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Thursday, September 12, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Bulbs

In the fall, we are cheered by the arrival of bulbs that promise spring again soon. I have not the smallest wish to diminish that candle: it is the fire that warms gardeners through


These bulbs rekindle spring in the garden almost as soon as they are planted: the fall crocuses, the colchicum, winter cyclamen. They are here so briefly, yet planted early (Run, don’t walk) they spread to form admirable clumps in a garden fast fading. Cyclamen & Colchicum are particularly desirable for the beautiful foliage they contribute in spring, but the Fall Crocus: Saffron, Zonatus & others are bee magnets and there is something particularly wonderful about encountering these gold hearted beauties on a day you know to be shorter than the one before.


The entry of snow/spring crocus onto the scene assures us the year has begun. The valiant blooming of fall crocus in the darkening year gives us confidence that the year will turn again. Is there ONE amongst us who couldn’t use a bit more confidence? Autumn bulbs, I say to you. Autumn bulbs.


Fall is also the only time we can buy some quite rare bulbs as bulbs/ dried roots. Chief amongst these are Eremerus (Foxtail Lily). These perennials form tall clusters of blooms in warm colours during early summer. Bought as plants later in the year, they are far too expensive to group, yet it is in groups they are most impressive, though they disappear after blooming. Their massive blooms make for a dramatic cut flower.

They are dear to my heart because of an early miscommunication with my husband which has led them to be renamed with us: 
 

“Oh,” said I “ I’d like to plant these, they grow 7-8 feet tall”

“78 feet tall?” he (incredulous)

“Oh yes” me, mishearing in my turn.

“In ONE season?

“Mmhmm”

“Well, we HAVE to get those!!!”

We soon got it sorted, but ever since, they are known as the 78 foot candles and have warmed the sunny part of all our gardens.



Sunday, August 4, 2019
Posted By: Marian Vaughan in Recipes

August is upon us and, almost to compensate for this wistful reminder of summers end, we are rewarded with an abundance of ripening stone fruits. What better way to enjoy your final summer days and this fruitful bounty than to do a little baking?

This is a family recipe passed down to me from my mother, and it came to her from my grandmother. Every woman in my family makes it, for the simple reason that it is the essence of delicious and the soul of easy. Basically, it is fruit combined with whipped cream.


 

Fruit Fool  


3 Cups

¼ to ½ Cup
2 Cups
 

Chopped Fruit - Any combination of peaches, nectarines, apricots or plums
*In the earliest summer you can make it with fresh berries or unseasonably in winter with tropical fruit!
Berry Sugar (err on the side of less)
Heavy Cream
 


Let’s Get Started!

Blanch & peel nectarines, peaches or apricots. Keep the skin of plums; it is delicious. Stone them & chop them fairly coarsely. Put in a pan, adding a small amount of sugar & heat gently to a near boil. Taste often (cook's privilege) to decide if sugar ok, and if still tastes like fruit.  DON'T let it get overcooked! You don't want jam! Remove from stove and allow to cool. When it is cool, whip the cream until it is quite stiff, then fold in the fruit mixture gently but until combined. Chill for a few hours (for example, while you eat dinner). Can be made the night before & refrigerated.



Variation

A variation of this I have made for a few years comes from Lucy Waverman. In the early part of your cooking day, you line a sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth and set it on top of a measuring cup.  Into the lined sieve you put an entire 500 gram container of plain, full fat, non-homogenized yogurt (preferably sheep -- tastes more creamy). Folding the cheesecloth over the top, you put a weight (something high-tech like a saucer with a potato in it works great) and let it drip while you get on with your cooking. In a few hours, there will be quite a lot of fluid in the bottom of the measuring cup, and the yogurt will be VERY thick.  

Whip the cream as above, then gently stir in the yogurt until well combined.  Then add the cooked fruit. This makes for a deliciously tangy dessert as is, or you can also stir in a compatible liqueur: Cointreau for example.

 


Sunday, August 4, 2019
Posted By: in Recipes

The all too brief season of figs will soon be upon us. Fig trees are a treasure of the European garden that are a surprisingly easy fruit to grow in the Pacific Northwest. These spreading, rambling trees can produce 1-2 crops of delicious fresh figs a year if given enough warmth and heat. Even in cooler temperatures you will be rewarded with at least 1 crop. 


An unusual but delicious fruit, figs possess a very dynamic flavor making them a great addition to a number of dishes. They are wonderful on puff pastry sheets with goat cheese, roasted with bacon & chile, fresh with blue cheese & a honeycomb, these are just a few of my favorites but options are endless! To assist in narrowing your search for the perfect fig combo here is a chutney I rather enjoy which also takes advantage of a co-season rarity to the fig: fresh quince.
 

Quince & Fig Chutney 


6 Large - Fresh
10 - Fresh
1
2 Cups
1 Tsp
 

Quince or 8 Medium Apples (about 3 lbs)
Figs
Lemon
Sugar
Green Cardamom Pods


Let’s Get Started!

Rub quince with a damp paper towel to remove fuzz. Cut 4 quince (6 apples) into large pieces (no need to peel, core, or remove seeds). Place in a large heavy pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until quince are very soft, 60–75 minutes. Halve the figs, or quarter if very large. Shell cardamom & grind in mortar & pestle; zest lemon, then juice (should yield about 1/4 cup)

Strain cooking liquid into a large bowl; discard quince. Wipe out pot; reserve.

Meanwhile peel, core, and thinly slice remaining 2 quince. Add to quince pot along with lemon zest and juice, sugar, cardamom, figs, and reserved cooking liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and very gently boil, stirring often and skimming surface occasionally, until quince is translucent and a spoon dragged across pot leaves a line that quickly disappears, 25–30 minutes, or 40–50 minutes if using apples.

Divide preserves among jars. Let cool; cover and chill. 
 

Do Ahead

Preserves can be made 2 weeks ahead. Keep chilled.  

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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

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