Banana Ketchup and Maria Orosa, a Taal scientist who invented it

Fries anyone with some Banana Ketchup? Try it. You might like it.

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My son texted me one night before coming home and asked if we had fries. I said I only had sweet potato fries in the freezer and he told me to cook it. I did. I thought he would make hamburger for dinner. He came home with this ketchup looking bottle and said he went to an Asian food store. He wanted fries with his new-found ketchup. It was not ketchup at all but tasted like one. It is called Banana sauce. Some Filipinos called it Banana Catsup.

I did not know they can make ketchup from bananas so I did a research on it.

Now, if you are from Batangas, you ought to be proud of what I discovered. Banana ketchup was invented by Maria Ylagan Orosa, a food technologist and pharmaceutical chemist from Taal, Batangas in the Philippines.

Maria_Orosa_bust_and_plaque_at_the_Historical_Park

Photo credit – Wikimedia

At the Historical Park, Batangas Provincial…

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Rose Gardening Tips – Weed Control

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A weed is a plant that you don’t want. There’s an old saying that if a weed can’t grow in a garden, no other plant will grow there either. When my roses look very healthy, my weeds are just as healthy.

At this time of the year, weeds are one of the biggest problems in the rose bed. The best way to control it is to pull it out and then mulch the bed right away so it has no time to resprout. Weed is an abhorrence in the rose garden. A garden free of weeds is a sight to behold. Roses will tolerate some of them but the most invasive ones will choke your roses. They take out the nutrients that you feed your roses. Have you noticed that weeds grow luxuriantly in your rose bed? That’s because they are sharing the meal with your roses.

Years ago, I never put mulch in the garden. I like to see the soil around the rose bushes. However, as time goes by, I found out that I never stopped weeding. You became a slave in your own garden. There was no time to sit and enjoy the garden. By the time I finished the last bed, the first bed was full of weeds again. That’s when I decided to put down mulch. I use cedar mulch and the rose beds look much better with it. Mulch also retains moisture.

How about Roundup? Roundup is an herbicide. From what I read, it does more damage to your roses than at first believed. It does not show right away but comes up later on. If you are using it in other parts of your garden, take extra precaution to avoid contact with your roses. There are cases among rosarians who use Roundup where all their roses died or began their slow death. Just a mist of the Roundup will leave a death sentence to your precious roses. So be extra careful! I also heard that it kills some plants nearby not just roses.

Hoeing is another method to control weed. For those gardeners who are environmentally conscious, this is the best method of weed control. The only problem here is that you can be too close to the rose bushes and may damage their roots. Another disadvantage is loosened soil, if too close to the rose bush, it will encourage suckers. Suckers are growth coming from the rootstock (below the graft). Also hoeing the rose bed can sometimes wake up the weed seeds that are buried under the undisturbed soil and lets them germinate.

Whatever method you use, as soon as you clean up the bed, you should mulch immediately and make it at least 3″ thick to discourage the weed from sprouting again.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

Leaves of Grass – A Special Edition

A rare find – Signed copy of Leaves of Grass

Long Island Past and Present

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While looking for something to read next, I came across a signed copy of “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman published by David McKay (Copyright 1900). On the front matter, there is a picture of him with a handwritten note on the bottom “David McKay from his friend Walt Whitman”.

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I browsed through the book and a page was earmarked and there was the poem “O Captain! My Captain!”, one of the favorite poems of our class in Literature in high school. I didn’t know who Walt Whitman was at that time. I was thirteen and English was not my favorite subject. For me I like Math the best. I had no idea why the class loved the poem so much except for the fact that our English teacher, Mrs. Brual, read it to us with so much emotion that we began to like it. She was the principal of…

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Salute to the Women in Uniform

Pacific Paratrooper

American women played important roles during World War II, both at home and in uniform. Not only did they give their sons, husbands, fathers, and brothers to the war effort, they gave their time, energy, and some even gave their lives.

The utilization of women in an organization such as the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) offered a “golden opportunity” to solve manpower shortages. So recognizable was the opportunity that Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall himself told the War Department in November 1941, “I want a women’s corps right away, and I don’t want any excuses!” Urgent wartime demands necessitated the use of all able, willing citizens, regardless of gender. In recruiting women, the Army assured them that they would be doing “unusual and exciting work” and that their service “in making available technically trained men for combat service will be of great value in winning the war.”

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Constance Spry – The Rose and The Mother of Floral Design

Constance Spry

Constance Spry, introduced in 1961, is one of the first English Roses hybridized by David Austin and its success contributed to the founding of the English Roses. David Austin Roses is a flower arranger’s dream. They can be used to make wonderful floral arrangements either on their own or with other plant materials. With its voluptuous blossoms and dainty habit, you can duplicate the beauty and charm of an Old Dutch floral painting. 

Constance Spry Climber by DARPhoto Credit – David Austin Roses

Constance Spry can grow to a height of 6-12 ft. with a width of 6-8 ft. or 10 to 18 ft. as a climber. Bloom size is 3” with a petal count of 80+. It has a lovely pink color and very fragrant. The only drawback is it only flowers once in the spring but it blooms profusely.

 

Constance Spry by Flower Magazine
Photo Credit – Flower Magazine

Who is Constance Spry?

