Tag Archives: David R. Godine publisher

For all the Tuna Sushi Eaters ~ How to Make Jasmine Rice

Jasmine plants are one of the easiest house plants to grow. Ours spend the summer on the sunny kitchen patio and the winter in a south-facing window. All winter long our Jasminum sambac  ‘Maid of Orleans’ throws us blossoms enough to flavor tea and rice whenever needed. At this time of year it provides handfuls and they can be used fresh or dried.

A half a dozen fresh jasmine flowers is all that is needed to scent a large pot of rice. Simply toss the flowers in with the rice, along with a pinch of salt, splash of olive oil, and water to boil. You don’t need to remove the flowers when done as they are perfectly edible. And its just that easy with a pot of tea, hot or cold. Add the flowers while the tea is seeping. For maximum jasmine flavor, rub the rim of the glass or cup with a freshly plucked blossom.

Jasmine flower ice tea Jasminium sambuc ©Kim Smith 2014

Jasmine Flower Ice Tea

Within the pages of my book on garden design, you’ll find a wealth of information about edible flowers, as well as information on growing herbs.

Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden

“Moonlight of the Groves”

Jasmine is among the loveliest of plants used to cover vertical structures—walls, arbors, porches, pergolas, bowers, and what you will. To my knowledge, and sadly so, none of the fragrant Jasminum are reliably hardy north of zone seven, and therefore must be potted up to spend the winter indoors.
Jasminum sambac, a woody evergreen shrub with vining tendencies, flowers freely throughout the year, covered with small (3⁄8 ̋), white, single or double flowers that fade to pink as they age. The perfume is similar to lilacs and orange blossoms, an exhilarating combination of scents that insinuates itself throughout garden and home.

Jasminum sambac is the flower that the Hindus gave the poetic name of “Moonlight of the Groves.” An ingredient often utilized to make perfume and flavor tea, J. sambac is also called bela when used to make garlands by women to wear in their hair during in Hindu worship ceremonies.

Although originally native to India, J. sambac grows throughout southern China. Confucius wrote that scented flowers were strewn about on all festive occasions. Houseboats and temples alike were hung with fragrant blossoms of peach, magnolia, jonquil, and jasmine. Gardens were devoted solely to the cultivation of jasmine to make fragrant oils and perfumes, to scent wines and teas, and to adorn the wrists and hair for women to wear in the evening. Each morning the unopened buds would be collected before dawn and brought to market for the city flower sellers to string into garlands and bracelets. Enhancing the tea experience by adding aromatics began during the Song Dynasty (a.d.960-1279). A single, newly opened blossom of J. sambac is all that is needed to perfume and flavor a pot of tea.

Read More Here Read more

Planting in Harmony with Nature

The following excerpt I wrote over fifteen years ago. The article was later adapted for my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! (available at my publisher’s website-click here). Yesterday’s post about how planting for wild bees and butterflies can save farmers money reminded me of the chapter “Planting in Harmony with Nature”.

Cecropia Moth ©Kim Smith 2011Male Cecropia Moth on Magnolia virginiana foliage

“The idea of a garden planted in harmony with nature is to create a loosely mixed arrangement of beauty combining native and well-behaved ornamental flowering trees and shrubs. This informal style of a woodland border or bucolic country hedge is not new and is what the French call a haie champêtre. Perhaps the country hedge evolved because it was comprised of easily propagated, or dispersed by wildlife, native species of plants and perhaps as a revolt against the neatly manicured boxed hedges of formal European gardens.

The country hedge is used, as is any hedge, to create a physical and visual boundary, but rather than forming the backdrop for ornamental plants, it is the show. By planting with a combination of native trees and shrubs, whether developing the framework of a new garden, designing a garden room, or extending an existing garden, one can create an interplay of plants drawing from a more widely varied collection of forms, textures, and colors. The framework is the living tapestry of foliage, flowers, fruit and fauna. Working and living in our garden rooms, we are enchanted by the wild creatures drawn to the sheltering boughs, blossoms, and berries. Additionally, by choosing to grow a combination of companionable fragrant North American trees and shrubs, designing a garden planted for a well-orchestrated symphony of sequential and interwoven scents is decidedly easier. We tend to be more familiar with ornamental trees and shrubs because they are readily obtained through the nursery trade. With the accessibility to resources available through the internet we can design with an increasing selection of native species.”

