Category Archives: Gardens

Millions of (bad tasting) peaches

imageI don’t know when it happened but it seems that finding a delicious peach has become a challenge on par with picking the trifecta at Saratoga. I mean, your odds of buying a flavorful, juicy peach are even less favorable than that of a thoroughbred surviving a hot summer season in the Spa City.

After buying too many bad peaches from the grocery store, I’ve given up on peaches which do not come from a farmstand or farmer’s market. I’ve been stalking the Troy Farmers’ Market the last few weeks sniffing around for my favorite summer fruit, but seem to have been a bit premature in my hunt. I did, however, score some amazing ricotta cheese from R&G which we paired with local blueberries, honey, candied pecans and chocolate mint from St Anne’s Institute for a dynamite dessert at Lark + Lily. But, I digress…image

Yesterday, though, my perseverance paid off. I stopped at my favorite farmstand, Burger’s on Route 7, and found exactly what I been dreaming about – a luscious, succulent peach. It was the perfect size, not overly large, and the ideal temperature, not refrigerated. My first bite was juicy and sweet, unlike the mealy, dry peaches I’ve suffered through this summer. I sat in my car and devoured it with glee. Nirvana! Get some.

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Filed under Eating, favorites, Food, Gardens, Local, Recommendations, Summer, Uncategorized, upstate New York

Iris and other May flowers

In a weekend blooming with fun and old friends, here are a few of the beautiful sights my eyes took in…

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The other beautiful “stuff” is going to take a little longer to unupload.

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Filed under beauty, Flowers, friends, Gardens, road trips, Spring, upstate New York

Friendship Garden

There was a time when I felt overwhelmed by the needs of my children.  The attention they demanded caused me to abandon my interest in taking care of any other living things, specifically my plants.  I believe I have one houseplant which survived those toddler years.  It is a shadow of its former self, but seems determined to remain a member of the household.

As the boys became more independent and able to entertain themselves a bit better, I started acquiring plants again.  There was a rubber tree I inherited after a friend’s move, a fern or two, a couple of plants my brother no longer wanted. My house once again had bright spots of greenery.  It was time to direct my attention elsewhere…

My front yard is the size of a postage stamp.  When I moved in 18 years ago, there were a couple of rose bushes and some grass. Simple.  And boring.  Over the years , friends have shared their perennials with me, beginning with Sharon and her purple cone flowers.  I remember her bringing over clumps of flowers and my not getting them into the ground for days.  I was skeptical that they would survive my neglect, but they have thrived in the sunniness of my front yard.

A few years later, the cone flowers were joined by Black-eyed Susans.  I love the sturdy cheeriness of these and usually cut some to have in the house.  I like to put them in an old glass pitcher with the baby’s breath my brother gave me a few years back.  The baby’s breath fills in an area of my garden directly in front of the red bee balm and purple balloon flowers which my friend Donna gave to me.  It’s one of my favorite little spots this time of the year when everything looks so lush.

There are shasta daisies and a variety of ever multiplying lilies, also.  The grass is long gone and mulch and rocks fill in the garden in the few bare areas which remain.  My iris, given to me by both my brother and my friend, Lisa, have long since bloomed, but I’ll need to thin those out come fall because they have taken off.  They’re surrounded in their home in my parking strip by colorful snapdragons.  I don’t recall ever planting snapdragons, but an elderly neighbor always had them in her front garden and I suspect that is where mine originated. I think she’d be happy to know that she left behind some life on our block.

Come fall, I also plan to thin out the geraniums I was given by a work friend. They would take over if I didn’t keep my eye on them! The peony, which was originally in my shady backyard, has settled into its sunny home and thanked me for its new digs by bestowing bloom upon bloom.  I’ll be splitting that this fall, as well.  Right now the peony is home to a cat which Jeter is constantly trying to flush out. Each time he brushes past the star-gazer lilies he marks himself with pollen.  Guess that makes him a flower, too, almost.

The biggest surprise in the garden this summer are the sunflowers.  After years of planting seeds with limited success, this year I left the work to the birds.  They have thanked me for my mostly constant feedings by spreading sunflowers throughout my garden.  In return, when they’re done blooming I will harvest the seeds and give them back to the birds.  Without the birds and my generous friends, my garden, and my life, would be a far less beautiful existence.

