Gorgeous Greens {lightly dressed

Let first the onion flourish there,
Rose among the roots, the maiden-fair
Wine scented and poetic soul
of the capacious salad bowl.
                        ~Robert Louis Stevenson

perfect in every way!

What a morning! The azure blue sky is spectacular, the leaves on the trees are a vibrant spring green and the flowers growing at Rose Cottage are strong and healthy. The earth is alive with excitement and enthusiasm for the day. It is the kind of morning that sings to me, “come out and play in the garden with us!” 

Pansies cream soft pink 3

The sweet pansies are still taking my breath away with their happy pansy faces . I remove the “spent” pansy blossoms–not wanting them to go to seed, yet. I pause for a minute or two to admire their cheerfulness in the mixed planters and window boxes. Who can resist a smile when you see their faces? Aren’t the soft rosey-cream ruffles of the pansies (Antique Shades) heavenly in the early morning sunrise?

Pansies cream soft pink

pansies cream soft pink 4

The bridal wreath is spectacular this morning, too. Each bridal wreath shrub (Vanhoutte Spirea) is like a  fountain with it’s white spray of thousands of tiny white flowers cascading more than eight to ten feet. These shrubs grow with very little attention, and are so lovely in the late spring.

After it is done blooming, we cut the old wood back by about one-third on the dozen or more shrubs at Rose Cottage. This encourages healthy growth and abundant blooms for next year.  The bridal wreath is just beaming in the morning light next to the east arbor, don’t you think?

bridal wreath and east garden arbor


a saturday field trip

It is such a lovely day, Mom and I decide to take a little “field trip.” Up the hill–just a mile or two out of the river valley west from Rose Cottage–lies a hidden treasure that I love to visit. Little Foot Farm and Greenhouse is a jewel box filled with the most vigorous, organically-grown annuals and vegetables imaginable! Started from seeds when the thermometer has dipped well-below zero, we are not disappointed again today–the green house is filled with the delicious fragrances of amazing plants dressed in their finest! We pick out some lovely gems to dazzle our gardens at home. I wish I could linger a bit longer among Karen and Sally’s symphony of beautiful flowers…

Just as we are leaving, Karen reaches into the cooler and presents me with a bag generously filled with gorgeous freshly-picked spring greens–at least ten salad varieties–sprinkled with lovely culinary pansies and violas! What a gift…the greens will have a starring role at dinner tonight!

gorgeous and delicious spring green salad

The dressing for the spring salad is light so not to overwhelm the delicate flavor and texture of the beautiful greens.

spring greens and flowers 3

A simple dressing is one My Sweet Girl loves to whip up when she is at Rose Cottage–it will be perfect on the greens from Little Foot Farm! I make a modified version of her dressing for the lovely greens.

spring greens and flowers 2

Rose Cottage Spring Green Salad Dressing 

 1 tablespoon of champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)

1/4 teaspoon of honey dijon mustard

Pinch of sea salt

Freshly cracked Madagascar pepper or other whole black peppercorn to taste

(The pepper is a perfect compliment to the peppery flavor of pansies!)

1 tablespoon of finely-minced Italian parsley (optional)

3 tablespoons of high-quality extra-virgin olive oil

(I prefer the milder flavored Italian olive oil from Liguria on spring greens, but any light-flavored olive oil will be perfect.)

Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Put the salad greens and culinary flowers in a bowl. Just before serving, lightly add the whisked dressing to the greens and toss gently. A touch of the vinaigrette is all that is needed to dress up the spring greens. Garnish with crumbled, fresh goat cheese and fresh raspberries or blackberries.

spring greens and flowers 1

“He that sups upon salad, goes not to bed fasting”
                                                   ~Thomas Fuller (1608-1661)

The gorgeous lightly dressed spring greens salad is a perfect ending to a perfect late spring day at Rose Cottage. Tomorrow…promises to be another. We are filled with gratefulness for the beauty of the day, and gift from our lovely neighbors at Little Foot Farm!

What is your favorite way to serve spring greens? Do you have a special salad dressing you like to make?

You may want to talk a morning walk over at The Southern Daydreamer for more Outdoor Wednesday posts.

For more ideas about creating a beautiful life, visit Melissa at The Inspired Room.



Filed under Cooking, Gardening

42 responses to “Gorgeous Greens {lightly dressed

  1. Francesco


    You present the most mouth watering ideas and photos!!!

  2. Absolutely too beautiful to eat! :~P
    All of the photos are gorgeous! Thanks for the lovely start to my day!

  3. Debbykay,

    Thank you once again for the lovely photos. I just love pansies and the morning sun shining on the Bridal Wreath is so beautiful!

    Oh my, that salad does look too beautiful to eat as Raeann said 🙂 Thank you for the Dressing recipe it sounds wonderful!

    • debbykay

      Hi Sharon, Raeann and Francesco~

      Thanks for your lovely comments on the photos. Isn’t the morning sun gorgeous–there is so much promise at the start of each new day, isn’t there?

      I hope you get a chance to try the recipe and let me know what you think. Late spring and early summer is a perfect time to try salads like this.

