Monday, August 29, 2011

Dragonflies~ Tortilla Soup ~ Scorpion

The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost,
to reach out eagerly and without fear
for newer and richer experience.


- Eleanor Roosevelt

Dragonfly by Gene Sasse


Saturday, the patio thermometer waggled its way up into the danger zone: 105 point who cares.  Outside, dragonflies hovered about the water features we keep for wildlife.

Many cultures view the dragonfly as symbolic of transformation. Several Native American cultures believe that dragonflies hold the souls of people who have died. Perhaps this is how in the United States, dragonflies symbolize rebirth and renewal after trauma and loss.  
Asians have brought to our country a likewise high respect for the expert hover-matics. I am told that Japanese view the dragonfly as the embodiment of  joy as well as a symbol of courage and strength.  I read that in Japan and China. dragonflies are harnessed for medical purposes. I have read the Vietnamese use these insects to aid in forecasting the weather. This makes sense as when I see ants on the kitchen counter I know one of two things his about to happen: rain or extreme heat.

When I see dragonflies, I think of the quote at the top by a great former first lady.
Days like these are when I like to scan leftovers and canned goods like they are sea shells and I am a child at the beach.  For Sunday Supper, I assembled the makings of Tortilla Soup, feeling every bit like I was a Mexican Mama.

Lydia's Tortilla Soup

More often than not, in the freezer there are parts of a chicken that were used to create a broth. Sometime in the past few weeks, the remains of what was not used in a formal recipe were simmered with an onion, celery, carrots and spices (black and white peppers, salt, parsley and  and thyme) in water and white wine.

This was pulled from the freezer, defrosted and strained of all but the broth, which was boosted with a gluten free chicken broth to fill the medium- large pot 2/3's way full.

As the pot came to a simmer, vegetables were layered in. A few peeled and chopped russet potatoes, a carrot that was peeled and cut more to resemble chunks than slices.  One stalk of celery is sliced and a handful of chopped sweet onions fall into the broth as easily as a teenager falls in love.

From the freezer I pulled some chicken meat, cooked and diced for ravioli. The Italian dish can spare the meat without giving away the secret that a portion of a cup was stolen from the stash.  Dirt was scrubbed off a A Mexican summer squash before its slices were split in two half moons.

A cup of corn kernels  should take about the same amount of time to go from starch to sweet- so in to the brew they go  to finish while I go out to the pantry to gather the rest.

These don't need to cook, they just need to warm: An average sized can each of white hominy and black beans drained. Also opened and drained were a (4 ounce) can chopped hot green chili peppers and sliced olives.  A can of chopped tomatoes made the broth rich and added inviting color. 3 crushed garlic cloves and a spoonful of chicken flavor enhancer- anticipation now floated throughout the house.

As the flavors simmered together, it gave me time to fill the baby fryer  with corn oil to heat.  A stack of tortillas sliced into thin slivers  was offered to the bubbling oil until it turned them golden crisp. Drained and lavished with garlic salt- they are offered as a condiment to serve.

Besides these slivered homemade chips-a tray crowded with bowls of green onions finely sliced, cilantro chiffonade, jack or Mexican cheeses  finely shredded  and a plate of avocado slices was at the ready.

As we stood at the counter, ladling out bowls full, we forgot how hot the day was. This is the kind of food that encourages words without fear- conversation.  A nice way to end the Sabbath. 


We almost didn't notice the scorpion scampering across the kitchen floor at bedtime. May he rest in peace.











Saturday, August 27, 2011

Small Improvements-

An ode to our neighbors, this sign is half homemade.
"Sometimes, the smallest improvement to our lives can make the biggest difference."

Chuck and Sandra Price have a grownups play yard. Outfitted to live in year round staycation, they live next door.  

I am a certifiable readaholic. I read everything, and have a special love of signage  Spotting the tin insert with the words "Resort and Spa Next Door" on a shopping expedition, of course it had to come home with me. 

It wasn't perfect until last week when my husband shared his toys- oops, tools- with me.
A piece of scrap redwood, a $2.00 bottle of  Alizarin Crimson America acrylic paint- and a lesson in how to use a band saw, scroll saw and oscillating spindle saw- and the humorous ode to my next door neighbors is complete .

