The September Issue

The September issue of Martha Stewart Living is always eagerly anticipated by readers. We're looking for all those features that make the magazine what it is: a good home feature, a good food feature, a good garden feature, some craft ideas and lots of 'how-to' advice sprinkled amidst beautiful photography. The 2018 issue delivers it, I'm pleased to say. We get a preview of Martha's next book, Pressure Cooker, due out on the 28th of August, and a beautiful feature about a garden in Vermont that blends formal English elements with free-spirited American whimsy. There's a great guide to making easy weekday meals once those September days start getting busy and, best of all, an ingenious feature on borrowing organizing techniques from classrooms of yore. There is even a look at the weekend home of model Carolyn Murphy, one of the few 'celebrity' inclusions the magazine has featured in its 28 year history; the editors were wise not to broadcast her feature on the cover and instead let it remain an interesting and exciting discovery.
The cover feels fresh, too. Not a plate of food or even a beautiful room but an actual person who is not Martha in the act of culinary creation. It feels fresh and different and I like it. It's a good issue and I hope you'll pick one up!


Books on Single Flower Types

Everyone has a favourite flower. For my grandmother, it was the iris. For my mother, it is the rose. For me, it's the peony. Learning how to grow your favourite types of flowers often requires more insight and knowledge than a summary 'how-to' on the back of a seed packet. Even books with growing and care instructions for a wide variety of flower types may not provide the in-depth analysis of your favourite flower type, or explore its varieties, its virtues or its troublesome pitfalls to the extent required for an avid devotee.

If you are passionate about one type of flower, it is worth looking for a book that immerses itself fully in the exploration of that type. Many flowers also have online discussion groups on social media sites, such as Facebook, that are devoted to them. And serious aficionados may find it helpful to join professional local flower societies that provide resources and information about your favourite kind. Below is a list of eight titles about single types of flowers that you might find inspiring and informative. I hope one of your favourite flowers is among them!

British writer Jane Eastoe pens a comprehensive study of classic 'old' roses and some of their modern cultivars, which were developed to mimic the heirloom qualities of the true old-world varieties. The sixty types that are profiled were selected by Eastoe as those having the best fragrance, the most beauty for arrangements and the easiest to grow in the garden. Gorgeous photography by Georgianna Lane will leave you inspired.

In her follow-up volume, Peonies, issued this year, Jane Eastoe applies the same selection method she used in "Vintage Roses" to sixty varieties of peonies: best fragrance, best looks, best for arrangements and easiest to grow. With commentary on each type, along with helpful growing advice and gorgeous photography by Georgianna Lane, the reader is enticed to grow these varieties at home. 

This is the most comprehensive study of garden irises published to date. A large hardcover encyclopedia profiling all known iris varieties known to the gardener, the book provides a breeding history of each type as well as how-to advice for planting and growing. More than 1,100 photographs depict the iris in all her guises.

Widely considered to be the 'lilac bible' this book was first published in 1988 by American hybridizer John Fiala. The new edition profiles all of the 21 known lilac varieties and ten natural hybrids, as well has hundreds of the 2000 named cultivars. With an in-depth history of the lilac in garden landscapes around the world, as well as depictions in visual art, the book is beyond comprehensive. There are 580 colour photographs depicting many of the varieties. 

Photographer Georgianna Lane applies her visual talent to great effect in this beautiful book on Dahlias by Naomi Slade. The author's commentary unearths the flower's history from its Aztec origins and imparts practical, hands-on knowledge for growing and overwintering the Dahlia in wintry climes. All of the popular types are profiled, including CafĂ© Au Lait and dinner-plate varieties, as well as lesser-known types, such as Voodoo and Honka. 

This pictorial guide by Michael King presents a fresh approach to using these popular bulbs in contemporary gardens. The book begins with a history of tulips and moves on to design approaches and tips for arious plant combinations. Twenty groups of tulips are described in detail, and a separate chapter deals exclusively with colour varieties, making it easy for readers to choose tulips to create a wide palette of colour combinations in their garden. Complete growing and maintenance instructions are also provided.

A mere ten years ago, hellebores were considered a connoisseur's plant - subdued in colouration, hard to find, and the subject of much snobbery. Today, however, they are among the most popular perennials, thanks to their early bloom, long-lasting flowers, shade tolerance, handsome foliage and the profusion of new colours and forms that have become available. Authors Cole Burrell and Judith Tyler have produced what is arguably the definitive book on this genus, packed with comprehensive information on growing, maintenance, design, hybridization and selection, as well as trouble-shooting. The lavishly-illustrated volume will interest hellebore lovers at every level of interest. 

Hundreds of full-colour photographs depict the most popular and some of the rarer varieties of daffodils for the North American garden. Author Becky Heath provides a history of the flower as well as invaluable advice on planting and growing, including soil-amendment suggestions, fertilizers, when to plant, how deep to plant and how best to choose the bulb that is right for your region and garden.


A Happy 77th Birthday to Martha!

Martha is currently at Skylands, her historic home in Maine, where she has traditionally celebrated her birthday since she acquired the property in 1997. Surrounded by family (including her grandchildren) and many of her close friends, Martha will enjoy two fun-filled weeks at her beloved home on Mt. Desert Island: entertaining, celebrating and, yes, working too. On behalf of everyone in the Martha Moments community - readers of this blog, members of our Facebook discussion group and followers of our Instagram account @martha_moments - I wish you all the very best on your special day. Thank you for everything you have taught us and for your unyielding inspiration. You really are the best!
Photo by Pieter Estersohn for Architectural Digest magazine


Martha's First Pitch for the New York Yankees

Ever since Martha Stewart was a teenager, the New York Yankees baseball team has been her favourite. Early episodes of her television show, Martha Stewart Living, would sometimes show Martha wearing a New York Yankees ball cap in the garden or while demonstrating some DIY project. On Tuesday, July 31, Martha made one of her dreams come true by making the first ceremonial pitch at the Yankees game at Yankees Stadium where the team went on to beat the Orioles 6-3. I'm not much of a sports fan, but it was really fun seeing Martha make the pitch. She had tweeted about wanting to impress her grandson, Truman, and had posted several posts on Instagram of her practicing her pitching skills with her personal trainer. You can watch Martha's pitch by clicking here. She did really well!


