Archive for November, 2011

As a grand finale to our association meeting October 15th, fellow member Georgeann Brown (MG class of 1992) educated, entertained, and fed us during her excellent food demonstration, “Savory and Sweet Herbal Cooking.” Assisted by her sous chef, Frank Deutsch (MG class of 2009), Georgeann prepared three dishes prepared with herbs easily grown in any SE Michigan herb garden, Sundried Tomato Tapenade; Polenta Rounds with Pesto, and Sundried Tomatoes and Parmesan (she substituted kalamata olives for the tomatoes for variety), and Lavender Infused Mascarpone in Chocolate Cups.

Georgeann has been an active member of Maumee Valley Herb Society for over 15 years and works in the herb garden at Toledo Botanical Gardens. She maintains an extensive culinary herb garden of her own, which is an essential part of her company, un coup de main. Georgeann teaches the art of cooking in small classes in her home, where students learn how to choose and use the freshest seasonal ingredients. She obviously is an expert in the culinary arts – the recipes she prepared were outstanding!

Georgeann was as entertaining as she was informative, with frequent bursts of laughter from the audience punctuating her demonstration. The demonstration was fast paced – Frank was quick on his toes to make sure everything went in and out of the oven and was beautifully presented in quick succession. The results were absolutely delectable!

I tried to take notes, but by the end of the session I came away with a few “words to live by” rather than a bunch of isolated rules and instructions.

1.  Use what’s fresh, locally-grown and in season whenever possible.

2.  Don’t fret when you need to use prepared food items or substitute another ingredient when no fresh, in season ingredient is available. (example – store-bought pesto when your basil is finished for the year).

3.  The answer to the question, “Can I substitute Kraft cream cheese for Mascarpone?”  is an emphatic, “NO!”.

Georgeann, and her company un coup de main, teaches classes and has a hugely successful catering business in influential homes because of her innovative food and stunning presentations. Look for her at www.georgeannbrown.com .

Here are the recipes Georgeann made and was gracious to give us –

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We are pleased to announce a new feature  that will be appearing on a regular basis as a series of photo essays.  Our new correspondent is a long time MG as well as being an accomplished photographer.  These two traits have been combined to give an interesting new perspective on what we routinely take for granted around our exhibition gardens.

“When most gardeners have cut their plants and stored their tools for winter,

the master gardener sees things differently”

The knowledge of the MG plus the keen eye of a photographer have focused in on some of the overlooked aspects of the unique plants we have.  Even common weeds take on a new face and have a beauty all of their own when viewed through the eyes of a MG!

When we photograph plants and flowers, the natural tendency is to want to capture as much of the scene as possible – often with a loss of detail.  The trained photographer has learned to block out the extraneous and concentate on capturing the unusual or striking feature of a subject that will tell a story.  Jennie,  Sue and I have all shot the gardens at various stages, but our focus was mainly on just recording a specimen as a whole  or a landscape vista.

To make my point, just consider how much more detail becomes apparent when a photo is cropped and all other extraneous detail is removed.  You have to look no further than the header photos Sue features in the blog.

You can do this in the field by careful composition,  planning and sharp focusing on the subject to minimize distracting backgrounds.

We hope you will enjoy this new take on the plants we have and that you might want to copy some of the same techniques in your own garden photography.

Unlike our Mystery Plant and What’s that Plant series – the correspondent will remain the mystery.  See if you can name the plants!

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As the calendar page turns to November,  our gardening season is almost completed, but there still seems to be so much work to do.  I wanted to share a gardening resource I have come to look forward to in my email inbox each month.  To subscribe, you visit the web site greatlakesgardeners.com.  The home page will appear and directly under the heading banner, you will see a list of topics.  Click on enewsletter and it will take you to a page that will subscribe you to their monthly enewsletter by entering your email.  On the first of each month, you will receive a newsletter  by email with timely tips and suggestions for your gardening.  They are specific to the month and offer gentle reminders of what to do or not to do in your garden for the month.  I hope you give it a try and see if you enjoy receiving the information as much as I do.

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