"My" shed, built one lesson at a time.

Mounted high on my shed, it is a small improvement that lifted my spirits yesterday when it was  102° F with humidity in the upper 40 percentile.  What my husband describes as "a nice spring day in Florida" tips  into misery-ometer territory for us weather-wimpy types. 

For newer readers- here are a couple images of the shed that is my pride and joy.  

It all began when our children were young enough to think it was cool to be paid in Chuck E Cheese Pizza. 

My husband's tools were limited to a circular saw, a hammer and an engineer's attitude that everything is possible.  




When Diamond Bar-ians get to remodeling, there is some some really cool dumpster diving around town.  All you need is a few moments without any pride):-

A cast off needing to be rescued, reused and recycled- this little corner window was lifted from where it lay next to a trash can.

It became the impetus for my shed. 

I was thinking of the playhouse I never had. Dreaming of a trip to Lowes or Home Depot to retrofit a shed-kit. 

My husband was thinking -  " I can do it myself."  He thought it would be fine wood storage for his burgeoning he-man hobby. If he thought it was a way to get tools free of added cost- oh, well. I have my shed and he got more tools from this project.


Ethel’s Garden, a collaboration en memoriam - By glplunk (46”L x 20”W - Hard Maple with Dark Walnut stain and flat latex paint)
  
When we considered moving mother in with us, we teased her this would be her room.

The finial added to birdhouse made a pediment that set the architectural character.

If the stained glass transom window had been installed at the time, we might have found her with her bags and walker parked at the doorstep.

After her death, the window was Christened "Ethel's Window" in honor of my mother
The solar-lit panel makes an elegant statement after dark- art cum nightlight on steroids.  

2x4 by 2x4, brick by brick, lace covering windows, one small improvement at a time, this little structure changed me as it was changed.  Building it, my husband learned the economic advantages of kits over custom construction. Sheds of our own are a luxury beyond description. 

Such are the lessons and synergy in life.

P.S.- Thank you Chuck E. Cheese for the use of the little picture. 



Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garden Obsession

"The trouble with gardening is that it does not remain an avocation. It becomes an obsession

~Phyllis McGinley 

The woody orange vine looked so innocent in the 6" pot brought home from an LA Arboretum sale. Today it is as tall as epe myrtle it links arms with.

The neighbors next door, who have a pool, have never complained about the summer confetti in pink and orange  that floats over from my side of the fence. Not only that- they encourage this obsession.  Chuck and Sandy Price are the definition of GREAT neighbors for a gardener.


The "Cottage Garden" sign- Does it define or reflect the surroundings?

Looking north across the brick patio you see one of the first vestiges of making this house ours: the lattice work that Gerry cut and framed with our sons, Trevor and Kenny. 

Every so many years we bathe all the patio wood trim  in creamy white.  Fat glazed pots hold  variegated ficus at key points on the patio - balancing the recipe for horticultural material needed to properly "naturize" the  bricked-over patio floor.

In the background is the blue shed  my husband utilizes as an outpost for certain woodworking chores. 


The vegetable planting is more accurately a path than a plot.  Brimming with tomatoes, hot peppers, herbs and society garlic, it also has a small tub turned into a gurgling fountain- the moving water inviting birds in to eat marauding insects.

If you 've never scissored the pinkie- purpley blossoms of society garlic  (Tulbahia  to Latin enthusiasts) as a replacement for garlic cloves on garlic toast- you are missing quite the conversation starter. The color is simply luscious in the shimmer of hot butter.


This week, the  daytime high temperatures  have lumbered into the 98 ° F mark. Close enough that the hibiscus are open like fairy sized satellite dishes


A monarch butterfly caterpillar  munches on a denuded butterfly weed (asclepias) stem
Garden neophytes see the rough edges of the August garden as deciding air-conditioned chores are better this time of year. However, there is a practial aspect to some seediness allowed. Look closely and you will see one of a heard of caterpillars munching the strength to grow wings to glide through the air. Other plants- such as Cleveland sage- their seeded heads are allowed to dry to darkened feed for birds seeking shelter from the harsh coastal sage conditions just beyond the property lines.   

