Tag Archives: pansy

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!” 

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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.

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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.

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Happy Pansy Faces

The Earth laughs in flowers.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

grandmother’s pansies

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She walks with slow, deliberateness down the curved flagstone steps toward the sweeping gardens in the back of the house. Pausing with nearly every step, she stoops over, laughs and admires the face of each pansy planted around the emerging fern or at the base of the white paper birch. “Did you see this one? It’s face is so sweet with the purple and white colors!”

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grandmother’s pensée

Joy radiates from her face. She moves down the next step. Excitedly she points to the each pansy with her delicately carved walnut cane. She then turns, smiles and gently asks, “there is a saying that pansies mean thoughts–pensée. See how their faces bend forward like they are really thinking about something? What are you thinking about this morning, my dear one?” 

My little girl voice says, “Nothing really…I guess.”

Grandmother replies, “you know, my dear, it is important to always remember to be thoughtful in all that you say and do.”

She is quiet for a moment, and then softly continues, “my sweet child…come bend down here a little bit closer…look carefully. Do you notice the soft ruffled edges? Now, look at the all the different colors on just one flower. Isn’t it amazing?”

I nod while giving the flower a closer look.

“Look at the shape of the petals. The petals are almost like hearts. Do you know what this little flower is a reminder of?”

I look up at Grandmother’s face.

“With their happy faces and heart-shaped petals, pansies remind you that you are loved, and that I am so happy that you are here!” She gives me a gentle tickle.

I take Grandmother’s hand and laugh, “me, too!”

pansy-dark-purple-striated

 

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“Oh, my Sweet Pea…look how this one looks like it has been hand-painted with watercolors! Can you image anything more beautifully created?” Grandmother lingers a bit longer at these amazing pansies. Then, she sighs deeply, and we look at another and another…still walking hand-in-hand…and laughing as we go down each garden step.

Nearly reaching the last step, Grandmother pauses and smiles, “now…my little darling, I have a special surprise for you! I have saved the best for last. Tucked away over here by corner of the patio are the most beautiful pansies! These are for you to plant anywhere in the garden that you would like! Come! Let me show them to you…”

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grandmother’s legacy

Such a sweet memory of my beloved grandmother. I am thinking of her with deep fondness as the window boxes and planters are potted at Rose Cottage. The window boxes begin overflowing with these happy, cool-weather flowers in antique shades of pinks, mauves, yellows and lavenders. Oh, how cheery! Maybe, our visitors to Rose Cottage will know that we are happy they are here, too!

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pansy-pink-ruffled-antique-shades

The overlapping petals of the sweet pansies are nearly heart-shaped. They remind me of the deep love of my grandmother, and how she so beautifully conveyed her fondness of gardening and flowers to me. Now, I hope that I am passing on this gift of happiness and love to My Most Awesome Boy and My Darling Girl (and her sweet hubby) as they start to plant and cultivate their own gardens.

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 Do you think “the earth laughs in flowers?”

 

emerging-daff

 

We are so glad you are here with us at Rose Cottage to laugh and admire the sweet, happy pansy faces! Will you stay for a cup of tea and refresh yourself on the porch? We have your favorite tea cup in the cupboard. . . I will get it for you! Then, you can tell us all about your day…

Oh, weren’t the antique shades of the pansies just gorgeous? The breath-taking pansies are from the fabulous growers and owners of Little Foot Farm and Greenhouse just down the road from Rose Cottage. Karen and Sally are superb growers of garden plants! Wait until you see their tomato plants!

 

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On this beautiful Earth day, we hope you have time to travel around to other gardens or outside photos at the Southern Daydreamer, too. Maybe, you will even think about planting some sweet pansies or give someone else some sweet pansies to let them know you are thinking of them!

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