January 2007

January 2007

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Hydrangea fungus

This was my hydrangea a few years ago in the fall. It was a large, beautiful, healthy plant.  Then within a couple of days it looked like this _
Some kind of fungus?  When I dug it up this spring, the roots didn't show signs of root rot. The leaves didn't develop any black spots. It looked like someone took a blow torch to it.
2 weeks ago, I purchased a new hydrangea. This time I chose an endless summer.  Some of the leaves have begun to turn a sort of silvery color. It doesn't look like powdery mildew. I've been picking them off, keeping the area around it clean, and spraying with a fungicide. I don't like using chemicals in my garden, but sometimes I give in. So far, it hasn't died. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! I probably shouldn't have planted it in the same spot as my old one, but darn it all - that's where I want it!

On a better note, the battle I've been fighting the last couple of years with the viburnum leaf beetle seems to have been won - by ME!! My snowball bush is gorgeous this year and covered with snowballs.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

new plants added to my garden

I used some of my gift certificates to our local nursery and bought some new plants for my garden. Now my problem is, I want so many things but don't know where to plant them. The only full sun my yard gets is in the driveway and in front of my house, which isn't a very large space. So the neighbors get to watch me walk around my yard holding plants and staring at my gardens. They must wonder what is wrong with me! Just trying to find a spot for my babies. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Cherry blossoms - friend or foe?

I took this picture a couple of weeks ago, the day after my car was 100% covered in weeping cherry blossoms.  See how the front bumper near the license plate is covered? That's what my whole car looked like. I wish I'd taken a picture then. My husband's new black truck was also covered. He was none too happy, let me tell you!! We've had the tree for years but must be every other year when the blossoms fall, it isn't raining. They just puddle in the driveway like piles of snow. The rain makes them stick like glue. Good think he really likes this tree, otherwise the chainsaw may have made a presence.  I had so many compliments on how I decorated my car.  He drives 40 miles to work on a highway and expected the flowers to fly off before he got there - didn't happen. Our rain must be pretty strong glue.  He got a lot of compliments on his big truck too, from all his buddies.  Again, he was none too happy! I thought it was rather pretty.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pasque Flower

My first Pasque flower.  I bought it last spring and was excited to see it survive the winter.  It brought much needed color to my garden early this spring. I can't wait for it to spread a little so I can divide it.  While researching a little about this flower, I discovered another name for it is Easter Flower.  Pasque being an old French word for Easter.  Interesting little tidbit.  Meanwhile, the hellibore I purchased at the same time last year did not bloom this year. I was very disappointed.  It has some healthy new growth on it, but no flowers.  Maybe next year.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Peaches and cream bread

This is a recipe for peach bread that I make every year for Easter.
Peaches and Cream Bread
1/2 cup sugar
2 pkgs. yeast
2/3 cup water
6 TBS margarine
1 egg
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
2 TBS confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 16oz can peaches, well drained and cut up
1 egg white

In large bowl, combine sugar, yeast, & 1 cup flour.  In saucepan, heat water & margarine until very warm. Margarine does not have to melt completely.
Gradually beat liquid into dry ingredients. Beat in egg and 3/4 cup flour to make a thick batter. Stir in 1 1/4 cups flour to make a soft dough.
Turn out onto lightly floured surface & knead until smooth & elastic, working in more flour while kneading. Shape dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning dough over so top is greased. Cover bowl and let rise for 1 hour.
Meanwhile prepare filling. Mix cream cheese until smooth, mix in confectioners sugar and almond extract until smooth. Sitr in peaches; cover and refrigerate.
When dough is ready, punch down and let rest 15 minutes. Cut dough in half. With floured rolling pin, roll half the dough into 12" x 8" rectangle. Spread half the filling in a 3" wide strip lengthwise down the center. Cut dough on both sides of filling crosswise into 1" strips.

