xmlns:fb='http://ogp.me/ns/fb#' Karen Wagner garden & design: 2012

Thursday, 20 December 2012

chrismtas inspiration ......and the famous orange cake recipe

Its been such a busy time....which is great, but I have just not found enough hours in the day to be a very consistent blogger....I suppose at the time of the year, its to be expected.
I also have neglected to really think about how I am going to do Christmas this year.  Usually I have a few ideas rumbling around in my head as to how I will decorate a few things and what food we might have & a few special things, but I must admit I haven't really had time to give it enough thought.  Well maybe up until now.
I realised I need to get cracking when my youngest daughter starting nagging about getting the Christmas tree up.  Luckily, both the girls (our two daughters as they have collectively become known...!) volunteered to do the tree and some of the household decorations, and I must admit I have more or less left them to it for this week.
But I did then think, I probably needed a little input and went looking for inspiration. And basically this is what I came up with.  I think this will give me a few ideas of a couple of quick and great looking things to do for decorating, others are just beautiful and give absolute inspiration for colour and design and texture.

First though, I am going to list the orange cake......we had the most wonderful gluten free orange cake at the afternoon tea at the peony farm and lots of people have requested the recipe and thank you for being patient.  My mum made the cakes and biscuits on the day...she is a wonderful cook and whips things up out of nowhere especially for afternoon tea!!!  So I will attribute the recipe to her and hope I get it right.


2 medium oranges, washed
3 tsp gluten free baking powder 
(I have left this out without any apparent consequences when I haven't had it)
6 organic/free range eggs
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
vanilla (either vanilla bean halved and seeded or good essence)
350 g almond meal
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
(another option is to add 3/4 cup coconut for another version)

put oranges into a saucepan and cover with cold water and bring to boil.  Simmer for about 1 hour.  Drain and cool
Preheat over to 180oC.  Prepare 24 hole large muffin tin using paper paddy pans.  Usually at the moment I use the Robert Gordon ones as they are upright.  You can make it as a full cake into an approx 20cm diameter, tall cake tin.  (Grease and line well)

In a food processor:
Put cut oranges and process until pulpy.
Mix all other ingredience into food processor until well mixed.

Put mixture into each muffin tin pan and pop into oven.  As muffins they take a lot less time...approx 25 - 30 mins.  Let cool in tin.  If making a full cake, then bake for at least 1 hour - also cool in tin.  If the top is starting to burn, turn oven down and continue to bake until cooked.  Don't overbake as this will stop that lovely moist cake that is characteristic of this type of cake.

For the topping:  either make an orange syrup which is lovely with cardoman seeds infused through it (water, sugar, orange rind and a little orange juice) or the icing that we had on the day.
The icing is very buttery but very lush.
125g soft butter + 1 - 1.5 cups icing sugar + fresh orange juice from 1 orange and a little very finely cut rind.
mix all together and beat well until it almost starts to 'change colour' and consistency (it goes just a little paler) - icing should have a bit of a good beating.  Use enough icing sugar and orange juice to get the consistency you require.  Not a runny icing, more like soft toothpaste.

To ice:  tear the paper from around the outside of the little cakes, leaving the bottom paper on and ice the top generously.


Love love love olive branches for christmas when i can get them....great big bunches.

We aren't having this many to christmas lunch but its a lovely setting.....

We have these lovely barn stars made by the Amish in America in Store!

Water melon is always a staple treat of Australian warm christmas.....this is a great idea.

Have a great Christmas hopefully with family and friends and with lots of laughs.....and a very joyful and fun NewYear.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

In-Store - new, classic, useful

We have lots of lovely new things in store.  

When we thought about our selections for gifts for christmas and presents this year, we were determined that the overall theme had to be great quality, beautiful, practical,  and a little luxurious if possible.  Hopefully, we have delivered.....  with lots of things to choose from.

We will also wrap for free for you........ 

Classic Haws watering cans....long handle professional, traditional green, small and large, in silver, green, black.   Wonderful

You Are My Sunshine.......  wonderful metal signs.     The blue teal one reads, You Make Me Happy When skies are Grey  and the red ones is, You'll never know dear how much I love You.

String, string, twine and string.

Outdoor Mirrors, willow planters, Obelisks, Candles......

When I found these classic French boxes that had been used for Marrons Glaces, I was tempted to make a whole pile myself and give them as a present in the box.  But then i read the recipe and realised I had to coat and cook up to 10 times in sugar syrup mixes.....I just don't have time.  So I think these would be better utilised to store lovely piles of things....in my study, in the kitchen, in the office....lots of options and look great stacked.

Stockings and Christmas Decorations...

Glass Domes to make beautiful still life botanicals.

Letters, Numbers, and votives

Outdoor thermometers........these are great presents for men that have everything.

Terrariums, lights, glassware and a wonderful pumpkin candle holder made of mercury glass.

