Sunday, December 20, 2009

Evening of Wine 2009

A HUGE thank you to all that attended our 3rd. Annual Evening of Wine at The Flower Tree last week. What a great way to celebrate the season. We would also like to thank Southern Wine and Spirits for sponsoring this event for us again this year. With 5 tasting stations, representing over 20 wineries & breweries - there was definitely something for everyone. Watch for all the favorites to start appearing at the Red Zinnia soon. Korena & Bill Mewaldt did a wonderful job of greeting our guests.

Michelle ended the evening by announcing the raffle winners - over 30 of them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do as we say....Not as we do!

Remember how we tell you to make sure and "winterize" all your fountains and statuary. How we remind you to drain everything, and if is is not frost proof to cover it with a heavy tarp. How we ask you to make sure that you move any no frost proof pots inside the garage or storage shed...............................well..................this is why!!!

This gorgoes water feature pot sits by the front door of the gift shop, directly underneath the rain gutter. We always thought it was pretty cool how it would fill up on the small number of days that we actually see rain here. But then the snow came, and came, and came...and melted......and this is the result. Now we just have to get it moved before Bob sees it............
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Creative Centerpieces

A snowy, cold day didn't stop these lovely ladies from arriving at The Flower Tree to participate in Michelle's class on Holiday Centerpieces. We moved them inside, toasty warm and they had a great time. The centerpieces were creative and beautiful and are sure to last all the way until the holidays. Thank you ladies, we had fun too!!!!

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Homegrown tomatoes for Thanksgiving...and Christmas

Forgot to post this one up last month, but it seems more fitting now. Last month, a couple of days after Thanksgiving, Bob and I had fresh delicious ripe ruby red tomatoes on our plate. We had picked all that we could before the last hard frost in early October and placed them in the garage on a makeshift table. Most were semi-green at the time and we had been pulling from them all month to savor the end of the season. BLT's, caprice salad, fresh roasted in butternut squash soup, I used them for juicing and just plain sliced with a little blue cheese on top.

Fast forward to December 13th, See that big lush beauty in the photo below...yep, that was on our plate last night with some fresh mozzarella and balsamic fig dressing....yum. And we still have about 40 tomatoes left out in the garage. We were worried last week after the -12 temps, that they froze, but it looks like the garage is better insulated than we thought, and we should be enjoying some more on Christmas Day, and possibly even New Years with the black eyed peas. They are ripening a lot slower now, and we will probably move some of them into the sunny windows in the house, but the flavor and texture is still magnificent. The other photo, crates of apples....sitting ready for Bob to make more hard apple cider & mead.....more on that next week.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Always one of the hits of the winter season is the day we start making pine cone birdfeeders, not only for the kids, but for the birds. It wasn't 5 minutes after we hung these outside - they were covered in birds. We will continue to make up the mix through the winter, and as long as we have pinecones you are welcome to stop in and make one with us.

Flower Tree mix:
1 part crunchy peanut butter
1 part cornmeal
1 part crisco

Heat it all up together in the microwave until you can stir it all together real well.

Have a large enough bowl ready to roll your pinecones in - fill it with birdseed.

Tie a long string to the end of your pinecone before starting

Place your hand inside a plastic bag (we like the ones from the produce area- recycle them)

Grab the pinecone with the other hand and using your plastic "gloved" hand - blot the peanut butter mixture all over it, not too heavy, just enough so that the seed will stick to it.

Roll in peanut butter coated pinecone in birdseed
Hang it up outside!!! and watch the birds flock to it.

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Declared - A Snow Day

At the house, "Birdgirl of the Garden" is clocked in her snow blanket.
Got down to the Flower Tree to clear the parking lot and the walkways before it had a chance to freeze. Harriet was waiting patiently for us at the door to let her out. She took a few hesitant steps, and then was all game.
Took Bob over two hours to clear the parking area and walks in the nursery. The snow is piled up around the bulk bins. It will be awhile before we see the ground again over there.