Monday, April 25, 2011

making fresh mozzarella cheese

My daughter and I completed our first attempt at making fresh mozzarella cheese over the weekend.  I read a post from Kevin over at A Garden for the House blog about making cheese.  http://www.agardenforthehouse.com/2011/03/homemade-mozzarella-in-30-minutes.html
I ordered the cheese making kit he suggested ($32.50 w/shipping) It arrived in 2 days. We were very excited to undertake this new adventure.  It took us much longer than the 30 minutes it should have, but that was due to us not being sure if we were doing it right. We kept looking at the pictures and comparing to what we had on the stove. We finally just poured everything into a colandar and were surprised to find more curds than we thought we had.  We kneaded and stretched the cheese and ended up with almost a pound of fresh cheese. The only problem with making this with another person is that you have to share it wtih them!! Looking forward to making our next batch.  The kit comes with enough citric acid and rennet to make 40 batches of cheese. It also came with cheesecloth and a thermometer.  Give it a try and have fun! I only wish it was fresh tomato and basil season!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring is here, I think. Do I rake or shovel?

I was going to post about the glories of Spring finally arriving, but as I look out my window, I see snow falling.  We've had 2 days of decent weather that I was able to start my garden clean-ups.  Where to start!
Remember that sapsicle picture I posted? It was on a very large maple tree in my back yard. I love that leaf-covered maple tree on hot summer days.  I don't love those same leaves in the Spring.  Especially when it snows so early in the Fall that I don't get them all raked up.  This is the mess I am faced with.  These leaves literally can be rolled up like a mat.  I think I have all my spring bulbs uncovered, some of their leaves were pretty spindly and yellow as they struggled to find some sunlight under the maple leaves.
This was taken last week, on one of those nice days. It was pretty chilly out, but the sun was shining bright and the bees and flies were happy and busy. I didn't get my camera in time to capture the 5 bees that were covering these flowers.

This was a pleasant surprise 2 weeks ago. I forgot I planted these little iris last fall.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Peanut butter cup cheesecake

I'm still waiting for spring to reach us, hopefully we'll see it this weekend. In the meantime, I thought I'd post this recipe that I created for my daughter's birthday. I always make her a different kind of cheesecake.  Recently, Hershey's came out with bite-size Reese's peanut butter cups. In case you are reading this from a country that doesn't have peanut butter cups - my sympathies.  I learned last year from a foreign exchange student that England does not have them. They are one thing she was going to miss about America.  They truly are the best food in the world!!  So, back to the cake.  I took my chocolate chip cheesecake recipe and used the bite size peanut butter cups instead of the chips.  Oh, so delicious!!!!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Crust - I used a package of Girl Scout peanut butter sandwich cookies (Do-Si-Dos). I crushed them and patted them in the bottom of a cheesecake pan.  You can also do the traditional graham cracker crust.
Filling -
3 8oz packages of cream cheese
1 can condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - or use regular size and cut them in bite size pieces
1 tsp. flour
In large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add condensed milk; beat until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. In small bowl, toss together peanut butter cups with flour to coat (this keeps them from sinking in the batter), stir into cheese mixture. Pour over crust in pan. Bake 1 hour at 300 degrees or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool to room temperature. Chill. Remove side of pan, refrigerate leftovers.
Note - mini chocolate chips can be substituted - toss together 1 cup of chips with flour. Sprinkle 1 cup of chips, not mixed with flour,  on top of cake before baking.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Maple syrup and sapsicles

The sap is running! Do you see the maple sapsicle on my tree? I've enjoyed watching my squirrels pick off the sapsicles and munch on them. They've been scampering all over the tree licking up the sap. When the sapsicles melt, they create quite a sticky mess underneath.  I have made syrup from this tree when my kids were younger and I was home all day to watch it cook outside. Nothing can beat homemade maple syrup. My son & daughter-in-law went to a maple festival this past weekend and brought back a jar of maple cream for me. HMMMM!! Yummy on toast.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My sign of spring

First, a disclaimer - these are not my pictures, I took them off the internet.
I have been reading a lot of blogs lately about the first signs of spring, accompanied by beautiful pictures of crocus and daffodils. I admit, I am jealous. Especially since we received an inch of snow yesterday. It could be worse, other areas received more. Considering that one week ago it was 60 degrees and I was cleaning my gardens and now I can't see them, it's a bit depressing.

