Friday, March 6, 2009

Orchids in Decorating

I grew up surrounded by flower gardens. My mother and great grandmother loved flowers and we have several wonderful varieties that have been passed down, generation to generation. Some of my favorite times with my Mother are spent walking her gardens, talking about her flowers, and discussing the family history. It feels like it has been a long winter here in Cleveland and I am really missing a good walk and talk with my Mom. It is food for the soul.

My Great Grandmother - Mrs. Bertie Frazier, gardener extraordanaire

Friday we had a glimpse of spring and I was ready to see some flowers with Mom. The temperature was sixty degrees and the sun was shinning. It was a perfect day to be out and about, and a perfect day to visit the two local orchid shows here in Cleveland.

The first display that my Mother and I visited was at Cleveland’s Rockefeller Greenhouse. The wonderful gardens, fountains, and flowers delighted us (see image above). They have a lovely orchid show, and we eagerly enjoyed the first breath of spring. We spotted tulips peeking up from the outside beds. Yeah!!! Spring is here!!!

Our second stop took us to the Cleveland Botanical Garden where they are currently hosting a show appropriately called “Orchid Mania.” This year’s show is excellent and I suggest if you are in the area, plan to visit the garden and inhale the beauty. It is delightful!

Orchids are such fascinating and amazing plants. There are over 100,000 hybrid varieties. The history of the orchid dates back to Greek times and owning and cultivating orchids have gone in and out of fashion. Today orchids are seen as a luxury, and are a thing of grace and beauty. Their unique shapes, colors, designs, and scents always astound me. Some varieties are extremely rare, as is the ghost orchid, pictured above, and then there are the more common varieties, pictured below. The rare Ghost Orchid is the subject of a book, The Orchid Thief, and a movie, Adaptation. Very interesting information and I enjoyed the movie (who wouldn’t love a movie with Nicolas Cage and orchids).

More about the elusive Ghost Orchid...

I believe that orchids make a wonderful accent point when added to a room. The wide range of shapes and colors makes selecting the right specimen interesting and fun. That’s design – interesting and fun. A beautiful orchid in just the right spot - makes the room!!
(Room at left by David Jemenez)

I have included some photos from this year’s orchid show. I will not attempt to name them all for fear I mis-label - feel free to post the name if you would like. Hope that you enjoy them and I hope that you have the opportunity to visit our Botanical Garden. I had not even left the garden and I was already plotting my return.

PS – please let me know your favorite!

#1 -





Archways with an abundance of orchids and the most wonderfull scent!




Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wonderful Outdoor Showers

Every summer I spend some time on Cape Cod with family and friends. One of the "must haves" is an outdoor shower wherever we stay. There is nothing like the feel of showering outside with the sun shinning, reflecting in the water from the shower, making the world a prettier place.

Late last summer I returned to Ohio, determined to find just the right spot at our house where we could install my coveted outdoor shower. I believe I have found it; privacy, plumbing access, and a bit of a view - all of the main requirement. It's high on this summer's to do list. I will keep you posted on its progress.

I have found a few images to get the creative juices flowing. Which one speaks to you?

S Russell Groves

Sunset, Lake Tahoe Idea House

Jane Hamley

Ethan Fierro

Pottery Barn - Outdoor Spaces

Coastal Living - Bogdany

Matangi Resort

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Scallops, Mashed Potatoes, and Corn Chowder

It is chilly here in Cleveland today. I'm thinking about something to warm me.

Here is one of my favorite "comfort food" recipes for those day where I just need something warm and yummy. Scallops, potatoes, corn and cream - what could be better???

Corn Chowder
8 strips bacon, thickly sliced
1 lg. yellow onion, finely shopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 c. fresh corn (cut off the cob) – frozen ok too
2 lg. carrots, ½” slices
1 – 14 oz. can creamed corn
3 c, milk
1/3 c. heavy cream
¼-1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. ground sage
3 Tbs. chopped chives (for garnish)

2 lb. sea scallops
¼ c. canola oil
Salt & Pepper

In a large, heavy saucepan, slowly cook bacon until very crisp; drain on paper towels; cut with scissors into 1” pieces and set aside. Pour off all but 1 Tbs. bacon fat. Put onion & celery into bacon fat and cook over me. Heat until softened – about 10 min.

Stir in corn, carrots, creamed corn, and milk. Simmer gently for about 25 min. stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender. (Meanwhile make ½ of the recipe for buttermilk Mashed Potatoes - recipe follows) To milk and corn mixture add cream, red pepper flakes, sage and half the reserved bacon pieces. Stir and keep warm while you make the scallops.

Rinse off scallops and dry well. Heat oil in large skillet to medium hot. In batches, sauté scallops 1-1/2 min. each side until very golden (if overcooked, they will be though and dry.) Salt and pepper them.

Put a scoop of mashed potatoes in the center of each shallow bowl and ladle chowder around potatoes. Top each w/ 3 or 4 scallops and garnish each dish with reserved bacon and chives. Salt and pepper to taste.

Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes

10 med. baking potatoes, peeled and halved
10 whole garlic cloves, peeled
1-1/2 c. buttermilk
½ c. minced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Drop potatoes and garlic into a large pot of boiling water and cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and mash potatoes and garlic together with remaining ingredients. Serve.

From Susan Branch - Autumn

From my bookshelves

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Joni Mitchell

Feeling like a little timeless music...and missing my old home...California.

Hope you enjoy!

COLORSTROLOGY-find your personal color

While on a mill trip to J&J/Invision, I had the fortune to be introduced to Colorstrology. It is a fun exercise that indicates the best colors for you based on your birthday. Fun...give it a try and let me know what you think.

Find your personal color by visiting the Colorstrology site below: