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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 Virtual Garden Tour

'Climbing Pinkie' rose and
Japanese Maple 'Geisha Gone Wild'
Our HPSO (Hardy Plant Society of Oregon) Open Garden Tour scheduled for tomorrow is cancelled so they are encouraging us to do a virtual tour. I am still experimenting with making a video and may try to do that this weekend. Of course, I have many photos to share.

One of the hardest things about agreeing to be on the tour was choosing a date. After scouring through photos from past years and comparing dates, I finally chose the last weekend of May. I think it is a good time to see the garden.

Of course, predicting the weather is impossible. Alas, it turns out that tomorrow's forecast is less than ideal for a tour. After 3 days in the 80s, the high tomorrow is 63 and rain is forecast.

We are also scheduled to participate in the Clark County Natural Garden Tour in late July but from what I am hearing, that too will be cancelled. Hopefully we will be around to do it next year and let's hope the social crisis is over. This particular tour is a good educational opportunity and the gardens featured are those that practice organic methods and don't use chemicals.

May is just spectacular here in Washington state. The peonies are almost over and the roses are lovely. We have many of those so that was one of the reasons I chose late May. The month of June is also quite wonderful.

This is the rambler rose 'Phyllis Bide' on the right side of the arch. 'Eden' is on the left.


The Pan Garden - you will catch glimpses of the new wall that we finally managed to finish. It almost killed us! I will post more on that later.

In the front -

'Lady of Shallot' rose with 'Eskimo Sunset' maple, dappled willow and smoke tree

'Dublin Bay' on the front gate

'Celestial Shadow' Dogwood with Spirea 'Ogon', Barberry 'Orange Rocket',
Wallflowers and Orange Poppy

Right outside the living room

'Coral Cove' rose, 'Bloodgood' Japanese Maple  and Gingko 'Princetown Sentry'

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Thunder and lighting in Seattle this morning, but since the open garden is cancelled anyway... Your garden is magnificent; a sight to behold. Love both your Dogwood; the new purple wall (reminiscent of the Alabama garden); the fountain which I don't remember you posting about before; the blooming arc... stunning. You'd better try again next year. Visitors will love it.

    1. Thanks, I may not have mentioned the fountain. It was just a little basin we got at Little Baja (they called it a "bonsai bowl"). We like it and it was just what I wanted for that area.

  2. WOW! When was the bloggers swap there? That's the last time I saw your garden and so much has changed. It looks fabulous.

    1. Loree, I had to look it up and it was 2017? I am amazed at how things have grown.

  3. I was thinking the same thing , what Lori said ! It really is so FULL ! Really lovely . I'll have to come and visit ...some day ?

  4. That first photo is just stunning. I love the wall. It is like your signature on a glorious colorful painting. So much to see. The stairway to heaven is really inviting too. I wonder what your neighbors think about all this??? They are probably feeling very inadequate. ;) Love the touch of whimsy the rubber duckies give to a space that is so warm and controlled.

  5. You've created a real paradise!

    And that blue wall?! wow.

  6. You have transformed your place from mundane to magic.

  7. LOL, anyone who didn't know you and your gardening prowess would find it hard to believe what wasn't here when you started. It's an amazing transformation - almost makes me wish I was back in the Pacific NW to see it in person, but then again it probably wouldn't be possible in these days. It's beyond lovely, Phillip.


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