Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Broccoli Cheese Soup


Gardening for Health and Flavor

CREATING Broccoli cheese soup for now and later

If you are growing broccoli or are a member of a wholesale club and find it impractical to buy and use the huge packages of produce here is a recipe for the tiny trimmed broccoli florets I find at Costco.

Broccoli Cheese Soup
2 Tbs.     Butter, unsalted
2 lbs.       Leeks, thinly sliced white and green
1 bag      Broccoli florets (3 lbs.)
4             Garlic cloves, minced
6 cups     Low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups     Water
1 1/2 cups Fat-free evaporated milk
2 cups     Extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about 8 ounces)
2 Tbsp     Dijon mustard
                Salt and pepper to taste 

  1.  Clean the sliced leeks by soaking them in a large bowl filled with cool water so any sand sinks to the bottom of the bowl.
  2.  Melt the butter and cook the leeks and any broccoli stems. Stir in the garlic and continue to saute.
  3. Stir in the broth and water and bring to a simmering temperature. Add the broccoli florets. 
  4.  Add milk, cheese, and mustard until cheese is melted. 
  5. Use an immersion blender until desired consistency is achieved.
  6. Salt and Pepper to taste.

I fill and freeze individual containers of the soup for a quick and satisfying lunch. This is hearty and delicious for a cold winter day. This is modified from an America's Test Kitchen Recipe.


All material © 2007-2017 by Jeanette Hyden for Grassroots Horticulture

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Book Review | The Lavender Lover's Handbook


Gardening | Book Review

The lavender lover's handbook: the 100 most beautiful and fragrant varieties for growing, crafting, and cooking by sarah berringer bader

Product Details

Sarah Berringer Bader has farmed lavender in the Northwest for over 10 years. Her experience and knowledge are presented in this comprehensive guide to growing, crafting and cooking many varieties of lavender. The Lavender Lover's Handbook provides a complete checklist of the foliage colors (5 shades), flower colors (14 choices), and fragrance (she recommends the strong scent of the 'Hidcote Giant' lavender that I grow, yea). She dedicates a chapter each to culture (planting, spacing, soil, watering, hardiness zone, and pruning), cuisine with recipes, and crafting. So, it is not only a practical guide for growing success but it includes inspirational uses so you and your friends might enjoy it throughout the year. The photographs by Janet Loughrey, are beautiful and extensive, including all 100 covered varieties of lavender. As well as being well indexed, Bader includes an international resource list complete with lavender festivals, associations, farms, and mail-order companies to order your favorite varieties. The Lavender Lover's Handbook is an indispensable resource to inspire and to add to your garden library for both experienced gardener or novice.


All material © 2007-2018
 by Jeanette Hyden for Grassroots Horticulture

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Field Guides for Winter Nature Walks


Garden ID

stocking stuffers for nature lovers

One of the most helpful books I own is, Winter Tree Finder by May Theilgaard Watts, purchased at the Grand Teton Bookshop (for $1.60 per the sticker on the back), when I lived in Wyoming. The book is only used to identify deciduous trees in the winter. Ms. Watts has another more encompassing tree identification book, Tree Finder which includes evergreen tree identification. The books are field guides but are very helpful to peruse for a dendrology initiate. The book covers the United States and Canadian geographic areas east of the Rocky Mountains. 

So, you want to find Chestnuts to roast on an open fire turn to page 29 and you will find the most likely area to find native Chestnut trees. The author has illustrated the book with line drawings and coded the trees with simple graphics to quickly identify  trees by looking at the twigs, buds, fruits, and other features. She explains the structure of the twigs and shows the habitat and range of the native trees.

Basswood (Tilia) in Winter
 A cluster of seeds on a deciduous tree.
The tiny fruit, looking like peas, always hang attached to a ribbon-like bract, whose use seems to be to launch the ripened seed-clusters just a little beyond the parent tree. 

All material © 20 Hyden for Grassroots Horticulture

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Cactus


Gardening for Successful Blooms

CREATING a sunny canopied site for your Christmas cactus

Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesi )

The Christmas cactus had to come inside today because we are expecting a freeze tonight in zone 7b-8a. The Christmas cactus is native to South America. It grows in trees, and is considered an air plant, where it receives mottled sunlight. I have the perfect site for Christmas cactus. Our porch faces southward but protects plants from the burning afternoon sun. You will need a site rich with sunshine but mottled to prevent burning. Ideal temperatures are between 55 and 68 degrees. Plant the "leaves" directly into a slightly acidic, well draining soil and allow the soil to dry between watering. Growing and flowering instructions change dramatically depending on latitude. You will want to check with your local Agricultural Extension Office for specific instructions to ensure flowering in December. I don't normally place potted plants on furniture without a saucer to catch water but this is a temporary site for the picture. You do not want a saucer under your pot because the roots will rot readily. The flowers are available in red and this magenta pink. I like to place the pot at an eye level location to show off the flowers when they are in bloom and this also serves to keep it from spirited wagging puppy tails. 

