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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

Open Gardens: Nancy Goldman and Deborah Myers

Two great gardens in Portland on the Open Gardens Tour this week - Nancy Goldman and just two houses down, Deborah Myers. Myers' garden was not listed in the directory and for a while, my friend Rebecca and I thought that we were in Nancy's garden until a fellow visitor cleared it up for us. Good thing as we would probably not have ventured down to Nancy's garden had we not known this. Anyway, two great gardens on one visit. 

First, the garden of Deborah Myers -
Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
A masterful use of combining various textures. Isn't this fun?
Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
The front garden is very tiny but so well done. There is a wonderful sense of privacy.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
Love this!

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
The pathway is a mix of flagstone, brick and gravel.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
Heading around to the back garden where various garden rooms awaits.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
Tiger lilies! Nancy Goldman had a lot of these also.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
The little bird bath was for the bees and it was busy with them.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
An impressive stand of Bamboo stands along a pathway. It was very tall and the diameter of the canes was quite large.

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
Japanese Angelica Tree (Aralia elata, I think)

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
More striking uses of textures - Japanese Umbrella Pine (Sciadopitys verticillata) and Painted Fern

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
A Fairy Garden

Myers Garden (Portland, OR)
Thank you Deborah for sharing your fantastic garden!
 Now, on to Nancy Goldman's garden.

A pebble mosaic "rug" and the waft of honeysuckle greet you as you approach the entrance.

It is so much fun seeing the creativity in these gardens. As we rounded the side of the house and stepped onto a deck that overlooks the back garden, this is what we saw!

Immediately off the deck is a serene vignette with hostas, ferns and mosses.

Stepping off the deck and venturing back into the garden finds all kinds of artistic delights.

The late afternoon sun just lit up the fern. Notice she has an Aralia too!

Nancy uses lots of found objects in clever ways throughout the garden.

Another pebble mosaic

The largest mosaic surrounded a small bird-bath that has been transformed into a planter for sedums.




Some really cool Four O'Clocks (Mirabilis jalapa). She says they just mysteriously appeared in the garden.

We are now back along the sidewalk in front of Nancy's house. Another fun mosaic - do you see the tools?

A cozy little nest in the front garden. The fence panel was made by a local craftsman - the chairs are part of the entire piece.

One last view from this incredible garden - thank you Nancy!

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Beautiful gardens!! Thank you for sharing, Phillip.

  2. I love these kinds of gardens where you feel enveloped by plants. All the "things" in the garden make it fun too. I love the mosaic rugs in the last garden. I wish I had patience and the know how to make one.

  3. Wow! Love these gardens, especially the pebble mosaics. The sense of enclosure and being surrounded by cool plants and awesome garden art makes me smile! Thanks for sharing these!

  4. Deborah Myers has an incredible sense of plant combinations and her bamboo grove is gorgeous. Nancy Goldman's garden is full of whimsy and creativity. I love the mosaic pebble rug. Visitors who wouldn't wipe their shoes on the rug, had to take them off; hence the collection of planted-shoe rack.

  5. I first discovered these gardens on a walk, then later was able to visit them during an HPSO Open Garden. Such fun! I'm sorry to have missed them this year.

  6. Two amazing gardens! I particularly like the mosaic paths, etc.

  7. Textures and dark greens seem to be the themes.

  8. Lovely gardens - I too love the textures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

  9. Phillip--What a great tour! Thank you for sharing all of these. I love seeing gardens like this--with so much cleverness and creativity. Must have been fun to be there with your friend. Your photography is LOVELY!


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