Sunday, May 22, 2016

New Blooms in my Garden

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 Please join me as I stroll through my garden. Smell the fragrance and see the new blooms that have blessed me this week.
I believe this is a Queen Elizabeth rose. 
A red knockout rose.

Caladiums and a white hydrangea that I am so pleased that lived and is blooming.
One of two white hydrangeas that were planted two years ago and is blooming for the first time.
 An old wrought iron porch column adds a touch of blue in my garden.
 Delighted to spy this ladybug in my garden. They are gardeners friends because they eat other bugs that damage plants.

 I have over 80 hydrangeas and most of them I have rooted.  See other hydrangea posts here and here.
 My oak leaf hydrangeas  were moved a few years back and they are finally getting adjusted to a new spot in the garden. The blossoms are huge.
The agapanthus are beginning to unfurl. 
It is such a delight to have hydrangeas blooming this year. Last year I did not have a single blossom. A late freeze is the only culprit anyone can figure out. 
 Autumn joy sedum are so easy to root and will do well in the sun or part shade.
 Elephant ears are trusty perennials.
 Pink spirea is a delicate perennial that is lovely cut for arrangements.
Hostas are another shade perennial that are faithful to come up each year. I have several varieties and I love this light green color.
I am growing milkweed for the first time to attract butterflies. Hopefully some monarchs! It has been fun identifying butterflies. View post here on the varieties I've enjoyed in my garden.

 In about a month the phlox will be blooming.
 I moved these benches from the back of the garden recently. The concrete bench I had here was moved to another spot. I'm enjoying the white color that lights up the garden in the evening and early morning as well as their comfort for seating.


I enjoy planting pentas each year because butterflies love them.  This has been the most beautiful and pleasant spring I can remember. The mornings have been slightly cool and it has been delightful to sit on the porch with my morning coffee enjoying the birds and flowers with no humidity. I know it can't last but I am so grateful to have had a long spring.
What do you have blooming in your garden?

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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Special Friend Birthday Luncheon

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My luncheon group meets every Monday at different restaurants, but sometimes we celebrate birthdays at someone's home.
The birthday girl, my dear friend Charlotte, loves blue and white as much as I do.
So it was fitting to pull out the blue and white to celebrate her birthday!

We also share a love of hydrangeas.
 I would like to say these white hydrangeas came from my garden but it is a little early yet.
So the flowers, along with these blue vases came from our local Publix.
They are inexpensive and available in several colors.
To ensure they would be available, I bought the hydrangeas four days ahead of time and kept them in my refrigerator.When I got them out, they looked limp, so I  cut the stems and submerged them completely in a sink of water for two hours. They plumped up nicely and I put them in the vases. The night before I soaked one blossom again and they still look good a day after the occasion.
Our lunch group has sixteen but only eleven could attend so we all sat at one table together. Believe me, it was loud.
Most of us have known each other for over 35 years.
 Pictured on the back right is Joan whose garden was recently on my blog and front right, Mary Alice who hosted a luncheon featured here. Debbie is front left and Mary back right.
 Left to right: Eddie,whose barn I blogged about here: Charlotte, the honoree, whose home I blogged about here: Sarah, who hosted an engagement party here and Diane, who needs to be featured.
 We all go to the same church and our children are close in ages.
 Eddie, me, and Dona. 
Five of the eleven have been featured on my blog- parties, holidays at their homes, garden tours and even a barn tour. I have ideas for future blog posts for the remaining ladies.  There is plenty of talent to feature.


Birthday Luncheon Menu

Mimosas
Wildrice Chicken Salad
Broccoli Salad
Fresh Fruit with Poppyseed Dressing
Rolls
Chocolate Cake
Peach Tea and Coffee
 This was my plate in the middle of eating. You can't stage everything! Too busy having fun visiting.
                                         Happy Birthday~ Charlotte!
 Hope your wish comes true!
I forgot to make a picture of the food before we ate so imagine the bowls full instead of mostly empty. The wild rice and chicken casserole has avocado, toasted pecans and diced red pepper. It is a great recipe that can be made ahead except adding the avocado and pecans at the last minute.

Wild Rice Chicken Salad

Four large chicken breasts cooked and chopped
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild rice,cooked according to package directions
1 large red pepper, diced
3 large avocados
1 1/2 cup pecans, chopped and toasted

Dressing:( I doubled everything except garlic)

2 cloves garlic minced
1 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. sugar
1/4 t. pepper
1/3 c seasoned rice vinegar
1/3c. veg oil

Mix 1st three items together and pour dressing over: combine. Right before serving, add toasted pecans and avocados if you wish.
The best thing about this recipe is you can do everything the day before serving except cutting the avocados. You can toast the pecans the day before but add them right before serving with the avocados. Also, if you want the red pepper to be crunchy wait and add it right before serving too. This recipe served eleven easily with some to spare.



It was fun to celebrate Charlotte's birthday and enjoy good food and fellowship. Those that could not attend were missed.

Do you have a lunch group? No one can attend every Monday but there is usually six or so that can make it. We all miss, if we have other commitments, but fit right back in when we can.

 I am extremely thankful for these wonderful friends. We share our joys and sorrows and pray for each other. Friendships are a great blessing.