Mystery Blooms in the Garden

As I recently learned from Redneck Rosarian, June is National Rose Month … a perfect excuse to once again write about roses.

I have several ground cover roses in my garden. When I purchased them at least 8 years ago, they were labelled “Red”. In truth, they are more of a magenta. Anyhow, I am quite fond of them. They bloom from mid-Spring through Autumn and add a lot of color to the landscape … and they have proven hardy in Kansas. Now here is my mystery. A few weeks ago, one of the bushes, at the end of one branch, started producing clusters of pale pink roses.  At first I thought that I was seeing an errant limb from Flower Carpet Pink, but both the form of the flower and the color were wrong to belong to that other rose. Upon closer examination, I could see that the pale pink blooms were definitely coming from the magenta ground cover rose bush. The flowers on the rest of the branch matched the rest of the bush. What has happened to cause this mutation? Will there be more mismatched roses? Nature is full of mysteries. Fortunately, this is a fun one.

Magenta/Red Ground Cover Roses

Mystery Blooms (2 colors on the same branch)

“Flower Carpet Pink” Rose

Homemade Greek Yogurt

Per request of one of our guests, I made homemade Greek Yogurt yesterday. It’s not difficult, just as long as you have a low heat source. I used to make yogurt every four days, but had gotten out of the habit recently. It was good to have a prompt to get back into the practice.

Greek Yogurt

(makes about 3 cups)





heat source


1 qt. whole milk or 3 c. whole milk plus 1 c. heavy cream (preferably use organic milk/cream)

1 packet yogurt starter or 2 T. prepared yogurt with live cultures


(1) Pour milk, or milk and heavy cream, into a medium size saucepan. Warm milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the milk reaches 180 degrees F., remove the pan from the heat.

(2) Let milk cool to around 110 degrees F. Remove 1/4 c. of milk to a bowl. Stir in yogurt starter or prepared yogurt. Stir in the rest of the milk.

(3) Store the milk mixture someplace where it can remain at about 110 degrees F. for 8 to 14 hours. (I place the mixture in one of my ovens because the pilot lights keep it at exactly the right temperature.) Let the milk culture for 8 to 14 hours or until it has thickened and developed the desired flavor. The longer you allow the milk to culture, the stronger the flavor.

(4) Once you are done culturing the yogurt, cover the container and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.

(5) Line a strainer with damp cheesecloth. Place strainer over a bowl. Spoon the surface skin off the yogurt, then transfer yogurt to the strainer. Place in the refrigerator and allow to strain for 2 hours or until about 1 c. of whey has drained off.  Use yogurt right away or transfer to a glass container, cover and store in the refrigerator.