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.

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