FRIDAY FLOWERS: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TULIPS?

I planted them on November 30th which is just about my usual time.  And all was fine…until February when we had that early spring! Suddenly the temperatures soared for days on end and the ground warmed up long before it was supposed to. The poor tulips were so confused and never had their full time of cold weather to form proper roots and s-l-o-w-l-y emerge.

This was on March 7, about two weeks earlier than usual:

 

 

These are, believe it or not, the same bed of tulips. This is 5 days later, on March 12 after our snowfall.
They do look pretty, don’t they?

 

And here they are March 18, almost a week later. They look almost normal here, except they ARE short. These are about 8-10″ high, when they should be about 16″.

These are the Tulip Menton from John Scheepers

I also planted the  White Emperor and purple Caravelle which haven’t bloomed yet.

 

And here, looking like Easter eggs (!) we have some end-of-season, off-the-rack from a local small store version of tulip! Really, they look like those plastic eggs you buy at Easter filled with small chocolates. Right?

Amazing.
Let’s just say that you get what you pay for!

 

The best for last. This is in another garden where the tulips are a bit more shaded and protected and thus have experienced a more “normal” growing season.

This is the Tulip Van Eijk from Longfield Gardens.
They are just beginning and most have not even begun to flower. So I’ll report back with (hopefully) some wonderful images of this garden. Another two weeks maybe?

Happy Spring, and I hope the weather is improving wherever you are!

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WHAT I’M READING

For your reading pleasure!
Here are a few recommendations from books I have recently read (and liked!)

Chasing the Monsoon by Alexander Frater

Those of you who have known me for a while know my fascination with India. I went there, on business, many years ago. We first went to Heimtex in Frankfurt, then on to Delhi. I was working in textile factories, staying with our supplier in his family’s house in Panipat, and then had time to stay and see the sites in Delhi. To say it was fascinating is SUCH an understatement!

I think it was about a year later that The Jewel in the Crown series of books came out, and I was hooked.

I’ve remained friends with our Indian supplier..he invited us over to his daughter’s wedding a few years ago but unfortunately we had to decline the invitation.

So, in lieu of a return trip, I read. This book was recommended by a friend who lived in many different countries and cities in the Far East and is also fascinated by India. May I present:

Alex Frater, an English travel writer and journalist, was born in the Far East and has written extensively about it. In this book he sets out to follow the Indian summer monsoon as it makes its mysterious but annual trek through India. It is humorous and yet oh so serious as he travels by foot, bus, broken cars, numerous delays, dealing with the often frustratingly slow  Indian bureaucracy. It is an unusual tour of this colorful and unique land.

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

Another from one very famous and prolific author. This is the first book I have read by Sue Monk Kidd, her most famous being The Secret Life of Bees.
This book is set in Charleston in 1810 and follows the Grimke family. It is one of those loosely correct historical novels that , while it keeps you enthralled and wanting to continue, it is a kind of soap opera theme. I finished it, and yes, enjoyed it, but maybe….it was a bit predictable.

The Lavender Garden
by Lucinda Riley

This story goes back and forth between the contemporary Cote d’Azur and Paris of 1944 with stops in the north of England. Being a Francophile I zeroed in on the title right away! I really enjoyed it: part love story, part family heritage, part mystery and part travelogue…it had it all. A good read!

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs

by Elaine Sciolino

The former New York Times Paris bureau chief writes about the city, and the neighborhood, she loves and knows so well. What could be better? The author shares stories…of people and of places and each one is told in vivid detail. Highly recommended!

I’ve also been ordering and reading many garden books, so I’ll plan a post on those in the near future.

I hope you will comment and let us know of any books you recommend!

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BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

These Blueberry Muffins were first seen at the original Jordan Marsh store in downtown Boston.

I’ve tried making many, oh so many, blueberry muffin recipes. Some work; some not so great. Then this recipe surfaced and made the rounds on Facebook a few months ago, so I took a look. And finally I made it.

YES!

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
 
 
Author:
Recipe type: Bakery
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ c softened butter
  • 1¼ c sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • ½ c milk
  • 2 c blueberries
  • 3 tsp. sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Cream the butter and 1¼ c. sugar until light
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time. beating well after each addition. Add vanilla.
  4. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder, and add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk.
  5. Crush ½ c blueberries with a fork and mix into the batter. Fold in remaining blueberries.
  6. Line a 12 standard muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill with the batter. Sprinkle the 3 tsp sugar over the tops of muffins.
  7. Bake at 375 for about 30-35 minutes.
  8. Cool for at least 35 minutes.
  • I did crush some berries and added the others whole: can’t say as it made a huge difference.
  • When sprinkling sugar on top: I use cinnamon sugar and very generously.
  • I baked in the standard size muffin pan but am going to try in a mini tin next time: I find this size is always better when entertaining (my women’s group is coming up on April 1…)
  • I only had/used a little over a cup of berries so these were a bit sparse!

 

How’s that for one gorgeous, scrumptious muffin?

 

Finally, yes, these are delicious. They hold together nicely, have frozen and defrosted well, and don’t last long in our house. I highly recommend.

To read more of the history of these iconic muffins, here is the recent article on the
New England Today site.

I didn’t grow up in Boston so never went there; but I think we all have memories of places like this. I remember, vividly, going to the Whitman’s counter and restaurant on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. And, of course, there was the Horn & Hardardt Automat. Yes, that was heaven! You put in your nickel, lifted the glass door, and there was the chocolate cake (or whatever yummy you had your eye on..)

Memories? Do you have a favorite place you loved as a child?

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