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Filed under beauty, Flowers, Gardens, Summer

Longing for spring

As I’ve recently confessed, I love winter.  I like cashmere and wool and boots and colorful scarves and hats that hide hair mishaps. You know I am undaunted by cold temperatures and that I’m happy when there is deep, fresh snow.  Crockpot suppers, roasted root vegetables and hearty stews are some of my favorite (and simplest) meals to make.  Me and winter?  We’re good, but…
unnamed2I also like crisp cotton and exposed ankles and bare shoulders.   I’m tired of sleeping in leggings and long-sleeved t-shirts, on the ready for Jeter’s middle of the night “bathroom” breaks.  My flannels may welcome me with cozy warmth, but I’m ready for the cool comfort of high thread count cotton sheets.  I want to light the grill and sip a refreshing glass of rose’.  And then there’s my garden…
unnamed3Wardrobe, bed sheets and diet aside, I miss watching things grow.  After months of being frozen, the earth is ready to start coming to life again.  There are bunches and clusters of pale green shoots pushing out through the ground and I can’t wait to be reminded what is where in my postage stamp front garden.  I recognize the purplish red leaves of my tulips which have emerged and see the crocus preparing to take their turns – yellow first, followed by white then purple, but there are other beautiful promises which are less predictable.  Did the hyacinth take?  Are my daffodils naturalizing and filling in?  Will the lupine come back?
unnamedAfter a long season without obvious development, spring brings the assurance that there will be change and growth.  The quiet acceptance of winter yields to hopefulness and a sense that things will soon be different.  It’s time to see what comes next.

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Filed under Flowers, Gardens, musings, Observations, Spring, winter

The Rose of Tralee – sort of

About a million years ago, I entered a beauty pageant known as The Rose of Tralee.  Yes, really.  There were two reasons I was prompted to enter the particular pageant I did – one being that my teenaged friend/nemesis V had won the contest the previous year, and the second that it was a contest geared to Irish-American princess wannabees and that had my name all over it.  Sign me up.  I knew I was sunk when my current events topic during the contest involved Northern Ireland and Ireland and I made parallels to the Middle East and other historical religious wars.  Nope, not quite what they were looking for.

Speaking of looking…here are some of the flowers I encountered during my visit to Ireland.  Hope you enjoy them more than I enjoyed that damn pageant.

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Filed under beauty, Flowers, Gardens, Ireland, Summer

Three good things to do this week…

The “I’m boreds” are still a distant promise yet to be fulfilled, but the events I’m here to tell you about are probably more appealing to grownups anyway. You know, people who don’t often have the luxury of being bored.

Let’s begin with an event scheduled for this evening,Tuesday, June 24th from 5;30-7pm at the Albany Desmond..  Have you been thinking about becoming more involved in your community?  Perhaps you have a soft spot for a particular charity which you’d like to actively support with your time? Tonight’s event will introduce you to some opportunities and the women who help to make local charities and not-for profit organizations successful. Come, meet some new people and find a way to help make a difference.

Thursday night is the annual Historic Albany Foundation Hidden City House & Garden Tour in the city of Albany.  This annual event takes place from 5-8 pm and features 10-15 historic homes and their gardens. The tour is described as “mostly” walkable and attendees set their own pace as they wander from house to house in whatever order suits.  Let’s cross our fingers and hope for sunshine, but the event promises to be held rain or shine.  Tickets and more information here.

Skip that graduation party you’re invited to on Friday and instead be a part of something just beginning – The Albany Barn.  Do you know about this cool initiative?  The mission of this not-for-profit is to develop “a permanent, sustainable creative arts incubator and community art center in Albany, NY – a place for artists, neighborhood residents and the public alike to create, collaborate, present and explore, particularly those who cannot afford or otherwise access such space and services.”  Awesome, yes?  They have a location, the former St. Joseph’s Academy, which they’re currently transforming to meet the needs of the community.  Friday night from 5-8pm is their Build Up event – an artful slider slam featuring gourmet burgers, sandwiches and locally produced adult libations.

Stop saying there’s nothing to do, Albanians!  Get there and get involved.

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Filed under Albany, Events, Flowers, Gardens, Local, Moms@Work, Recommendations

Taking a break from the Lillys…

photo(130)to focus on the beautiful Iris of spring!  Lilac season  has passed and the current floral fragrance scenting my evening run is lily of the valley, but what’s really feeding my visual senses are irises.

The irises this year – they have been spectacular!  Maybe it is just because mine are finally doing something after settling in for the past 2 years in my parking strip flower patch, but I don’t remember ever seeing such a glorious array of iris varieties as I have noticed this spring.

The rain is kind of beating these beauties down a bit, but I console myself by cutting the ones I find lying horizontal and bringing them into the house to admire.  Here they are for you to enjoy –
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Happy Friday!

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Filed under beauty, DelSo, favorites, Flowers, Gardens, Spring, Uncategorized