Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Aronia melanocarpa
Pretty soon these will be ready to pick!

Laurie's sister, Bonnie and her family live in Iowa City. She sent me a shot of her brand new aronia bushes. I have the same variety growing in my garden. It's official name is aronia melanocarpa. It is a perennial shrub native to the eastern half of the US and both Bonnie and I have found that it performs very well in both Iowa and Kansas. Why grow it? It produces an abundant crop of vitamin rich berries that can be eaten fresh off the bush or used in baking. I mix them with black currants to make a rich, full-flavored jam that is luscious! Research has shown that aronia berries have more anitoxidant power than many of our favorite fruits and berries- even more than cranberries, blueberries or blackberries. You know what else? They help to slow the aging process!


Our favorite for drying is Big Mama, a nice big paste tomato.
The near-perfect gardening weather has brought us a bounty of meaty red tomatoes. Just look at that color! Laurie has been busy slicing tomatoes and drying them to be packaged into our
Dried Tomato Dip which will be featured at our Holiday Gift Open house in November.

Monday, July 27, 2009


This is why we go through all of the work! These first-year Casa Blanca's are stunning!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Class participants learned how to mix up Steve's "green" version of Hypertufa using recycled paper and built planters in molds, fashioned free-form garden stones and created leaf platters from beautiful leaves collected around the garden.
The Hypertufa had to set up overnight so projects could be completed. A large part of the second day of the studio is devoted to sculpting a Grot, a Danish form of garden gnome.
Nate Sommi worked at From the Summers Garden for 4 years. He will be left us to attend Kansas State University. You will not find a finer kid who is also an expert at mixing the perfect batch of hypertufa.
Stephanie packs the hypertufa mix into a box mold for her planter.
Phyllis found some very interesting elongated thistle-like leaves to use on her leaf platter.
Pam puts the finishing touches on her bird bowl.
Jacqueline adds "gems" to her concrete bird ornament.
Mixing the Hypertufa by hand is an experience not easily forgotton!

Here's a nice group of very usable stepping stones and...
...each of them passes the barefoot test!
Just a whack of the hammer and POOF- a perfect planter ornament!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Homemade Ice Cream

The 4th of July is a great time for making homemade ice cream. We use the old wooden pail and hand churn the mix for less than an hour. You can't beat the taste of plain homemade vanilla ice cream. It is interesting though, how some of your favorite garden herbs can add subtle flavor to the the mix. Try infusing the milk or cream with lemon balm or lavender. You won't be able to buy that anywhere. Hm-m-m good!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Oriental Lilies

It is the 4th of July and these Oriental Lilies are bursting like fireworks into riotous bloom. On top of this they perfume the air with a pleasant scent. These easy-to-grow lilies are terrific garden plants because not much bothers them. I love the beautiful whites. For more color, plant the Stargazer variety for a blazing pink show.