For the homeowner, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, a Boston Globe best-of, is chockablock full of design ideas for attracting pollinators to your garden, including extensive information about specific plants, plant combinations, and their cultivation. Oh Garden also makes a terrific gift book, at any time of year, but especially in the spring as we begin to see the earth reawakening and are seeking fresh design ideas and inspiration.

Read more about Oh Garden on my website, Kim Smith Designs ~ Click here.

Magnolia virginiana ©Kim Smith 2011 copyMagnolia virginiana is one of the most deliciously scented flowering trees you could grow. And the foliage is a caterpillar food plant for the fabulous Cecropia Moth, North America’s largest species of Lepidoptera. The above male Cecropia Moth found in our garden had a wingspan of six inches!

 

 

My Grandmother’s Garden

Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden, Chapter 22 ~ “My Grandmother’s Garden.”

Mimi, Kim, LivMy grandmother Mimi, just before she passed away, me, and daughter Liv

In the early 1960s my grandparents purchased (for the amazing sum of seven hundred dollars!) a picturesque half-acre lot with private beach rights on Cape Cod. Their dream was to build a cottage on the tall bluff overlooking the bay. Coincidentally, my grandmother continued to build their home in successive seven hundred dollar increments. Seven hundred dollars paid for digging the cellar, the next for pouring the cement for the foundation, and seven hundred dollars paid to frame the house. My grandfather finished the remaining work, and they were still building the cottage when we began to spend our summers there. He always had a hammer in one hand and a fistful of nails in the other, and I was thrilled to follow him about holding the nails.

My grandparents worked hard and created wonderful homes they generously shared. While still a young mother and throughout her life, my grandmother taught ceramics at the pottery studio our grandfather built for her. Working together, whatever they touched became transformed into something beautiful. Their homes had an enchanting and joyful atmosphere, or perhaps it just seems that way, recalled from a childhood of fond memories. When I was making plans to attend art school in Boston, my grandmother shared with me her portfolio from Parsons School of Design. I had come to spend the weekend to help her close down the house for the winter. There, in her garage, tucked in an old cupboard, she carefully pulled out a well-worn, though neatly arranged, portfolio filled with her watercolors and sketches. Imagine, keeping her portfolio safe all those years, possibly with the hope of communicating some part of her earlier self to one of her grandchildren.

Eventually, their gray-shingled summer dream cottage was made inviting by a screened porch, blue painted shutters, and a white picket fence. A dooryard flower garden was planted in front, and around back a vegetable and flower garden were sited atop the cliff overlooking the bay. A narrow, sandy path bordered with deliciously fragrant wild beach roses led from the garden to the steep stairs descending to the beach. A weathered picket fence and rickety salvaged gate connected to a wooden archway enclosed the flower garden. By mid-summer the entryway to the garden was embowered with a cloud of sky blue morning glories. Situated in a haphazard manner outside the gated garden were wind- and weatherworn 1920s bamboo armchairs and matching comfy chaise lounge. On some days we would play imaginary children’s games there in her garden overlooking the sea, and on other days we would draw and paint, make clay things from clay foraged from the bluff, and catch fat, helpless toads. I helped my grandmother plant hollyhocks and marguerites and marigolds. The colors, so vividly clear and fresh; flowers growing by the sea appear even more beautiful, perhaps from the ambient light reflected off the water.

Weather permitting, we usually served dinner on the porch. All the porch furniture was painted my grandmother’s signature blue. We ate at a long table with a pretty white-on-white embroidered cloth and round crystal rose bowl full of whatever flowers we had collected that day. We would have family feasts in the fading rosy light, memorable dinners of freshly boiled lobsters and mountains of steamed clams, buttery and sweet corn-on-the-cob, freshly picked vegetables and fruit, and ice cream.

Blissfully lying in bed early in the morning, I recall hearing the soft cries of the Mourning Doves and the cheery calls of the Bobwhites, mingled with the inviting sound of the surf. From my bedroom window I could look out across the garden to the bay and see the ships and sailboats coming and going in the sharply sparkling sea. The transcendent harmonies of the surrounding undulating sea-rhythms and shifting light, the blend of flower fragrances, and birdsongs created the desire to in turn provide similar experiences for our children.

Some years later and newly married, my husband and I were visiting my grandmother at her Cape house. We sat with her in the living room listening to her usual captivating tales, and told her our plans for our new life together. My husband later remarked to me how beautiful she looked. Mimi was wearing a summer shift in a lovely shade of French blue, seated in a chair slipcovered in a blue floral print, with the shimmering azure sea framed by the window behind her, her china blue eyes gazing serenely back at us.