      Have a wonderful day!

  4. ann

    thank you for the recipe, will most surely be trying it! 🙂

  5. Dearest Debbykay,

    Your photos are absolutely gorgeous, as always! I love the poem you shared~ Robert Louis Stevenson is one of our most favorite authors and poets! I am so happy you are enjoying such beautiful weather. I do hope you are felling better. The pansies are beautiful! I especially love the pink and cream ruffled ones. I have never seen pansies like yours. Did you plant them from seed? I love heirlooms and would love to grow some of those this Autumn. I cannot resist a smile when I see their faces either!

    The bridal wreath is beautiful, and yes, I do agree, it is beaming in the morning light! Your Rose Cottage is such a lovely place, I am so glad that you share it with me!

    I am so delighted that your mom and you enjoyed a Saturday field trip! Thank you for sharing a link. I look forward to ‘visiting.’ I do wish we had a lovely place like that near us that grows their annuals and vegetables organically. That is wonderful! The spring green salad is gorgeous and looks so delicious! That was such a sweet gift! Thank you for sharing the salad dressing recipe, it sounds wonderful, and I will have to try it. I also like to keep my dressing light, to enjoy the wonderful flavor of the organic greens. I use olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of sea salt and black pepper. Oh, and we have been enjoying a bit of freshly grated parmesan, too!

    Once again, I enjoyed my visit at your lovely Rose Cottage. Thank you for all that you share! Your photos are a feast for the eyes and your writings a delight to read! You are such a blessing Debbykay, my sweet kindred heart!

    I hope you have a beautiful week at your lovely Rose Cottage, enjoying your gorgeous garden!

    Love and kindest regards,

    • debbykay

      Dear Paula,

      Thank you for stopping by for such a lovely visit at Rose Cottage! It was so nice to hear from you again. Your words of encouragement are wonderful.

      I love your idea of using lemon juice, olive oil with a pinch of sea salt and pepper! This is so refreshing to have spring greens. Our very favorite quick way to serve spring greens is a dash of Italian olive oil, a spash of balsamic vinegar, fresh-cracked pepper and a few crumbles of goat cheese or shavings of parmesan. It’s a feast and we enjoy the greens in all their splendor! Let me know what you think of the little recipe from the post–it is great way to make any meal a celebration!

  6. Edie

    My Best Sister~
    Oh how you can make me dream….. I have my list together for this salad and dressing. I have this dressing receipt and just love it…
    I see you have been very busy at Rose Cottage and the pictures sure are capturing it so well.

    How is your article coming. I can hardly wait to see it published!

    I hear the # One Son is not feeling well… So not good on his first of many life time trip to Europe.. I hope he is able to get some honey and hot tea!

    I will stop by again for tea soon. I have my fabulous Violet Jelly in the fridge waiting for the perfect evening for warm bread, brie and raspberries……..

    Love you

    • debbykay


      How did the Rose Cottage salad turn out for you? You may want to have it with a bowl of warm soup since it is only 44 degrees outside! Let me know what you think of the violet jelly from the recipe on the savoring violets post.

      Your encouragement just warms my heart!

  7. Ellen

    Oh the flowers and the photographs are all so lovely! What a gorgeous salad, almost too pretty to eat!!

  8. What a lovely garden tour! And those pansies! Amazing! I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that pinkish color before, but they are beautiful. I’m partial to pansies. And my mother always loved bridal wreath, and yours certainly is impressive.

    Your salad is amazing, too!

    Thanks for this nice spot of joy in my day.

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday…


    Sheila 🙂

  9. Beautiful. I love using flowers in a salad and that dressing recipe sounds just perfect. Thanks for sharing.

    • debbykay

      Good morning Ellen, Sheila and Christi,

      Thank you so much for stopping by for a little garden tour, chat and a simple recipe.

      Let me know how you are using flowers in your salads, too!

  10. amy

    What beautiful photos of your garden and that salad looks to pretty to eat!


  11. Liz

    Oh my does that look so pretty! Happy ODW

  12. I have been wanting a bridal wreath bush for a long time. I think they are so pretty.

  13. Your pictures are exceptionally lovely!!!!!

    Happy Outdoor Wednesday.


  14. Your pansies are stunning!!! I have never seen this variety before!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful garden!!!

    Have a wonderful OW!!!

  15. The ruffled pansies are such a romantic looking flower. Very pretty.

  16. Happy Outdoor Wednesday Debbiekay! The pansies are beautiful! They are a nice added touch to the salad! Thanks for sharing your photos.~ Susan

  17. My your photos are just amazing!! You make me want to go out and plant me some pansy’s right now!! So beautiful.

    Thanks for letting me visit,


  18. Wow! The best pansies I’ve seen ever, love the colours. The salad looks so yum! Thanks for sharing.

    • debbykay

      Hi Cathy,

      I am so glad you stopped by for a little garden visit! I just adore pansies, too. It is fun to share photos of a variety that it is not quite as common as others. Are you growing pansies this year?

      Happy gardening!

    • debbykay

      The soft colors on the pansies remind me of your gorgeous English roses! Wouldn’t they be pretty together?

