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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

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day September 2016

solomons-seal-persicaria-hosta I have been enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather and planting up a storm. I will share what I've been doing in a future post. I actually took time this morning to take a few photos for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day which I usually miss altogether. The above photo was taken out front along the foundation. It is kind of a hot mess of Fleece Flower (Persicaria 'Red Dragon'), hostas and Solomon's Seal - more of a foliage shot but at least the Fleece Flower is blooming. Speaking of, it is a sprawling mess right now and I will move it later in the fall. I don't think it gets enough sun. Actually, I will be moving a lot of plants this year. Live and learn!

Some of the potted plants first -

'Dragon Wing' begonia by the front door

We love this little begonia and I don't recall the name of it. It is a little blooming machine, doing perfectly fine in full shade. I hope I can overwinter it.

Now on to plants in the ground -

The blooms have been a bit stingy but I am loving Pink Princess Escallonia (Escallonia x exoniensis 'Fradesii')

Yarrow (Achillea)


Our neighbors gave us this dahlia - isn't it stunning? The blooms are huge and more are on the way.

Peacock Orchid (Gladiolus murielae)

Buddleia 'Buzz Hot Raspberry' - a dwarf variety of Butterfly Bush that has bloomed non-stop since I planted it.

A new plant for me - Potentilla 'Gold Star'. I found this on the discount table at Portland Nursery. The bees love it. last week.

Penstemon mexicala 'Windwalker Garnet'

Penstemon 'Violet Kissed'

Bougainvillea 'Barbara Karst'

Lion's Ear (Leonotis nepetifolia), another amazing plant that is new to me.

Some roses to finish the post - Hybrid Tea rose 'Gold Medal'

Miniature rose 'Boogie Woogie'. The poor thing has blackspot but it has been blooming like mad.

English rose 'Lady of Shallot', the first rose I planted, just starting another flush of blooms.

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day is held on the 15th of each month. You can see what is blooming in other blogger's gardens at May Dreams Gardens.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Lots of lovely blooms in your garden, Phillip. I confess to being a bit intrigued with Yarrow, lately. I read somewhere that it's one of the most amazing broad spectrum feeder plants for insects. Seeing your happy vignette makes me think I need to get some too. Also, the first photo of the Leonotis is stunning - wow!

  2. I've come to the decision that begonias are the way to go for me Phillip. Everything looks so beautiful. Alabama is a scorched mess this year. If it isn't brown, it's drooped and wilted. So sad.

  3. Your new garden has a plethora of new to me blooms. It is fun to see them presented today. I can see you are thoroughly enjoying this new garden. Keep the photos coming. Happy GBBD.

  4. Beautiful photos of a beautiful garden. I am quite envious of that bouganvillea. My yarrow dried up early this year. It has been really hard to keep everything watered during this drought.

  5. So many lovely blooms! I can't pick a favorite, but I am really enticed by the 'Violet Kissed' penstemon. I don't think I've ever seen one in these shades. Many of my containers are looking pretty pathetic, but my begonias are doing great,too. I overwintered one last year, and it looked pretty sad all spring, but even it is looking gorgeous right now. I hope I can find room to over-winter most of mine, too. Happy Bloom Day!

  6. Lovely blooms! Will you attempt to overwinter the Bougainvillea or treat it as an annual?

  7. How many beautiful colors you have there in your new-ish garden! What garden zone is your new garden? It will be interesting to see which things over winter well for you.

  8. The "hot mess" along the foundation is quite fantastic! I love the striking foliage combinations. I'm in love with the pictures of the Lion's Ear. I hope to add that beauty to my own garden.

  9. Oh, I love that "hot mess" in the first picture: the color combination is so rich, I wouldn't change a thing. It won't be long before the first gardening year in the PNW is up; It must have been quite an exciting learning curve. It would be interesting to read about some of what you've learn that is different from your experience in Alabama. I love everything about the Lion's Ear. Very cool.

  10. Love the lion's ear - I am growing it for the first time this year as well!

  11. The weather agrees with your flowers. I like the Lion's Ear! I first saw 'Red Dragon' Persicaria in your Alabama garden. Now it is growing in mine! Except the unrelenting hot weather the last few months has given it a brownish tint. I hope it will be OK once the weather cools. It is still blooming.

  12. It must be fun to discover new plants now that you're gardening in such a different climate. Everything seems to be thriving under your magic touch. :o)


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