But here's the thing - my community has another sign of spring apart from the new growth outdoors.  Our true sign of spring is when Rudy's Lakeside Drive-in opens for the season, which it did on March 16th. I usually get out there for lunch on opening day, but it was a pretty raw, cold day so I didn't go.  My husband and I ate dinner there on Monday night - yup - spring is here. My first Texas hot of the season.  A mouth-watering Hoffman hotdog topped with onions and spicey Texas hot sauce!  Okay, so we had to sit in the car to eat so we wouldn't freeze to death, but we could still watch the waves of Lake Ontario come ashore and see the seagulls flying overhead, hoping for a bit of food.  We have a whole summer ahead of us to sit outside and enjoy many more meals from Rudys.
The food isn't the healthiest - mostly deep fried, but the taste can't be beat. We wait patiently through the winter storms anticipating opening day and then we breath a sigh of relief - spring has arrived in Oswego.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Happy 1st blog anniversary to me!

Today marks my 1 year anniversary of blogging. When I began last year, I wasn't sure how long I would keep at it or if I would like blogging. I just knew I wanted to learn more about it and see where it took me.  There is so much to learn from other bloggers and so many new "cyber-space" friends to make.  I plan to continue this enjoyable hobby. I sometimes wish I had more time to spend on it but I have far too many other interests and have to try and fit everything in.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Recycled garden art or gaden junk?

I am a believer in recycling.  Some may call me a junk-picker. I suppose I inherited the disease from my grandfather and father.  I hate to throw something away if I can think of some other use for it, and I love old stuff.  So, while I'm waiting for my spring flowers to bloom (most of the snow has finally disappeared) I thought I would share my "found objects." I enjoy finding unexpected things in gardens. Do you like a well trimmed, organized, everything matches garden or do you like an eccentric garden as I do?
Some of you might be gasping - how could you put this treasure outside?  Yes, I suppose we could have tried to get a little money for it, but how neat does it look in my garden? My green peppers love their home. My brother bought a house in the country, one of those places where past owners threw their junk out back on a junk pile, and this was one of the pieces of junk.

Decorating a bowling ball to use in the garden might be considered kitschy, but I enjoy gluing stuff on old bowling balls and setting them in my garden.  This one is covered in colored stones.

The bowl portion of this birdbath broke, so I planted a fuchsia in it. That was about 5 years ago and this is the same plant. I bring it in every winter.

Some might consider this junk.  Another treasure from my brother's junk pile. He dragged this broken, old washing machine out and placed it in my garden as my Christmas present one year. He knew I would love this more than any store bought gift.

Here's the lady of my garden. My husband used to clean out unpaid storage units and was able to keep anything he found.  This was a keeper. My niece used to be a bit frightened of her, as many small children would, but she pays her no mind now.

A pot belly stove with a crack in the belly. No longer able to hold a fire, but great at  holding my mini-rose in a rescued, rusty, hole-filled bucket.

What do you do with a gas grill that doesn't work anymore? Turn it into a potting bench! I took out the gas burner, put in a plastic dish pan to hold my potting soil and there you have it! The cover keeps my soil nice and dry.

I'm a sucker for these old stools. I have 2 of them in my garden.

Got this for $5 at a yard sale last year. I couldn't pass it up.

Another yard sale find. An old radio flyer - perfect for my impatiens.

Another wood burning stove - right out of my grandfather's workshop. Victim of another crack.

My granparent's pump - it was no longer needed when city water came out their way. It sits up so high because there is a very long pipe attached to it. I couldn't dig down deep enough to bury it all.

Monday, March 14, 2011

my first orchid - any helpful advice to keep it alive?

Here is my first orchid, granted - it's just a cheap one from the grocery store, but still beautiful.  The directions tell me to water it once a week with 3 ice cubes, keep it in a room around 60 degrees and not in direct sunlight. Does anyone have any advice or tips to help me along the way to keeping this new baby healthy?  
I've been wondering why I am so willing to hand over hard-earned money for plants but not for other items that are needed in my home? Is this an addiction? Am I a plantaholic? Is there such a thing? I've always maintained that I can't understand what people with additions go through, having never been addicted to anything,  but maybe I can. I buy plants because they make me feel good. Isn't that why foodaholics eat? And shopaholics shop? I am standing up and publicly proclaiming to be a plantaholic - but please don't offer to help me, I'm not ready for an intervention!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

