About Keri Girts

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So far Keri Girts has created 137 blog entries.

Garden Tip 56:
July 21, 2021

Garden Tip 56: HYDRANGEA HIGH SEASON! It is high season for hydrangeas and there are more flowers this season than any year I can remember. Pinks, whites, blues, mopheads, lacecaps, hydrangea flowers are everywhere. With this plethora of bloom there are even enough flowers to cut and enjoy inside. I have heard of many ways to treat the cut stem to increase the longevity of the flower. Some folk smash the stem, others peel them. Some soak the flowers in cold water, others stick the stem in hot water. I use a slightly different procedure. Hydrangea flowers should never [...]


Sabich Sandwiches
July 21, 2021

Week 66: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM THE STAFF AT HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS, MICHELLE ITZKOWITZ! Probably the most famous of Middle Eastern sandwiches is the falafel sandwich–several fried falafel balls served inside a pita pocket, topped with a chopped tomato and cucumber salad and drizzled with tahini. But equally popular in the region (although somewhat less known outside of it) is the sabich sandwich. It’s an Iraqi-Israeli creation that features fried eggplant and hard-boiled eggs stuffed into a pita pocket along with chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, hummus, tahini, and an amba (mango) sauce. Amba, a sauce made from [...]


Garden Tip 55:
July 14, 2021

Garden Tip 55: GARDEN VIGNETTES! This time of year I like to keep several large potted containers ready for use in and around the garden. These are not containers that have to be grown but are simply large clay or ceramic pots with an equally large annual, perennial or tropical plants in them that are at the ready to use as garden accents, as fill in for cut back perennials or to add interest to a summer sitting area. Placing these containers in groups of three to five can create a very attractive garden vignette! Email George [...]


Garden Tip 54:
July 7, 2021

Garden Tip 54: HYDRANGEA FLOWERS THIS SEASON ARE SPECTACULAR! Lacking the extreme cold snaps in February and March the mophead hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla ) are putting on their best display in years. Maintenance pruning of mophead hydrangeas is done in the spring after spring growth has emerged, removing dead stems and old stems from the interior of the plant. Hoping not to confuse the pruning issue there is an early July pruning for mophead hydrangeas as well. Non flowering stems tend to grow taller than those in flower and these stems can be cut back to just below the [...]


Vanilla Sugar Cookies
July 7, 2021

Week 64: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM THE STAFF AT HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS, GAIL BLAKELY! I made these for the Fourth of July and they literally disappeared before I could get a photo. I think they would be terrific rolled in sparkling sugar, but I only had patriotic jimmies for the holiday.  Try them! From the King Arthur Baking website:  “These cookies have a unique and irresistible texture: a little crisp at the edges, with a soft, sandy center that melts in your mouth. Every bite is a perfect balance of butter and vanilla; hints of both almond and [...]


Garden Tip 53:

June 30, 2021

Garden Tip 53: DON’T FORGET TO DEADHEAD! Gardens are in high season now and plant maintenance can be a daily chore to keep the gardens in prime condition. Deadheading is a big part of the work during this time of year. Removing old flowers improves the appearance of the garden and in some cases has the added benefit of keeping the plant in flower production. Annuals such as zinnia, dahlia, and marigold and perennials such as echinacea, tall phlox, and shasta daisy respond well to deadheading. Cutting the flowers for arrangements will have the same result with the added [...]


Lemon Cupcakes w/ Blackberry

Buttercream, June 30, 2021

Week 63: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM THE STAFF AT HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS, KERI GIRTS! These cupcakes taste as good as they look, and they are the perfect dessert for summertime! Make them ahead and enjoy them after a backyard barbecue with friends-- they will definitely be a crowd pleaser!  Recipe is courtesy of Tide & Thyme Email Gail


Garden Tip 52:
June 23, 2021

Garden Tip 52: TRADE THE TROWEL FOR A SHOVEL! For most of my fifty years in the nursery and garden center business the sale of a plant, shrub or tree meant the additional sale of peat moss and cow manure for they were the recommended soil additives when planting. It was the thirty dollar hole for the twenty dollar plant! Research has shown that these additives discourage root growth beyond the improved soil area so current thinking recommends adding nothing to the soil at all. It is best to dig a whole deeper and two to three times larger [...]


