Tuesday, July 17, 2012

~An Old-Fashioned Flower~

A while back, I discovered peonies.  Though I had heard of them, I never really paid any attention to them until now.  Oh my.  I am in love!

Be still my heart!  The soft pink color of this one gets me every time.
 Peonies are considered an old-fashioned flower having been around for hundreds of years originating in Asia.  Over the years, several varieties have been developed.  Single flower, semi-double and double-flower producing blooms that can be anywhere from 4 to 6 inches to 10 inches wide!  Can you imagine??

 Peonies are a very low maintenance flower requiring little care.  It''s not uncommon for plants to live for over a hundred years!  Definitely well worth the investment, don't you think?  Fragrances vary from one flower variety to another...none whatsoever to slight to very fragrant.

 The one thing that drew me to these magnificent flowers...well, actually, two...is that they fit the definition ~ to a T ~ of being a cottage style flower.  Which is what most people consider them to be.  They are often seen in fields and in many a farmhouse garden.  The other is the blossom itself.  The soft, billowy petals.  I don't know, but there's just something about them that beckons me.

 One problem with these flowers is that they bloom only once during the season.  Drats!  Wouldn't it be lovely to have blossoms like these all summer long?  Oh goodness.  Thankfully, each variety is categorized with a bloom date rating that can spread out over a period of six weeks.  If one plans wisely, you could have several varieties that bloom at different times giving you a longer season of enjoying the beautiful blossoms.

The other problem is that it takes several years for the plant to mature before it actually starts producing the type of flowers like you see above.  So one has to be patient.  Waaahh!!  I did find out that peonies can be dried and will last for years.  Yay!  Can you imagine the beautiful bouquets?

 Well, I've decided I just HAD to have some of these babies and I've been looking in several of the local nurseries in the big city and even in the home/garden centers, but couldn't find them anywhere.  So I started searching online to order some.  It's a good thing I decided to do it now as I found out that fall is the best time to plant bare root peonies (the best way to go).  Gardeners are taking orders now with delivery to take place mid-September to mid-October.

"Sarah Bernhardt"....very late bloomer, large blossoms and fragrant.
 After going back and forth, and forth and back, I finally decided on these three.  These babies aren't cheap.  They can range in price from about $18 to $100!  I cannot imagine paying that much for one plant!!  I did manage to get plants for an average of about $22 a piece, so I was pleased overall.

"Red Charm"...blooms early and very fragrant.
I have alot of purples and pinks in my flower beds.  I don't know why but it seems that's what colors are most prominent in the garden centers around here.  I wanted a soft, faded pink but the few I picked were already sold out with this particular nursery.

"Coral Charm"....blooms mid season and has a mild fragrance.
I have only one red flower in my gardens so the beautiful red one is really going to add some pop!  And I don't have any coral at all so I thought it was a nice contrast.  I am so excited to add these to my flower gardens!!   Now, lots of waiting is in store but I pray that it will all be worthwhile.

What's new in your flower beds this year?

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

~Just Peachy Keen~

First of all...woohoo!!  I'm still waiting for my favorite computer to be fixed but the power adapter came in for my other computer.  Thankfully, that was the problem making it an easy fix.  Now I'm up and running!!   I feel better now. :)

One of my all time favorite summer desserts (or any time of the year actually) is peach crisp or peach cobbler.  I can't decide which I like better.  When it's not peach season, I've made many a recipe using canned peaches that have turned out really, really well.  Several weeks ago, I had a hankerin' to make a cobbler and did some internet searching for a new recipe...

 Quite a few years back, I had the most delicious recipe for cobbler that became a family favorite but I lost it.  I lost it!!  I haven't been able to find one that was exactly like it but this one, that came from Tasty Kitchen, I think is a new favorite.

The crust is out of this world.  Look closely and you can see that it's like having a fresh sugar cookie on top of your peaches!  Speaking of peaches, it called for fresh but I used canned.  Not quite the fresh peach taste but it'll do when you've got a hankerin' that needs to be satisfied.  I've found that the better brands use the more firm, fresh-type peaches and the ones canned in a lighter syrup work best.  If all I have is the heavy syrup variety, then I will rinse the peaches and cut back on the sugar just a bit.

 No cobbler is complete unless there's a nice dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.  Oh my.  Ice cream, a sugar cookie crust and peaches.  What could be better?

Note:  The original recipe calls for nutmeg but I prefer cinnamon.  I never skimp on the cinnamon and always use a nice, heaping amount.

Peach harvest is just about in full swing here in Oklahoma.  In a couple of weeks, my daughters and I are going to a peach festival in Stratford, a small town about 75 miles south of us.  The peaches are so well known that everyone in these parts call them "Stratford peaches".  That's how good they are.  Oh, happy day!  I hope to be able to buy a couple, or three, bushels of wonderful, fresh peaches.  I plan to do some canning and even make some peach butter...doesn't that sound heavenly?  I've never made peach butter before.  Have you?  If you've got a recipe that is to die for, would you share it with me?  I'd be so ever grateful.

I pray you have a wonderful, peachy keen kind of day~

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

~God Bless America!~

May we always have a thankful heart for the mercies and blessings that God has bestowed upon our land of the free; and for those, in times past and present, who serve, protect, fight and die for the freedoms we enjoy today.  God Bless America!!
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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

~Missing In Action~

I've been missing for a while and it's all because of my trusty computer. :(  Actually, I have two laptops.  My HP laptop is my favorite and I think I did some major damage while trying to fix what I think was a virus.  I could work on it but couldn't get on the Internet.

The other is my Acer, which I have been using for the last several months.  It died.  So, I have been using hubby's computer and I really dislike using it. :/  For one, I don't have access to all the programs that I like to use and being able to do what I want in order to blog is, well, next to impossible.  Unless I downloaded them on hubby's computer, which I don't think he'd be too happy about.  So, I haven't been blogging.  Wouldn't you know it...I've got several posts up my sleeve and I need to do some major housecleaning and organizing of my blog!!

I've ordered a new power adaptor for the one laptop and sent the other one to some friends from church.  They are very kind to repair broken or corrupted computers, which they look at as a ministry.  Isn't that great?  God bless them.  Now you know why I haven't been around!!

Hope to see you in the next few days~

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