The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens

What’s Blooming: Baked Goods and Begonias


“Exactly two weeks from now, it will be March 1st,” my husband proclaimed this morning in between bites of a slice of wonderful rosemary olive bread. This caused me to panic a moment (I have yet to order seeds!), before I silently rejoiced (I can plant peas!). I say silently because my mouth was also full of rosemary olive bread freshly toasted and soaked in Earth Balance – a buttery substitute for us plant-based dieters. It was yet another moment, another savory bite later, I recalled it’s Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. I will say – even though I am a gardening plant addict – in the middle of February here in North Country, baked goods are better than blooms. Yes, you heard me, baked goods RULE over blooms! Even though it is Carol of May Dreams Gardens, our host of GBBD who lives by the premise that “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year” (Elizabeth Lawrence), I am savoring baked goods today, not blooms. I suppose I could share with you a few rather unsavory blooms but wouldn’t you rather drool over this?

Rosemary Olive Loaf from Pan Chancho's

Rosemary Olive Loaf from Pan Chancho’s

We picked up this beauty in Kingston, Canada (did I mention we live close to the border?) at a lusty bakery called Pan Chancho. It was Valentine’s Day after all, so we embarked on a date day and took a trip to Kingston for brunch at Pan Chancho’s and a day of snow shoeing. (We also picked up some great Indian take out and a nice white wine to bring home for dinner. Look out, small town folk unleashed in the city!) I was too busy having fun to “plug in” but you may see highlights of Pan Chancho here. The sun was out, the snow was sparkly, love was in the air.

Oh yes, what is blooming? Hmmm, I’m pretty certain that there’s not much blooming out there.


Inside the violets are still blooming strong. See them bloom in January.

This bold little begonia surprised me. I have had these “annual” begonias for years. They really do winter over quite well indoors, obviously. I usually cut them back hard before I put them outside again for the summer.

begonia flower

The Christmas Cactus, while not thrilling me in January, thrills me now! This beautiful flush of color, stronger light, and longer days are beginning to lift my spirits.

cactus bloom

But these meager blooms are not nearly as effective at improving my mood as baked goods! Mmmm … is it a sin to eat a whole loaf of bread in one day?


Author: Kathy Sturr

Artist, master gardener, plant-based chef. Florida's Nature Coast / Indian River Lakes, NY

11 thoughts on “What’s Blooming: Baked Goods and Begonias

  1. Oh, I am so impressed that you are raising violets! I think I need to know more about this. as I am a long-time scented violet V. odorata) and Parma violet fan.

    • Whoa! I think you are way beyond me in Violet world. I grow African Violets because my grandmother, whose name was Violet, grew them. Sadly, I lost one of her violets during a move. They are quite easy to care for. I always water from the bottom – no wet leaves. Once they are placed in light they like, they bloom forever.

  2. YUM! I agree baked goods in this weather are the bloom of my choice right now. I had a blueberry muffin today , but it was a week old + it’s blooms were long gone-lol Your bread is stunning + I don’t think it is a sin to finish the ENTIRE loaf in one day! I would in a heartbeat eat that loaf all alone:-), but so much nicer with your hubby. I checked that place out up above and that would be a place I would visit more than once a year! Beautiful photos of your winter garden + food-yum!!!

  3. Kathy! I regularly bake bread here in central Virginia, thanks to a terrific gift a couple years ago, of a bread making machine. Before I rec’d this gift I thought that using a bread baking machine was cheating, BUT I have not purchased any bread since I’ve gotten this little wonder! It is like having a personal slave!

    Your rosemary olive bread looks heavenly. I must dig out a recipe for something similar!

    I love your pictures too. My many Christmas cactus plants were not happy with me, around the holidays. They not only did not spend the summer outside, like they usually do (thanks to cactus eating squirrels) but I am usually my studio regularly these days – even in the evenings. They live in my studio and I figure they do not appreciate the evening light. In any event, my Christmas cacti are beginning to show thoughts of blooming! Even the cuttings that I brought up from Florida, from my Mom’s plants! Yay!

    You stay warm now!

    • Brenda, I must start baking bread. It is so good fresh. I do make Naan bread occasionally. Last evening I made homemade tortillas because I received a tortilla press as a gift. I don’t think I will ever buy tortillas again! I haven’t tried moving my Christmas cactus outdoors for the summer – I think I will have to try this, thank you.

  4. I have never brought in my annual begonias but will have to this year….

  5. Kathy, sounds like such a nice trip and outing and the bread looks delicious! I love Rosemary and am going to have to remember that it would be so good in bread. Love your blooms this time of year….I have a Christmas cactus still blooming from late fall but the other one I have is looking kind of puny. Both in same location, so don’t know what is up with it.

    • Hi Annie, it was such a wonderful day! My only regret is not stopping at the art store! I’m not sure about your cactus – both in the same soil? Ceramic or terra pot? Drainage? Christmas Cactus really are stunning in bloom. Mine doesn’t get a whole lot of blooms but I am sure this is due to my neglect – I have too many plants, of course.

  6. It sounds like you had a wonderful day in Kingston, and then to spend some time with your hubby while you enjoy your fantastic bread is a great way to follow it! And with so much snow outside, it is good you have some lovely indoor blooms!

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

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