Friday, January 1, 2010

Bests of 2009 and an Invitation

Let me recap the past year. I love making lists. January 1 is a great time to do so.

Best Flowers of 2009

Sunflowers: Moulin Rouge and Strawberry Blonde varieties were stellar in the cutting garden.

Rose: Knockout--the original Rosa RadRazz outperformed all others in a year when even the rugosas took a hit due to drought.

Annual: Nasturtium Empress of India makes a huge impression with its round, dark, blue-green foliage and its startling cherry red blooms. I grow them in the front of the bed and in a mass. The flowers are edible, too! Second best would be the equally old-fashioned snapdragon. I grow the taller varieties and they are impressive, blooming all season long and never needing to be staked even in our windiest conditions.

Perennial: Tough call here. Catmint blooms for a long time and draws butterflies, but so does buddleia, which is also fragrant. Crocosmia 'Lucifer' has attractive foliage as well as gorgeous blooms, but so does the variagated iris. And the coral bells! Their airy blooms soften the garden and bring in hummingbirds. I really cannot decide here.

Best Food of 2009
I've enjoyed a lot of really good food this year, but these dishes stand out as the best by far.

Pioneer Woman's brisket. Holy cow. Look here for the recipe, or better yet, just buy her cookbook.

Rachael Ray's crispy chicken cutlets. Gourdo made this for Valentine's Day as well as for Christmas Eve. Every bite was yum-o, as RR would say. Here's the link:

Giada de Laurentiis Mascarpone Mini Cupcakes with Strawberry Glaze. Everything you ever wanted in cake. And more.

Best Books Read in 2009
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Hands down. The best.

Contenders for second and third place include The Lottery by Patricia Wood and The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Aha Moment of 2009
I'd been listening to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle when, like a lightning bolt, it struck me that I am neither my thoughts nor my emotions, that who I am is separate from them. Yes, that's what the book is about, but it HIT me. Very liberating. For almost 12 whole hours after that aha moment I felt terrific--free of worry and quite at peace. I haven't quite figured out how to live in the now all the time yet, but I'm working on it.

And that leads me to my New Year's Resolution: to simply Be Here Now. (Remember Ram Dass? Tolle and he both impressed me!) Thanks for reading. I hope you'll journey along with me into 2010!


  1. Hi Julena~~ Good idea. I like the idea of showcasing last year's favorites. It is difficult to choose though, isn't it? 'Knock Out' was a winner in my gardens too. I read Tolle's book and listened to a few of Oprah's online classes but time got the better of me. Like you, I also think the concept is very freeing but staying continually mindful of NOW is a challenge. Happy 2010 -- one moment at a time.