Thursday, September 27, 2012

A "Before and After" Garden

Members of the Tallahassee Garden Club Daffodil Circle were invited to Mary Ann's beautiful home, which was all decorated for Fall, and was an inspiration to everyone.  We were greeted by these lovely Fall wreaths decorating her beautiful front doors.

Everyone enjoyed a delicious Brunch in Mary Ann's Fall-decorated dining room.  Members requested recipes from the Brunch which were included in the last post.  There will be some additional recipes from that Brunch included at the end of today's post.

When the Garden Club Circle meeting was over, Mary Ann invited everyone for a tour of her lovely backyard gardens.  As we headed out back,  it was delightful to see a variety of beautiful green and healthy back porch plants.  Mary Ann's love for gardening was apparent everywhere we looked.


 Nothing says Fall like these beautiful yellow Mums gracing the back patio table.

Mary Ann and her husband moved into their charming home in January 2004.  It did not take them long to begin the transition of their back yard into the lovely garden it is today.  The below photos Mary Ann took of her home at the time they moved in, show the "before" status of their garden.


And then, as you can see in the below photo,  is the "after" photo of approximately the same area.


Again, looking across the distance of the back yard,  is another "before" photo of their backyard,  shortly after they moved into their home in January 2004.


Again, in the below photo, looking across the expanse of the back yard,  is this "after" photo of approximately the same area.


In March of 2004, two months after they moved to their home, Mary Ann and and her husband began working in their back yard.  They are quite a good team.  Mary Ann's husband tills and digs the big holes and helps in a variety of ways.

Mary Ann is a Master Gardener here in Tallahassee,  and I know from being around her, she can just about identify any plant you ask her about, and give details.

What a joy it was to walk around in this lovely garden Mary Ann and her husband created.  How delightful it was to be there on a beautiful Fall morning, with the gentle breezes blowing in the cool morning air. 

It is always fun to try to capture the beauty all around us with my camera.  Even though the camera can not see as perfectly as the eye can see, I was able to capture some of the beauty of this lovely garden.  As we walk through, Mary Ann has been good enough to identify many of the plants we will see here.

Mexican Bush Sage

A pretty stained-glass garden ornament decorates the garden.

In the below photo,  Mary Ann tells us this is one of her favorite plants.  She says, "This plant is short-lived, but reseeds readily so that I always have several in my garden every year!"  She adds, "This lovely plant grows to be approximately 3 feet tall."

Brown-eyed Susan
Rudbeckia Triloba

The below photo is a close-up of the Brown-eyed Susan with a happy little pollinator stopping by!

Mary Ann tells us, "This is an "island of plants,  featuring the wonderful evergreen Lomandra 'Breeze' in the  foreground, which is a super plant.  There is Chinese Mahonia on the left side border,  a tall Candlestick Bush in the center called Cassia Alata, which is almost ready with it's spiky yellow blooms,  Zinnias in the center,  and Wheeler's Dwarf Pittosporum on the end.  There is also Rosa 'Louis Philippe,' but he's small yet and hard to see."

The birdbath is surrounded by Orange Tassel Flowers and hybrid Zinnias grown from seeds.

Hybrid Zennia

Below is a favorite bunny gift.  He keeps a watchful eye on the garden!

Forsythia Sage or Salvia Madrensis peeking out beside the bird bath.

In the below photo, it was a surprise to see this Arbequina Olive Tree with beautiful blue-green leaves growing in the garden.  Mary Ann told us, it yields lots of small olives that may be brine-cured for eating, and pressed to yield an excellent olive oil.   This tree was brought at Just Fruits Nursery in Crawfordville, Florida
Arbequina Olive Tree

Celosia or Cockscomb
Celosia Cristata
In the below photo, this Celosia is an annual flower that reseed prolifically and does well in hot humid landscapes.

Red Salvia
Annual Red Salvia or Salvia Coccinea also called Scarlet Sage or Hummingbird Sage.

Celosia Cristata before the head broadens.

A Mini Red Bell Pepper plant - Sweet and delicious.

In the below photo is a nice combination with the annual Variegated Red Shield Hibiscus or Hibiscus Acetosella 'Variegata' which is behind the annual New Salvia called "Wendy's Wish," a new hybrid.  Both of these plants are easily rooted from stem cuttings for next spring!

Apricot Angel Trumpet or Brugmansia spp.

When I first spotted this beautiful Apricot Angel Trumpet flower, the flower was huge and wide open.  By the time I walked around the yard, and as the sun rose a little more, this beautiful huge flower almost closed entirely.  I think you can still get an idea of how beautiful it is.

