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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 Late Rhododendrons

'Percy Wiseman'
'Percy Wiseman'

I am behind on my blog posts. So much work to do in the garden this time of year and so much to see.

The rhododendrons are fading but they have all performed nicely this year. Here are some of the late blooming ones from the past weeks -

First up is one of my favorites - Percy Wiseman. This is a color changing rhododendron that
"emerge in shades of peach, pink and cream before fading to creamy white" (the nursery description). I think it is just stunning.

A very popular red variety is 'Jean Marie de Montague' -

'Jean Marie de Montague'

Don't ask me how to pronounce 'Oudijk's Sensation'. I purchased this one last year based on the foliage alone. It has very pretty rounded leaves. The flowers have now faded and I've noticed that the new growth has a reddish tint.

'Oudijk's Sensation'

The rhododendron below came with the house and I don't know the name. It is on the west side of our house where there are no windows. Therefore, our neighbors get to enjoy it more than we do.


This one is also an unknown. Don't judge me but it came from Wal-Mart during a weak moment. It was stunning. I failed to record the name but I would swear the name was 'Holden'. However, a Google search shows 'Holden' as being pink (of course, it could have been mislabeled). I love this shade of purple. No name though, which kills me.


'Anna Rose Whitney' has been a very shy bloomer. There were only 3 or 4 blooms this year but they were spectacular. The blooms are very large. I'm thinking that the shrub may need more sun.

'Anna Rose Whitney'

'Anah Kruschke' was the first rhododendron I planted. I wanted more of a purple color and this one is more magenta. It was wonderful this year, the best it has bloomed so far.

'Anah Kruschke'

'Anah Kruschke' with Japanese Maple 'Shaina'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. I can see why you love Percy Wiseman so much: it has gorgeous blooms.

  2. Your rhodies are magnificent. All that saturated color is wow.
    What has happened to that wall project?? Did you finish it?

    1. Yes, it is finished and I keep putting off doing a post. It was so exhausting, I'm just glad it is over. I hope to get an update posted in a few days. :)

  3. They are so beautiful, especially the pinky peach color at the first picture


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