Flowers Feed the Soul

Roger's Gardens Corona Del Mar

If you’ve ever visited Corona Del Mar, you probably passed by Roger’s Gardens, a beautiful and artfully maintained home and garden center. My mother-in-law took me there the first time, and ever since, it has become a favorite destination of mine. You can spend hours strolling along and perusing the 7 acres of succulents, roses, fruit trees and other garden beauties. Does shopping at Roger’s fall under the “thrifty” category? Not exactly, but making homemade flower arrangements from your own garden from plants you’ve purchased at Roger’s does.

Brass Band Floribunda Roses

I purchased a Brass Band Floribunda rose bush from Roger’s over a year ago. It produces gorgeous orange flowers throughout the year and is a source of much joy for me. One of my favorite things to do is snip the roses and place them in simple arrangements for friends.

Fresh from the garden flower arrangement gift

Many of the vessels I use are thrift store finds like mason jars, julep cups or other unique glass or pottery pieces. Get creative! Even if you don’t have a home garden, you can visit your local grocer and make simple, yet beautiful arrangements, out of just a few types of stems, like the one below with green spider mums, burgundy mums and alstroemeria.

Fresh flower garden arrangement craft

Lovely Lemons

lemon botanical print

No Easter brunch would be complete without a luscious, lemon dessert.  There is something about the tart citrus fruit that calls to your taste buds and leaves you yearning.  Here, I’ve scoured the internet and made some adaptations to a couple of recipes for lemon lovers and made crisp and absolutely delicious Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies and light and creamy Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting, topped with candied ginger.  Two recipes that will, without a doubt, satisfy that lemon craving.  Enjoy!

Lavender and Lemon Shortbread Cookies

for the Shortbread

  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 c confectioner’s sugar
  • Lemon zest grated from 2 lemons
  • 2 c flour
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/4 t baking powder
Lemon and Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Cream the butter and sugar together. Stir in the lemon zest and the dry ingredients. Mold dough into 2 flat discs with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Roll out dough on lightly floured surface and use cookie cutter to shape cookies.  Bake cookies at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes – in my oven, I found 20 minutes was plenty of time.   Allow to cool completely before icing.

Lemon and Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe

for the Icing

  • 1 c confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 tsp chopped fresh lavender (Original recipe used dried culinary lavender, I used fresh because I love the organic look of the purple flowers)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 1-2 TB lemon juice

Whisk all ingredients together, starting with one tablespoon of lemon juice and adding more as needed to create a smooth, pourable icing.   Pipe outline on cookies with white royal icing and allow to dry, about 5 minutes.  (I only made a fourth of the royal icing recipe for these cookies – you don’t need much) Flood the cooled shortbread cookies with lavender icing and allow to dry.

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 12 cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), soft
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (Original recipe did not include this – I added for extra lemon flavor)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in egg. Add vanilla, lemon zest and lemon extracts into the buttermilk and pour half into the sugar mixture. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the remaining buttermilk and the rest of the flour. Stir only until just combined. Divide evenly into the prepared cups.

Bake at 350F for 18-23 minutes, or until a toothpick tester comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack before frosting.

Lemon Buttermilk Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1  cup confectioners’ sugar (Original recipe had 1 1/2 c – I cut it down by 1/2 c)
  • zest of 1 lemon, grated
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

With an electric mixer on medium, beat the cream cheese until softened. Slowly add the sugar, zest, and juice and beat until creamy, about 3 minutes.  Pipe onto cupcakes and top with candied ginger pieces.