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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


Begonia 'Canary Wings' at the top left, surrounded by various fuchsias.

A few annuals scattered throughout the garden and in pots on the deck. They are well-watered and fertilized weekly or sometimes bi-weekly. Most do well with the exception of the annual Vinca which has failed me every time I've planted it. It was a staple in the old garden but doesn't want to grow in the new one. 

Here are some of the ones that look good at the moment -

Cleome 'Senorita Rosalita' - I remember growing cleome, or "spider flowers" we called them, in Alabama and they would get huge, towering to 6 feet or more in late summer. I really love this dwarf variety and I liked it so much last year that I planted it again this year. 

Wishbone Flower (Torenia) - another favorite for shadier areas. Not a lot of blooms on this one right now. I have it in a pot on the deck.

Dichondra is another favorite. It is a very versatile plant and grows fine in full sun or even full shade. 

I've become a big fan of snapdragons since moving to the Pacific Northwest. In the South, they were treated like pansies and only did well during the cooler periods. It grows all season here and the colors are amazing, especially the salmon/orange combination. In the foreground is a dwarf lavender and heather.

Outside the front window, Allium 'Millenium', heathers ('Multicolor' and 'Firefly'), buddleia, snapdragon, echinacea, hebe and Viburnum 'Davidii'.

Coleus 'Electric Slide' has overshadowed the hosta and grass. 

Coleus 'Hottie'


Cape Primrose (Streptocarpus) overwintered in our kitchen window. This has become another favorite because it seems to bloom constantly in full shade on the deck. 

Begonia 'Dragonwing' doesn't seem to be as floriferous as it normally is, not only in this pot but elsewhere as well. It is a mystery.

Another shot of the snapdragon with a new echinacea that I forget the name of.

Lantana out by the street ('Rozann' geranium in back). 


Plectranthus 'Guacamole' has been amazing! This is the first time I've grown this one.

Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis sinuata)

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. Lovely, one and all, Phillip. I keep planning to plant Cleome from seed or plugs but somehow always fail to do do when that window is open. I can't imagine snapdragons blooming during the summer - like your Alabama garden, they're a spring flower here.


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