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Denver Brownies

These are sooooo good. I think these may rank as one of my favorite of Maida's numerous brownie recipes (my favorites are the Palm Beach Brownies and the Santa Fe Brownies ). Maida Heatter says she got the recipe at a television station in Denver and was told that Julia Child had raved about them. I can see why.  3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/4 tsp. baking powder 1/4 tsp. salt 1/3 cup honey 2 tbsp. water or coffee 4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, in pieces at room temperature 6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 tsp. vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) walnuts or pecans, cut into medium-sized pieces 2 tbsp. bourbon, brandy, or rum Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9-inch square pan with foil. Butter the foil and set aside. (Note: It is helpful to cut the foil large enough so that it drapes over the sides of the pan. This will make it easier to remove from the pan). Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place the honey, water or coffee, butter and choco

Margie's garden

Last week I discovered I had a Hot Plants article due for Alabama Gardener and was totally unprepared and had nothing in mind for it. I was talking to Margie Anderton, who I wrote a garden profile about a few years ago, and asked her if she had anything interesting in her garden right now. She said she had a celosia that was spectacular. I drove out there Friday evening after work to take a look.

This variety of Celosia is called "Flamingo Purple Feather" and Margie was right - it was impressive, standing about 7 feet tall, loaded with magenta blooms and swarming with hummingbirds. I was afraid I was going to be dive bombed while getting the photos. This is a plant I'd love to have in my garden. For more information, look for the plant profile in the Nov./Dec. issue of Alabama Gardener.

Here is a close-up of the blooms. They turn white from the bottom up as
they age which makes a striking contrast.
There were more interesting plants in her garden. This fleece flower shrub (Fallopia japonica 'Variegata') was spectacular and loaded with blooms. I had photographed this plant earlier but had never observed it this time of year.

She had lots of ornamental grasses. I don't know the variety of this one.
A white Angel's Trumpet (brugmansia) in her front entrance garden
This is the prettiest hyacinth bean vine (Lablab purpureus) I've seen this year. We have one but it only has a few blooms on it. Margie's was covered!
Angel Wing begonia (Begonia coccinea)

This is the Chinese Paper Bush (Edgeworthia chrysantha (E. papyrifera), a plant that I covet. I photographed the blooms last winter and, as you can see, the foliage and shape of the shrub is quite attractive.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow a 7' celosia. Not only is it pretty it is dramatic with that height. I will have to remember this one for next summer. That Fleece flower shrub is an invasive plant here. It will grow anyplace under any conditions and go wild. Love that last shrub. It is good looking.

  2. WOW, and just when I thought I didn't need any more plants! Well I guess "want" would be a better choice of words. That celosia is fabulous!

  3. Very nice gardens. I have tall celosia too started from a pack of seeds from the dollar store some years ago. It pops up everwhere, I'll share seeds if you like.

  4. Never seen such a dramatic celosia. You must be doing something great. I also love the dragon's wings begonia. Your garden looks so lush. Nice work.

  5. The celosia reminds me of a variety called 'Flamingo Feathers', except for the 7' tall part. Do you know if 'Carter's Amazon' seeds around the garden prolifically?

  6. I’m looking forward to reading more about that celosia in the magazine. Beautiful!

  7. These are all so beautiful. That Hyacinth Bean is stunning! I need to make a list of those good end of summer plants to try to look out for Phillip. My yard is suffering from lack of rain and color!

  8. The tall Celosia looks like the perfect solution for a long back fence I have. I tried to google Carter's Amazon for information and seed but no luck. I wonder if you meant Cramer's Amazon which looks to be the same? Can you tell me over what period they will bloom? They are obviously still spectacular in late summer and early fall but I wonder when they begin to bloom. If these are colorful over a long season they would be a great solution for my back fence.

  9. Thanks Bill, I goofed. It IS "Cramer's Amazon" not Carter.

  10. I've never had the pleasure of visiting Margie's garden. Hope to at some point. I have 3 angel trumpets that haven't bloomed yet. Do they need to be a certain age? All were small when I planted them and keep growing taller each year, but no blooms yet. Mary

  11. Hi Phillip! You showed me several plants that are unknown to me. What beauties!


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