Great Santa Sacks, Metal Fire Pits.....

New in yesterday.....metal round planters with leather handles.  Look great with plants in them, for storage or for parties  with lots of champagne....

See you instore soon....!!!!

Karen & Co.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees

 We're happily getting right into the christmas spirit here at KWGD.
Its time to start enjoying all the festive things that go with christmas surely.

We've teamed up again this year with Lee from  Killicrankie Farm who grows the lovliest Christmas trees on their farm in the Tamar Valley.  You would have seen them displayed on the front cover of the December Australian Country style magazine last year.
They are carefully selected and specially grown lush green live Christmas trees and they will be available for you in Hobart again this year.

Order and pick up your Fresh Cut Tree at Karen Wagner garden design in Warwick Street, Hobart.

The first delivery will be 30th November for those that love a tree up and going for Advent on the 1st December......but this has already been organised.
But...dont worry.  There are going to be deliveries each Friday through December.  On the 7th, 14th and 21st, so you can still order, prepay and collect on the Friday of your choice.

As you can see from the lovely pictures from the paddock, these aren't spindly skinny trees, these are lush shapely full green trees that will give the most fabulous Christmas tree.  
Don't miss out.  Let us know soon or order one on the killicrankie on line store website.
Or contact us directly at Karen Wagner garden design.  (03) 6234 1245.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Well...one of those....and one of those..

Is it really that long since I posted anything on my blog.
It has been an amazingly fast and furious month.

We have of course been unpacking christmas stock and its walking out the door as fast as we take it out of the box at the moment -yippee. 
There are lots of lovely things for christmas - am I allowed to say that -I am enjoying remembering ordering them and finding lovely things as I unpack boxes.  The shop feels like a fat christmas stocking filled to the brim, so I hope you can find whatever you would love to get for a present or for yourself.
We have also been putting gardens together furiously....it is the season for it and as the weather has co-operated, we are building, mulching, planting and enjoying the transformation as it happens.

With Christmas not that far away, I have been putting together a list of favourites that any garden inspired person would love for christmas....its going on my list to Santa of course.

Top of the list of course is sparkling wine of the Tasmanian and French variety. 
 A summer garden is fabulous for afternoon tea and drinking champagne.  All the hard work is done and friends and family can sit back with you and enjoy the green lushness of the garden in full bloom.  Its also the best time to enjoy the good weather.....and when you live in Tasmania you have to take full advantage of when that happens.

I have been searching for the gum boots that would suit me and everyone else looking for them.  Of course I have a few pairs and have been known to don them regularly with frocks throughout winter or colder weather. But ultimately, I want a good quality mid range gum boot that looks great.  I think we might have found them and I am going to get them instore for this coming year....so look forward to that one.

I am starting collections of garden paraphernalia.....I know slight madness is setting in obvioulsy but I have been unable to resist and am collecting old, unique and colourful hyacinth growing vases.  This ancient craft has always been popular in European countries especially in modern times in the Netherlands, so there are quite a few around when you go searching.
I am also falling back to the irresistable glass cloche (french term) or glass bell jar (English term).  I am finding there are a miriad of colours, shapes, sizes, handblown specimens to be found and some of them are very attractive.  So find myself drawn and purchase is becoming irresistable.....
Even more bizarre, I find myself strangley attracted to old fashioned English and European tools that have great uses but not well known for modern gardeners........this is a new slightly odd ball attraction, so we shall see where it leads.  You know things that are coming back into fashion like potato harvesters and apple pickers and manual seeders etc etc.  Some of them are being remade and resold and they really are wonderful, useful and best of all they do really work.

 We have lots of terrariums and planted glassware in store for christmas this year and they are very popular.  But this is quite as lovely as this .....I have this on my christmas list please Santa.
The 'Plantini' miniature Victorian hothouse kit is designed and made in the UK by architectural model makers. www.finchandfouracre.co.uk/

I have been looking at wallpaper a lot lately.....a little interior design project.  
There is lots around....this one is particularly attractive and very botanical.
I have a few on my wish list.....I could change the toilet, the living room and make a feature wall up the stairs just like this....

I would secretly like a trip to the trade secrets garden fair that I keep reading about in Connecticut, USA....can one ask Santa for one of these.
Maybe we should start something similiar in Tassie.  The pictures I find certainly look like there are lots of lovely garden finds, antiques, tools and plants.  As well it's a great social event, draws people from all over the world, and benefits the Womens Supports Services.

At this time of year, with gardens looking at their wonderful best....there are lots of garden and garden events to visit in Tassie as well.
Come and join us next weekend on our annual visit to the Weston Peony farm.  It's just wonderful and the peonies in full flights of flowering as far as you can see is inspiring.  Peonies are ravishing and with such a short season it we love them for the full 4 weeks.
Email us at store@karenwagnergardendesign.com.au or phone through to the shop to book and pay for your place on (03) 6234 1245.