Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Just add the Groom

Organic style boutonnières for perfect fall

1. Cotinus and broomcorn wrapped with red and white check ribbon.

2. White snowberry and brown glitter birch twig wrapped with copper bullion wire.

3. Purple rain grass, confetti birch twig, and myrtle wrapped with green wool.

4. Laurel and fresh lavender wrapped with brown and white gingham ribbon.

5. Myrtle and thistle accented with sphagnum moss.

6. Dried lotus pod, snowberry and broomcorn stems wrapped with a white velvet band.

7.Millet and banksia protea leaves wrapped in rawsilk ribbon

8.Sweet Huckleberry and burgundy kangaroo paws wrapped with natural bind wire.

Designed, styled and photographed by Valerie McNichols, IOBette

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Up Close & Personal, inside look at Paphiopedilum

Paphiopedilum (sometimes colloquially referred to as "Paphs") are considered highly collectible by growers due to the curious and unusual form of their flowers. Most naturally grow in humus layers as semi-terrestrials on the forest floor, in rocky outcroppings or in trees.

Along with [[Phragmipedium]], [[Cypripedium]], [[Mexipedium]], and [[Selenipedium]], the genus is a member of the subfamily Cypripedioideae, commonly referred to as the Lady’s or Venus’ Slipper Orchids, so named from the unusual shape of the pouch (labellum) of the flower, which was said to resemble a lady’s slipper. The pouch functions by trapping insects so that they are forced to climb up past the staminode, behind which they collect or deposit pollinia.

These sympodial orchids lack pseudobulbs. Instead they grow robust shoots, each with several leaves. These can be short and rounded or long and narrow, and be solid green or have a mottled pattern. When older shoots die, newer ones take over. Each new shoot only blooms once when it is fully grown, producing a raceme between the fleshy, succulent leaves. The roots are thick and fleshy. Potted plants form a tight lump of roots that, when untangled, can be up to l m long.

One group of paphs, commonly called the "Chinese paphs" or "Vietnamese paphs" are known for their unusually bright colors. Paphiopedilum armeniacum, for example, discovered in 1979 and described in 1982, amazed growers of orchids by the extraordinary beauty of its bright yellow flowers.

The Paphiopedilums are among the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchid genera. Thousands of interspecific hybrids have been registered with the Royal Horticultural Society in London over the years. These orchids are relatively easy to grow indoors, as long as conditions that mimic their natural habitats are created. Most species thrive in moderate to high humidity (50 to 70 percent), moderate temperatures ranging from 13 to 35 degrees Celsius and low light of 12,000 to 20,000 lux. Modern hybrids are typically easier to grow in artificial conditions than their parent species.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Crack ups!

1 cup unsalted butter, Anchor pure New Zealand butter
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
40 saltine crackers with sea salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Line cookie sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.
Lay crackers out on the foil.
Melt the brown sugar and butter until a boil is reached.
Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 5-6 minutes or until mixture is thickened and sugar is completely dissolved.
Pour this mixture over the crackers and spread to coat evenly.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the toffee becomes bubbly.
After removing the pan from the oven, let it sit for 3-5 minutes.
Sprinkle on the chocolate chips, let them soften and melt, and then spread them into an even layer.
Let cool or refrigerate until hardened. Break into pieces and serve

Monday, August 6, 2012

Summer Gazpacho Tingles the Taste Buds

On a perfect 90 degree day my co-worker offers my a bowl of her homemade Gazpacho soup. I had never had gazpacho nor any kind of cold soup. The moment my lips hit the saucy broth I knew I'd be hooked. It was full of body and the flavors practically popped out of the bowl. I added a spritz of fresh lime and sprinkled croutons on top. Not only was it full of amazing color but it was delicious too.
Lynnette Cook's Recipe
1 can 28oz crushed tomatoes with basil
1 cucumber, remove seeds and sliced in cubes
1 medium green pepper cleaned and cut in cubes
1 Tbsp organic apple cider vinegar, (Braggs)
1Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp dry white wine or chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, pressed

1 medium lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoned croutons

Mix together all ingredients then chill. Upon serving squeeze fresh lime and add croutons on top.