Like Kids in a Candy Store

I had the pleasure of galavanting about in a favorite nursery with a very dear gardening friend today. Actually, gardening is only one thing of hundreds that we have in common. We spent a total of five hours together, having wonderful conversations, solving world problems, catching up with each other. Time went by quickly. Prior to today it had been three of four weeks since I’d been in a nursery. Way too long, especially for this time of year when it seems the whole world is bursting with color as it awakens from its winter slumber.

So there we were at Green Acres Nursery conversing and leisurely admiring it all, oohing and ahhing over the colors, the fragrances…well, everything. Here are some of the things that caught our eyes.

Tropical HibiscusIMG_8420Mallow
IMG_8426Summer Gold Japanese MapleIMG_8422Dogwood 
IMG_8417Evergreen Clematis, AvalancheIMG_8418DelphinumIMG_8433Coral BellsIMG_8434 ColumbinesIMG_8435DianthusIMG_8440Thunbergia will always remind me of a favorite nursery my sister and I used to go to when she lived in Huntington Beach. The fences at the charming nursery there were completely covered in this vine!IMG_8441PansyIMG_8442FuchiasIMG_8436IMG_8437PelargoniumIMG_8438I have a fondness for Coleus and plant them each spring in memory of my mother who loved them.IMG_8439Happy Hydrangeas. Mine are nowhere near ready to bloom.
IMG_8444HostasIMG_8445A year ago this rhododendron called Purple Gem caught my eye at a nursery; I bought three of them right then and there. Mine will probably be blooming in another few weeks. I hope they look as good as these!IMG_8447WisteriaIMG_8448It was so hard to resist taking one (or three!) of each home with us, but the two of us shopped with great restraint. I had a few things on my list and left with only those few things, knowing that I need to finish a few projects first before I delve into another. Browsing through nurseries is such a treat anytime, but this time of year especially. My kind of candy store!

Easter Nests

IMG_7849Daffodils, tulips, the sound of birdsong, trees leafing out, nests…I am so enjoying the season!

On Thursday we had an early Easter celebration with part of our family who won’t be able to join us on Sunday. It was a delightful day with egg hunts, playing in the yard, the discovery of new toys from the Easter bunny, lunch, and nest making.

These tasty treats are from the recipe called No-Bake Nests in Sharon Lovejoy’s book called Toad Cottages and Shooting Stars.

Ingredients:

34 large marshmallows

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups cornflakes

1/4 cup toasted coconut

candy eggs

IMG_8282Directions:

In large saucepan, stir the marshmallows and the butter together over medium heat.

Add the vanilla to the melted marshmallow mixture and stir. Remove from heat.IMG_8283Fold in the cornflakes and the lightly toasted cornflakes and mix.IMG_8284Drop a spoonful of the mixture into the cup of a greased muffin pan. Form nests. It helps to spray hands with cooking spray for this.IMG_8288Remove once they’re formed and place on a baking sheet. Nestle small candy eggs inside each one. Cover with plastic wrap and let harden on the countertop. Nests can be stored in a single layer in a tightly covered container.IMG_8342Aren’t they adorable? And fair warning, they’re a bit addicting too.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and blessed Easter.

In the Garden

Happy first day of spring!
IMG_8178I’ve spent a good portion of yesterday and today working in the yard. Nothing glamorous, just putting down a new layer of top soil, feeding plants, taking inventory of what I need to replace, and cleaning up garden beds. This time of year it’s easy to lose myself out there. Hours pass quickly, and before I know it it’s late afternoon. There’s so much to do, but somehow it doesn’t feel like work (until the soreness kicks in the next day!) amidst the glory of nature’s reawakening. Isn’t it remarkable to watch what’s blooming from day to day? Here are a few scenes that caught my eye.IMG_8172IMG_8244IMG_8238I must be in a purple-y mood!

If you haven’t noticed already, I have an appreciation for quotes. I keep journals of passages from books that speak to me, along with favorite quotes. Through the years, I’ve added some inspiration in the garden by writing some quotes I love on rocks. I simply write with a sharpie and then spray them with a clear protective spray. They need to be re-done each year, and that was another bit of work (play!) I was doing this weekend.IMG_8233IMG_8230IMG_8231IMG_8232IMG_8239IMG_8234Suddenly our surroundings are bursting into bloom. Each time I’m out driving I’m noticing the emerald green of the hills swathed with poppies, singing loudly. Miracles are happening everywhere we look! What’s catching your eye right now?

