Monthly Archives: September 2013

The naming of plants is a serious matter!

clematisI grew up calling this Autumn Clematis. Dad grew it on a trellis in the back yard and I loved the luxurious bloom and the amazing fragrance.  I finally have a plant descendant from that vine growing well and blooming this summer.

A number of years ago, I was gifted with a 1939 edition of The Gardener’s Bed Book. Richardson Wright’s language is a bit flowery at times as he takes the reader through the months. September 9 he wrote on Virgin’s Bower, Clematis paniculata. “...even the Latin of it is pretty.”

clematis 2

“Early September sees its stars appearing — here a star and there a star, as the light of the heavens twinkle through dusky mists. And when that Milky Way has come down to dwell with us, it brings also a divine fragrance.”

I had never heard the name Virgin’s Bower so I searched to see if it is the plant in my garden.

Shockingly, one man’s poetic beauty is another gardener’s invasive nuisance! Two different plants with the same common names of Sweet Autumn Clematis or Virgin’s Bower, one native, the other an import from the 1880’s.

My search brought be to this post of beautiful photos and a “cautionary tale”. After reading it, I will be pruning my plant before those seeds ripen!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

I can’t think that I will ever be a food blogger but I want to share the recipe that Mom used for her coffee cake.  I like it anytime  but especially in fall and winter when the cinnamon scents the house with warmth. Her recipe came from an old Spry Shortening cookbook. Spry is no longer made and Crisco shortening is what I use. It is fun to make these two cakes and give one away.

I found this link to the original recipe for “Queen Cake”. I have no memory of mom making it as a layer cake with the filling mentioned. By the time I came along, she had perfected it as single layer coffee cakes with this cinnamon topping:

4 Tablespoons granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons flour

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Then work in 2 Tablespoons room temperature butter with a fork till crumbly and spread over batter before baking.

I’ve increased the measurements a bit (Multiplied by 2!)

If I’m not giving one of the cakes away, I bake all of the batter in a 9 x 13 inch pan for 20 minutes and find it done. Be sure to test your cake!

And, as an older generation of cooks wrote, “I hope you have good luck with this!”

cinnamon coffee cake

And there was cake

A number of years ago we had my Mom’s old home movies transferred to discs. When we went to pick up these time capsules revealed, they played party after party! The tech commented, “You sure had a lot of cake!” And we did! Every birthday was a celebration and cake was required. And candles. And ice cream. And off-key singing with gusto! Mom never forgot or was too busy to celebrate the ones she loved.

This morning I baked cake, an everyday sort of cake but one I remember best and bake often, Mom’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake and we remember –

IMG_1457And I write and call and encourage everyone to have a treat today, a splendid, memorial treat and celebrate.  Happy Birthday, Mom! We remember you and all the good times!

Mildred birthday