My Garden—like the Beach—

Denotes there be—a Sea—

That’s Summer—

Such as These—the Pearls

She fetches—such as Me

—Emily Dickinson

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! sells for only $15.00 on my publisher’s website, which is a $2o.00 value off the list price of $35.00.

How to Grow Citrus Indoors: Bearss Limes

Bearss Lime ©Kim Smith 2013Bearss Lime

No, that is not a typo! Bearss Lime is a cultivar of the Tahiti Lime (Citrus latifolia) and was first discovered by T. J. Bearss in 1895 in his California grove. 

Bearss Limes ©Kim Smith 2013

Have you ever thought about growing dwarf citrus trees? We have grown Meyer Lemons successfully but this year was the first with our little Bearss Lime tree. We were blessed with a bumper crop!

I had read conflicting information on when to harvest limes–some sources said when green, others when greenish yellow, and still others claimed limes are sweetest when fully yellow. The longer the lime grows on the tree, the more yellow it becomes until, and as you can see in the above photo, it develops the appearance of a lemon. I wanted to do a side-by-side comparison and see for myself which ripeness was best for the limes from our tree and yesterday picked one yellow, one green, and in the process, a smallish one fell off. (when picking citrus, grasp the fruit gently and twist upward with a firm, but again gentle, hand).

I grow citrus firstly for its fabulously scented flowers and secondly for its fruit. Oil of citral is harvested from lime blossoms and is the base of many perfumes. One of the strongest threads running through my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!, is the wealth of information on the most highly scented cultivars covering a wide range of plant families including roses, narcissus, lilacs, jasmines, gardenias, and even fragrant daylilies! The fragrance of citrus blossoms, especially that of the orange, lemon, and lime, is up there at the top of my list, alongside gardenias and roses, for most beautiful scents found the world over.

Citrus plants are fairly indestructible, although they will quickly let you know when they’re unhappy. A few leaves will yellow and fall off, and if the problem is not resolved immediately, the entire plant will defoliate. This is typically due to overwatering and/or a soil mixture that does not allow for excellent drainage. Do not be discouraged, even if the entire plant becomes leafless. Water less frequently and try repotting the plant in a more suitable growing medium. Usually, they can be revived and the survivor will be healthier.

Lime Pellegrino water ©Kim Smith 2013 copy

Back to our experiment ~ Without doubt the yellow lime was the sweetest. The green lime made my mouth fully pucker, the yellow not at all. Both had a wonderfully zesty-fresh-limey fragrance and taste, but the yellow was less tart and I think would be delicious in pies and and lime-aid. With the remaining limes on our tree I will definitely wait until they develop more yellow than green before harvesting.
*   *   *
To learn more about growing citrus indoors see the chapter on fragrant plants for patios and terraces, Chapter 17, in my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden.

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! sells for only $15.00 on my publisher’s website, which is a $2o.00 value off the list price of $35.00.

Click here to purchase a copy of Oh Garden.

*   *   *

A citrus plant would make a very special holiday gift. Logees Greenhouse mail order is a great source for a wide range of dwarf citrus plants, the common and the not so common, including Buddha’s Hand, Blood Oranges, Key Lime, kumquat, Mandarin orange, and many more.

Beautiful Video Filmed at Willowdale Estate and Produced by Long Haul Films

Mary Foss Murphy writes ~

I am a faithful GMG reader and enjoy your posts and pictures.  Thank you for sharing your talents with us. Knowing of your work at Willowdale and your work as a video producer, I thought you would enjoy this wedding trailer from Long Haul Films of a recent wedding there. The intro to the trailer mentions the beautiful setting; I wish a few more scenes of Willowdale had made it into the trailer.  I love the cranes as the backdrop for their vows. I have been following the Long Haul blog for a few years. I’m always cheered by watching two people in love get married!

Enjoy!
Sincerely,
Mary Foss Murphy

P.S. My mom bought me your book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! for Christmas a few years ago.  I garden, though have not had time to do your book justice.  I love having it anyway.

My response ~ Thank you so much for sharing Mary and thank you for your good words regarding my book. I loved seeing this film and am so glad to become acquainted with Long Haul Films!  The video must have been created very recently as I planted the sunflower window boxes just a month or so ago!

*   *   *

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! is currently selling for only $15.00 on my publisher’s website which is a $20.00 value off the list price of $35.00.

Click here to purchase a copy of Oh Garden.

