1 It was such a fine spring morning. I started the day with a walk through some of the gardens and a tour of the farm on horseback.
2 The trees in the dwarf apple espalier are just beginning to show their leaves. I go around the property as much as I can when I am home - many times, during the early morning hours when all is still so tranquil.
3 A nice morning horseback ride took us through the Christmas tree field. Here is Betsy on my dear Friesian, Ramon. This area of trees is looking wonderful, and the specimens are growing so fast. While they are yellow, the dandelions do look pretty.
4 Kevin Sharkey and our good friend, Douglas Friedman, also joined me for a ride - Kevin atop Meindert, and Douglas on Rutger.
5 And, here is a showstopper - my spectacular tulip garden. The flowers are blooming so beautifully.
6 If you recall we planted this garden on the far side of my main greenhouse behind my berry bushes. We planted all different colors - violet, burgundy, cream, salmon and pink.
7 I ordered bulbs from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, Van Engelen, McClure and Zimmerman and Old House Gardens Heirloom Bulbs - and, in all different types, including parrot and double flowered tulips.
8 These tulips were all planted last autumn. Remember to order your tulip bulbs early!
9 Here is another stunning view. I love parrot tulips - those that have petals that are feathered, curled, twisted, or waved with bright colors.
10 After plants are finished flowering in spring, cut back flower stalks but allow the leaves to die back naturally.
11 These are called 'Topkapi'
12 What color tulip is your favorite? Hardy in zones four through 10, these early-blooming plants require little maintenance in order to produce their cheerful, colorful blossoms.
13 A vibrant red 'Montana'
14 On the left - 'Blushing Beauty'
15 I love all the bold colors, but creams and whites are also so pretty.
17 In the evening, I hosted a dinner party for some business associates. The dining table in my Brown Room was decorated in lovely shades of cream and white.
18 My longtime housekeeper, Laura Acuna, always sets such a beautiful table.
19 Tulips were the perfect accompaniment - I used colorful tulips in bud vases as my centerpiece.
20 The dark shades of pink and burgundy looked stunning.
21 Creams, pinks, violets, salmons - these tulips added such a wonderful touch of spring to the room. And, adding tepid water in the vase will help them open up.
22 Meanwhile, my friend, Chef Pierre Schaedelin, of PS Tailored Events, was in the Flower Room kitchen preparing another delicious meal. This was the dough for the cheese straws and herb straws. http://pstailoredevents.com
24 For this dinner, I decided to serve Champvallon, a rustic yet elegant pie with lamb and potatoes. This is the lamb, with onions, garlic, and stock simmering until the meat is tender. Here is one of my recipes for this tasty dish. http://www.marthastewart.com/1130565/champvallon
25 Here are the lamb chops for our Champvallon.
26 Chef Pierre sauteed the onions and herbs for the Champvallon.
27 Here, Pierre began to layer the Champvallon with peeled, sliced potatoes.
28 He layered the potatoes starting o the outer edge, overlapping each potato by half, working in concentric circles toward center.
29 About four circles to the center - it makes such a beautiful presentation.
30 Lamb broth is spooned over the top before it is baked in the over until golden brown.
31 Here is the Champvallon before it is cooked.
32 Chef Pierre also prepared fresh spring vegetables - carrots in all colors.
33 And beautiful small, crisp, white turnips - filled with vitamin-C.
34 Artichoke hearts - another nutritious and delicious vegetable filled with antioxidants.
35 And look at these spring peas - so fresh and beautiful.
36 On the left, jumbo white asparagus. We also served green asparagus from my farm - they were from the season's first crop.
37 I always try to serve an interesting selection of vegetables for my guests.
38 For dessert, I served a chocolate pistachio tart.
40 We opened up these special wines. They were a gift from acclaimed chef and restaurateur, Sirio Maccioni - two bottles of 1985 Secentenario Antinori. I think they were cellared in three different countries.
41 My daughter, Alexis, and my grandchildren, also joined us for dinner. I made asparagus soup especially for Jude and Truman - they loved it.
42 Beautiful white and green asparagus plated with greens on a white plate - so simple, yet so elegant.
43 And here is the Champvallon fresh out of the oven.
44 Our wait staff, Matt and Jordi, from Parella Events, presented the finished Champvallon to the guests before we sliced into it.
45 Beautiful golden brown - it was cooked so perfectly.
46 And here it is, served - everyone loved this main course - Champvallon with spring vegetables.
47 But everyone saved enough room for the dessert - the entire dinner was a hit. A perfect evening to end the day.