  19. DebbyKay,
    This was my first visit to your blog via Outdoor Wednesday. Such lovely and pretty photos! Thank you for sharing the salad dressing recipe. It looks like a good one.

  20. The photographs of you pansies are amazing and I love that you use petals in your salad. That dressing sounds wonderful.

  21. Omgosh! Those are like the flowers in Alice in Wonderland! Love it!!!
    That bridal wreath is just breathtaking. I love it!!!

  22. LOVELY! What a delightful post to start my day!

    • debbykay

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for stopping by for a bit of morning cheer! Hope you day is off to a great start.

      It is amazing where we can find beauty in the ordinary salad! It can be the centerpiece on the table for a simple luncheon or supper, too!

  23. I just love that bridal wreath shrub you have in your yard. I don’t know if I’ve seen one around here. And I’ll have to try your Spring Salad, looks so yummy!

  24. I have never seen pansies like that! They look almost like roses.
    And what a beautiful salad!

  25. Your garden is lovely. I just love pansies. They manage to do so well even if the temps take a dip in the spring. Hearty little things, aren’t they?

    Your bridal wreath is gorgeous. It would be my dream to grow one so large and up an arbor. I think I need more sun in my garden.

    You had a wonderful day with your mother and came home with a sweet gift. I love simple light salads and vinaigrettes, yet I have never had or served flowers in my salad. I know I am missing something!!

    Enjoy your week!


  26. This is East Texas, and the cute pixie-faced pansies are long gone for the season, but oh, how I love them. I especially like the ones you have that appear to have a “bit of blush” added. Makes them so unique. Lovely post you have here. So glad to have found you.

    • debbykay

      Hi Brenda,

      Glad you could stop by Rose Cottage. Yes, aren’t the pansies lovely? The colors have been particularly amazing this year as the nights have been quite cool. But like your weather in Texas, they won’t last much longer…then in fall, they will put on another gorgeous show. Do you plant your pansies in the fall and do they bloom all winter for you?

      Hope you can stop by again.

  27. Edie

    Greetings Rose Cottage Friends-
    I must share this most exciting news with all of you….

    Our very own Debbykay will have an article published in a National Magazine in October!!

    Can you believe it – Oh, I can our Debbykay has unbelievable talent as you are reading a smidge of her writings first hand right here… Stay tuned I am encouraging her to share more of this VERY EXCITING NEWS!

    Please share with me in congratulating Debbykay on this very special honor!!!

    No, my Very Best Sister has no idea I am sharing this with you… I may now be her very worst sister but I hope not… I am just so proud and excited I just had to share!!! 🙂

    Have a fabtabulous day!


  28. Thank you for the comment on my “old” blog, you are so welcome to my new one; “…leva i de längst förflydda tider…” at forflyddatider.blogspot.com

    Such beautiful flowers you have there in the morninglight! And that sallad..! Looks more like a decoration for the table =)


  29. Beautiful!! That salad is amazing!

  30. Those big, ruffly, pink pansies are absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for the visual breath of fresh air. 🙂

  31. Edie

    I did make this lovely spring salad with the wonderful dressing… I do believe it is my new favorite. I will also try it with the EVOO and balsamic vinegar next time for a change. We did have a few sprinkles of the goat cheese which I really liked MVBS liked his better.. I put the fresh shavings of parmasen on his… 🙂
    Love ya!

  32. Hello to you my dear sweet kindred heart,

    It was such a blessing to find your kind note this morning! I was smiling all the while I read it.

    I am so glad to hear you have been working in the kitchen garden and harvesting, peas, greens and herbs. How delightful!

    Garden beans are one of our favorites as well. They are doing extremely well this year. I am very thankful! The beans in my basket were Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans, we also planted Ideal Market Beans. For tomatoes we planted Arkansas Traveler, Plum Lemon, Brown Berry, Red Zebra, Cherokee Purple, Beam’s Yellow Pear, and Beefsteak. Hopefully they will all do well. Some of the heirlooms do not seem to relish our hot and humid climate, but last year the Arkansas Traveler did fairly well. I try to plant several varieties each year to see what will perform best. What types have you planted?

    I do love the fragrance of Gertrude Jekyll. That is my favorite English Rose, too! I do think you should plant Bachelor Buttons. I love how they will re-seed themselves. I ordered my seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, http://www.rareseeds.com I order from them, Seed Savers Exchange, Renee’s Garden and Botanical Interests. I am sure you have ordered from these suppliers as well. I am so happy the hollyhock is growing well. Last year was the first time I was able to have success with one. I planted more seeds in the vegetable garden this year and they are coming along nicely. Do you grow hollyhocks?

    I am so glad you like my new banner! Thank you for your kind words.

    I, too, hope you are enjoying your mornings in the garden! Indeed, it is too warm to be out of doors mid-day. I hope that you are able to enjoy yours at those hours. I also hope you are feeling well and taking good care of yourself. I look forward to your next post! Thank you so much for your kind and loving words of friendship and encouragement!

    Love your kindred heart,

  33. Your blog has FAB photos!!! I get lost when I visit… DELIGTHFUL!

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