Friday, September 21, 2018

My Canna and Povel Wallander


[I'm sneaking one more summer garden post in before the calendar says Autumn is here tomorrow.] 

What possible link could my canna have with Povel Wallander?



Are there any Wallander fans out there? I watched it years ago on PBS and am now enjoying it all over again on Netflix.

Povel is the father of Kurt Wallander, played by Sir Kenneth Branagh, once married to Emma Thompson who he left for...wait, this is not a gossip blog so I'll get back to Povel and my canna.

Did you recognize David Warner, above, as Bob Cratchit in my favorite version of A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott as Scrooge? 

What is your favorite version? We'll be watching it soon, won't we?

Now David Warner has that marvelous craggy face that I'm sure any Star Trek fans will recognize--I had to throw that in for my Trekkie sons. 

And in the Swedish drama Wallander, he plays an important artist in declining health who is not on very good terms with his policeman son.

And every single picture Povel paints is the same scene of the rocky wooded coastline of Sweden where he lives.

Every single painting.

And now we come to my canna, the canna musifolia bulb (or is it called a rhizome?) that I ordered from 
Horn Canna Farm, a family farm in Carnegie, OK. 

RH planted it for me in a favorite heavy old concrete pot from the old house that had lost its bottom. It is beautifully aged, much as Povel's face is, and is sunk into the ground in the butterfly garden.



I've taken hundreds of pictures of this canna because I wanted it so badly. RH was prejudiced against cannas. He won't admit that but I know he was. Many people are, maybe remembering them planted in the middle of old tractor tires out in a country yard. To me they always said, This is a farmhouse and so there must be cannas.

While a baby, my canna had to be protected from BreeBree jumping into it in her obsessive desire to catch a chipmunk, but it grew...



And grew until RH began to be fond of it too.



Finally it flowered...



Okay, the flowers aren't what sell cannas but the hummingbirds do love them.



We took pictures of it from every angle...



It put on more and more stalks...



Soon RH got used to me yelling to grab the camera and go get pictures of my canna, the light is just right.



I mean, is this plant not gorgeous with the sun shining through its bronze leaves?



This brown-eyed Susan has been a beautiful companion on one side, even though mostly finished blooming by now, the seeds drawing goldfinches.



And this Autumn Joy sedum has been a nice contrast on the other side. It's beginning to pink up for Autumn. [The plant is much more rosy now as I wrote this post a week ago.]The deer keep our other three Autumn Joy plants nibbled to the ground in our front garden but they can't get to this one.




I'm tagging my other canna lover...

                    Carla from The River 

before I close with a quote about cannas from a beloved book by Richardson Wright that stays on my bed table, The Gardener's Bed-Book.


Give a dog a bad name, and he may eventually retrieve his reputation, but let a flower suffer the sneers of the gardening cognoscenti, and all the fine hybrids of it that some faithful soul may create will flower to little advantage. Cannas are a case in point. Mention them, and across the mind flashes unlovely memories of dreary park, prison and hospital flower beds. For years the Canna was an institutional flower, and that's enough to damn any plant. Yet some very beautiful hybrids have been created and at the sight of them we waxed ecstatic over their subtle pinks and yellows. They have ceased being institutional.
Richardson Wright
The Gardener's Bed-Book
1929


 What about you? How do you feel about cannas? Or if not cannas, is there a plant that you just would not have in your garden?

if you've never loved cannas planted in the ground, have you ever thought about putting them in pots?

I keep imagining how magnificent two of these would be in large urns on either side of a path leading somewhere. What do you think?

And let me know if you want to see more pictures of my gorgeous canna that adds a vertical feature to our garden. 

Just like Povel Wallander, I have a million of them.




Hey, sweet readers, thank you so much for visiting me here at the Window! And thank you so much for your thoughtful and kind comments on my previous post about our darling granddaughters. 

You are the best!


"And what would life be like
if we paid one another no compliments?"
wonders Isabel in
The Careful Use of Compliments
by Alexander McCall Smith





Friday, September 7, 2018

Family, Food and The Gruffalo



Does this photo of our granddaughters that their father took while they were visiting us last weekend not personify the last lazy days of summer?

I am in love with it and with the two models and was beyond excited to learn they were coming to visit Mimi and PawPaw.

I remembered their dad, our son, once saying that he liked New York cheesecake so I baked my second one of the summer from Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires, a book my friend Melanie of Comfy House sent me, knowing I was a Reichl fan.



This time I remembered to wrap the springform pan in heavy foil and avoided butter dripping all over my new oven. What a mess!



Here's a recipe link for it.

BreeBree kept checking on me while I was cooking.




I marinated chicken the day before our company was due, using another favorite recipe from Reichl, this time from her My Kitchen Year, Food Cart Curry Chicken, recipe here...

I also made a 1940s recipe Cucumber Aspic, but knowing how the majority of you feel about aspics I'll skip a pic of that dish!

The next day RH and I went into our usual time to clean up, company's coming mode and then I set the table...



and went out to the garden to clip some blooms for the table.



Soon it was time to cook our simple supper. I love Reichl's chicken curry recipe because it only takes a few minutes to sauté the chicken and only 20 minutes for a pot of rice cooked in chicken broth.





One of the best sights in the world is these two girls hopping out of the car for a visit. 



Our beautiful daughter-in-law is hidden behind my flower arrangement...

And for pity's sake, remind me to remind RH not to take pictures of company at table from this angle. Or to at least put the lid down on the toilet in the bathroom first! Wouldn't you think that he'd have learned his lesson, Poppy, Tammy and Doreen, after leaving the seat up a couple of weeks ago? That cost us two trips to the chiropractor after I fell in it. 

I am very glad that RH doesn't have a blog himself, right? Payback time would surely come!

But since this is my blog, here's a shot of the dreaded aspic, after all. 



And since this is Ratting on RH Day, let me 'splain why my New York Cheesecake looks so pitiful.

When you're running a knife around the rim of your cheesecake before releasing the springform latch and your husband insists on helping, be sure he knows you don't want it pried out of the ring, just loosened.

Oh, I would so get it if he were a blogger.




However, his son, and mine, took the pictures of this cheesecake. Does he ever know how to make a messy cheesecake look beautiful, or what?





Now's when I have to highly recommend a children's short movie for you--and I'm not a cartoon-type fan at all. Are any of you familiar with...
Charming movie! I've watched it twice by myself on Netflix since the girls went home.



All too soon it was our last day and a beautiful morning in the garden after breakfast.




Believe it or not, I took these two shots with my phone but how could they help but be good, with my two beautiful models? 




Who knew that grasshoppers liked potato chips?


Ah, the last lazy days of summer, they can't be beat, can they?





So you don't like aspic, dear readers? 

How do you feel about New York Cheesecake?




Not like that either? 

Then how about joining the Gruffalo for a meal of:

Roasted Fox
Scrambled Snake
Owl Ice Cream

Just watch out for the poisonous wart on the end of his nose!




Want to join me for a dish of Gruffalo Crumble?