 Vanhoutte's Salvia

That concludes our visual backyard garden tour of Mary Ann's lovely garden.   She and her husband have certainly created a peaceful, idyllic addition to their home.  We thank them for sharing their beautiful gardens with all of us.

As I said earlier, we have a couple more recipes from Brunch earlier in the day, which I promised to share with you: 

Gineen's Almond-Ham Roll-Ups
Printed from

1 (12 oz.) pkg. thinly sliced boiled ham
1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
2 tbsp. mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 tsp. instant minced onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. hot sauce
1 tbsp. finely chopped almonds, toasted

Combine all ingredients except ham, stirring until blended. Spread 1 tablespoon mixture on each ham slice. Roll up jelly roll fashion, starting at short end; wrap in plastic wrap, and freeze up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Cut each roll into 3/4 inch slices. Yield: 5 dozen.

Mary Ann's Almost Fat-Free Lemon Cheesecake

            1 3/4 C. fat-free vanilla cookie crumbs or any fat-free crumbs of choice
            1/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
            3 (8 ounce) pkgs. fat-free cream cheese (or you can use “light” cream cheese)
            1 C. fat free or light sour cream
            2 C. sugar or Splenda
            3 large eggs or 3/4 C. egg substitute
            Grated zest from 1 lemon
            2 T. lemon juice
  • Preheat oven to 325°.
  • Make crust: lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side of pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and crust is set. Cool on rack.
  • Make filling: In large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese and sour cream for 2-3 minutes until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar or substitute. Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until incorporated. Beat in zest and juice. Pour into crust. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until center is almost set, but still slightly jiggly. (Do not overbake as it will firm as it cools). Let cool completely. 
  • Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove sides of springform pan and transfer to serving plate.  Enjoy!

As you can see the Garden Club has some great cooks and we thank everyone for the wonderful recipes.  We hope you enjoy them too.

It was fun trying to capture the beauty all around us today.  It was an added treat to have you join us and walk along in the cool morning breezes.  I hope it was a wonderful day for you wherever you may be.   Please do come again.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Garden Club Brunch

Please join us for Brunch in the lovely home of Garden Club member Mary Ann.  She invited members of the Daffodil Circle of the Tallahassee Garden Club to the first Circle meeting after Summer break.

As members arrived, they were greeted by these lovely Fall wreaths decorating the beautiful front door.  Please come in.......

The table centerpiece in the below photo was a collection of beautiful Fall colored plants and was delightful to see.

Members of the group brought a covered-dish to share.  What a delicious array of choices for every one to enjoy.

There was a Pound Cake, Ham Roll-ups, Vegetables and Dip with Crackers.  Tomato and Cucumber Salad, Vegetable Salad,  Dump Cake, Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches, Cheesecake and Key-Lime Pie.

This lovely bouquet of Fall-colored roses accentuated the platter of Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches. 

Mary Ann's home was beautifully decorated for Fall.

 Don't you just love this delightful little plant-filled pumpkin in the below photo.

It was inspiring to be in Mary Ann's lovely Fall-decorated home,  It is always heart-warming getting together with good friends, and enjoying delicious food.  After the meeting,  members were treated to a tour of Mary Ann's beautiful garden.  Look for that tour to be featured here soon......

Members requested some of the recipes from this special Brunch.  I thought you might like to see these recipes also: 
Miss Pat's Pimento-Cheese Sandwiches
A traditional Southern recipe.

  • 1  pound Sharp Cheddar Cheese 
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 (7 Oz.)  jar diced pimentos, undrained
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons sugar 
  • bread for sandwiches
Grate cheese into mixing bowl.  Add mayonnaise, pimentos (with juice), salt, and sugar.  Beat with electric mixer until totally mixed.  For this recipe, Publix Market Bakery  just baked,  5-grain Italian Bread was used. 

Aunt Betti's Dump Cake
So simple and so delicious. 
  • 1 can (20 Oz.) crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1 can (21 Oz.) cherry-pie filling
  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9x13 baking dish.
Dump undrained pineapple into bottom of pan and spread evenly.  Next dump in cherry-pie filling and spread evenly.  Dump in the dry cake mix and spread evenly over all.   Sprinkle pecans over cake and press down a little with fork.  Pour melted and cooled butter evenly over top.  Bake 350 degrees for 50 minutes.  Cool and enjoy.

As you can see, there is no fat or calories in these recipes.  Only kidding ....  Just eat lots of vegetables for the next two weeks, and that should make up for these recipes.

Thanks for stopping by and attending the Garden Club Brunch.  I hope you have a wonderful day.  Please come back soon!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

It is always fun getting together and spending time with family.  We thought our children grew up fast, but now the grandchildren are growing up even faster.  We love to be with the children and grandchildren and part of the fun is having delicious meals together.