'Betty Boop' Rose

Two bushes and a tree form 'Betty Boop' have outgrown their spot in the border like a teenage athlete outgrows his first car. In cooler weather, one will be cleaved from the center and adjusted into a spot nearby- extending the rhythm of their near-ever present blossoming.

I always wanted honeysuckle- though  I doubt this is where I would have planted it. Some birds likely chose the spot despite its lack of welcoming attributes. My brain must be as small as the birds, for walking through the nearby gate- the scent  of honeysuckle intoxicates. overtakes all reason- and so it stays- occasionally threatening to run up a stranglehold  on the arching buttefly bush 'Black Knight'.

 

This axis from the edge closest the patio, verbena bonarensis planted its feet. Here, gangly arms bob under the weight of hummingbirds and finches as they wait to dodge the airspace crowded with butterflies. 

With my husband's tools having squatted my car's spot in the garage, this side yard is often the path I take from home to automobile.  The draping summer lilac (Buddleja) is allowed to spill over the chunks of wood waiting to be turned.   The idea for the covered shelving was picked up on trips to England, where I was enchanted with the idea that the most humble of utilitarian spaces should revered with some touch of beauty.

As soon as Tracie "opens the gates" it is time to time to hop over to the linky party at Fishtail Cottage. See what is blooming in the gardens of my fellow flower addicts. 


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fall Floral Arrangement


"I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers."
~Claude Monet

I loved the pumpkin planted with roses, spires of Mexican sage and an asymmetrical conifer collar. Staged on a bronzed mirror- it was the centerpiece that 3 years later still enchants my memory of what a wonderful time was had at the 2008 Garden Writers Association Awards Banquet.


'Hot cocoa roses' image by Gene Sasse
 
  As Monet believed flowers uplifted his senses as an artist, it is also true that gardening offers the opportunity to romanticize dining at home. I am loving the idea of replicating the centerpiece by setting a water-filled jar in the center of a hollowed out pumpkin, then arranging hot cocoa roses, Mexican Sage and perhaps leaves of scented geranium. The lacier leaf of a citronella variety was my first thought for greenery.

On the patio, the citronella scented variety silently shoos away unwanted flying critters  away from the evening's courses.  However- men like variety, and changing the setting might prompt a more romantic response from my husband ):-  In autumn, there will be a few evenings where it will be preferable to move some furniture, turn on some Frank Sinatra classics and set the table square with glowing embers in the fireplace.  Maybe the puppies will even spend the night at a pet hotel... 

Garden Harvest Supply Catalog image

In this setting- the rich tones of Chocolate Mint Geranium are better suited to stage a seriously romantic dinner. If shopping local for this horticultural gem isn't fruitful- - go to  Garden Harvest Supply.  My plant stared as a 4' Slip. It now regularly comes in the house- either in flower arrangements or with the leaves set as a ruffled doily beneath a cake.



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Garden Thoughts and Dreams


In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful. ~Abram L. Urban


Clematis 'Jackmani''

96.8 ° F. Summer is finally here. What says cottage in a garden more clearly than flowering vines?  The vining English rose has trouble keeping up with the clematis in bloom, but it is my experience, with time the rose's blooming season will  extend. In the mean time, its ample green foliage keeps the temperature spread inside my husband's shed closer to 5 ° than the 10 or 12.


'Cinco de Mayo' Rose
Southern  California's summer sunlight calls for bold colors in the garden. The rose 'Cinco de Mayo'   looks like a mariachi sounds. Vibrant, without apology for who she is.  It is the rose my niece, Anka, saw in Portland- calling the blooming garden full in the city's famed rose garden- the most spectacular.


 'Dick Clark' Rose
'Dick Clark' is one of the younger roses to huddle my hillside oasis.  It sits near the oriole feeder and is just now beginning to flaunt the stamina  Tom Carruth, the King of Weeks Roses bred into this baby becoming a bopper. 

Now to link over to Tracie's Cottage Flora Thursdays.




Sunday, August 14, 2011

GBBD (Garden Bloggers Bloom Day) August 2011


"For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. "

~Martin Luther



Sandy leaned over the fence this morning. Charlie is leaving for college this week. The taco vendor would be there at 4 if we wanted to join the festivities. Giving me a chance to tease Charlie about going to college in Tuscon (we left him money with a note to choose a canteen or snake-bite kit) and  another chance to photograph what may be most valuable in our garden: shade.