Harriet, "The Snow Princess"

Trying to hide from me behind the snow shovel.....Now if I could only teach her how to use it.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Amazing "Natural Wreaths"

"Natural Wreath Class - 2009"

Take 12 extremely creative women, armed with handfuls of branches, cuttings, pine cones, ribbons and seedpods,.......add in the imaginative and talented teaching skills of Michelle Nelsen, and what do you get? Natural wreaths to make Mother Nature proud. We couldn't have asked for nicer weather today for the first of Michelle's 2009 Holiday Classes. The sun was shining, and thankfully the wind that tore through here yesterday had abated. With pruners in hand, the women ventured out to the back display garden, and then on down to the river to cut pieces of branches, milkweed pods, lavender and crab apple twigs and anything colorful that caught their eye. Back into the "green room" they carried their goodies, a nice fire in the old wood stove warming everything. With Michelle's guidance they created their masterpieces to grace their homes. One of our favorite gardeners, Alice, stopped by in the middle of the class, and had the great idea also of placing these wreaths on the fence with the holidays are over. They will be a perfect "bed making"supplier to the birds in the area. You might even find a robins nest in one of them come spring.

That's Michelle hiding in the middle of her wreath.................

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Rosemary 'Arp'

This post is courtesy of Michelle Nelsen, our Creative Designer @ The Flower Tree:

"I started keeping cut herbs in jars on the counter because I thought they were pretty. Just 3 or so, and it's easy to use them. They're already clean when I need them and they stay fresh in the water. (make sure and change it every few days)

What I discovered is that rosemary roots very quickly. Usually in 2-3 weeks. The first time I just used the herb and tossed the stems. The next time I let the roots get a little bigger and potted it them up in 1 gallon pots. (which by the way, The Flower Tree gives you free because they like to recycle). I'll let it winter in that pot up on the deck so I remember to water it and in the spring put it out in the yard. The variety I have is rosemarinus officinalis cv. 'Arp', which is a lovely culinary hardy evergreen variety that grow upright and blooms usually twice a year with pretty little bluish purple flowers. We get them from one of our favorite growers, Mountain Valley . Check out their website for good recipes too. We carry a large selection of their herbs during the spring/summer months.

My plant in the backyard after only 2 seasons. I will add many more this next year to fill in where I need a little bit of color in the winter.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wine pairing dinner @ The Henderson's

Wine Pairing Dinner with Chef Shawn & Sommelier Jaime
November 22, 2009
Eggplant Bruschetta
Stuffed Artichokes braised in a white wine sauce
Risotto ai Fungi Asparagus al Andalusia
Foccacia Sicilian Stockfish Stew ( Mewaldt’s organic tomatoes, green olives and capers)
Villa Antinori Toscana 2005 Italy
Santa Cristina Pinot Grigio 2006 Italy
Clean Slate Riesling 2008 Germany
San Telmo Esencia Torrontes 2009 Argentina
Jana “Old Vine” Napa Valley Riesling 2007 Napa/USA
Tormaresca Neprica 2008 Italy
Centine Banfi “Sangiovese*Cabernet Sauv*Merlot blend” 2006 Italy
2Up Shiraz 2007 Australia
Sandeman Tawny Port Portugal
On a beautiful star filled Sunday evening, 16 of us gathered around the table at my house for the first of many. I hope, wine pairing dinners. Since we opened Red Zinnia a little over a year ago, we have made it our goal to search out new wines to bring into the shop. You might have met Jaime Sammons at one of our weekly tastings. As the wine buyer for Red Zinnia, she has worked hard to teach us to broaden our horizons and stretch our pallets as she has brought in new and exciting wineries for us to try.

On this evening , we not only had some great new wines that Jaime had selected, but the extra special treat of an amazing culinary experience created for us by Shawn Meyers. Some might know him as the EOD Chief at NAS Fallon, but I will always refer to him as “Chef Shawn”, a title he richly deserves. Accompanied by his wife Kori, they brought the skills that they had developed while stationed in Italy for 3 years direct to our table for the evening. It was an absolutely beautiful night. I will let the pictures below tell the rest of the story. As for the wines, look for all but one to be on our shelves over the next few weeks. I am sure that you will enjoy them as much as we did, and maybe……..I can get a recipe or two from Shawn to go with them.

The guests start to arrive , Korena & Linny

Shawn & Kori getting started in the kitchen..................
Jaime & Kevin helping with the stuffed artichokes.......Jaime goes over her last minute notes on the wines to be served.......
Jaime, Sarah & Michelle

Korena & Lucia
Jaime explains the nuances of the pairing....... was a wonderful evening!


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