The weather is warming, the days are longer, and the familiar sight of daffodil and tulip foliage emerging from their dormant rest is telling us it is spring! I’d say that this time of year, like no other, really gets the gardener motivated.
I don’t know about you, but the first nice day of this year, which happened to be the first day of spring, I got out in my yard and started to prepare the soil for my garden. I don’ t know if I should actually call it a garden…more like a little patch where I can grow a few plants. One day I WILL have a garden though!
Oakhurst, the home of George and Frances Ball and their daughter Elisabeth, celebrates both its 120th and its 20th anniversaries this year. The house was built in 1895 and opened for public tours on May 27, 1995. It was designed by Indianapolis architect Louis Gibson who wanted the house to fit naturally into the oak grove selected by the family. Gibson did not paint the house, expecting that the wood siding and shingles would age naturally. Eventually, though, the house was both varnished and painted.
This month marks the 102nd anniversary of the devastating flood of 1913. On March 24 and 25, rain inundated Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and New York. With a late spring thaw, the ground was either saturated or still frozen. In Indiana, the Ohio, White, and Wabash Rivers and all of their tributaries rose rapidly; causing massive flooding.
Did you know that some flowers begin growth in the winter? Spring ephemerals often start blooming before spring even arrives. Even now, with six inches of snow accumulation and a temperature of 14 degrees, winter aconite, scilla, , crocus, and many more are inching above ground, unfurling leaves, and producing flower buds. The best time to see these early beauties is approaching—they bloom from mid-March through April.
When people see my canning storage at work, they often ask questions about why I have mostly empty bottles of rum, tequila, and brandy. What kind of canning workshops am I running?! I usually begin my response with some kind of joke about where all the booze went. Then, I give the real answer. Part of what I try to do at the canning workshops is try interesting, unique, and fun recipes that deviate a bit from the norm. The “norm” is usually just a recipe I’ve made or tried before—it is very subjective.
The Prohibition era of the 1920s and early 1930s generated plenty of colorful stories about rumrunners, bootleggers, and speakeasies. Moonshiners—those savvy entrepreneurs who produced their own high-proof distilled spirits—have their very own colorful Ball canning jar stories.
Muncie’s neighbor to the southwest is also celebrating its sesquicentennial this year. Yes, Anderson is 150 years old in 2015. Muncie and Anderson have a lot in common, including names derived from a shared Native American heritage, glass and auto manufacturing, and, of course, basketball.
Large annuals may be just what you need in certain spots in the landscape. They can add some height to a flower garden. You can also get more for your money by filling up a large space with just a few plants. Large perennials, like grasses, could also be used for these purposes. These are great because they come back every year, but unlike annuals they take more than a year to reach their full size.
Ball jars have been in resurgence over the last couple of years, haven’t they? You can find them everywhere—restaurants, trendy boutiques, back yard barbeques, and, of course, in people’s basements and on their shelves, still full of delicious food.