Many of the flowering trees have lost their blooms to leaves in a thousand shades of gray. But not the crepe myrtle.  As summer is starting her slow wind down to autumn,  she's just getting started with florescent pink blooms that will fall as confetti.


In catalogues,  this is Begonia 'Ginny'. But for me, it  will  always Begonia 'Allison'.  The day after I brought this plant home, my niece Allison received her angel wings. She was 18 months old. There are some things that are without fairness; beyond explaining. So it is with the death of a child.
 

Even the simplest of plantings offer beauty where they make their home. Aster, mint and a pink ivy geranium snuck under the brick border to a place I would never have chosen for them. Proof that nature knows best.  


The surviving twin of  Weeping Hibiscus 'La France'. The other lost to an unnoticed  drip watering system disconnect. For all their virtues, the problem with pots is the edge for error is razor thin. Forewarned is forearmed.  I kicked myself when I removed the skeleton of the deceased treasure. Nature sends humbling messages even to advanced home gardeners.

I forget the name of this cultivar of shrimp plant. But it waves frequently throughout the year- oo I will look up before I post it next.


  It wouldn't be a visit to my garden without an image of a rose. This 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' was a gift from my darling niece Anka. Like her, it gets better every year.
Without her blooms dominating the summer border, blue agapanthus and lavender shooting heads of society garlic would be boring.


This shot is from my home church- Mt Calvary Lutheran Church on Golden Springs. As the lead quote is from the great theologian who founded the first protestant church, it seemed right to include it, even though this shot is not on my property.  

Count me as one of those gardeners that abhors bare dirt strewn about by gardeners on their weekly blow and go assignments. Bare dirt may be natural on the moon- but on Earth, God spread plants, rocks or thick carpets of leaves. Rather than bare dirt- golden blooming is low maintenance, low water, low risk.

Thank you to May Dreams Gardens for hosting this month's GBBD.  


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Why We Need Civic Beauty


Miscanthus, sunflowers and annuals imbue an old part of town with fairytale qualities

We're going to get all these sidewalks cleaned up so people can walk down them, because they're going to be coming back.”



~Robert Rogers

 Times of turmoil are when we most need beauty.  A walk around San Marino last week was just what the doctor should have ordered if I called her):- 

Amaranthus, sunflowers and annuals enjoying the summer
The big news around town is the grandchildren of Congressman Gary and Cathy Miller were found in Mexico and returned to California. For those who think this ends the sad saga- found in the encyclopedia under "bitter custody disputes"- unfortunately the salacious accusations against the children's father, Brian Miller did not skip a beat.

Sandra Dibble of the San Diego Union-Tribune did one of the better jobs in describing the charges against Jennifer Lopez Dejongh in “depriving custody in violation of a court order"

simple sidewalk planting with zinnias and poppies
 Not much irritates the journalist in me more than mis-stated facts- and there are so many mistaken "facts" picked up from one paper and spread to another that I cry for my profession.  We want to do well, but sometimes schedules and budgets being what they are, we fall short.

Jude Lopez Sr, the father of the Jennifer - a woman who factually packed up the children, taking them across International borders  with her new husband to avoid compliance with a temporary custody arrangement that she was signatory to- has the microphone.

It is rather topsy-turvy that his interviews include portions where he is expounds as though he is also spokesperson for the Miller family. Beyond his rehashing the accusations against the man his daughter chose to father 3 children with- he is then allowed to conjecture as to why the Congressman and his wife were involved for any reason other than love.  I wish there was a way to explain to my former friends that in this, the press is not their friend.

What Mr. Lopez is the perfect person to explain what his family was thinking when -

One week after Jennifer fled with the children, Elizabeth, the daughter of Congressman Gary and Cathy Miller, and aunt to the children, died at age 33. The following day, the Lopez family picketed Calvary Chapel of Golden Springs- the home church of the Millers.


In hindsight- Would they have allowed the congregation to mourn Elizabeth in peace?