CNY Blooms garden show review

This weekend was the much anticipated Central New York garden show in Syracuse, NY. I attend every year with my daughter, sister, and Aunt. We look forward to a day indoors, wandering through gardens full of blooming spring flowers while the weather outside is usually cold, gray, windy, rainy or snowy.  This year, we were a bit disappointed with the show. We enjoyed what was there, but some of our favorite vendors and landscape designers were missing. The garden displays weren't as large and there were vendors I don't care to see at a garden show. What do bathtubs have to do with gardening?  I don't want to listen to pitches for subscribing to a newspaper. I'm not interested in new siding or windows. If I was, I'd go to the Home show. There were also too many sun room dealers.  Perhaps the reason for the smaller, less impressive show is because they had to change venues this year. It was held at the War Memorial, which still has ice on the floor for hockey games. Of course, the ice was covered, but however they did it made the floor very uneven and hard to walk on. Many people were tripping and stumbling.  We can only hope the show moves back to it's regular venue next year. Although we were disappointed, we did find some interesting ideas and colorful flowers, as shown below.
A pleasant waterfall, although the dried ornamental grasses do not go with the spring flowers, unless the gardener has not cleaned up their garden yet from last fall.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Monroe County Lamberton Conservatory, Rochester, NY Highland Park

Today I used a vacation day and my daughter and I took a trip to Rochester, NY to Highland Park. There, we visited the Lamberton Conservatory. This was established in 1911 and completely refurbished in 2008. What a wonderful place to spend a chilly, snowy, gray winter day. There were fruit trees blooming - oh my, what a wonderful scent.  I was in heaven!   Enjoy my pictures. I don't know the names of all the plants but I hope you can feel what we felt being there.
This is a small fish pond, also home to a turtle. Do you notice the snowflakes falling outside?

A banana tree, see the wee bananas? They aren't ones we eat.

Cactus room - as we arrived there was a bus load of 2nd graders leaving. I would be very afraid to have them in this room - lots of dangerous looking spikes! There was a large rat tail cactus that I didn't take a picture of, but it was one of the funkiest plants I've seen.  

Put yourselves in our shoes - we climb over a snowbank leaving our car, boots, winter coats, gloves on. We walk into this warm room filled with flowers, color, perfumes. I can see myself living here year round.

I would volunteer to work here in a heartbeat!

This poor  fellow had an infestation of bugs and needed to be trimmed back to get rid of them. Kind of like having lice, huh?

This room with Spanish moss cascading from every tree branch was my favorite.

I love this plant, a Shrimp plant. I've never seen it before. I wonder if anyone ever sneaks little pinches of the plants to take home and root?

Impressive Staghorn fern

More turtles - I hope you enjoyed the tour. We only paid $3 to enjoy this sanctuary. They offer season passes for $10. Believe me - if I lived closer I'd be buying a season pass and spending as much time here as I could - sitting on one of the many benches daydreaming of spring.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Proven Winners $100 giveaway at Dusty Bay

Head on over to Dusty Bay blog to enter a giveaway. $100 spring annuals giveaway. Boy, wouldn't I love $100 worth of annuals to color my gardens with!

A Spring teaser day

Look real close at this picture. Can you see what has me excited?
It's GRASS!!!    
I haven't seen grass since some time in December!  Yesterday we had a spring teaser day. The temperature rose to a balmy 58 degrees. Wow, can you believe it? Some brave souls dug out their shorts and tees. Winter coats, hats, mittens were tossed aside.  I went for a walk before work. Also something I have not done since sometime in November or December. There was no ice to slip on.  The birds greeted me with their morning song. The air smelled like spring - warm breeze and squishy mud.  It was also filled with a most delightful sound of dripping ice melting off our roofs.
Today is a different story - 50 mph wind gusts mixed with snow flurries and a temperature of 17 degrees. Oh, how cruel Mother Nature can be. Or maybe she was just showing us a preview of what is soon to come. Building our winter weary spirits back up. Saying "Buck up, you know spring is just around the corner. Here's a reminder of what's coming your way." 
It did help all of us who are suffering the winter doldrums. Our spirits rose, our batteries are recharged. We're tough old birds; we have what it takes to get through the last few weeks of winter.
To help me through this cold day, I re-potted an African Violet that had 2 babies and re-potted a purple cyclamen in a pretty pot.  Love getting my hands in that soil!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Central New York Blooms Syracuse Flower and Garden Show

This year's CNY Blooms Flower and Garden Show is being held March 3-6 at the OnCenter Complex in downtown Syracuse, NY. It's a wonderful day spent among flowers, dirt, and the smell of mulch!! Something we all need to get us through the last cold weeks of winter.
These pictures are from their website.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to create a white garden