Let’s Take a Walk

The sun is rising; birds are singing their finest songs. C’mon, let’s take a walk. We’re on one of the nearby trails that I use regularly. IMG_8208This is my sweet girl, Gemma, who accompanies me on my walks. Isn’t she beautiful? Beautiful and gentle with children, a wonderful protector, and the best ball retriever you’ll ever meet!IMG_8206Everywhere I look there are things to marvel about. Notice the shape of this graceful oak’s branches.IMG_8214And the vibrant greens of the moss and ferns growing on this large rock.IMG_8209This touched my heart and put a smile on my face. Here’s a memory bench that I’ve walked by every week, but today, dozens of pastel colored tulips planted behind it on the hillside are blooming and brightening everyone’s day! IMG_8204I didn’t know this woman, but I know she was so loved.IMG_8212So lovely! Such a special tribute.IMG_8202This area of the trail is in a lot of shade and is still wet from rains we had three days ago.IMG_8210IMG_8128Did you see the nest cradled in the tree branches in the photo above? And just look at all the newly unfurled spring leaves. I hope the nest is full of eggs. I’ll have to check in regularly as I walk by.IMG_8124A few miles in the freshness of the early morning… I can’t think of a better way to start my day. Thanks for coming along.

Citrus and Spinach Salad

Do you ever come across recipes you’ve written down on a piece of paper and can’t recall where it came from? I wish I could remember where I got this recipe to give credit where credit is due, but I don’t have that information. I didn’t even write the name of the salad down. I may have been watching a cooking show. I spent some time online looking to see if I could find it there and had no luck, but found so many other citrus and spinach salads that looked great. Anyway, this is a tasty one and I’d like to share it with you now, while citrus is in abundance.

Salad Ingredients:

5 oz fresh spinach

3/4 cup chopped celery

3/4 cup dried cranberries

1 cup orange segments

1 large granny smith apple, cut up

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1/3 cup pecans

feta, to sprinkle over the top

grilled chicken (optional)

IMG_8173

Combine all of the ingredients and toss. Sprinkle feta over the top.

Dressing Ingredients:

4 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (I didn’t have this on hand and used champagne wine vinegar)

2 – 4 teaspoons sugar (or honey)

1/8 teaspoons each paprika, onion powder

1 Tablespoon poppy seeds

IMG_8174

Combine all dressing ingredients. Drizzle over salad.

IMG_8175Dinner is served!

Nearly Spring!

 

IMG_7773“The year’s at the spring

And day’s at the morn;

Morning’s at seven;

The hillside’s dew-pearled;

The lark’s on the wing;

The snail’s on the thorn;

God’s in His heaven-

All’s right with the world!”

~Robert BrowningIMG_7958“A wizard must have passed this way

Since – was it only yesterday?

Then all was bare, and now behold,

A hundred cups of living gold!”

~Emma C. DowdIMG_7720“A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king.”

~Emily DickensonIMG_7933“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”

~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

IMG_8116IMG_7971“Spring is nature’s way of saying Let’s Party!”

~ Robin WilliamsIMG_7920Everything is blooming recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. ~Ranier Maria RilkeIMG_8077IMG_8067Wishing you all a week of blooms. Go out and take in all the beauty surrounding you!

 

Love Messages

I’d been up last night quite a bit with some troubles tumbling around in my head, and upon waking in the morning, the worries were still there at the forefront of my mind. I dressed and then leashed up my furry walking companion for our morning walk, hoping I could find some answers or clear my head a bit. The morning was beautiful and I started to feel a bit better as we walked briskly on one of our usual routes.

Lo and behold, right in front of me, throughout the walk I began to see messages. Love messages, I’ll call them. Just when I needed them.IMG_7961IMG_8108IMG_8109IMG_8110IMG_8118Surely this doesn’t solve my problems, but I assure you, it helped immensely and put a smile on my face. Things will be alright. We’ll get through this. Messages received (all of them!) with a grateful heart!