Monday, October 20, 2014

Shaw Nature Reserve

In addition to visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden on my trip last month, I also had the opportunity to visit MoBot's Shaw Nature Reserve.  SNR is about 30 miles from the main garden and consists of 2,441 acres of restored habitat and teaching collections.  Needless to say, it was very impressive!  I spent the day with horticulture staff, education staff, and restoration ecologists.  They showed me acres and acres of restored meadows and wetlands, a very cool set of overnight facilities, and a beautiful wildflower garden surrounding the property's historic home.
Native seed collected at Shaw Nature Reserve
Seed cleaning lab and refrigerated seed bank
Wildflower Garden

Fancy cabins

Restored wetland
Restored prairie

Monday, October 6, 2014

Missouri Botanical Garden

Victoria 'Longwood Hybrid' in front of the Climatron
Last month, I visited St. Louis, MO to speak at the Missouri Master Gardener Conference.  While I was in town I was able to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden.  MoBot is a 79 acre garden that opened in 1859!  It's incredible horticultural displays include a large conservatory (the "Climatron"), demonstration gardens, formal gardens, international gardens, and historic gardens.  I had the opportunity to spend the day touring the garden with the staff and learning all about their amazing plant collections.

Water display outside of the Linnean House
Cacti display in the Linnean House
Entrance to the Children's Garden
Boardwalk and tree house in the Children's Garden
Herb Garden
Seasonal displays in the Victorian Garden
Maze Garden
Victorian-style Pincushion Garden
Mason bee nest box

Chinese Garden

Japanese Garden
Vegetable garden at the Kemper Center

Orchid greenhouses
Cacti greenhouses
Waterlily greenhouses

Sunday, August 24, 2014

AJ's Red Snapper Ceviche

AJ's Red Snapper Ceviche
Although I normally post recipes that I have made, I thought this one was too good not to pass along.  AJ woke up this morning and told me that he was making Red Snapper Ceviche for lunch.  I was stunned.  This is a guy who's go-to dinner is frozen pizza, but every once in a while he dazzles me with his kitchen skills.  Before this dish, neither of us have had red snapper, but this certainly makes me want to try more recipes with it!

Ceviche is a cooking technique that uses citrus to "cook" raw seafood.  This is used in Central and South American dishes and has become very popular... popular enough for my frozen pizza making boyfriend to give it a try.  The original recipe was one of those freebie recipe cards that they give away at Kroger, but AJ modified it a bit to put his own twist on the recipe.  I think the key is to slice the vegetables very thinly.  This gives the citrus marinade a better chance to penetrate the vegetables, making them very flavorful.

AJ's Red Snapper Ceviche

1/2 cup key lime juice
1/4 cup grapefruit juice
1/4 orange juice
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp. salt
1/2 red onion, very thinly sliced
1/2 poblano pepper, very thinly sliced
1/4 red bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1/4 green bell pepper, very thinly sliced
1 1/2 lbs. skinless red snapper fillet, 1/4" dice
1 tbsp. EVOO
2 tbsp. cilantro leaves, minced

1. In a large bowl, whisk together key lime juice, grapefruit juice, orange juice, Worcestershire sauce, and salt.
2. Add red onion, poblano pepper, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper; toss to coat in marinade.
3. Add red snapper, olive oil, and cilantro; gently toss.
4.  Cover and refrigerate 2 hours.

Serves 6

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Denver Botanic Gardens: Four Years Later

Randee, Grace, and Kelly at the Denver Botanic Gardens
My first visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens was in 2010. I was so impressed by this gorgeous garden in the heart of the city!  My previous blog post about the Denver Botanic Gardens was full of photos of their stunning grass garden and the naturalistic plantings.  This past June, I was able to visit again for the American Public Gardens Association's annual conference.  All I have to say is WOW, they have really stepped up their display!
Dry stream bed at the entrance to the DBG
Mordecai Children's Garden
Mordecai Children's Garden
Formal design in the Herb Garden
Fence bordering the Herb Garden
The different textures of the foliage next to the arrangement of pebbles in the path create movement through the June's PlantAsia garden
We visited at the start of their Chihuly exhibit, which runs from June 14-November 30th, 2014.  Dale Chihuly is a glass artist who has exhibited at many gardens around the world.  Placed within the planting beds, many of his sculptures replicate plants in shape and color, while others are a stark contrast with bright colors, hard lines, and even polka dots.  I left the Gardens with so many great ideas about art in the garden, new uses of interesting plant material, and dreams of rock gardening in the south.
Wispy tiger-striped glass contrasts with pinks and yellows in the O'Fallon Perennial Walk
I love the way the bright blue glass in "Blue Fiddleheads" picks up the silvery blue of the blue spruce (Picea pungens 'Montgomery') in the O'Fallon Perennial Walk

Rock Alpine Garden with "Neodymium Reeds"
"Green Hornets and Gold Waterdrops" in the foreground and "Neodymium Reeds"in the background
Later in the week, we visited the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield.  This branch location of DBG is a working farm with nature trails, a butterfly house, a community supported agriculture (CSA) operation, and rental facilities.  It was a fun-filled evening complete with hayrides, swing dancing, and enjoying the tranquil beauty of the preserved site.  This piece of land really is a gem and it is so wonderful that DBG has saved it from being developed.

Green Farm Barn at DBG's Chatfield
Main building at DBG's Chatfield

Seasonal indoor butterfly exhibit DBG's Chatfield

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Charity Quilt for Lewis Ginter

My version of the City Play pattern by Cherry House Quilts
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Cherri House, from Cherry House Quilts, lecture to the Philadelphia Modern Quilt Guild (I miss the Guild!).  Cherri showed us some of her gorgeous quilts and I totally fell in love with "City Play."  I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to give it a try, and I recently had the opportunity to do it!
This is the original quilt that Cherri showed us at the Philly Modern Quilt Guild Lecture in 2011
Each Fall, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden holds a fundraising gala, "Splendor Under Glass."  It is a fun black tie event held in our Conservatory.  The best part of the night for me is watching all of our garden friends enjoying the garden and I love to hear everyone's thoughts about the displays and collections.  This year, as an additional fundraising piece, there will be items for sale that are the keys to the garden's success, or "Garden Keys."  One of the Garden Keys will be my quilt!

I don't have a wide range of solids in my fabric stash, so Garden volunteer and avid quilter, Barb Sawyer, donated most of the material for the quilt.  Thank you Barb!

It was very fun to make and I have to admit, now that it is finished, I like it so much that a part of me doesn't want to give it away.  However, I hope that it successfully raises some money for the Garden and that whoever buys it enjoys it as much as I do!
I finished the top in time to bring it to Michigan on my summer vacation and use my Aunt Cindy's long arm quilting machine.
Long arm quilting machines are too much fun.  I need one of these!
The theme for Splendor Under Glass is a rising phoenix, so I use a quilting pattern that looked like flames.
The backing and binding material was a peach and orange print.

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