Common plants providing uncommon beauty


The lovely setting that provided emotional peace last week is found in front of  



Mission Nursery
2510 Mission Street, San Marino, CA 91108-1636
(626) 799-1689 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thoughts on a Foggy Morning


 The words were burned in German on a simple wooden placque found in a second hand shop in Orlando. The chapter and verse were clear: Psalm 121:1



The King James Translation-

"I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

The irony of finding a wooden plaque about hillsides in flat-Florida- it was meant to come home with me. To hang on the crossbeam on the gate to the hinterlands. A bit of stain, some dabs of paint and coatings of polyurethane and it serves as a reminder that when I need help- I just need to look up and ask.



The morning fog obscuring the clutter of details lets the mind settle on sillhouettes. 

 

Just down the steps there are wildflowers. Queen Anne's Lace 'Daucus carota' transports  me back to impossibly romantic drives along country roadsides where crickets and frogs compete for which gets to sing the lead and who is relagated to harmony. 

Such is the magic of a foggy morning.  The dew suspended in the air holds cares away. I forget that I am aging faster than my bucket list is emptying. I forget the financial folder lost so much weight that it doesn't have the health we worked for it to have. I even forget that crows aren't just birds to shoo away. They are also the feet of the lines radiating from the corners of my eyes. 

 On a foggy morning I don't remember that. I remember that there is a God who made it all.  I suspect He shakes his head at how seriously we let temporary problems dam our happiness.




Sunday, August 7, 2011

August Simplicity and Sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci

Being born when and where he was, the great artist probably missed out on the great joys of the humble hibiscus. I like to imagine the genius is in heaven's garden painting hibiscus blossoms on  canvas to record their uncomplicated joyfulness.  


 Hibiscus Peppermint Schnapps was shipped home from the Garden Writer's Association Portland Symposium in 2008.

This is her first BIG year of blooming. She's like one of those little Welsh singers that turn up seemingly from nowhere now and then. Only knee to waist high, yet somehow in their younger years belting out impossibly large notes that roundly dance equally alongside established Divas.







The cherry tomato vines were turning to toast in a mild heatwave. So her globes of fruit were picked and brought in before the main stems were relegate to compost heaven.  The little vintage toothpick holder displays their clusters as a bouquet to be snacked from.

Italian Cuisine thrives in California as it holds the opportunity to become really involved with the process of bringing food to table- of developing craftsmanship with a minimum of fuss or investment.

Tastings.com  penned a nice review of the weekend wine. They described A Mano Chianti- "Garnet color. Baked cherry, praline and dried apricot aromas follow bright entry leads to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with nice harmony and balance. Finishes with a pleasant clay, cedar, red apple, raisin, and peach fade. A very flavorful modern styled Chianti."

To my tongue- I found it pleasingly round, tasting of the grapes that came of age under full Italian sun. It is a hospitable wine, one that doesn't call attention to itself. Rather it is the  understated foil of its "date"- the food.

First up-

I have a confession to make. I am not always an easy woman to live with. If I had not learned to make fresh pasta, my husband might have left me years ago. But leave me, lose my pasta keeps my husband loving me despite my loooooong list of faults):-

My husband asked me to record what I cooked this weekend for the family cookbook. That is something he rarely does. so suffice it to say, the food is GOOD.

If there is any way you can take a pasta class- making fresh pasta is an art. Easily learned, there is no substitute for feeling the dough giving way under your hand. There are books, but contact Sur la Table, Williams -Sonoma or your local Italian Restaurant.

For those of you determined to wing it.  Start with a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. The big one. You need the motor of a diesel truck if you aren't going to burn in out the first half dozen tries. You also really want the pasta plates made for it. I know, I know, this can be done by hand. But trust me- you will work hard enough and when the motor starts up- time will teach your love a little bit of Pavlov reaction. Pasta can cure just about anything but cancer or diabetes. For those- see your doctor.

You will also find a kitchen scale the most reliable tool of perfection. My preferred basic mix is 8 ounces semolina flour plus 8 ounces all-purpose flour.  A generous tsp of salt- or more mixed in.  This is all mounded on a board like a volcano- into the crater are dropped 2 whole eggs, which the fingers work the dough to swallow up. Not waiting for the eggs to be absorbed, 1/4 cup of high quality olive oil- or for fun- truffle oil- are massaged into the mass. Then carefully, 1 Tbsp at a time, just enough water is added to make the pasta dough the density of modeling clay.

