Skip to main content


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 Garden of Ruth & Gary Clark

Although the COVID-19 crisis has allowed many gardeners to enjoy more time in their own gardens this year, it has been a bummer for gardening tours and events. One of the biggest events is the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon's Open Gardens Tour which features private gardens in Oregon and Washington every weekend. This year it was even more exciting because we were scheduled to be on it. Our date was May 30th and although it looks like it will be postponed for a while, we are still open by appointment.

We had scheduled our date to coincide with two other gardens near us, the Clark and Andrews gardens. I first visited Ruth and Gary's garden last year and was excited to see it again. Their garden is also open by appointment (for contact information and details, see the Open Gardens booklet). This is a large garden so social distancing should be no problem!

Look at this space! As Hyacinth Bucket would say, "There's room for a swimming pool and a pony" -

The garden is three acres. A large lawn area is surrounded by winding pathways that meander among trees, shrubs, grasses and perennials. One of the first things I noticed was the magnificent horse chestnut tree. It is Aesculus x carnea 'Ft McNair'. I could not take my eyes off it and it was buzzing with bees.

Ruth likes trees as much as I do and she has quite a collection. I love that she has room to place hers unhampered by other plants. The tree below is Robinia pseudoacacia 'Frisia' and it is one that I almost chose for a spot by our driveway.

Instead, I went with Catalpa 'Aurea'. Ruth and Gary have it too! It is just beginning to leaf out but you can see it on the left in the photo below.

There are a number of beautiful Japanese maples in the garden. This one is
Acer palmatum 'Okagami' -

And some beautiful viburnums as well. There are several large specimens that surround the driveway -

This beautiful pink variety is called 'Mary Milton' (Viburnum plicatum 'Mary Milton') -

Viburnum roseum surrounded by false spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia 'Sem) and Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo 'Mughus'). To the back right is Golden Incense Cedar (Calocedrus decurrens 'Berrima Gold').

When the Clarks purchased the property twenty years ago, there was a line of English walnut trees along the back. Most of the trees are still standing (at least one was removed just last year). A shade garden is situated under some of these trees.

The side garden also features a shady area. The Japanese maple on the right is 'Autumn Moon' -

Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo' with the flowers of Rhododendron 'Jean Marie de Montegue' in the foreground -

The Clarks also have quite a large vegetable garden. It is fenced in to protect it from deer -

The garden art is the creation of Gary, who is a welder and artist. My favorite pieces are these giant spheres that are on the lawn -

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Wow - it's spotless.... some inspiration in my attempts at decluttering mine, for sure. Love all the trees!

  2. Wow, what a place with all that space. You certainly did that Chestnut an honor with your photos. I have never seen the JM Ukigumo. It looks good in that setting. I like those big hoop balls too. I bet he just tosses them aside when mowing so they look as though they move around themselves. Hyacinth would think this garden is worthy of her admiration.

  3. Thank you for sharing! What a beautiful place.

  4. I cannot imagine having that much space.

  5. I'm so glad your garden tour isn't postponed or worse, canceled. It's credit to you as a gardener that your young garden is ready for showing.
    When I saw the photo of Acer palmatum 'Ukigumo' it made me weak in the knee. I have a foot long "stick" that one day I hope will become as gorgeous as the one in Ruth and Gary's garden.

  6. A lovely garden. I am coveting Mary Milton, those blooms look superb!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts