Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Shoots and Roots

Another week, another walk through the garden.  The japanese irises are still blooming nicely.  They make lovely, though short-lived, bouquets.

A row of small neat bushes, formerly anonymous-looking, started putting out spiky pink flowers.

Up close, they're so beautiful.

I was delighted to see a small patch of lungwort.

These spread nicely and love shady areas.  Only two plant are blooming and I'm going to leave them alone this year.  Next year, I'll dig some up and move them to the front yard.  They have small, jewel-like flowers that I really enjoy.

I've loved seeing hostas pop up in unexpected places...

Pretty vines with variegated leaves...

Even lilies!

I normally don't pay much attention to the back yard beyond the driveway.  It's mainly overgrown with ivy and just reminds me of all the work we need to do there.  But I did notice this beautiful bush had bloomed.  At first I thought it was spirea...

...but the flowers aren't quite right.

I'm absolutely delighted with it!

I'm also excited at the way the "Golden Carpet" sedum is cascading over some of the stone walls.

I picked some to try to start roots, so I can plant it in other parts of the yard.

I've had good luck with this method.  Several weeks ago, I put some "Autumn Joy" sedum leaves in soil and kept it moist.

One leaf died, but four survived.  I saw a tiny green sprout at the base of one of the leaves and knew they were ready for a transplant.

The others didn't have sprouts, but resisted when I gave them a gentle tug.  Sure enough, they'd formed roots.

I repotted these and several other sedum that had rooted.

These sedums cost around $7, so I was pleased to be able to multiply my 'stock' for free!

Creeping Jenny, too, is easy to propagate in water, and is one of my favorite green plants.  It should root in a glass of water within a week!

The little Carolina wren eggs on our front porch have hatched.

Mama seems to only visit the nest at night, but I guess she knows what she's doing!

I've been seeing some interesting insects, like this mystery creature who watched me through the glass while I worked this week...

I've seen some beautiful spiders, like this one (type unknown) who made a tidy nest between some bushes:

And this funnel web spider, who made a clever ground web that hinges on a stiff, dry magnolia leaf:

I'm keeping an eye out for more!

I've made some cards recently, and although the pictures were taken quickly and in poor light, hopefully you can get the general idea.

A birthday card for a cousin, stamped, using sewing thread to 'anchor' the paper-cut balloons:

Another birthday card with a center cut-out:

The candles are double-sided and suspended on white sewing thread so that they can rotate.

I've done little baking, but I can pass along this modified "healthier cheesecake" recipe that I toyed with recently.  It's not exactly cheesecake, but it's close enough to pass the test with me when I want something sweet and relatively guilt-free.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake
Modified from Ezra Pound Cake

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (9 full crackers)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 eight ounce packages of Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamon
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Mix your crust ingredients and press into a 9-inch pie pan.  Bake for about 7 minutes, and let cool completely.

To make the filling, combine pumpkin, butter, neufchatel cheese, vanilla, spices, and salt and beat until smooth.  Stir in sugar 1/4 cup at a time and combine well.  Spoon into graham cracker crust and chill thoroughly.  

You can adjust the sugar if it doesn't taste quite sweet enough.  It's a unique flavor but by my second piece, I was hooked!

Hope you give it a try.  Have a great week!


  1. I always enjoy your nature photography! Keep up the good work.