Wednesday, May 26, 2010

June Happenings

June is shaping up to be a busy month filled with garden installations and events.  From local activities to a web promotion there will be lots of ways to show your support.

 Heritage Museums & Gardens
On June 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich will hold their annual Rhododendron Festival.  In addition to the exquisite floral display, there will be a rare rhododendron auction, plant sale, book signings, exhibits, lectures and a self-guided tour of eight private gardens never before open to the public.  Hope in Bloom volunteers will be on hand with note cards made by the Sharon High School Photography Club and our exclusive jewelry.

Cape Clogs
Cape Clogs are fashionable, comfortable, imported from Sweden and have been featured in O, Boston Magazine and Real Simple. This eco friendly company based in Bourne is partnering with us.  For the month of June, 50% of all online purchases made through the Cape Clogs web site will be donated to Hope in Bloom. Treat yourself to a pair of authentic handmade clogs with leather uppers in colorful solids or vibrant patterns finished with a traditional wooden sole.  They offer styles for men, women and children. Order at Cape Clogs.

Whole Foods Market
The newest Whole Foods at Legacy Place in Dedham, MA will feature a $5 register coupon at check out in June to benefit Hope in Bloom.  The store will also donate a percentage of selected plant sales to fund our gardens.  Stop by every Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to meet members of the Sharon High School Photography Club and purchase some of their signature note cards. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Boston Flower & Garden Show

Sit A Spell

Weary of winter and the record rain, visitors to The Boston Flower and Garden Show were treated to 30 lush gardens March 24-28. Show Manager, Carolyn Weston deserves a gold medal for keeping everything and everyone on track.  Many hands helped Hope in Bloom plan and construct our garden. Volunteers assembled information kits to pass out.  Prides Corner Farm grew and donated our plants; Charleen Maunsell of Potscapes and Alison Tannenbaum of Maple Glade Garden Design configured the layout; Bill Knight and his team built the fountain.  Garden ambassadors explained the Hope in Bloom program to those who stopped by the display. Thank you to everyone. We could not have participated without your assistance.  For those who missed the event, enjoy the slideshow.

Happy Passover, Happy Easter and Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Philadelphia Flower Show

The Welcoming Committee
Six city blocks with gardens from around the world filled the Philadelphia Convention Center for the oldest and largest U.S. flower show earlier this month. The displays were lavish and theatrical.
The Heatherwood Retirement Community Garden Club took home a Blue Ribbon for their garden porches. They were my favorite group of gardens in the show. See below.

Invincibelle Spirit
The brilliant folks at Proven Winners have done it again. With the help of Dr. Tom Ranney and his team at the University of North Carolina, they have developed the first pink annabelle hydrangea, and her name is Invincibelle Spirit. She short by comparison to her white annabelle cousins, but her small stature prevents her from flopping after a heavy rain. Her charms keep getting better. She's hardy from Zones 3 to 9 with bright pink flowers blooming on new wood from summer to frost. And, unlike other colored hydrangeas, she won't fade. There's no need to adjust your soil's pH. She is the perfect addition to your garden.
One dollar of every purchase will be donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which is working to cure and prevent breast cancer.
To introduce the plant, the growers at Prides Corner are offering a discount coupon to be redeemed at participating nurseries (MA, CT, RI & NY) May 8 to June 30. Even though Mother's Day is almost two months away, I can't think of a better gift this year.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artists & Artisans

Lighthouse & Roses
Nancy Howell

Once the snow melts, if you're like me, you want to enjoy your garden as much as possible.  I found a way to buy some extra time, and I want to share it with you.   If you're in the Boston area, shop for  Passover, Easter, Mother's Day and even Father's Day gifts at Kennedy's Country Gardens Arts Fest on February 20 and 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Painters, jewelers and potters will be on hand with an array of tempting presents.  Music by The Brother's Duo and nibbles from P.J.'s Country House and Nancy McDonough will round out the festivities.  Pat Tigger the nursery cat. Say hello to Keoki the parrot and Marty the Macaw and linger in the greenhouses for a much needed breath of spring.  Take home a colorful Cyclamen, lush succulent or sculpture. 