I wrote a children's story titled The Moonlight Garden. (As yet, unpublished.) In the story, the reader takes a stroll through a garden bathed in moonlight and sees the different white flowers and how they reflect moonlight. The reader also meets insects and creatures of the night and smells the perfume of evening flowers. Now, if you'd like to know an easy way to create a white garden that reflects the moonlight, watch this video -

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

giveaways at I Am That Lady

Head on over to I Am That Lady blog to enter some giveaways she has. Drawings are February 12th. This is a great site for anyone interested in saving money with coupons. Some of the content is for central New Yorkers, but there's something for everyone who is interested in saving money.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

My winter oasis

My Winter Oasis

Seed catalogs surround me;
Me and my cup of tea.
My cat on my lap,
And maybe a nap.

I close my eyes
And dream of blue skies.
A lilac scented breeze,
Birds singing in the trees.

Flowers in their beds,
Shades of yellow and red.
Sun shining bright,
It’ll be a warm night.

 Alas, I open my eyes
And see the gray skies.
The view from my window
Is nothing but snow.

I’ll make do with artificial light;
My houseplants in sight.
I’ll be content with this,
My winter oasis.

Where is your winter oasis?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cross Country Skiing at Rice Creek

Another cross country skiing afternoon. The woods are so peaceful in winter, almost too peaceful. It's eerie not hearing any birds sing, I think it was too cold for them to be out.  This skiing adventure was through the trails at the Rice Creek Field Station owned by the State University College at Oswego.

This is my daughter deciding if she can go under this, as someone else had before us, or should she go around.
She decided to go under.  I followed her, can't believe I got down that low. It felt like I was doing the Limbo! I was mainly worried about getting under without getting stuck, she was worried about an animal jumping out at her! There were animal tracks under there, but I didn't point them out to her.
This is the herb garden, looks inviting, huh? When I had summers off, I used to volunteer to help weed this. There was a big, black resident snake. All volunteers had instructions not to harm it.  I know they are good for the garden, but they aren't good for my heart!!!
This is an old stone wall. I love it - I don't know how old it is or who built it but it truly is a work of art. Stone walls like this aren't built anymore.

Part of the trail, it was such a beautiful day.

Rice Creek - bubbling through the quiet woods.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What do you do when you can't garden outside?

Last year when I had extreme cabin fever, my daughter, Aunt, and I took a trip to Watson's Greenhouse in Lafayette, NY  http://www.watsongreenhouse.com
It was a wonderful afternoon spent wandering around their lush plants. One of their specialties are fairy gardens. I fell in love with them!  My daughter and I purchased a few small plants and then found some old wash basins at an antique store. Picked up some potting soil and started creating our own indoor fairy gardens.

This is my daughter's garden. We picked up small items at a craft store and I went through my craft supplies to see what we could use. She used broken tiles for the path, made a birdhouse out of heavy paper, and we each made a birdbath out of some wooden shapes I had. Our arbors are made out of redwood twigs. The fairies were purchased at a dollar store. Do you see her cat near her wood pile? It looks just like her calico cat. (who, by the way, loves to get into her fairy garden. I think a barbed wire fence needs to be put up.) Notice the little red wagon - very cute!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

get your personal blog listed

Do you have a personal gardening blog you'd like to bring more traffic to? Kathy over at Cold Climate Gardening has a Garden Blog Directory. You can send her a request to add you to her directory at

She has a great list of bloggers if you're looking for other bloggers in your area.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

World Garden Carnival - New Year Gardening Resolutions

My new year gardening resolution (as is every year) is to spend more time on my gardens around my father's pond. This is always a challenge because the soil is very wet, heavy clay. I fill each new planting hole with good soil and compost. I add mulch every year, much of which gets washed into the pond during heavy rains.  I must try to find more plants that enjoy wet feet.  My other obstacles are the hot summers we've had. After working a full-time job, I don't have the energy to garden in the heat. Also, the goose poop! Lots of it! One more obstacle, or frustration actually - the horsetail weed has taken over this garden and I have never found a solution to getting rid of it.  It's quite annoying to spend hours weeding only to come back a week later to find the horsetail back. But I will try to fulfill my resolution again this summer and take back my garden.

new year gardening resolutions

Visit New Year Gardening Resolutions Blog Carnival

at my little garden in japan