Martha's Farmhouse Collection at Macy's

Martha's latest kitchen collection at Macy's is all about farmhouse rusticity with a modern edge. The Farmhouse Collection boasts a wide selection of serveware, dinnerware, table linens and glassware. You can combine it all for a charming country style or introduce a single piece (or a few) into your current collection of kitchenware to add some farmhouse flare. Below are some examples from the collection.

The collection has serving pieces that are reminiscent of old-world Majolica: pitchers and serving dishes take on the whimsical appearance of vegetables from the garden. A three-tier serving tray topped by a chicken would make a nice centerpiece to a rustic table, proffering condiments or hors d'oeuvres.
The Farmhouse Cabbage Pitcher and the Farmhouse Gourd Pitcher each stand ten inches tall. Both are made of Dolomite (a sturdy form of limestone that is often used in ceramics) and are microwave and dishwasher safe.
Among my personal favourites from the collection are these beautiful green-glass goblets and this artichoke-shaped lidded serving dish, which is also made of Dolomite and measures nine inches in diameter, standing five inches high. The glasses, made of soda-lime glass, stand approximately six inches high and come in a set of four. I think they're so pretty.
This set of four side plates featuring painted chickens is a study in pure whimsy. The navy borders give the plates a modern feel.
The set of three mixing bowls features herb motifs painted on the insides of the bowls, including parsley, thyme and basil. This radish-motif plate is part of a set of four side plates featuring paintings of root vegetables.
Nothing says farmhouse quite like the noble chicken. The set of four napkin rings (made of zinc alloy) perfectly complement this set of two cotton napkins with white stitching and chicken motifs.
A set of three cotton tea towels coordinates perfectly with a pretty cotton apron of the same herb-laden motif. Pockets and a delicate fringe along the hem give the apron a vintage feel.



Martha & Marley Spoon, 2022

Fans of Martha's meal-delivery service with Marley Spoon will be pleased to know that the partnership has been extended until 2022. The service delivers fresh ingredients, sourced from local purveyors, to prepare exciting meals that generally take less than an hour to cook. All of the recipes for all of the meals are created by the food editors at Martha Stewart Living, with Martha's personal input. The ingredients come with large recipe cards that can be saved and stored and each week you can order something new to try. There are also vegetarian and gluten-free meal options. The German company, which now operates in Austria and throughout Europe, does nearly 35% of its business in the United States. The company says that Martha's branded meal kits were among the year's best-sellers in the U.S. Click here to visit the Martha & Marley Spoon site to learn more and set up meal delivery.


Martha's Grilling!

Summer cooking often incorporates some form of grilling, whether it's for you and your family or for a much larger gathering, such as a family reunion. Martha has been keen on grilling lately and brings us three new ventures that have us excited about firing up the Bar-B! 
The first is a partnership with Martha's favourite butcher, Pat LaFreida Jr. who runs Pat LaFreida Meat Purveyors in New York City. Martha and Pat have created the "Ultimate Grilling Pack" which can be ordered through Pat's website and delivered right to your door. The pack includes Martha's personal selections, including four dry-aged USDA prime Angus bone-in New York strip steaks, center cut-30 Days-1.0" thick (11 - 13 oz), four Original Blend hamburger patties (6 oz each, 1.5 pounds total), a package of six Pat LaFreida all-beef hot dogs and a container of Martha's signature herb butter, which can be used on the steaks or the burgers. The total for the package is $159. Click here to learn more, including the packing and shipping methods.
Martha also recently purchased a new grill for her farm in Bedford, New York: a Grill Dome made by Southern Botanical, a Texas-based company. The colour of the Grill Dome can be customized and, of course, Martha chose a subtle gray to match the buildings at her farm. Martha was so enamoured of the design that she featured the grill on her latest Facebook Live video, where she demonstrated grilling techniques using meats from the aforementioned Ultimate Grilling Pack with Pat LaFreida. 
Here is Martha with CEO of Southern Botanical, Jason Craven, who showed Martha how to use the grill in her live video. 
The third bit of Martha + grilling news is the announcement of a new book on grilling coming out next spring. Martha Stewart's Grilling will be published March 26, 2019. It will feature 125 recipes "for gatherings large and small." While there is no cover yet, the book's description has been issued by the publishers. You can read it below. You can preorder the book by clicking on the highlighted link above.

"There's nothing like the satisfaction of cooking over a live fire, whether a weeknight meal or outdoor entertaining. Martha Stewart's Grilling captures this spirit, while providing essential tips and techniques for both experienced outdoor cooks and those brand-new to the grill. Longtime favorites like pulled-pork sandwiches and bacon-and-turkey burgers are alongside foolproof dishes such as Korean short ribs and mojo-marinated shrimp. Crowd-pleasing appetizers, burgers, tacos, and kebabs join colorful cocktails to allow for easy entertaining, while smart strategies make grilled classics like pork chops and butterflied whole chicken a snap. Friends and family alike will love diving right into beautiful platters of grilled meats and vegetables, followed by grilled or chilled sweet treats--the perfect ending to a simply delectable meal."