I've ordered and made definite decisions!
South side of house, full sun. I'm planning a bed that will have bright purple and orange contrast. Below are a Bloomerang lilac, a vitex, a Janet rose, a Westerland rose, and South Seas daylilies. I will underplant with catmint and lavender. The lilac, vitex and Janet rose were planted in the fall so the rest of the bed will come together pretty easily. The mocha trellis matches my house and I really want it to blend into the background. It is a big trellis, 5 x 8 feet and will be the home of the climbing Westerland.
Our back island will be slightly reworked. I am moving the Nishiki Willow out and moving it to a wetter portion of my yard where it will thrive. We will be extending the back of the island behind the japanese maple and putting in some Karl Foerster Feather Reed Grass back there. That will give a bit more privacy in the winter and add some visual interest year round. I will be putting in three garden pillars of varying height - 7, 6 and 5 feet in a trio and I will be growing goldflame honeysuckle and moonflower on them. In front of those will be two low growing Christopher Marlowe roses. The double apricot hollyhocks that I planted back there last year will shoot up and bloom this year so that will add visual interest as well.
This entire area in front of the island will become stone patio. The rail on the porch in the middle of the two support pillars will be taken down and stairs will come off the porch onto the patio. On other side of the stairs, which will be wide spanning the entire middle of the porch, will be two new raised beds. On the left where the hose spicket is will be a colonnade spire apple tree, a pinky winky hydrangea and snow storm spirea. I may try and squeeze in some dwarf weigela, though I am not certain yet if I will have room. This will all be underplanted with white creeping verbena and Lady Elizabeth daylilies. The other side will match with the exception of the apple tree and I'll probably put in some tall annual or biennial there, maybe hollyhocks or lupine.
The front of our house will also get one of the mocha trellis and a Westerland rose just like the side yard orange and purple bed. I'm happy to report that nothing planted in this photo below is still there because this garden is sad as can be! I had all the shrubs replaced by our builder and I rectified my mistake of putting those hostas in such a sunny spot (they have been moved to the north side bed) and in their place are 3 very tidy, low-growing azaelas that are a variety that can take more sun. That large garage wall will have the trellis and Westerland rose growing on it.
One of my favorite Sunday dinners is pot roast. I love the flavorful meat and potatoes and carrots and onions and and and...Yeah. I love a good pot roast.
Unfortunately, I never mastered a good pot roast. Mine always came out dry and lifeless. Enter Cook's Country on PBS. I came in from grocery shopping two weeks ago and the show was on. Instead of unpacking groceries, I found myself salivating over the OMGoodness divine pot roast being prepared. At that moment we decided that going on the menu for the following week and I couldn't wait for Brien to prepare it. (Now that I'm home cooking all week, B finds he misses it and cooks on the weekends.)
We went to the Cook's Country website, found the recipe and promptly decided it would be our Sunday dinner from now on. Served with a green veggie and mashed potatoes, this is one heavenly dinner.
Italian Pot Roast
Every piece of meat cooks differently, so start checking the roast after 2 hours. If there is a little resistance when prodded with a fork, it's done. Light, sweeter red wines, such as a Merlot or Beaujolais, work especially well with this recipe.
|1||boneless beef chuck-eye roast (3 1/2-4 pounds), tied (see photo below)|
|2||tablespoons vegetable oil|
|1||medium onion , chopped|
|1||rib celery , chopped|
|1||pound cremini or white mushrooms , quartered|
|2||tablespoons tomato paste|
|1||(14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes|
|1/2||cup canned tomato sauce|
|1||cup red wine (see note)|
|1||large head garlic , outer papery skins removed, then halved (photo 1, below)|
|1||sprig fresh thyme|
|1||sprig fresh rosemary|
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat roast dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown roast on all sides, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer roast to large plate. Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, celery, mushrooms, and tomato paste until vegetables begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar, water, 1/2 cup wine, garlic, and thyme. Return roast and accumulated juices to pot and bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Place piece of foil over pot, cover with lid, and transfer pot to oven.
3. Cook until roast is just fork-tender, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours, flipping roast after 1 hour. Uncover pot and let roast rest in juices for 30 minutes, skimming surface fat after 20 minutes. Transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil. Remove and reserve garlic head and skim remaining fat from pot. Add remaining 1/2 cup wine to pot, bring to boil over medium-high heat, and cook until sauce begins to thicken, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, carefully squeeze garlic from halves and mash into paste. Add rosemary to pot and simmer until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard rosemary and thyme sprigs, stir in mashed garlic, and season sauce with salt and pepper.
4. Remove twine from roast and cut meat against grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices, or pull apart into large pieces. Transfer meat to serving platter and pour 3/4 cup sauce over meat. Serve with remaining sauce.
STEP BY STEP: Getting the Garlic Right