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July 10, 2005

Hollyhock Dolls

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At one point or another each summer when I was a little girl, my mother and I would go into her gardens and pick a handful of hollyhock blossoms and buds.

We’d take them indoors and carefully peel back the green bits of the bud until only a gleaming white “face” would appear below an elaborate “up-do”. Next we’d break off a section of a toothpick and thread the sharp end through the base of the blossom into the stem area so a quarter inch or so would remain. Then we’d stick the “head” onto the “shoulders” and voila! We had a hollyhock doll.

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If we’d really wanted to go all out, we would apply a little dab of bright lipstick to the doll’s face to get her ready for a big night. And if we were lucky enough to have hollyhocks in a variety of colors that year, we could mix and match the color of the dolls’ hair and gowns – deep magenta skirt with soft pink hair and vice versa. Very cool.

This year I have a gorgeous stand of deep plum-colored hollyhocks (Alcea “Nigra”), and I made a couple of dolls to float on water in a shallow dish for table decorations for our Fourth of July celebration.

Now If only I had had some bright pink buds for the hair….

Fourth of July Recipes

We served a delicious Fourth of July dinner to Brian’s parents and his sister and her husband. The recipes are all new to us this summer, but they will be made again and again. Give them a try!

Deviled Eggs a la Sam
From Penzeys Spices

12 large hard boiled eggs (see tip)
2 slices double thick prosciutto or 4 regular OR pastrami

Guacamole
2 ripe avocadoes
½ small red onion, minced
4 cherry tomatoes or an equivalent in regular tomato, minced
1 TB water
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ dried garlic
Juice of 1 large lime
1 tsp salt
dash of hot red pepper sauce or to taste
2 tsp fresh cilantro leaves, minced.

Prepare the guacamole while the eggs are cooking. Mix water and spices together in a medium bowl. Halve avocadoes, remove pits. Remove skin, cut into thirds, discarding any brown spots, add to the bowl. Add onion and tomato, lime juice and salt. Mash with a hand potato masher, stir to blend. Add hot pepper as desired. Cover with plastic wrap, pat onto the surface. Carefully peel the eggs and cut into half. Remove the yolks and save for salad. Cut a small slice off the bottoms if they don’t sit nicely on the plate you’ve chosen. Cube the prosciutto, stir into the guacamole and fill the eggs. Sprinkle fresh cilantro over the tops and serve.

Tip: With a needle or a clean thumbtack, pierce the large end of each egg to a depth of 3/8 inch. This helps center the yolk. Place eggs carefully in a large kettle with at least 2 quarts cold water. Bring to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Remove the kettle from the heat, cover and let stand 18 minutes.

Zesty Coleslaw

1 bag of coleslaw mix – or use 4-6 cups shredded red cabbage for a more colorful salad
2 red peppers, cut into strips
2 cups snap peas (fresh from your garden, if possible)
1-15 1/2 oz can of tropical fruit salad, drained and cut up a bit
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1/2 cup Zesty Italian salad dressing

Mix all together and serve.

Grilled Shrimp and Scallops with Teriyaki Sauce
From Coastal Seafoods

2 pounds shrimp and scallops
2/3 cup soy sauce
2 TB brown sugar
2 TB honey
¼ cup sake
2 TB ginger, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients except for shrimp and scallops. Mix well. Place shrimp and scallops on kebab skewers and marinate in the sauce for at least 45 minutes. Grill for 4 minutes, turn kebabs over and brush with marinade. Cook until done.

The Mystery Plant

The mystery plant last week was Corydalis lutea. Can you guess the plant this week? (Hint: The photo is from a farm visit to Wales, Great Britain.)

Here’s What’s Blooming Now

Hydrangea “Annabelle”
Corpeopsis “Moonbeam”
Campanula “Blue Clips” and others
Yarrow
Joe Pye Weed
Purple coneflower
Butterfly weed
Lily
Veronica
Thyme
Alpine strawberry – and fruiting, too
Astilbe
Missouri primrose
Sedum
Hollyhock “Nigra”
Lavender “Hidcote”
Sweet William
Oxeye daisy
Daylily
Salvia “May Night”
Indian blanket
Hosta
Nepeta “Walker’s Low”
Rose – “Carefree Wonder,” “William Baffin,” “Graham Thomas” and more
Geranium
Clematis

Garden Chores for the Week

Mulch, mulch, mulch

I still haven’t sowed a second planting of radishes but I did get around to pulling out the plants that had gone to seed.

I usually don’t deadhead my “Carefree Wonder” roses, but I’m going to give it a try this year.

Change the beer in the slug traps. This should be done at least weekly.

It’s probably time to spray the roses again.

Keep watering the new arborvitae

Move a blue oat grass

Vegetable Garden

The basil is huge and lush right now. If only the tomatoes were ready!

The scarlet runner beans are taking off and need to be guided to the teepee.

Today’s Grahamism

“Water is like a chameleon. When you hold it, it’s just clear. But when you put it on other colors, it’s the same. So let’s just call water ‘chameleon water’.”

Posted by maasx003 at July 10, 2005 5:29 PM | Gardens

Comments

I love your hollyhock dolls. What a great memory to have!

Posted by: Sandy at July 10, 2005 9:49 PM

Mystery plant- snowdrops?

Those are great dolls!

Posted by: Sylvana at July 11, 2005 11:50 PM

Snowdrops!

Posted by: Kasmira at July 12, 2005 1:36 PM

I'll have to make those hollyhock dolls for my grandchildren. What a cute idea! My hollyhocks are just starting to bloom.

Posted by: Sabine at July 13, 2005 8:20 PM

I would like to learn how to make hollyhock dolls, if anyone has any instructions please send them to me at my email address - ladybug@epix.net

Posted by: Carol at October 23, 2005 11:38 AM