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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

Pruning the St. John's Wort

The St. John's Wort (Hypericum 'Pumpkin') was one of my favorite shrubs last summer, a real stunner in early July. I'm hoping for a repeat this year and pruned it a few days ago. I had planned to take it back about halfway but after watching some videos, I found that most people cut it completely back to the ground. Which is what I did.

Before -


 And after -

Another good reason for pruning it is to be able to see Rhododendron 'PJM'. It looks puny here but since this was taken, the blooms have opened more and it is looking better. Maybe it felt crowded.

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. You are a brave soul. A second "after" photo in early July is a must.

  2. Wow. St John's Wort never grew like that in my garden. I hope you get another fabulous summer display.

  3. Gosh I wonder if my St John's Wort will get this big?? I doubt it but glad to know you can cut it down if need be.

  4. It's a beauty. Great it can take a total refresh. Yes, a July photo will be a must.

  5. That St. John's wort was a beauty in bloom. I've tried growing it before but never that successfully. Obviously, it is happy in your garden.

  6. I have never prunned my St. John's wort. Maybe I need to try it on one of mine and see how it performs. Mine SJW have gotten rust in the past and then they slowly decline.


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