Saturday Sun 05.04.2024

Created by Laura Wright
An upward facing shot shows a cascade of crabapple blossoms in bright sunlight.

Hello and happy Saturday to you! We’re tackling our wild side garden area in the backyard this weekend. I started planning the rock border for it midweek, and the soil that I was digging up looked like bars of clay from an art store. So dense! It’s going to be a heavy duty job haha. At least the dogs will be happy to hang outside and watch us.

We were gifted some beautiful morel mushrooms recently so I’m hoping to make an epic risotto with those. Aside from that, I won’t be getting into anything that’s too involved cooking-wise. I’m on the hunt for some new pots and we’re picking up some chairs that I ordered for our sunroom as well.

There’s so much to get done outside this time of year and usually it feels overwhelming, but something is different this year. It all feels a bit more manageable and honestly kind of fun. Excited to keep building our garden sanctuary 😌. Be well out there and take care!

5 Things I’m Reading:

  1. Living Courageously
  2. This spring, DC-area students are planting native flowers — and activating ‘the solarpunk imagination’
  3. 4 tips for dealing with a ferocious allergy season
  4. How Did Black Forest Cake Become the World’s Favorite Dessert?
  5. The 24 Best Beach Reads of 2024

5 Things I’m Enjoying:

  1. Holy Grail Garlic Salt from Kanel is a no-fuss dinnertime pal that I am absolutely hooked on lately. Incredible on roasted potatoes!
  2. Mesh grilling bags for the best and easiest grilled vegetables all summer. No fallen asparagus spears with this setup! I toss diced veg with olive oil, salt, pepper, spices of choice, and a dash of vegan Worcestershire sauce before packing it all into the bags. Perfect grilled veg every time.
  3. For me, nothing feels better after a full day of gardening than being showered, moisturized, and comfy in my sweats. May Lindstrom’s The Happy Galaxy body oil takes this ritual to another level. It’s so moisturizing, soothing for scratches and bug bites, and the scent of jasmine and blue tansy keeps the lush garden vibes going. I apply right after I turn the water off (skin is still damp) and the experience is just so sublime.
  4. Following @evannryan for inspiration to increase plant-based protein in my life. Always aiming for 30 grams per meal these days.
  5. The Way Out Is In Episode #66: The Practice of Gratitude

5 Questions:

  1. How do you prefer to cook/prep edamame?
    I love to toss shelled frozen edamame into noodle stir fries or salads, and we also really like them whipped up into a dip like this one. Also, just the pods steamed with some flaky salt on top is simple and perfect.
  2. What are you planting right now?
    Lots of perennials and shrubs! We planted a hedge of dappled willows on the side of our property a couple summers ago, but the clay soil is just too dense and about half of them died. We’re going to pull out the survivors and get them established somewhere else. In the meantime, I’m researching shrubs that can handle clay soil. Leaning towards weigela, summersweet or euonymus. I’m also starting to grab annuals for all the pots around the house–but I also need to replace some of the pots themselves, so that’s a whole other thing!
  3. What are you most excited about for May?
    If it wasn’t obvious: the gardening and sunshine! I also just love doing regular everyday activities outside–having a coffee, cooking, some computer work etc. It’s also nice to be enjoying locally grown produce again. Wild garlic, morels, radishes, and lettuce have all been so good!
  4. Which ingredients are worth splurging for the good stuff? Which can we skimp on?
    I personally splurge on spices, olive oil and vinegars. Also if you’re into baking, I recommend splurging on things like chocolate and vanilla extract. Honestly I don’t know if there are any ingredients that I truly skimp on because food is such a big part of our life. I do love a bulk size deal at Costco with nuts, nut butter, and frozen fruit.
  5. What are your most often cooked recipes from your cookbook and why?
    For a couple of years after it came out I had no desire to revisit any recipe from my cookbook! I was just so sick of it at that point. But with time and space, things do change! I love the maple baked beans, the hot pink beet smoothie, and the super fudgy brownies. The smoothie is an unusual combination that I do find myself craving for breakfast fairly often. I love to batch cook the beans to have on hand for meals over the next few days. And the brownies are just really delicious (but still grain-free and made with wholesome ingredients). I keep mine in the fridge for a cool fudgy slice.


  • D

    If you plan on buying willows again, just be careful not to plant any types of willows near your home’s foundation, septic, or plumbing because their roots go in search of water and can damage them. (Incidentally, I recently learned if you steep willow branches in water for a couple of days the liquid makes a great rooting hormone for transplants and propogation.) I really wanted a dappled willow but I’ve nowhere suitable to plant it and they can get large in no time. I already made the mistake of planting a corkscrew willow someone gave us and soon regretted it. It’s had pest infestations (ants farming aphids in it) and they only have a <30 year lifespan too. It’s grown into a monster that needs frequent pruning to keep it away from houses and I’ll eventually likely have to cut it down and replace it with a more manageable tree. I didn’t know what I was planting when someone gave it to us.;) I’ll admire them in parks instead.

    • Laura Wright

      Hi D!
      I really appreciate these tips. I definitely want to keep them on the fence line away from the house because I’ve seen the damage that willows can do. The tip on steeping the branches for propagating is so cool though! Thanks again.

  • Ariel

    So into edamame in my salad/bowls right now and that ginger soy dressing is exactly what I’m enjoying lately! Thanks! Pinned the recipe.