all of our land and homes more vulnerable to large storms......Why Why Why!!! would anyone use it? Especially locals....anyway...I'm going to mulch my gardens.

All the citrus is blooming and the air is permeated with it's smile inducing scent.
The garden is starting to burst. Look at how beautiful the chives came back. They really should be divided. I gave my girls each a little square in the chive bed to grow what they wished.
Hello! Look what's peeking out of those huge artichoke plants!
This is a Cecile Brunner climbing rose. I looked high and low for one to plant on my pergola and finally found it at a wonderful nursery in Bridge City called Bantings. Luv, luv, luv...them! The boxes in the back ground are going to cover the grass and then the pine straw will be thrown liberally on top.
I thought these cabbages were goners at the beginning of the winter. Byron let the chickens out to free range and they happily chomped my new cabbage seedlings leaving only nubs and roots. I decided to give them a chance....I'm glad I did!

The culinary ginger survived the freeze and is testing the air.
Louisiana phlox! Not very showy, but dependable and wonderful in large plantings.
I'm getting all the pots slowly planted with their new stars for this year. I think I'm going to use a lot of coleus!
Soooo, much to a few weeks this will be transformed! We still have a lot to do on the pergola. One more layer on the top, the trim at top and bottom of the columns, a screen with round aperture in the back, two swings, a bench, and a coffee table/fire pit. Hmmmm...bee-you-tee-ful! Patience....patience.
Sprouting in the garden now:
Green beans
asparagus long beans
black beauty zucchini
yellow squash
patti pan squash
purple hull peas
cracker jack marigolds
Harvesting now:
Swiss chard
curly mustard
herbs, parsley, mint, onions, bay, rosemary, oregano, thyme
About to harvest:
Brussels sprouts
Growing now: