At this time of year, plants are leaping out of the ground…the whole countryside seems to be in bud, in sprout, in bloom…here, Star Magnolia is eager to finally open up and enjoy sunny warm days. So ‘pretty in pink’, one of the “trending” new colors. Not just PINK, but soft, delicate shades of blossom pink to a burst of deep rosy pink! Even Le Creuset has a new piece of cast iron cookware in Hibiscus Pink! Hues of pink add softness to a collection of garden perennials, whether in the form of roses, peonies, dianthus, azaleas, iris, phlox, or simply a large drift of coneflowers…pink in any shade enlivens the garden.
Not just for the garden…Give your bedroom or living room a fresh coat of barely there pink…soft blossom pink walls offer a spring look suitable for year round with the right fabrics and accessories. For me, just the RIGHT shade of pink set off with crisp white woodwork is rather soothing and comfortable. In the bedroom, a white bed coverlet with accents of pale silvery gray or several hues of pink. White canvas or linen covers on furniture in a living room with fresh pinkish walls is relaxing…add just a few accents of silver mercury glass and gardenia or peony scented candles…with a few orchids, your room is transformed to easy elegance!
Delicate charm and uplifting colors...fragile pansy and viola plants offer tiny blooms for edibles garnish or quaint bouquets when mixed with lacy fresh herbs such as fennel or chervil. Not widely known but these precious old-fashioned blossoms, have been used for centuries in colognes and soaps.They typically have a subtle fragrance one finds when walking on a lawn full of violets…like mine…a combination of violets and moss and some sparse blades of grass. Violet blooms are often candied and used in baking or a sweet treat called pastilles. These lovely shades of violet and lavender as wall color will work nicely to freshen a room for spring!
The traces of time, mixing past with present...Out walking in the garden, inhaling the first breaths of spring, I am reminded of a long ago April morning in Paris. Waking to balcony doors open to the outside, a drizzle had grown into a downpour, wind whipping leaves and twigs into a frenzy, I “leap” from the warm comfort of my all white bed…crisp white down comforter and pillows…and stand barefoot on the balcony of old stones feeling refreshed with the shower going on around me. Soon the morning has shaken off the wet cloak of spring rain and rays of warm sunshine filter through the open doors…seems just like a scene from a movie…but then the distinctive sound of Police klaxons break the morning routine going on in the alley below. A few ducks have flown into the courtyard fountain and suddenly there is an emergency! Breakfast in the room and then time to leave the hotel for walking the streets of Paris on a perfect spring day!
Back to the present…The last of the cool season crops, mainly broccoli, is ready to be picked and then tired plants pulled. AHHH, perfect for dinner tonight. Penne with broccoli is easy and light after working in the garden all day. Just cook some organic pasta and drain, keeping about a 1/2 cup of cooking liquid if you need to add at the end. In a bit of olive oil, saute’ some broccoli florets with a few sliced spring onions and minced garlic for 2-3 minutes. ADD 1/4 to 1/2 cup white wine and cook for a minute. Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of real butter, salt & cracked pepper, some of the cooking liquid and a 1/2 cup or more of freshly grated pecorino…I also like to include about a cup of chopped walnuts for more crunch and flavor! This is delicious with a crisp white Pinot Grigio or Rose’…try it and enjoy thinking of my morning [or yours] in Paris!
Late March and more green in the garden…also some blue for-get-me-nots blooming along the path!! Plant small to medium shrub and perennial materials behind and around the seating area for seclusion and fragrance. This solid bench set on the gravel path offers a nice resting, thinking, planning, dreaming spot…you do have one??
Has your garden taken over as BOSS?? Entangled, overgrown and no plant definition?? Cut back and/or trim as needed!! Removing/’lifting’ very low tree branches to allow more light into understory areas…remove dead stems and old growth from perennials…it takes courage to just dive in and CUT…but your garden will look and perform much better, and once you learn how plants respond, it becomes much easier. Other things to do…NOW…cut back Nepeta or ‘Six Hills Giant’ catmint to the ground if you haven’t done it already. And, after the main flush of bloom, cut back again for a mass of purple blossoms until fall! So much to cut, so much fun! Afterward, do remember to compost and re-mulch as needed, too!
Now, enjoy a slow afternoon in the garden to savor the simple pleasures of life…while visiting my French sister in Texas last week, we worked in the garden, spent hours eating, drinking wine and remembering all the times past we had shared cooking, traveling and playing in her garden. The wine of course was superb and the food, well, you should have been there…no 3 star chef can come close to the flavors created in Jeanine’s wonderful kitchen.
This is a lunch we both love to make and enjoy! Along with a baguette and wine, of course! So simple, grape and cherry tomatoes, some sliced garlic, fresh herbs, a sprinkle of olive oil…bake for a while, then add slices of soft, creamy, fragrant, luscious and very good goat cheese. Bake longer to bubbly and browned! Voila’ such simplistic perfection!
So now it is time to go for a walk before making dinner for Holly and me…enjoy your perfect spring day! Then go cook something fabulous!
Hugs and kisses…