My Domestic Bucket List
“Happiness is a work of art. Handle with care.” Edith Wharton
For me, gardens have always been a place where dreams can someday come true.
Someday became TODAY last March when I decided to fulfill the dreams I had for my home and garden. I had already read my coffee-table garden books from cover to cover, and I decided it was time to purchase things I loved and hire people who would work safely and make my surroundings cozier.
During last spring’s rains, I was scrolling through 1stDibs where I found a 200-year-old garden gate from Jaipur (the Pink City—Virginia would love it) and realized I had the perfect place for it. I had the exterior of the house painted in more pastel shades to channel the mood I was in. And my vintage iron garden furniture got powder-coated in Bercy Blue. I bought extra small tables for outdoor dining. They are easy to rearrange, and they allow us to sit safely apart when friends visit. I put pots of rosemary, basil, lavender, and citrus-scented geraniums (the source of citronella) nearby to keep the insects away.
The more I did, the more I discovered that needed doing. My driveway got power cleaned. I added more outdoor lighting, including the beautiful hanging solar lights I was recently given. I concluded that I needed a new garden cart—or a live-in masseuse—and I found the perfect mid-century one with a bicycle wheel in my favorite blue. When I watched “The Dig” on Netflix that night, the excavator had the same cart.
After viewing several episodes of Gardener’s World on Britbox, my list of Things to Do increased again. The succulents in pots needed repotting, so my best friend, Amazon, sent me special gloves for that job. I have taken several pruning classes, and I love getting rid of the old wood that plants don’t need. It’s like us when we get a haircut, but fortunately, they don’t have to go to the salon. When I first pruned roses decades ago, I couldn’t imagine how something that looked dead could be spilling over with magnificent blooms just three months later. Next, the tree trimmers came and pruned all my trees and thirty-foot hedges.
I bought fabulous plants, including a “cancan fern” I haven’t seen since the Fern Show at the Arboretum twenty years ago. I found a pink gardenia online, and I’m anxiously awaiting its first bloom. I also went bulb-crazy, ordering some for every season. My favorites are alliums and “Rose Lilies” (which are fragrant, fluffy, and pollen-free).
Now my faithful and beloved garden plants are starting to do their part. The glorious Flamingo Boxelder Maple (with the magnificent white, green and pink variegation) opened in April. And my Princess Diana Clematis is opening and climbing through the roses.
I’m finally ready to share my dream of a garden with my friends.
Stuffed Peppers & Simple Spring Salad
From Kerstin Royce
- 1/2 lb. Italian turkey sausages
- 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 package of Spanish rice (8.8 oz)
- 4 large poblano or yellow peppers
- 1 cup enchilada sauce
- 1/2 cup or more Mexican cheese blend
- Half the peppers, clean, and broil (skin up) for 5 minutes until slightly charred.
- Sauté the beef and the turkey sausage meat until cooked.
- Add salt and pepper to taste (you may not need it).
- Cook the rice with its spices until done.
- Add the meat to the rice and set aside.
- Fill the pepper shells with the rice/meat mixture.
- Pour some of the hot enchilada sauce over each pepper.
- Top with the cheese mixture.
- In a 400 degree oven, cook peppers until cheese melts.
Serve with sour cream, your favorite salsa, and top with cilantro.
I also serve with a mixed green salad and corn on the cob.
Simple Spring Salad
- Butter lettuce
- Sweet grape tomatoes, halved
- Persian cucumbers, sliced
- Dried cranberries
- Pine nuts
- Marston dressing