Saturday dawned gray and misty. At 10 am those driving up to Heath for the Franklin Land Trust Farm and Garden Tour found themselves driving through thick Shangi-La fog to the mythical land of Heath with its fields and forests, blueberries, maple syrup, its country gardens, its history, and of course, its roses.
The air and the grass were wet, flowers somewhat rain battered after a week of downpours, but enthusiastic gardeners came from across the state, from Connecticut and Vermont to admire and learn and enjoy the delights of a day in Heath.
For the first time I got to show off the Rose Bank where the brand new yellow roses opened just in time. I planted these just this spring and I probably should not have let them bloom, but I did want visitors to be able to see what kind of a flower they had. Goldbusch, a Kordes hybrid, is disease resistant with a delicate flowers. ‘Gentle Persuasion’ a Buck hybrid is described like this, “The medium-large, ovoid-pointed lemon yellow tinted Spanish orange buds open to double (25-30 petals), cupped open, 4-inch blooms of lemon yellow overlaid with Mars orange, which age lighter. The blooms have a light, sweet fragrance and are borne in clusters of 1-5. The abundant, leathery, large, semi-glossy foliage is dark olive green and has good field tolerance to common foliar diseases. The thorns are tan and awl-like. The erect, bushy plants is vigorous and blooms from June to killing frost.” You can see my husband’s hand supporting the drenched blossom and get an idea of the large size and amazing color.
Sunday was drier and even busier than Saturday. By the end of the weekend I had met new neighbors, visited with old friends, arranged a couple of plant swaps, had many discussions about the efficiency of Milky Spore Disease in getting rid of Japanese beetles, and spent a few minutes in the Cottage Ornee with visitors to enjoy the rose scented breeze, and wet our whistles. I also promised to include my recipe for what I call my official Rose Viewing cookies, but which The Shaker Cookbook: Recipes and lore from the Valley of God’s Pleasure by Caroline Piercy and Arthur Tolove call Sister Lettie’s Sand Cakes.
1 cup butter, 2 cups sugar, 1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, 3 egg whites, 3-1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 cup ground almonds.
Cream butter and sugar, til light and fluffy. Gradually beat in lemon and egg whites until batter is smooth and whites are fully incorporated. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together, then add, with ground nuts, to batter gradually. Mixing fully after each addition. Chill for 30-45 minutes. After a slight kneading, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness and cut into small squares. I always use a small heart cookie cutter. Place on lightly greased baking pan. (I use a silicon mat) Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.
The cookies are easy to make and the secret to their appeal, I think, is their crispness, which is mainly due to the use of egg whites only.
Today it is Monday, the Rose Viewing/FLT Tour is only a memory. Do I need to tell you that the sun is shining and warm?