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden

At this time of year, with the holidays knocking at our doors and the scramble for gift ideas beginning, I try to remember to post excerpts and information about my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden (which I both wrote and illustrated), and “The Pollinator Garden” lecture that I gave last evening in Pepperel reminded me to do so again this year. My publisher, Mr. Godine, always thanks me for this endeavor!

We sold a good stack of books last night and I was so appreciative for the opportunity to present my program to an interested audience engaged in learning more about the connection between what we plant and the pollinators we invite to our gardens. Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! speaks to both the greater and smaller concepts in garden-making and is a how-to design tutorial that covers the gamut from creating the framework to what to plant to attract the tiniest of butterflies. The design concepts are universal, and although set in Gloucester, Oh Garden makes for a thoughtful gift for anyone on your holiday gift-giving list!

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! sells for only $14.00 on Amazon, which is a $21.00 value off the publisher’s list price of $35.00.

Click here to purchase a copy of Oh Garden.

Front Door Cosmos Kitty ©Kim Smith 2009

From my book’s introduction ~

We all carry within us the image of a home to create and a garden to tend. Perhaps you dream, as I do, of a welcoming haven to foster family bonds and friendships and to rejoice in life’s journey. The garden and the home to which it belongs becomes a memory catcher to weave a life’s tapestry.

To imagine a garden paradise, one must live in one’s home and listen to its own particular music. Gradually, by degrees, the idea of the garden will grow. A home and a garden should look as though they had grown up together and will, when one takes the time and necessary thought. A garden cannot be hurriedly created. Delicious, blissful pleasure is derived from the garden’s use as a continuation of the home.

Our gardens provide a safe harbor from hectic lives, a place to celebrate life and an opportunity to express our creativity. The garden is an inviting sanctuary to guide one through the rhythms and harmonies of the natural world. Planted to nurture the imagination and hearten the soul, a “new” cottage garden is a whimsical, exuberant intermingling of scented flowers and foliage, fresh fruit, and savory herbs.

As a designer, I believe I am here to channel ideas for the benefit of many. This book is my communication of a profound desire to share with readers the immeasurable joy gleaned from creating a personal paradise of one’s own making.

The illustrations are of flowers, songbirds, and butterflies I love to draw and to paint, and selected because they only become more beautiful when intimately observed.

A poetic world lies waiting to be discovered. Let us open the garden gate and take a step within.

Congratulations Emily Forshay Crowley-Winner of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Dear Friends,

I truly wish I could give each and everyone of you who wrote your thoughtful and cherished comments a copy of Oh Garden. Thank you.

Warmest wishes for a joy-filled holiday season and many thanks again for your participation.

Kim

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! .jpg

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! On sale for 15.00 at David R. Godine, Publisher

Win a FREE Copy of Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Tuesday through Friday of this week I will be bringing you expert gardening advice excerpted from my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden. My book is currently on sale on my publisher’s website (David R. Godine) for the unheard of price of 15.00 (the list price is 35.00.) In response to Godine’s super sale, I am offering a free copy of my book.

Leave a comment or question on any of the posts by Friday at 8PM to be entered into the drawing to win. Multiple entries are allowed. One person will be chosen at random. The book will be shipped on Monday, the 17th, which should allow time for it to arrive by Christmas. Shipping is included to addresses within the United States and Canada.

Praise for Oh Garden! from The Boston Globe’s Carol Stocker ~ Oh Garden! is a treasure, and perhaps the best garden gift book of the season. Both dream-like and practical, it captures the gardener’s journey by integrating personal essays, hand’s-on advice, and paintings.
—The Boston Globe

Monarch Butterflies Mating.jpgA Pair of Monarchs Mating in Our Pear Trees 

Excerpt from Part One: Creating the Framework, Chapter One

He who plants pears, Plants for heirs

Pyrus communis, or common European pear, is not seen growing in the wild. The cultivated pears as we know them today are thought to be derived from Pyrus nivalis and P. caucasia. Few pears ripen well on the tree and that may be one reason they have not been grown as extensively in America as apples and peaches, although apple and peach trees are not as long lived as pear trees. A healthy pear tree can live and bear fruit for several centuries.

