I am in Cherokee Village for the Sharp County Master Gardener SPRING seminar and snow is forecast for in the morning. There is a freeze warning, but they have had temps in the mid 70’s this week so we don’t think it should stick, but haven’t we already had enough winter weather? It was 48 when I arrived here this afternoon, but the sun was shining and it did not feel too bad.
When I arrived I stopped in to get set up for in the morning. This year the event is at the First Baptist church family center–next door to the school where they normally have it. They begin registration at 8:30 and the program begins at 9:00 am.
It started off rainy, and wasn’t that some impressive thunder overnight? One of our dogs got so scared he got under the covers. Of course, our windows were open so it made it even louder. But then, it cleared up and got quite a bit colder. It still was a pretty day.
They started gathering mid afternoon and left just a little while ago. One we hadn’t seen since my wedding, almost 31 years ago, so there was a lot of catching up to do. We talked, laughed, looked at pictures and ate a good meal.
The sous vide pork loin was really good. I continue to be impressed with my Sansaire sous vide machine. I cut the bigger loin in two, trimmed it of all fat and one I just seasoned with Moroccan seasoning, Chinese 5 spice and a little Cavendars. The other I butterflied and filled with fresh herbs and feta cheese then wrapped and just put salt and pepper on it.
I sous vided them for about 4 1/2 hours and they were moist and so tender. The mixed greens salad from my garden with pear, blue cheese and pecans was the first course, and I made polenta and then sautéed some of the kale with coconut milk and it was quite tasty. I did not cook it down as long as what I had over the weekend. Then my friend brought a lovely bundt cake with strawberries, so all in all a nice meal.
Julie and I had an easy drive home in full sun this morning. We got back in time for an all afternoon meeting on the new money management guidelines, before heading home. It is amazing how fast our plants respond to a couple of days of warm, sunny weather. When I left yesterday morning my tulip magnolia was showing a hint of color and tonight when I got home it is almost in full bloom.
The blueberries are about to pop and the red buckeye is not far behind.
Our gardens are turning into a sea of color. I have my first bloom on my kerria open, and daffodils, hyacinths, pansies and camellias are still blooming nicely. It is a pretty spring, and we hope no more cold weather will come in and change that!
Tomorrow I am taking the afternoon off to see old college friends–not old in age–but old in friendship. They are coming to visit and eat dinner, so I did some prep work tonight. I am going to serve sous vide pork loin, with polenta, and then kale and coconut milk, plus a salad with pears, blue cheese and walnuts. I picked all the kale and greens from the garden and have them cleaned
We had a beautiful drive to Eureka Springs and had three meetings today. Our first was with the overall chairman and the facilities staff. Then we had a walk-through with the committee chairs to see the facilities to know where we plan to put everything.
We have gotten a lot accomplished and are well ahead of the game. They have a great logo and are already lining up speakers and vendors. Mark your calender for June 2-4, 2016. You won’t want to miss out.
Today was amazing! Blue skies and temperatures of 77 degrees, and I did peak and we have two more days, just like today, then a chance or rain and cooler temps. There is even a chance of 38 degrees later in the week here, which could mean frost in outlying areas or further north, so pay attention.
I wish I could say I spent the day in the yard, but that was not meant to be. I had columns to write, emails to send and a week to prepare for. We head north in the morning to Eureka Springs to work on the 2016 conference–it is a tad further drive for us than Benton!
Here are the answers to last weeks mystery plants and your new challenges for the week.
Mystery plant A – is a plant called Osteospermum (oss-tee-oh-SPUR-mum). It is an annual here and can be commonly called African Daisy. It comes in a wide range of colors and I often buy one or two because they are so showy, but they usually don’t last long for me–playing out when temperatures heat up. These new varieties are being touted as heat loving, so let’s try to see.
Mystery plant B – is an evergreen shrub which is beginning to bloom now. Pieris japonica (pee-AIR-iss juh-PON-ih-kuh) also called Lily of the Valley shrub or Andromeda, it has clusters of lily of the valley white blooms in the spring. It does well in moist, acid soils in the shade. It is slow-growing, but can be quite showy, with new foliage coming in shades of red or bronze depending on variety.
Mystery plant C – is commonly called sweet alyssum, Lobularia (lob-yoo-LAR-ee-uh) is the Latin name. This summer annual often used to stop blooming as summer temperatures heated up, but if you kept it alive it would rebloom in the fall. Breeders have fixed that problem, but because of the stigma surrounding sweet alyssum, they are now trying to brand it as Lobularia–the Latin name. It comes in white or purple and is quite fragrant. It is a great summer annual and won’t stop blooming until a killing frost. Does best in the sun.
Here are your new challenges:
We awoke at WRI to a light rain, and after a good breakfast I was on the road to Ft. Smith. It rained most of the way up there, sometimes light, while other times heavy. When I got there, it was a light rain.
The River Valley Master Gardeners wrapped up another great show today in Ft. Smith. They had beautiful gardens with loads of spring blooming plants
–just what we needed on another rainy, gloomy day in Arkansas. I know we are all ready for some sunshine! Unless you have worked a show, you don’t know how much effort goes into one–and they do it well. They had loads of food that they prepare each day to serve the vendors and volunteers in addition to manning all the volunteer jobs of set up and clean up, taking tickets, and much more. They were also working hard at recruiting new MG volunteers.
They had a beautiful red flowering quince that not only had a deep red, but loads of flowers.
It wasn’t raining when I left and I even put on sunglasses for a bit on the way home, but the rain came back lightly closer to home. Now it is just cool and overcast. I haven’t looked ahead to the weather forecast for the week, but I am hoping for spring!
I saw a beautiful sunrise as I crossed the river out of town this morning heading to the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute on Petit Jean Mountain.
Everyone had a little free time before we had an excellent cooking demo on garden to table from the owners of LR Root Cafe. We sampled great dishes including cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato and apple soup and an outstanding coconut curry kale dish.