Monday, April 30, 2012

Tea, Tulips, and Daffodils

On a lazy Saturday, we went out for lunch and then took a walk downtown.

A river of tulips in the gardens surrounding the World Food Prize Building

Tulips hugging

Nothing says spring like a bed of tulips

After our walk, we came home and I brewed a pot of Harney's Yin Hao Jasmine tea. It's a delicious floral blend of white tea and jasmine flowers. It tastes "bright." Very delicious!

Tea is in the dining room today.

A bouquet of daffodils in a Fenton glass vase adorn the tea tray. The Fenton glass was a wedding gift (35 years ago).

A few of my garden's 600 daffodils - I had about 750, but divided and gave some away this spring. These are amongst the last of the daffodils to bloom this year.

Tea today is springy, with daffodils on the tea cup and in my vase, and honeybees on my cute little teapot.

Daffodils on my tea cup - another of my grandmother's tea cups

A closer look at my vase

Who wants a nosh with their tea? How about chocolate cake?

Thanks for visiting my post about tea, tulips, and...


"There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Heirlooms in the garden

Are you familiar with Seed Savers Exchange? It's a non-profit organization of gardeners and plant collectors who save and exchange heirloom seeds from our garden heritage. Seed Savers Exchange was founded in 1975 in the home of Kent and Diane Ott Whealy in Missouri. Years later, Seed Savers Exchange and 900+ acre Heritage Farm resides in beautiful Decorah, Iowa. Hundreds of thousands of garden seeds have been handed down from gardener to gardener. The precious heirloom seeds are stored in 3 places worldwide to assure their preservation in the event of disaster.

To learn more about SSE, click here.

Do you grow heirlooms? This year I am growing some heirloom lettuce and spinach in my garden, and for a few years now I've grown heirloom flowers.

This is Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale). It likes full to part sun and rich soil. It's a self-seeding annual that grows to about 6 feet tall.
(photo taken summer of 2011)

I fell in love with Love-in-a-mist (Nigella) the first time I saw it in someone else's garden. Since that time I've grown it, and am happy to say it self-seeds prolifically. I have large stands of this beauty in my rocky garden.
(photo taken summer 2010)

  • Are you a seed saver in your own garden?
  • Do you grow heirlooms?

Tell me about it!

"Gardening is a kind of disease. It infects you, you cannot escape it. When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible impulse to get up and pull a weed." ~Lewis Gannit

Thanks for visiting!


Linking to Fertilizer Friday

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tea and Fondant

I've been taking a cake decorating class through Adult Education. My most recent creation is featured here and we'll share a slice along with a cup of orange spice tea.

I baked a chocolate cake, then iced it with white buttercream (so that the fondant would adhere to it), and covered it in fondant. Next, I used pink buttercream to decorate it.

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet...these don't have much smell, but buttercream roses taste really good!

 A basket-weave patterned tea cup with sweet pink flowers

 This tea cup originally held a bouquet. It was one of my grandmother's, from her tea cup collection.

I'm using my pink floral teapot today.

I had a lot of fun decorating this cake. I hope you enjoyed seeing it and sharing a cup of tea with me today.

"The mere chink of cups and saucers tunes the mind to happy repose." ~Henry Ryecroft

Thanks for stopping by today!

I'm linking to 
Tea Party Tuesday
Friends Sharing Tea
Tea Time Tuesday
Tuesday Cuppa Tea 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Spring in my Iowa garden

Welcome to Beyond The Garden Gate, where I blog about gardening and my table, including food and tea.

Today I want to give you a little garden tour. Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee and take a look around my Iowa garden.

I love having lilacs in the house. They smell so good!

The lavender lilacs are from my garden; the white ones from an abandoned farmstead.

The Virginia bluebells are still blooming. On the other hand, my English bluebells sent up foliage but didn't bloom - does that mean they are "done" and should be removed? Or perhaps they need to be divided and given some extra TLC (i.e., fertilizer and compost)?

The lilies of the valley smell great too.

The strawberries are blooming.

Dwarf red buckeye


Tortie, garden supervisor, lying down on the job

I'm pleased to see buds on the lupines.

Lupines are short-lived perennials, so I plant some every year. I start most of mine from seed. If you have difficulty with lupines, know they are not fond of clay soil but adding compost to the soil makes it workable, at least in my garden. They do not like alkaline soil, and they do appreciate a little peat in the planting hole. Lupine resent being moved, so plant them where you want them, in sun to part-sun.


Primula 'Wanda'

Allium 'Gladiator'



Meadow Sage Salvia

 On my porch are plants I am not wanting to put into the ground yet due to our last frost date being May 10. That includes this double knockout rose which I wintered over in the garage in a pot. It has begun to bloom. Unfortunately, rose slugs have been eating the leaves and when hand picking and dish soap failed to alleviate the problem, I sprayed them.

Variegated Solomon's Seal rests patiently on my front porch waiting for the soil to dry in the garden before planting.

Surfinia petunia on the porch
after the rain


Where tulips are concerned, I'm a big fan. However, tulips have been short-lived in my garden. To try to alleviate that issue, last fall I planted "perennial" tulips from Breck's that are supposed to last a number of years. We'll see.

Also my blogging gardening friend Larry has reported great longevity with Darwin tulips, and with deep planting of bulbs. This fall I hope to plant large numbers of Darwin tulips. And by the way, while not as fancy as some, there are many forms and colors available. I purchase many of my bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs.

"Gardening is cheaper than therapy, and you get tomatoes." ~Unknown

Linking to Bloomin' Tuesday

Hugs and blessings,


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tulips are special!

I love tulips! The only "bad" thing about tulips is that they don't bloom for the entire gardening season!

I was in Pella, home of Tulip Time recently and saw some gorgeous tulips. Due to our warm winter and early spring, the tulips were at their peak when I visited last week. Enjoy!

Shape and color, what's not to like?

Ranunculus? Nope, it's a tulip!

Posing in front of a tulip display in the park. Note the lovely fountain behind me.

It's all about COLOR here!

This reminds me of a peony.

Tulips blend well with hostas, don't you agree?

Scene at the Historical Village

Stunning courtyard at the Historical Village

More tulips at the Historical Village

Love these lavender and white tulips at Brinkhoff Park

Windmill at Brinkhoff Park, surrounded by tulips

The fringey red tulips are stunners.

I was taken by these stunning two-toned tulips. I just couldn't stop taking pictures of them!

Love this little vignette in front of a store in Pella

For more on my trip to Pella, click here.

"The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for Him there." ~George Bernard Shaw

Thanks for visiting!

Linking to Fertilizer Friday


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