Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Lemon Trifle and Garden Woes

Perfect Pairing:  Trifle Bowl

See that little sprig of mint on top of that trifle?  I did not grow that.  I am apparently incapable of growing things. 
I am the daughter of a farmer!  My mom and grandma have some of the greenest thumbs I know!  What happened to me?
I would like to blame it on too much shade in my yard, the draught this summer, over-watering, or perhaps someone just hates my plants and killed them, but unfortunately, I think I am just no good at plants. 
Every year I get so excited to plant my window boxes.  I have very little sun on my patio so I stick to shade-loving varieties.  I always try to grow herbs as well, knowing that this probably futile because of lack of sun. 
I have had trouble in the past, but never like this year.  This summer was a complete and utter flop.
Let’s just go on a little plant journey.
In early May I went to a fabulous nursery in Chicago called Gethsemane Gardens with my mom, brother, grandma, and nephews.  It was a nasty day outside but we persevered and spent a couple of hours there.
My grandma Rosie has the ultimate green thumb.  I have never met anyone that knows more about flowers.  What an appropriate name!  I love this picture of grandma and my nephew.
My nephews had fun acting like statues, climbing on the carts, collecting flowers that fell to the ground to give to their mom, and jumping in puddles.

A great time was had by all and I walked out with the makings of a beautiful window box and a great herb pot.  I was already planning the dishes I would make with my fresh basil, rosemary, thyme, chives, and mint, and I was thrilled with the final window box!
 A few weeks go by and my herbs start to look really sad.  I confer with my personal garden specialist, mom.
Then my window boxes just fail.  Everything, and I mean everything, dies.  I chalked it up to lack of sun.  I talked to my association and they agreed to cut some limbs from my trees. 
Ok, I was ready to start over.  My mom (garden specialist) came for a visit and we bought new plants and replanted the window boxes.
A few weeks go by and everything dies, again.  People, believe me, I was watering only when dry, using miracle grow, deadheading, etc.  I don’t know what happened.
I was determined to have pretty flowers on my patio so I went back to Home Depot and bought all new flowers, and dirt.  Third time is the charm, right? 
 Or am I just insane?
 I must just be insane. 
So currently I have window boxes with only asparagus fern and one basil plant (that would be the fourth one, for anyone who is counting) that is struggling to make it.  I think I am done with planting this summer. 
I think we can all agree that I should not be giving out plant advice, but I feel confident telling you to make this lovely dessert.  I have been making this trifle for years.  It is easy and refreshing.  The best part about it is that it is very light, practically fat free.

The Perfect Pairing for this dessert is a trifle bowl.  You could certainly make this in any bowl but I love using an actual trifle bowl so you can see the layers.
Lemon Trifle
Adapted by Lindsay at Perfecting the Pairing from Taste of Home

·         1 can (14 oz) fat free sweetened condensed milk
·         1 carton (8 oz) lemon yogurt
·         2 tsp lemon zest
·         1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
·         2 cups Cool Whip, light or fat free is fine
·         1, 10 inch, angel food cake, cut into cubes
·         1 ½ cups fresh raspberries and blueberries
Combine the condensed milk, yogurt, lemon zest, and juice in a large bowl.  Stir well.  Fold in the Cool Whip until evenly combined.
Place half of the angel food cake cubes in the bottom of a large bowl or trifle bowl.  Top with half of the lemon mixture and half of the berries.  Repeat.


  1. Lindsay...it's too bad desire alone isn't enough to make plants thrive. There's always next year. I'm willing to try again if you are. smile
    P.S. Everyone will love this tasty trifle, and they won't care that your plants died.

  2. It looks like the boxes had new guinea impatiens, double impatiens, and some coleus? It's hard to say without looking at it in person, but it seems that it's a combination of lack of sun and might depend on the amount of water they got. They could perhaps have gotten a little too much water, but hard to say. If the soil is dry on top I would make sure to see if there is moisture below the surface dirt before watering. Darker shades of coleus tend to take more sun then lighter shades, but it's hard to tell. It also depends on how many hours of sun they get each day. I didn't see that information in your post, but generally you can follow the information on the tags in annuals and they're pretty accurate. New Guinea impatiens tend to need 6 hours of sun/day; coleus depends on the variety.

  3. Next time perhaps try regular impatiens (which can generally tolerate more shade then new guineas) and err on the side of not watering the plants enough. It is much easier to bring back dry or wilted plants compared to those that have gotten a little too much water. If there's not room at the bottom of the pot/tray on your window box for the water to come out, the dirt could stay wet for quite sometime if it's in a shady area.

  4. However I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look at and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me. Thank you 토토


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