Chinese Lacquered Pork 

3 pounds boneless pork butt (or loin), halved lengthwise


? cup ketchup

1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce (Toban Djan) or any favorite hot sauce

? cup sugar

2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine or sherry

1 teaspoon salt

? teaspoon ground black pepper


Lay the pork butt open like a book and cut it lengthwise, making two long pieces, and set it into a snugly fitting dish.  

In a small bowl, combine the ketchup, ginger, chili-garlic sauce, sugar, wine, salt and pepper, and rub liberally over the pork, using all of the marinade. Marinate the meat for at least three hours and as long as two days.  

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees. Set the pork on a rack set into a baking sheet and brush with extra marinade. Roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, until the edges of the meat begin to darken. Then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and roast for another 20 minutes, or until the meat reaches 150 degrees on an internal thermometer, feels firm to the touch and has blackened edges.   

Cool slightly before slicing thinly and serving on sliced bread with cucumber.




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Branching Out with Faith Appelquist



Questions, suggestions or comments are welcome.

Contact Faith at (612) 618-5244 or by email 


Texture: Plants with Feelings


Texture is generally low on the list of priorities when selecting plants for the landscape. Plant texture is primarily the result of foliage size. In general, large-sized leaves generate coarse texture, small leaves produce fine texture, and round leaves produce a medium texture. Foliage texture is more lasting in plants than in flowers or fruit, so it has greater visual impact over time. Too much coarse texture with many different forms can create a chaotic look, and too much fine texture can be monotonous.Yet without a variety of textures in the garden, our landscapes would seem very dull.

The key is to create dimension and balance in visual unity by using contrasting foliage textures together, usually coarse, as a focal point and other textures, typically fine and medium, to fill the spaces. When textures are combined imaginatively and judiciously, this transforms an ordinary landscape into a much appreciated thing of beauty.

Plants such as magnolia, hosta, hydrangea, brunnera, Lady's mantle, ligularia, and smokebush are great examples of bold texture. These plants all have large leaves and a coarseness that creates shadows within the plant providing a lot of visual interest.

Plants such as evergreens, willow, grasses, daylily, fern, and astilbe have a fine texture and can add a delicate balance to the space.

The needle-fine texture of blue spruce makes a wonderful pairing with the coarse texture of fothergilla blue shadow. 

Smooth brunnera paired with astilbe's feathery flowers and coleus serrated foliage make a classic combination in the shade garden.

Use texture to change the perceived size of a space. Place coarse texture in the background, the tallest layer, to make a space feel larger.   

For more information on Plant Texture.  

What Every Person Should Know
about Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that may develop after a bite from a Lyme-infected blacklegged tick. The disease can cause arthritis, nervous system abnormalities, fatigue, headaches, generalized pain, recurrent fevers, difficulty thinking, and changes in mood. Lyme is a complex illness. Symptoms vary from person-to-person and may develop months or years after a bite, making it difficult to diagnosis. Sometimes treatment is ineffective.

  • The risk is increasing; it is estimated more than 300,000 new cases occur every year in the US.
  • The risk is seasonal; June through October is active tick season.
  • Risk is not uniform; Midwest and Northeast areas of the US are at highest risk.
  • Pets increase risk; especially indoor/outdoor cats.
  • A negative test result does not mean you are uninfected.
  • Seemingly unrelated problems such a 'summertime flu' can be a common symptom of infection.
  • Look for a red bullet-like rash on skin that increases in size. Thirty percent of people do not develop a rash.
  • Ticks feed on other animals besides deer and horses; mice, chipmunks, squirrels, shrews, birds, and reptiles also harbor ticks.
  • Oak forests are associated with increased risk.Oaks generate acorns which are a key food for mice.
  • The disease is named after the Lyme community of Connecticut, where it was first identified in 1975.

What you can do:

  • Ticks need moisture; relocate birdbaths, water features, and birdfeeders away from the house.
  • Avoid tick habitat: tall grasses, leaf litter, fallen logs, and wood piles.
  • Wear hats, put hair in ponytails, wear long-sleeved shirts, and pants.
  • Before entering the house from the outdoors, strip off clothes and put them in a hot dryer. Washing won't do it.
  • Look for DEET, Picardin, BioUD or Permethrin repellents and insecticides; Cutter, Off, Repel, Muskol, Ben's, Sawyer, and others work as well.
  • Remove ticks immediately by pulling out with a tweezer (liquid soap on a cotton ball will only make the tick harder to grip). Save any tick in a baggy for the doctor to inspect.

Blacklegged tick on grass leaf.

People enjoying the outdoors in camp sites, parks, golf courses,
and their own back yards may be exposed in Lyme-endemic areas.



In 70% of CDC reported cased, patients developed  
a rash at the site of the bite.


For more information on ticks and lyme disease.
Thanks for reading. Happy Planting!    


Faith Appelquist

President & Founder


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