All material © 2007-2017 by Jeanette Hyden for Grassroots Horticulture



Monday, December 4, 2017

Shakespeare on Roses


Lovely SHADES in December

For a Special Someone Recouperating from Surgery 
            Lawn as white as driven snow Cyprus black as e'er crow. Gloves as sweet as damask roses.  
                                                            The Winter's Tale  

Of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best.
                                         Two Noble Kinsman

What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.
                                                                Romeo and Juliet

At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May's new-fangled mirth; But like of each thing that in season grows. 

                                   Love's Labour's Lost

Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer's story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily's white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Sonnet 98

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine: 
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull'd in these flowers with dances and delight.
                           A Midsummer Night's Dream

The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem 
For that sweet odour which doth in it live.
Sonnet 54

Roses in the Garden

  1. Tahitian Sunset, hybrid tea rose 
  2. The Charlatan, climbing rose
  3. Tiffany, hybrid tea rose
  4. Chrysler Imperial, hybrid tea rose
  5. Pink Peace, hybrid tea rose 
  6. Pope John Paul II, hybrid tea rose

Additional Roses in the Garden

  • Peggy Martin, climbing rose
  • Climbing Pinkie, Polyantha rose
  • Gemini, hybrid tea rose

All material © 2007-2017 by Jeanette Hyden for Grassroots Horticulture

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Silhouettes and Sunsets


Garden Visit

Beautiful silhouettes

I recently had the opportunity to visit A Tasteful Place at The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden. What a beautiful design for the community and what a wonderful resource to celebrate the movement  for a healthier lifestyle via garden-to-table living. A Tasteful Place is set overlooking White Rock Lake. The garden includes lovely architectural features, ornamental displays, and even seasonally planted potagers. 

The Barbara and Bob Bigham Scenic Overlook, a perfect location for weddings, wine tastings, seated dinners and picnics, overlooking downtown Dallas and White Rock Lake.Located at the base of The Tasteful Place and overlooking White Rock Lake and downtown Dallas, the Scenic Overlook is surrounded by semi-circular pergolas, flowers, herbs, vegetables and vines.”

Majestically overlooking White Rock Lake with clear views of the Dallas skyline, A Tasteful Place was designed as an ornamental garden by SWA Group, Buchanan Architecture and the Dallas Arboretum’s Horticultural team. P. Allen Smith, television host and lifestyle expert, served as a program consultant for the project.

The Charlotte and Donald Test Pavilion, a 3,600-square-foot building with 180 degree views of the garden, lagoon and walkways, features event space and teaching kitchen to showcase chefs who will demonstrate preparation of garden-to-table cuisine. It’s also a site for cooking classes, educational programs and special events. Russell Buchanan of Buchanan Architecture designed the magnificent Pavilion. Rogers O’Brien Construction, served as the general contractor.

Ruthie Pack’s Tasting Plaza A site of daily tastings of seasonal vegetables and fruit prepared with professionally chosen recipes.

Rob Rider and Leah Hales, representing SWA Group, were the lead landscape designers for A Tasteful Place. 

Potager Display Gardens: Four individual quadrants comprise the ornamental kitchen  garden, or “potager,” pronounced, pot·a·ger or ˈpätijə(r) as it is called by the French, which is a productive working garden that is also visually beautiful, drawing on European gardening principals and artful arrangement. The Potager Gardens are a signature element of the development with in-season vegetables, herbs and flowers, planted ornamentally and interspersed with flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.  Of the four potagers, one is named for Marilyn R. Corrigan and the other for her daughter, Catherine A. Corrigan.

The Three Sisters Outlook, the trellis covered patio provides a shaded spot to view A Tasteful Place, the lagoon and meandering walkways and downtown Dallas; it’s also a site for intimate celebrations.
The Margaret and Jay Simmons Lagoon, a signature feature of A Tasteful Place and more than an acre, it sits just below the main garden and provides a large, natural body of water.  The center will feature a beautiful, lighted fountain that changes shape and pattern. The edges of the lagoon are surrounded by large boulders and lush lawns. A bridge crosses a cascading stream that pours into the lagoon. Meandering paths allow visitors to enjoy the ambience and beauty of this new garden.

Kevin Clark of Kevin Clark/Naud Burnett Landscape Architects designed the lagoon and hillside.