Garden Tip 51:
June 16, 2021

Garden Tip 51: HOSTA IN THE GARDEN! I have planted quite a few hosta in my landscape over the years. Not only can they be big, bold and beautiful in the garden, their dense growing habit prevents weeds from growing in the garden as well. An additional feature I discovered last year is that they exhibited very little stress during the prolonged summer drought. There are over ten thousand named varieties of hosta and their mature size can range from two inches to eight feet across. Be sure to check the label for size when you are picking hosta [...]


Chilled Watermelon Soup,
Gazpacho Style June 16, 2021

Week 61: RECIPES OF THE WEEK FROM OUR CULINARY INSTRUCTOR MICHELLE ITZKOWITZ! This watermelon soup is a cold, refreshing, and sweet-savory summer soup that is prepared in gazpacho style. It means blended raw without straining and serve chilled. This soup will surely cool you down on a hot summer day! Adapted from My Pure Plants Email Gail


Garden Tip 50:
June 9, 2021

Garden Tip 50: Rhododendrons put on a great flower display this season. Many varieties are past peak now and new growth is starting to appear! Every week we talk of things that need to be done in the garden so it is nice every once in awhile to talk of things that do not have to be done. Old rhododendron flowers do not have to be removed. Some gardeners painstakingly peel off the old flowers and while aesthetically pleasing this is not necessary for the health or growth of the plant. The old flowers will dry and new growth [...]


Thai Fish Cakes (Tod Man Pla)
June 9, 2021

Week 60: RECIPES OF THE WEEK FROM OUR CULINARY INSTRUCTOR KAY BENAROCH! This week’s recipe features a Thai take on fish cakes or Tod Man Pla. Whether it’s an appetizer or a main dish, fish cakes are the perfect way to celebrate summer on Cape Cod! This Thai version of fish cakes features a little spice courtesy of Sriracha and is perfect with a sweet chili sauce or cucumber dipping sauce. Email Gail


Garden Tip 49:
June 2, 2021

Garden Tip 49: SPRING FLOWERING SHRUBS! Spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, weigela, and lilac can be pruned just after their flowering is complete. Flowering shrubs do not have to be pruned but sometimes it is necessary to control their size in the landscape. Pruning is best accomplished using hand pruners cutting one stem at a time creating a natural looking shrub while avoiding that sheared and trimmed look. Older shrubs may need a more extreme pruning to bring them back to the proper scale in the garden. We had this situation in the Highfield Gardens with weigela, spirea [...]


June 2, 2021

Week 59: RECIPES OF THE WEEK FROM OUR CULINARY INSTRUCTOR GAIL BLAKELY! People always seem to appreciate a new and different salad idea.  Here’s one I did in class at Highfield, and it was so good I repeated it in The Enterprise.  It is as delicious as it is appealing.  If you can get local strawberries, by all means use them in this recipe!  The trick here is to use freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and toss it with the orzo just after draining it, so it melts into the pasta.  Baby spinach leaves work well here, but if you can only [...]


Garden Tip 48:
May 26, 2021

Garden Tip 48: FORGET ME NOT! Every spring garden should include a planting of the flowering Forget Me Not, Myosotis, a biennial. Forget Me Not flower for weeks and weeks in the garden. Starting out at just a few inches tall they burst out into puffy blue clouds of color that can become almost two feet tall. Adaptable to sun or shade they are a great complement plant to spring bulbs such as tulips and daffodils and mix well with perennials such as hosta and hellebore. After weeks of flowering the clouds of blue become crispy and brown and [...]


Garden Tip 47:
May 19, 2021

Garden Tip 47: “FROST FREE” ZONE! Every year at this time I watch the calendar and the long range weather forecast to decide when we are in that “frost free” zone and temperatures are right for full on gardening. Some gardeners wait for May 15th, some the 21st, and some even until Memorial day. Every year is different and fortunately for us this year appears to be May15. The ten day forecast has day temperatures in the sixties and seventies and the all important night temperature of above fifty degrees. Vegetables, annuals, tubers and bulbs are good to go! This [...]


Gin & Tonic Salmon Flambe
May 19, 2021

Week 57: RECIPE OF THE WEEK FROM THE STAFF AT HIGHFIELD HALL & GARDENS, LISA WALKER! Let me first start by saying this picture is not truly representative of this recipe, it just so happened to be the only still shot I had when I first started making the recipe 5 years ago.  I am happy to say my flambe techniques have greatly improved! This recipe has been adapted from the Bluefish Flambe recipe in New England Open House Cookbook by Sarah Leah Chase. This original recipe calls for bluefish, but I have found that most people “think” they [...]

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