The trick to harvesting pears is to pick them as they are ripening, while they are still quite firm. If you wait until the flesh yields with pressure on the outside, the fruit will be rotted inside. Each individual variety of pears has an estimated ripening date from when the tree blooms. Note the date when the tree begins to flower and count the days forward to the approximate ripening time. The quality of the soil, where the tree is sited, as well as changes in the weather from year to year will influence the number of days until the pears are ready to be harvested. Bearing in mind that this is only an approximation, begin monitoring the fruit closely as the day approaches. Nearing the correct time of harvest, the color of the fruit will begin to change. For example, the ‘Beurre Bosc’ begins to turn a light golden yellow beneath its russet skin. Carefully hold the stem of the pear in one hand and the fruit-bearing spur in the other hand. Gently twist with an upward turn. Remove the pear and stem, not the bumpy, fruit-bearing spur. It takes several years for a spur to develop, and if damaged or accidentally harvested with the pear, the crop will be significantly decreased the following year.

Stack the fruit in the coldest section of a refrigerator and store for several weeks. After two to three weeks, remove a pear or two and let it ripen at room temperature for several days. At this point the pear will ideally be fully ripe and ready to eat. Depending on the cultivar, pears will keep for weeks to several months when kept well chilled.

See Monday’s post for more about Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

My Book On SALE for ONLY 15.00!!! “Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden”

Just in time for holiday gift-giving, my book, Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden, which I both wrote and illustrated, is on sale for only 15.00 on my publisher’s website. The price is unbeatable as the list cost is 35.00. Oh Garden! makes an ideal gift for the garden-maker and nature lover on your holiday list and at this price, I recommend you buy one for yourself and one for a friend!

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities.jpgPraise for Oh Garden ~

Anyone who gardens along the Eastern Seaboard from Maine to South Carolina will appreciate Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! (David R. Godine, 2009, $35). This book is filled with design ideas and plants that work well in this coastal region, as author and garden designer Kim Smith relates her experiences with her garden in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The first part of the book, “Creating the Framework,” delves into trees, shrubs, and other elements for creating structure in the garden, while the second section addresses how to fill out the framework to create a harmonious living tapestry in your garden. —Viveka Neveln, The American Gardener

Oh Garden! is a 250 page hardcover book crammed full of the most excellent gardening advice you will find anywhere, guiding you through the four seasons, and woven throughout with over 85 illustrations, and fabulous plant lists. All this coming week I will be posting expert gardening advice on GMG and on my blog, with more praises from The Boston Globe and other literary reviewers.

Green Leaves Ignite!

“Green leaves ignite, transformed by a kaleidoscope of incinerating colors—devil-red, burnt tangerine, caramelized amber, searing saffron, and smoldering crimson-purple. The air is impregnated with the aromatic perfume of orchard fruits ripening in the fleeting flush of the sun’s warm light. Hazy, slanting rays gild the late season glory in the garden. Surrounded by flowers of dissipating beauty and juxtaposed against the dazzling brilliance of autumn foliage, we are urged to spend every possible moment savoring our gardens before the onset of winter.”

Excerpt from my book Oh Garden of fresh Possibilities! Notes from a Gloucester Garden. Written and Illustrated by Kim Smith, David R. Godine, Publisher. To read more of this excerpt, click link: Exquisite Flora in Autumn.

Beautiful saffron yellow maple found, glowing gold in a shady knoll beneath a hardwood tree canopy, at Bradley Palmer State Park.

I believe this little tree is a Japanese maple tree, not typically found in a forest of North American native trees.

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities!

Dear Friends,

It’s that time of year again for holiday gift making and gift giving. Possibly you are one of those fantastically super organized holiday spirits finished with your holiday shopping, or even more probably, you’re not in the mood to hear another holiday commercial. If so, please forgive, but I am writing to suggest that my book Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Notes from a Gloucester Garden, which I wrote and illustrated, makes a wonderful holiday gift. If you already own a copy, perhaps you will agree that it would make a thoughtful gift for that someone on your list who loves to garden, or a young couple who may have recently purchased a home and needs sound advice, or someone who simply likes to read about flowers, butterflies, garden lore, and garden-making.

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! Front Cover 

This is a link to the Press Page of my blog, where you can read excerpts of reviews by The Boston Globe’s Carol Stocker, Bloomsbury Review, Patriot Ledger, North American Butterfly Association, and more. With spending any spare hours blogging and my video projects and garden design newsletter, I am embarrassed to say that my website has not been updated in over a year, however, both the Book Page and Story Page on my website provide more information about Oh Garden. 

Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! is available at Toad Hall, and wherever fine books are sold.

Excerpt from the introduction ~

We all carry within us the image of a home to create and a garden to tend. Perhaps you dream as I do of a welcoming haven to foster family bonds and friendships and to rejoice in life’s journey. The garden and the home to which it belongs becomes a memory catcher to weave a life’s tapestry.  To read more