Saturday, August 23, 2008

Catching Up

Some great transformations have happened this summer at A Shower Fresh Garden, and I need to get you guys caught up! Chip built an AWESOME fence around the pool pump. I'll post about that later this week. First I want to show you the almost finished herb garden!

Last summer I wrote about four different sections of my garden that were just atrocious. I've fixed a few of those "Bad and Ugly" beds. I put a veggie garden in where there were dead azaleas before. And on my front porch I've replaced even more dead azaleas with knockout roses . The veggie garden hasn't thrived. Turns out that spot is too sunny for azaleas and not sunny enough to make tomatoes. I've babied my veggie patch all summer, and all we've gotten out of it are some radishes and sugar snap peas. Here's a photo from today.

See? I've got a pepper plant, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, even some sad little tomato plants. But the only thing that seems to be growing well is one weird cucumber. If you read the sign in my iris bed, it says, "There are no garden mistakes, only experiments." Yep, I feel like Wallace (from Wallace and Grommet) because I am "experimenting mostly!" I have a plan to fix this. I always have a plan! Well, look at that! The left side of the tree gets tons of sun! Sure, I'll have to convert more of the lawn for garden, but I'm sure Chip won't complain. All I need is another one of those raised beds, because I do love that raised bed. And I'm sure there are veggies that will grow in partial shade. The sugar snaps did fine. Any suggestions on what other veggies will grow in partial shade?

The herb garden transformation is really something. Remember how terrible it looked? Well, take a look at this (June 2007):

First, Chip added a brick patio (March 2008).
Then, I added a raised bed for the herbs (April 2008).
Then, I did some major landscaping. My favorite addition has been catmint (first photo below). I also added cannas that I moved from the veggie garden bed, a lantana that I moved from the front porch bed, and some daylilies that I moved when redoing the bed by the pool pump. Really the only plants I bought new were the catmint, the herbs, a few extra liriope, and a gardenia.

The transformation is almost complete! My grandfather is making us two white benches to place around the firepit on the brick patio. I'll post more photos when I get them. So far, I am really pleased with what we've been able to accomplish! The soil in this bed was hard, difficult to dig, and totally depleted . Compost from my bin was a lifesaver. We've been able to turn this portion of my yard into something usable and its not ugly anymore!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mmmm... Beer...

Chip's brother went to Oxford a few weeks ago, and then made a trip up to West Memphis, Arkansas for some beer. Why go all the way to Arkansas for beer? Because New Belgium beer isn't widely distributed east of the Mississippi River! (They certainly don't sell it across the bridge in Delta, Louisiana). And if you've ever had New Belgium beer, you know why it is worth driving for.

Scott got us a case of Sunshine Wheat and a Folly Pack. Holy moly, this stuff is good.
The Mothership Wit is FAN-TASTIC! I am in love with white beer to begin with. My favorite is the Kronenbourg Blanc I had on tap in a posh Belgravia pub on our trip to London last year. Mothership Wit is organic.

The Old Cherry was good, too. Tasted a lot like Fat Tire with a hint of cherry fruit. The Folly Pack also had Fat Tire and the 1554 Black Ale.
One of my favorites things about our wedding is that we served Fat Tire & Sunshine Wheat. We drove up to West Memphis a few days before the wedding and loaded Chip's Pathfinder with beer. We threw a blanket over it and prayed we didn't get pulled over while trucking mass quantities of beer over the Mississippi state line.

Last Sunday we sat on the back porch and drank three beers while the rain came down. And then we were rightly buzzing on a Sunday afternoon.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Brooklyn Garden Renovation

I found this awesome garden renovation on today. This is totally cool!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Freezer Jam and Canned Peaches

Last week I went to the fruit stand and picked up a basket of beautiful ripe peaches. I had big plans for my tasty purchase. I was going to keep some for eating, make peach freezer jam with some, and use some for canned peaches. Yum-yum. Of course, the ones for eating turned out perfect. ;)
I didn't do so well with the canned peaches. I probably did about a thousand things wrong while canning, but the one that did me in is that I didn't heat my lids properly before processing the jars. The seal failed and water leaked in. We'll have to eat them up soon. I doubt that will be a problem considering peach cobbler is my #1 favorite dessert in the world. My mamma used to make a "Lazy Man Peach Cobbler" that I would eat by the bowlfuls.
I made a peach and raspberry freezer jam that is just perfect on a biscuit. I whipped it up on Saturday afternoon and on Sunday morning, we devoured it on our biscuits. Mmm, mmm, good.
UPDATE: The recipe I used is here: Peach Melba Freezer Jam from Ball