Gearing Up

May 30, 2016

The unofficial beginning of Summer is here. First up on this Memorial Day, and most importantly, fly your flag in honor of those lost. Then on to an early start. In my case it was a stop at the nursery for a little inspiration and a bit of immediate gratification until the bigger projects are complete. As long as you’re staying in town, and the weather is finally cooperating, you might as well get to it.

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With so much color and texture available in trees and shrubs I can never figure out what all the excitement is about with annuals. Inspiration around every turn and not a geranium or Impatiens in sight.

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I’ve never been a fan of Barberry, but this particular variety ( Sunjoy Gold Pillar) has appeal with its upright habit, bright color and tolerance to cold. Boxwood hedge replacement? Could be. 

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The sculptural quality of these stag horn ferns will be a welcome green addition to the porch. One may stay potted, the other mounted for hanging. Some artichoke thistle also made the cut to fill some vintage concrete saucer planters. Pics to follow once they get going.

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A cocktail is definitely in order after a good day of running, hauling and yard work. So, while you’re firing up the grill you might want to sip on my Blueberry Bourbon Cocktail. Light, refreshing and a dose of antioxidants to boot. Grab a glass and muddle 8-10 fresh mint leaves in an ounce of home-made blueberry syrup. Add 2 oz. Bourbon and a handful of ice, give it a quick stir and top it off with a splash of Vernors Original Ginger Soda. You’re welcome.

Photos: gp

 

 

 

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Better Late…

May 18, 2014

than never. While I usually schedule my Spring clean-up for somewhere nearer the middle of March, this past Winter and Winter-like Spring has only now allowed me the luxury taking stock and pulling on my gloves. Clearly Mother Nature has taken her revenge  and has left my property to resemble Chernobyl after the blast rather than a rural retreat in the Midwest. Boxwood hedges…gone. Yew hedges…stripped to skeletal by hungry deer. Japanese Skyrocket Hollies…a moment of silence please. And, what is left in the way of  birches, pines and spruce had taken one last good beating during a severe hailstorm on Palm Sunday. Devastating.  At least the grass is finally green. And, on that one positive note I will look to the light at the end of this tunnel, entertaining the thought of rewarding myself in a setting like this…pea gravel soft underfoot, a gentle afternoon breeze weaving its way through the masses of miscanthus, and a cocktail. Oh yeah…after this mess there will be cocktails.

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photo via: http://cabbagerose.tumblr.com/post/85363575103/outdoor-room-via-lorrainepennington

 

 

Summertime Blues

August 1, 2013

There is nothing  like local Michigan blueberries…in abundance. A simplequietmodern spin on this superfruit is to take some of the surplus and whip up a simple blueberry syrup and stir yourself up a Blueberry Mojito. Nothing wrong with a summer cocktail that is also antioxidant and phytonutrient rich is there?

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Blueberry Simple Syrup

1 cup fresh blueberries , 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar

Combine all 3 ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain the solids from the syrup through a fine mesh sieve and reserve…you can add them to Greek yoghurt or top some ice cream. Yields 2 cups  Transfer syrup to a covered jar and refrigerate.

Done. How simple was that?  Replace the simple syrup in your favorite Mojito recipe with this and garnish with a few fresh blueberries.