December 30, 2009
The Home Bug Gardener recently posted on the broad subject of gardening for diversity in an urban environment. As this is still a rather novel idea in Edmonton, those of us who practice it feel somewhat eccentric, and we wonder about what is the best way to proceed without being considered too much of a blight in the community. I have discussed the reasons for my own approach to gardening when I first began this blog, and it may be worthwhile to offer a brief review those initial posts for those who may be interested.
Robin at the Pond
We purchased the house in 1986, and due to financial constraints did little in the garden besides planting annuals and vegetables. The plan to convert our home landscape away from a typical lawn-based yard was initiated in 1994, when we began work on the back-garden. The front garden was begun in 1998.
I began the blog on August 31, 2005, when all the major work in both gardens was complete. The blog introduction outlined my motivation for making the changes. On September 9, 2005 I blogged on the term ‘naturalistic’ and why I chose that term over ‘natural’ or ‘wild’ garden that has been mentioned in some of the gardening literature. The next post dealt with the ideas underpinning naturalistic gardening and the final post of the month dealt with one of the pleasant side-effects of the naturalistic approach when compared to traditional ornamental gardens.
I am a general horticulturist and landscape gardener by training. While my approach is influenced somewhat by the traditional (European) garden aesthetic, The Home Bug Gardener, a scientist, brings a more analytical approach to the subject. He describes his garden as ‘wildlife-friendly’, and he ponders ‘native’ plants in his post Curb Appeal, Co-existence & The Wildlife Garden. In the comments section, he gives a useful list of ingredients that can make a garden wildlife friendly. His blog will be worth subscribing to, because he plans to look deeper into the subject in future posts, and will no doubt give us much to think about for the cold months still ahead.
December 28, 2009
Angle of incidence equals angle of reflection
I had a small window of time to photograph the downy snowflakes that had accumulated on the hoar-frost that clings to the remnants of our garden plants. The camera froze not long after I photographed this globeflower, where a single snowflake managed to reflect the light of my fill flash to create the shining star.
Below, guided by the star, three snow-hardy wisebugs from the east are searching for a stable wherein a little bug-eyed saviour, well swaddled, had been born…
December 23, 2009
Cranberry Pecan Bread
Most people have a few prized recipes that they fall back to for the Christmas season. One of our favourites that we have used for the last few years is a hearty cranberry pecan quick -bread that freezes well and can be prepared ahead of time.
This recipe is adapted from the Nava Atlas book, Vegetarian Celebrations.
1½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup white four
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. allspice
1 egg beaten
¼ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar¹
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped cranberries
½ cup chopped pecans
Pre-heat the oven to 180° C. (350° F). Combine the first group of ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the second group of ingredients into a second bowl and stir thoroughly. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the wet portion and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chopped nuts and cranberries. Pour the mixture into an oiled loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre pulls out clean. Cool on a rack.
We make four of five loaves at a time. We slice them and freeze them. It is easy to pry off a slice and delicious for breakfast when toasted brown. Covered with wax paper, wrapped in festive tissue and then tied with a bow it makes a fine gift to bring along when visiting.
¹ for a more cake-like loaf, add a ¼ cup more sugar or an equal amount of chopped pitted prunes.
December 4, 2009
Environment Canada has made a slight adjustment to the weather forecast, inserting a winter storm between the sunny skies: