It was so foggy early today that I snapped a picture through the kitchen window. I thought it looked quite beautiful until I saw these images of the landscape southwest of Madison that Mark photographed when he was out that way this morning.
The conditions were just right to create a "fog bow."
Driving back to Madison at noon when the fog had burned off.
I subscribe to food and recipe emails from The New York Times and Food 52. Usually I quickly glance at them and hit delete. But I try enough of them — and am happy with the results — to keep 'em coming. A few weeks ago Food 52 posted a recipe for Sriracha Lime Corn Salad which was fabulous. I've already made it twice.
It's another of those corn dishes that uses kernels sliced off the cob which is the most labor-intensive part of the recipe. Saute the corn, add sweet red peppers, finish with lime juice, parsley, Sriracha and Cojita cheese. Since it's available on-line I won't bother to reprint the complete directions here. I'll just tell you that you should give it a try. Spicy, summery, and good hot or at room temp.
We paired the Food 52 corn dish and another Caprese salad with a recipe from Martha Stewart's magazine. I tore out the page and it's been sitting around for a couple of years waiting for me to rediscover it. Her Swordfish with Watermelon and Lime-Ginger Citronette is another very summery entree and a great way to eat up watermelon. Mark likes to buy the bigger ones and I get tired of it quickly so this was a great solution.
Our rain gauge is in the farthest corner of the garden in a very open spot so we get a true reading on how much rain falls. But it's a bit of a trek through the wet garden if I want to know the results the minute the rain stops.
If I'm curious but not ready to step outdoors I have an informal measurement that I do from indoors. I look at the furniture on the deck to see if the vertical edge of the table and the backs of all the chairs are wet or if only the tops of things are wet. Then I look at the huge old Honey Locust tree that abuts the deck to see if there is any visible moisture on the side of the tree facing the house. If rain has made it through the leaf canopy and down onto the back of the tree then I know we had a real storm — like the one that woke us up at 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning with an incredible thunder crash followed instantly by an immense downpour.
We got .84" of rain in about 4 and 1/2 hours yesterday morning. During the evening I could hear it raining lightly and this morning the gauge had .22" so we had just over an inch of rain. Coupled with last week's 2 inches of rain and the hot weather that's returned, I'm afraid it means that the mosquitoes will be back again, too. Ugh, just when it was safe to get outdoors and work again.
I had a couple of floral sightings over the weekend that I decided to share as my contribution to this weekly meme.
First off, my niece who lives in Vermont sent me a the three photos below from a garden tour that she went on. The images she sent are from the garden owned by the historic Woodstock Inn and supplies fresh flowers for them. As you can see there's an abundance of flowers blooming, drying and being arranged in vases for the Inn.
Look at those bunches of Alliums. It never occurred to me to dry them at that stage when they still have flowers and color remaining. I guess I will have to wait until next summer to try that myself.
I only grew Delphiniums once. They just a not a flower that you want to grow where I live which is subject to strong winds on and off all summer long. As for Gladioli, a wonderful selection of that flower can always be found at our local farmers' markets.
On Saturday a Wisconsin niece had her wedding ceremony and reception at a beautiful Lake Monona setting not far from where we live. The bride and her attendants all carried lovely bouquets but my favorite "flowers" were the sprays of Eucalyptus and grasses that graced the center of each table. I did not go poking around in this display so I don't know if the stems were inserted in those little tubes that hold water or if they were left to hold their own as long as possible.
I drove out to Flower Factory last Sunday morning as I had a FF gift certificate that was burning a hole in my pocket. As early I arrived there was still a row of cars lined up in the entrance lot. It was hot, sunny and the summer flowers were blooming their heads off making a fabulous statement as I parked my car. It was so sunny that it was impossible to take any decent photos which was disappointing as the place looked as delicious as always.
It didn't take me long to fill a wagon — and I hardly deviated from my list! I worked in my garden early in the day on Tuesday getting many of my new purchases settled in. Not visible in this photo are a whole group of small plants (thymes, Sedums, Dianthus etc.) that were at the top of my buying and planting list as I am still trying to fill in along the new stone steps in the front garden. I also planted the Blood Grass (left rear), splitting it two pieces that I triangulated with a clump already in place in the garden. Added a Bergenia 'Pink Dragonfly' with very narrow leaves (front right in the wagon). Hoping its location at the top edge of the stone wall will make it more rabbit-proof.