Constance Spry is the mother of modern floral design. She would have loved to use David Austin Roses for her floral arrangements. After World War 1, she changed the formal, rigid composition of floral design with unconventional pastoral compositions; flowers arranged asymmetrically with assorted shapes of foliage in various types of containers. She used all kinds of wildflowers, grasses, pods or practically anything the Victorian ladies shunned. Her style was full of drama and a refreshing reprieve from the more stiff floral design of her contemporaries.

Constance Spry PinterestPhoto Credit – Pinterest

Connie, as she was known to her friends, was born in Derby, England, in 1886 and raised in Ireland. She found refuge from her domineering mother in the gardens of her childhood, where she began to take note of what would become her favorites: old garden roses, lilac, mock orange, laurel, buddleia, and evening primrose, as well as grasses, weeds, and other typically overlooked plants and materials.

 

Though flowers and gardening would be her lifelong passions, under her father’s direction she began her early professional life as an educator and social reformer. Traveling by horse-drawn wagon through the Irish countryside, she became a proponent of healthy living, educating housewives on the benefits of fresh air and nutritious food as part of a “War on Consumption” campaign. After a disappointing marriage to a coal mine manager, she took her only son back to England to begin life anew. It was there she met and fell in love with Shav Spry, a colonial civil servant who would be her lifelong companion.

It wasn’t until the age of 41, that Spry’s amateur talents as a floral designer were noticed by an influential lunch companion, leading her to Norman Wilkinson, a theater designer whose encouragement would launch her meteoric design career. With a commission to do flowers for cinemas and a perfume shop, Spry took her unorthodox visions of gathered materials and artful references out of the homes of friends and into the public eye, where she was praised for displays that in an incredibly modern twist included leaves, berries, seed pods, wild clematis, and golden hops mixed with exotic orchids.

Suddenly this middle-aged woman found herself thrust into the social scene, befriending legendary decorator and fellow entrepreneur Syrie Maugham and an exuberant crowd of theatrical personalities and social luminaries. She became the florist of choice to London high society organizing the flowers for royal weddings. She designed the flowers for the Queen’s wedding and Coronation. Her books on flower arranging made her a household name.

Constance Spry Cookery Book by antique-atlas.com
Photo Credit – Antiques-Atlas.com

 

Besides being an influential floral artist, Constance Spry is the founder of the Cordon Bleu cooking school and an author of a bestselling cookbook bearing her name.

 

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

When is the rain going to stop?

 

It’s been raining on and off everyday for too long. The ground is so soaked already. My roses are drowning.

This is the view in front of my townhouse everyday.

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This is what you can see through the window in back.

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Remember the nursery rhyme:

Rain. Rain. Go Away.

Come again another day.

Little children want to play.

 

I would like St. Swithun to send the rain to California. They need it there. We have enough rain here already.

Have you heard about St. Swithun? Who is he? What’s he got to do with rain?

St. Swithun is regarded as one of the saints to whom one should pray in the event of drought.

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St. Swithun – Photo Credit: Christianity.com

I remember years ago while I was in New York and it rained on July 15 and it kept on raining everyday till late August. We were having an Ice Cream Social at the end of August and I mentioned it to one of our guests who lived across the street. She must be well-read because she recited the poem right away. Not many people know about St. Swithun. She knew the legend about St. Swithun and the 40 days of rain. It says if it rains on St. Swithun’s day which is July 15, it will rain for 40 days.

We might be heading that way. I cannot remember the weather on July 15. Maybe it was raining. It has been raining everyday for quite sometime now. Where I live in Johns Island, it is like England’s weather. The sun will come up and then dark clouds move in all day long. The rain is so localized. It could be raining in front of my house but not in the back. It could be pouring on the lake but dry on the street. Weird.

Here is the English weather lore proverb about St. Swithun:

St Swithun’s day if thou dost rain

For forty days it will remain

St Swithun’s day if thou be fair

For forty days ’twill rain nae mare

 

A Buckinghamshire variation has

If on St Swithun’s day it really pours

You’re better off to stay indoors.

 

St. Swithun was an Anglo-Saxon Bishop of Winchester from his consecration in Oct. 853 until his death on July 2, 862 and subsequently patron saint of Winchester Cathedral. On his deathbed St. Swithun begged that he should be buried outside the north wall of his cathedral where passers-by should pass over his grave and raindrops from the eaves drop upon it. However, it was decided later to move his body to a new indoor shrine, and one theory traces the origin of the legend to a heavy shower by which, on the day of the move, the saint marked his displeasure towards those who were removing his remains.

According to Durham chroniclers, the legend was derived from the tremendous downpour of rain that occurred on St. Swithun’s Day, July 15, 1315.

 St. Swithun Roses

This is a rose hybridized by David Austin named in honor of St. Swithun.

Photo credit – David Austin Roses

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

 

Nagpatong Rock Formation: The Two Towers

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Nagpatong Rock is now becoming popular to those mountain seekers both professionals and hiker-wanabes (like me). It is composed of two peaks facing each other which reminds me of the 2nd installment of the epic movie Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers.

(Photos on this post were taken January 29, 2017)

Located in a humble barrio of Barangay Cuyambay, Tanay, Rizal, this rock formation looks so perfect that entices you to reach it no matter what it takes. But mind you, these two towers of rock can be more tricky than you might think. So if you have a slightest doubt or having a second thought that you might fall, I suggest not to climb the summit.

Derived from its name, “Nagpatong” or “Patong” which means in Filipino a layer placed on top of the other (http://tagaloglang.com/patong/), the view of the rock formation from afar looks like…

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