Cocktail Hour Garden


Posted with permission of the National Garden Bureau:

 

You Are Invited…
To put aside the workday, your commute, and all digital devices and enjoy
“The Green Hour.”
Where: Your Own Backyard, Porch or Patio

When: Any Evening, any Hour you choose for “The Green Hour”

Who: Come By Yourself or With Friends, Family, and Neighbors (Pets welcomed!)

Why: To reconnect with the natural world. To be refreshed by colorful flowers and foliage. To appreciate plants that are backlit by the setting sun. To hear birdsongs, smell fragrance wafting from flowers and taste hors d’oeuvres  and beverages made from veggies picked directly from your garden.

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Book excerpt from The Cocktail Hour Garden by C.L. Fornari

Some say that the cocktail hour began in Paris with the custom of pausing after the workday for a small glass of absinthe. This highly alcoholic, green-hued drink – made from herbs such as wormwood, fennel and green anise – was first sold in the late 18th century as a cure-all. In the early 19th century the potent beverage became popular as a before-dinner aperitif. So many people looked forward to sipping their glass of absinthe at this time of the evening that the period became known as l’heure vert, the green hour.

Although to this date I haven’t tried absinthe, it’s not surprising that I’m in favor of the concept of a green hour. For a gardener such as myself, green isn’t the color of an intoxicating drink but the color of healthy plants. I’d estimate that the average garden would be over 80% green if we charted its component colors. Yet green also exemplifies other qualities that we hold dear.

Green can mean lush, verdant, luxuriant and fertile. It’s a term for a park, playing field or neighborhood common space – or a way to describe something natural, pure, eco-friendly and organic. Green also implies freshness or something that’s young and new. Who wouldn’t want a period of each day devoted to these qualities?

I propose that the best place to celebrate a return of the green hour is among plants, in the garden. We can all use a time to pause among the surrounding greenery and count our blessings, whether it’s with a cup of tea, a cocktail, or no beverage-in-hand at all.

Cucumber Herb Cooler

1/2 organically grown cucumber, chopped, skin and all
Three springs each of dill, basil, parsley and coriander (about 2 T. of each herb)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. honey or agave nectar
1/2 c. water
Sparkling mineral water
Edible flower petals for garnish
Optional: 1 1/2 oz. gin

Place the cucumber, herbs, lemon juice and honey in a food processor or blender with the water. Blend until well mixed but not totally pureed, then pour through a fine sieve into a glass measuring cup. Press lightly to get most of the liquid. Discard the solids. Pour herb liquid over ice in a tall glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with an edible flower. (If you want to make an alcholic beverage, add the gin before topping off with the sparkling water.)

In her newest book, C.L. Fornari invites us to design a garden for all the senses as well as for our feathered and winged friends, because of course that’s one of a gardener’s great delights: to watch the wildlife enjoy our garden as much as we do. From defining what a Cocktail Hour Garden should (or can) be to a chapter on lighting and choosing after-twilight plants, C.L. covers it all in this delightful and all-encompassing book. Click here for more information.
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