Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Happy summer days...I have a tomato!

Just when I had given up on any hope for my rather leggy and pathetic tomato plants...low and behold I have a juicy little green "Early Girl" growing quite happily on the vine! It was one of those moments where you take a quick second glance as I couldn't believe my eyes! I have to be honest, this year the weather has been dismal and just wrong on so many levels for tomatoes. I had given up weeks ago and was happy for it to go to seed. Here it is as a once happy start...

Back in May when I was given my little starts from a wonderful friend, I was full of excitement and joy for there is nothing sweeter than home grown tommy's. I nurtured it and cared for it daily, expecting great things and planning ways on how to best devour the soon to be bountiful crop...mmm bruschetta or a fresh Caprese salad, oh yum!

Surprisingly happy once again!

But alas I have one, just one perfect little tomato that is now again being treated like a baby and being doted on daily. I am crossing my fingers once again and feeling grateful for the small but happy early girl. Not sure how many I will get, I wonder if I will have enough for one of my fave tomato recipes, simple but yummy and great for a snack or appetizer....

Tomato Feta Bruschetta

1 large baguette - sliced
4 large tomatoes - finally chopped
1 large spanish onion - finally chopped
1 cup Basil - finally chopped
2 cloves Garlic - crushed
1/2 cup of crumbled Feta
1/3 cup Olive oil
1/3 balsamic vinegar
Coarse salt & Cracked pepper

- Combine all ingredients (except bread) in a bowl, season to taste.
- Spoon above on to lightly grilled, olive oil drizzled crunchy bread.
- Enjoy (sharing is optional...hehe!)

This will be the first of I hope many recipes to come for my Plot to Plate section of my blog. I have many local allotment gardeners who are looking forward to sharing their favorite dishes, please contact me if you have a recipe that you would love featured here on Polka Dot Galoshes, I'd love to post it...thanks =)

How are your tomatoes going this year? What is your favorite way to prepare your tasty homegrown tomatoes?

Also, I have joined my first blog hop! Stay tuned as I am still learning what to do...

Friday, July 22, 2011

Photography & Nature...two passions combine

There is nothing I love more than a warm sunny day, giggling happy children, and some free time to disappear into my backyard. While I do love to wander in the garden wearing my pink and somewhat garish garden gloves and toting a well loved trowel, lately my SLR camera has been my favorite tool of choice.

I am loving the view through my lens, the tinniest of discoveries can be found if you just stop and look. From the detail of a not so simple bud to the depth of color in an ever-changing petal. It's these little things I love to capture in a photo, always looking for something of interest that I may of otherwise missed.

Seriously though, I have a lot to learn! There are so many wonderful features and techniques my camera has to offer and if you ask me what I can do with it? Well...ummm, Auto-setting! You know the green square where everything is done for you...hehe, basically a glorified point and shoot. If I get adventurous I do switch to Macro, take a dozen pics of the same thing and cross my fingers one turns out half decent. That there is about the extent of my camera know-how!

On the other hand, putting the technical stuff aside. My real passion is in the composition, the eye for balance of positive and negatives, the shapes and how they fill the space, the colors and patterns and the movement captured in a still. Its my love of the creative and appreciating all things beautiful that really gets me excited about photography. Now to learn the technical stuff to add to the creative...oh I am so excited!!

I am looking forward to taking it a little more seriously, I've ordered some books on macro's and exposures, plus I am hoping to take a workshop (when I find one) on Botanical photography....I'm so excited! Can't wait to share with you all that I learn, through my happy snaps in future posts.

Garden photography books I recommend... 

The Art of Flower & Garden Photography - Clive Nicols   
Aimed at capturing the beauty of plants and gardens, featuring the author's own award-winning work, provides expert advice on all aspects of the subject. Topics range from close-up details and individual plant portraits to composing vistas that reveal the grandest gardens in all their glory.

Creative Close-ups: Digital photography tricks and techniques - Harold Davis
Renowned photographer Harold Davis provides pages of field-tested techniques on focus, depth-of-field, exposure-even the appropriate equipment to use for this unique niche of digital photography. The book includes stunning and intriguing examples of his work to illustrate concepts.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Buds, please don't bloom to quickly!