When the dough feels "right" I let the dough hook in the Kitchen Aid work it for another 10 minutes. Exhausted, at this point the dough is rubbed with a bit of olive oil and let relax. This is why you want to take a class. To "see"  and "feel" what exhausted and relaxed are like to pasta.

While the pasta relaxes, I go full tilt.

Gremolata  is a condiment that is more than a condiment. It is a little recipe that belongs to be filed in potions under seduction. Put in pasta, on meatballs or with vegetables. It is one of the easiest concoctions to make an every-woman look like a kitchen-genius. 

Gremolata can be kept on hand in the refrigerator for a few days- if you can possibly forget this condiment that elevates pasta, vegetables or any number of courses to gastronomic giddiness.  

Chop a small handful of hazelnuts and gently warm in a small pan with a splash of olive oil.  Working quickly- freshly grate the zest from 1/2 Meyer lemon. Toss in a handful of breadcrumbs you have saved in the freezer from one of those otherwise dreadly loaves they sell at 4 pm in the grocery stores. Despite coming from some of the worst bread sold in America- day old- they make fabulous crumbs. Roll fresh flat leafed parsley under a pizza wheel to finely chop.


Pull off the heat and freshly grind sea salt and pepper to taste. If you adore Asiago cheese- a fresh grating adds another layer to be appreciated without the taster knowing exactly why your pasta  is so much better than what was sold in the school cafeteria growing up. 


The Meat Balls

1 lb ground sirloin (85-15% is a tasty ratio)
2 Sweet Italian Sausages, casings removed
2 large Eggs
2 Tbsp flat leafed parsley, 1 Tbsp Oregano and 2 Tbsp Basil, All fresh, all  finely chopped.
1 Cup Sweet Onion diced finely
1 Cup Homemade Bread Crumbs (refer to notes with Gremolata)
1/4 cup Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste.

GENTLY mix the above ingredients.

Pepperoni slices- Use a small ice cream scoop to measure the meat ball, press a slice of pepperoni in to each  and  then roll into a ball.  To help the balls hold their shape in cooking, I like to let them take a refrigerator break. 

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Brown the meat balls in a skillet with either olive oil or bacon fat to get a nice criminalisation going. Then fill a baking dish with the balls. Bake to finish in the oven- about 15 minutes of so.
Now this is more food than 2 adults are going to eat at one setting. so play with the pasta sauce and other courses that so there is no perception of lack of variety. 

The pasta is made in fresh batches for each meal. Boiled in generously salted water for just 3 minutes, the lightness of texture and smoothness on the tongue is unforgettable. 

If you lift the pasta from the water to drain it, you can drizzle a few tablespoons of the pasta water  to help the cheeses and sauce marry the spaghetti more fully.

The first night, the spaghetti pooled on the plate to hold the meatballs, on which gremolata was rolled over. The sauce was simplicity itself- just fresh tomatoes from the garden were rough chopped and barely heated with smashed garlic and grated salt and pepper.  

The second night, the sauce was from an opened jar. However, depth of flavor was provided by a spoonful of Silafunghi Hot Chili Sauce from NapaStyle. Do go gently with the spoon fulls added. Too much to the uninitiated and you might need the  fire extinguisher you do keep under your cabinet, don't you?

Which would be its own kine of memorable. But not simple nor sophisticated.

That would be a story for a different kind of blog.






Thursday, August 4, 2011

Sense of Place - Dogs and Roses

"All Americans need a sense of place. That's what makes our physical surroundings worth caring about. '
~Ed McMahon

Our house would not be our home without our dogs and our roses. 

 Please meet our two very spoiled pooches. Tahoe and Reno. 

My husband custom designed the the Mahogany servers with handles, crystal knobs and feet. The bowls are Portmeirion. Making these for our little darlings got my husband major romance points.

Tahoe is hiding behind  the rose crafted to honor Oprah-  Writing the story behind the creation of the crimson beauty  that is the 'The Legends Rose' was my first collaboration with photographer Gene Sasse.  on 2garden.com

What gives your home its sense of place?