Cancer Garden of Hope

We all know someone—a relative, a friend, a colleague— who has been diagnosed with cancer.  This spring the Cancer Garden of Hope will be planted on Boston City Hall Plaza to honor survivors, those living with or lost to the disease.  The design is being finalized for the healing garden and will be planted as soon as weather permits.  It will be paved with personalized bricks and plaques.  Show your support with a lasting tribute to a special person by ordering one today.  

Hope in Bloom will receive half of any order (less the cost of the brick or plaque) placed through our site or if selected on the Cancer Garden of Hope order form.  Everyone who purchases a commemorative brick or plaque will be invited to the opening ceremonies in June.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Kennedy's Country Gardens

Think Spring!

We're in the home stretch.  The season's first flowers will soon poke their sleepy heads up.  Until they do, come out and experience a taste of spring this holiday weekend with three fun packed days at one of my favorite nurseries, Kennedy's Country Gardens, in Scituate.  Treat your sweetie or yourself to fresh flowers, a new tool, ornament or plant for Valentine's Day.  Experts will be on hand to offer free classes that feature exciting new arrivals for 2010; explain the secrets of a bountiful vegetable patch and ways to use native species to attract birds and butterflies to your yard.  Take advantage of the opportunity to talk with Master Gardeners or participate in a raffle to benefit the Magical Moon Foundation.  Kids can meet Mother Nature and woodland animals and have their faces painted. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Beating The Odds

While I long to work in the garden, Mother Nature’s icy fingers are still wrapped tightly around the Northeast. Instead of heading out with my pruners, I pour over the rash of garden catalogs flooding my mailbox. Any extra time I have is spent with my nose in a good book.

I have just finished The Road to Someplace Better, a new memoir by Lillian Lincoln Lambert.   This first person account reveals Lillian’s rise from humble beginnings in the rural south to Harvard Business School and her success as the founder of a multi-million dollar company.  She introduces readers to those who help her along the way, shows us how to positively effect change and dispenses valuable advice on her quest to fulfill the American Dream.

Lillian’s own experiences will inspire you to prioritize, plan and prosper in your own life.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holiday Wishes

Good Cheer
Charlie, the statue, is my early morning comic relief.  He greets me when I look out my kitchen window to check on the activity at the peanut, suet and bird feeders.  He seems to be enjoying his role as watch cat.  Occasionally, a blue jay or a cardinal will land on his head and serenade him. 

On behalf of everyone at Hope in Bloom, I want to wish you and yours a delicious holiday season and merry 2010.

As you can see, it's cold on the east coast. Spring will be here in a mere 87 days!  The following simple black bean soup, courtesy of my Cuban friend, Teresa, is one of my favorite ways to ward off winter's chill.

It's worth the time and trouble to shop for the freshest (no this is not an oxymoron) dried beans. The best come from Rancho Gordo in California.  They require less soaking time and are always creamy and delicious.  Order on line if they are not available in your area.

Black Bean Soup

2 cups dried black beans
3 sprigs cilantro, tied in cheesecloth
2 green bell peppers
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried cumin
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Hot sauce
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Sour cream
Chopped cilantro leaves

Sort through the beans and discard any stones or broken ones.  Soak the beans in cold water to cover plus 3 inches 4 to 8 hours according to package directions. Rinse and drain them.

Place the beans, cilantro and one whole bell pepper in a large soup pot.  Cover with cold water about 2" above the beans.  Bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cover and turn the heat down to a low boil. Let cook for 1 hour.  Remove and discard cilantro and bell pepper.

While the beans are cooking, heat a 10" saucepan over medium heat.  Film with olive oil.  Sauté the chopped onion until it softens and add the chopped garlic. Let cook until wilted but not brown.  Stir in the oregano and cumin.

Add the onion mixture and the bay leaf to the beans, cover and let cook at a low boil until beans are tender but not mushy, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  If there is too much liquid, remove the cover and continue cooking until it thickens.  Add salt to taste, a few dashes of hot sauce and the cider vinegar.  Let cool and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, heat soup and taste for seasoning.  Ladle into bowl and top with a dollop of sour cream, chopped cilantro and a drizzle of olive oil, if you like.

Serves 4-6