So much in my garden at the moment is luscious green and budding! Besides the roses and hydrangeas all other flowers are still wrapped tightly in their buds hiding, maybe from all this rain? One thing I am grateful for, is all this waiting has made me appreciate the beauty to be found in a bud, the moment before they burst open and the bloom steals the spot light....

The bud of a Star Jasmine (Confederate Jasmine) I love the curl of this bud, its unlike any other I have seen. The swirl of the tip with the soon to be petals and the fragrant smell that is already lingering. This is one of my "thought dead" Jasmine that survived after a brutal winter, making these buds a happy sight indeed.

This plant keeps coming back every year, one of those plants I don't remember ever planting and just appeared one day by surprise. These little buds are so soft and velvety and form in little clusters at the tips of its long stems. It fits into the scheme of things pretty well, gorgeous bunches of small purple blooms growing right next to my lavender, peonies and hydrangeas its a very pretty patch in my back garden.
However, does anyone know what it is called?

Endless summer Mop-head Hydrangea, these blooms will be huge once in bloom spanning the size of a dinner plate. But these little tinny buds remind me of a pin cushion, so beautiful and round contrasting against the jagged spiky leaves. Oh the excitement to see what color this one will bring. Last year this particular plant bloomed in all shades of blues and pinks as if it couldn't make up its mind, an indecisive plant I love it!

Again another mystery plant that I do not remember planting? It has appeared in my garden for the last 3 yrs and returns only to have spread further through the garden bed, I do love it! The gorgeous little round buds first appear in July with a late summer show and is usually the last flower in the garden in early fall. The buds appear on long thin stems bursting with one or two on a plant. The flowers themselves are quite "art nouveau" looking, something you would see in a 1920's art work...beautiful!

Finally my snap-dragon is just now blooming! With spring come and gone, this flower is a little slow to wake up this year. It has been frozen in bud stage for two months and I was wondering if it would ever pop its flowers. I am so excited to see the petals now finally emerging....the blooms are coming!!

I loved the walk through my garden appreciated the different buds, they are all so unique and beautiful in their own ways, I am looking forward to discovering more. 
Are there any unique looking buds that you have growing? I am loving the bud stage!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...Heady Hydrangeas

At long last the Heady Hydrangeas burst forth in all their exhilarating splendor....

May...Peeks of buds bring Spring delight

 June...Anticipation of color to be?

July...Explosions of blue sing summer is here!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Its the little moments....Stop & Enjoy!

"Mommy Mommy you will never guess what is in our backyard!" screams of delight came pouring in from my very excited little garden helper as he raced to the backdoor.
We had been out in the yard pottering most of the day, commenting on how our sweet bird friends were not coming by as often. (He is a bird Lover just like his mom and was missing the twittering's too!) Honestly I had been to busy to notice. But suggested that maybe it was due to lack of seed? Which was very quickly replenished by my little bird lover.

Look Mommy LOOK!! One of your sweet birds have come by for a visit.......

What a sweet little gesture that brought a huge smile to my face and a giggle to my soul. His comment "I really wanted you to see a bird today mommy I know you love them." awww, I could just eat him up!! I love my little garden helper and sharing my love of the outdoors with him has been so rewarding for all!

This year our yard is finally being used for enjoyment, whether playing with the kids or simple solitary moment of picking lavender or gazing at the perfectly blue sky. Many the night has been shared with hubby and bottle of wine or during the day with friends and freshly brewed iced-tea....ahhhh my little moments in the yard I love you all.

Thanks little garden helper for showing this crazy busy mom to stop and slowdown and appreciate all that is around, this sweet moment with my little guy and his bird is one I will treasure always! Summer is a beautiful time that in Seattle we only enjoy a few weeks a year, I need to stop and enjoy! This year I have made a choice to be present and soak in all the simple things.

What's something you love to stop & enjoy, soak-up for a small beautiful moment?
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