The absolute hit of each celebration is always Aunt Stephanie's Macaroni and Cheese.  We now have her recipe included at Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and any other time when the grandchildren will be here.  Needless to say they love Aunt Stephanie's Macaroni and Cheese.  I can't believe, of all the times she has walked in this door with her Mac and Cheese, and I cannot find a picture.  So, I will use another one.

In the below photo is Aunt Stephanie our daughter, with her husband John and their three sons Dillon, Chase and Ryan.  It is a blessing for us that they all live here in Tallahassee.

Aunt Stephanie's Macaroni and Cheese
  • 1 - 16 oz. box Elbow Macaroni
  • 1 - 16 oz.  package Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 - 8 oz. container of sour cream
  • 1/2  stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook macaroni according to package instructions.
Grate cheese,  and set aside 1/2 of the cheese,  to sprinkle on top - later.
Combine cooked macaroni, 1/2 cheese, sour cream, butter, milk, salt and pepper.
Sprinkle remaining cheese on top of mixture.
Bake 20 minutes.

In the below photo is little bit of cute dialogue about the South.  They say Macaroni and Cheese is considered a vegetable here in the South.  I'm not sure how true that is, but one thing is for sure, it is a special and popular food here with all our grandchildren.  Thanks Aunt Stephanie! 

Thanks y'all for stopping by for a visit with us.  I do hope you come back soon.

Crunchy Cornbread Muffins

It is always fun to try new recipes. My husband, being a country boy from Moultrie, Georgia loves southern foods.  When I spotted this recipe in a magazine recently, I pulled out the page to save the recipe, and could not wait to make them for him.  

Would love to give credit where credit is due, but the pulled-out recipe page has no identifying information.

You will need:

  Crunchy Cornbread Muffins
Makes one dozen muffins
  • 8 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 and 1/2 cups Self-rising Buttermilk White Cornmeal Mix (I used regular cornbread mix)
  • 2 cups whole buttermilk (I use fat-free when available, or 1 per cent.)  
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.   In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal mix, buttermilk, sugar and cooled melted butter, stirring to combine well.   Spoon batter into greased muffin cups, filling each about 2/3 full.  Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool in pans for about 2 minutes before removing.

This cute kitchen dish towel in the below photo was a gift from a favorite gift store here in Tallahassee, called Loli and the Bean.  The writing on the cloth tells the story of  some of the favorite southern dishes enjoyed here in the south.  If you would like to view the gift shop website,  you can go to:   Yes, as you can see, our Cornbread recipe is included in the below list of favorite foods.

To go along with these delicious Cornbread Muffins, next time I will feature our daughter Stephanie's,  melt in your mouth, delicious Macaroni and Cheese recipe.

It is always nice when you stop by for a visit. If you ever get around to making this Cornbread Muffin recipe, we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Wishing you carefree,  sweet wonderful days!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Sweet Southern Day

On the last day of driving our grandsons to school, the week we were staying with them,  I took my camera along in hopes of capturing some unexpected beauty along the Tallahassee roadways.  Sure enough, as the boys and I drove along on the route to school, we spotted these beautiful wild Morning Glories.

After the boys were safely delivered to their classrooms, I drove back to try to capture the beauty of these beautiful wild flowers.

I loved how these wild Morning Glories were so artistically draped along this chain-link fence.

The birds must have planted these pretty little flowers along this fence which was surrounding what looked like a holding-pond for the area.

It was so delightful to see these beautiful little flowers blowing in the early morning breeze, on this late September day.

As I continued on toward home, I passed this charming old home in the below photo.  We often pass this home on the route to our home.  Since I had my camera on this day, and since I have always admired this beautiful old home, I snapped a photo of it too.  It would be nice to know the history of this old home and property, and I would love to take a tour inside.

Arriving home, in the below photo,  I spotted this pretty little rose blooming.  This is such a good little rose plant; it just blooms and blooms and does not require much care at all.  It gets a little fertilizer in the Spring, sufficient water, and after that it is pretty much on it's own.  I wish I could tell you the name of this special little rose,  because it is sure an easy one to grow.

Also blooming prettily in the front flower bed is the little blue flower in the below photo.  It is a faithful little flower that also just blooms and blooms all summer.  Most of us are familiar with this popular plant, but I do not remember the name.  It looks real pretty in a bouquet by itself or intermixed in a little arrangement with the roses.

Thanks you for coming along on this beautiful early morning drive.  It is always a special treat to see the amazing beautify all around us and I am glad you shared it with me.  Have a wonderful weekend.