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Homemade Pretzels

I haven't made homemade pretzels since we were in Alabama and I had forgotten how easy they are if not a little time consuming. I made these last week for Oscar night. They keep a long time in an airtight container. 1   (.25 ounce) package   active dry yeast 1 tablespoons   brown sugar 1  teaspoons   salt 1 ½   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 3   cups   all-purpose flour 1   cup   bread flour 2   cups   warm water (110 degrees) 2   tablespoons   baking soda 1-2   tablespoons   butter, melted 2   tablespoons  kosher salt Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Place the yeast, brown sugar and salt in the 1.5 cups of warm water. Stir to dissolve. Stir in the flour. Knead for about 7-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Let it rise for an hour (I place mine in the oven with the light on). Combine the two cups of warm water with the baking soda in a square shallow pan. After the dough has risen, cut it into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each section into a

The "B" roses

Belinda -  I love the hybrid musks and am constantly recommending to people, especially those with shade. Of course all roses love sunshine but some can tolerate a bit of shade better than others. I have hybrid musk roses that bloom and perform beautifully with only 4-5 hours of sun. Belinda is one of the first I grew. Like most hybrid musks, it has a mounding habit, about 4 feet high and 5 feet wide. A once bloomer.

Blaze - This old workhorse has been around since 1932 when it was introduced by Jackson & Perkins. It is easy to find and readily available. Unlike most of the roses in our garden, it doesn't have to be mail ordered. Just go to any outlet that sells roses and you'll probably find it. There is a "new and improved Blaze" and to be honest, I have no idea which one we have. Suffice to say is that it blooms beautifully every year and continues off and on throughout the summer.

Blaze rose growing with Clematis "Duchess of Edinburgh" and yellow honeysuckle

Bobbie James - Rambler roses are not for the faint of heart and should be carefully planted. If they are positioned near trees or any type of structure, you can be assured that the rose will find and take advantage of it. You may remember my love/hate rant about Rambling Rector. Bobbie James is not as vigorous but it is a force to be reckoned with. The thorns are dangerous and pruning shears are needed to keep this monster in check. It is planted in our "secret garden" over an iron gazebo. In full bloom, it is a beautiful sight that lasts all too brief.

Rambler rose Bobbie James
This photo was taken when the rose was very young. It is now much larger and you can hardly see the gazebo.

Buff Beauty - The last of the "B's" but certainly not the least, this is one of my Top 5 roses. This gorgeous rose begins as buff yellow and matures to a rich apricot hue. Good roses in this color range are hard to come by - most fade in the sunlight and many are disease prone or not very hardy. Buff Beauty's color holds well and as the blooms do begin to fade, there are plenty of others waiting to open. This rose can be grown as a climber (reaching to 12 feet), however, some canes will be shorter than others and may have to be trimmed off in order to achieve satisfying results. If you decide to grow it as a shrub, as I do, give it plenty of room. It sends out long arching branches and looks somewhat like a giant spider spreading its tentacles. An expanse of 5 feet in height and 8 feet in width can be expected. Other good qualities is attractive medium green foliage, strong fragrance and repeat blooms.

Buff Beauty
Buff Beauty (full)

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I swung by your place one day this week on the way home from work. Everything looking great. Hope you are mending after your accident. Stay off of walls. Mary

  2. Awesome post1! Thanks for sharing this!!

  3. I have a rose that's a bit similar to Buff Beauty called Westerland. It's more apricot but opens pale orange and then fades from apricot to yellow and then pink. Your roses look great!!

  4. That last picture is incredible, I get so jealous!

  5. These huge mature climbers are what dreams are made of. Just amazing.

  6. Buff Beauty is still my fave rose you have. Why have I not mail ordered this for myself??

  7. Stunning! I am so envious of that Buff Beauty... A beautiful rose in a beautiful setting.

  8. Love the rose/view of the gazebo and the one with the urn. Wonderful vignette designs.

  9. Phillip, I have serious Rose Envy!!
    Yikes, I have planted Rambling Rector AND Etain, two ramblers, to climb a large Oak (60'+) hope it was not a mistake. Please advise.

  10. Sandra, I left a note on your blog.

  11. I don't grow Belinda but I agree hybrid musks are a very deserving group of roses! I love Buff Beauty too, one of my favorites, clean and fragrant, with lots of blooms.

  12. Phillip, I am going backwards in your alphabet of roses and this post has me in awe of your talent! Stunning images of your garden!!


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