I managed to get nine plants in the ground on Tuesday but the heat, humidity and mosquitoes have kept me indoors since then. I still have 13 plants left to deal with but I have specific locations in mind for all of them. There are three Polystichum mackinoi and five Adiatum venustum which will be planted as groups so that will be easy.
We have garden visitors coming at the end of the week who've never been here and another magazine editor in September. It means I am going to have to get outside and weed and deadhead and get planting regardless of weather or bugs. At least the rain that fell overnight will make those chores easier even it it means the mosquitoes won't be going anywhere soon.
Our local farmers' markets are bursting with fresh produce that is providing lots of great eating at our house. For as long as possible we will be feasting on sweet corn and tomatoes. I've been roasting and freezing tomatoes, making gazpacho and fresh uncooked tomato sauce for pasta. But my favorite for both flavor and ease is Caprese salad.
According to Epicurious.com Insalata caprese (literally, the salad from Capri) was created in the 1950s at the Trattoria da Vincenzo for folks looking for a light lunch. Its ingredients were tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and olive oil. I add a splash of balsamic vinegar so mine's not authentic but it's the way we like it.
I don't have enough sun or space to grow my own tomatoes but my garden does offer three kinds of basil. So we vary the salad with the type of basil and tomatoes we use. It may have been created to satisfy lunch-goers, but I am happy eating it as an appetizer, side dish or the whole meal. Not many dishes are so pretty or so flavorful.
We had Caprese salad the other night after an entree of Beaufort Soused Corn and Shrimp. The link takes you to a recipe that is identical to the one I follow from Christopher Idone's coffee table cookbook, "Glorious American Food." We mostly enjoy corn on the cob but I love this recipe that uses it off the cob.
The waters around Beaufort were once plentiful with shrimp who made their way into many dishes, including pies, which is the origin of this dish. Idone ditched the crust and added a lemony vinaigrette instead. I usually only make this once a summer but it's yummy as well as easy. The recipe serves 8. I use a scant pound of shrimp for the two of us which leaves us with enough for dinner the next night. But I make the entire recipe of vinaigrette because I love the flavor and don't want to run short.
During the last days of July we had 7.50 inches (19.05 cm) of rain fall on our garden in a week. Half of it fell in just a few hours on July 21. That much moisture — coupled with high temperatures — sent the garden into overdrive. And it caused a massive mosquito hatch! I've hardly seen a mosquito this summer or last, so this result is a shock to say the least. Every time I go out to cut a flower clouds of the little monsters rise up from among the plants. It would be interesting to watch if they didn't surround you in a flash.
It rained again at the end of last week which didn't help things. Now the weather is cooler and beautiful and I can't go out in the garden to look at it let alone work in it. So I am going to do all those garden book reviews and summer recipe posts I've been saving up until I can get back outdoors with a trowel and a camera.
We had a few friends over for dinner at the end of the week which meant bouquets for the table, the bathrooms and the living room. I went out early to cut the flowers and put the arrangements together but then I got busy and never photographed them until the next morning. A good lesson in what flowers hold up well and which ones fade overnight.
The bouquet that was the centerpiece of the dinner table should look good indefinitely — unlike the table which is clearly in morning after disarray mode.
I rarely think to cut Sedum 'Autumn Joy' before it starts to color up but decided it would look good in my new vase in its green stage. I had already done a bit of pruning on Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Fernspray Gold' and added them with the green bottom side uppermost. Lastly I added a couple of stems of Applemint for fragrance and to lighten the bouquet with a bit of white variegation.
The living room got a spray of Thalictrum along with flowers from Hosta 'Krossa Regal.' I love the frothy fragility of Thalictrum and was really disappointed that it completely faded overnight.
I brought this Maidenhair fern inside just for the evening and put it in a more dramatic container to disguise its usual utilitarian pot.
Mark's bathroom got Lilium 'Henryii' along with a leaf of Heuchera 'Lava Lamp.' This is a new Heuchera for me and it's doing very well in the garden due to its villosa heritage.
My bathroom got a mercury glass vase full of Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta and a pair of variegated Geranium leaves — two plants that I've put in so many bouquets over the years that I know they will last for more than a day.
Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this Monday meme to see what other gardeners have put into a vase this week.