YOUR BEST GIFTS FOR MAY: Pacific Northwest Vodka made the hard way and an inspiring book on cut flowers

Hand-crafted from grain to glass using soft white winter wheat from Hamilton Ranch on Rattlesnake Ridge in Washington State and purified water from Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, Blood x Sweat x Tears vodka also medaled at the San Diego Spirits Festival.

Blood x Sweat x Tears Vodka: small-batch vodka handcrafted with Grit and Fury. Made with hard work and love in Eugene, Oregon by a team of self-labeled “misfits” using locally-sourced Pacific Northwest wheat and then freeze filtered. The final product is hand bottled at 40% ABV. This unique artisanal vodka is slow distilled and has a very smooth finish.

The aroma is earthy and herbal with juniper, pine, vanilla, whole wheat toast, lime peel, violet, anise, and caramel. The sweet vanilla entry is joined by herbal, juniper, and citrus notes. Wheat bread, caramel, and lime arrive building to a creamy vanilla, lime, and violet peak. It fades with juniper and mineral texture. The finish is warm, spicy, and semidry with a mild alcohol sting, caramel, lime peel, salted mineral, juniper, and wintergreen taste. Who said vodka is odorless and tasteless. Blood x Sweat x Tears is a full-flavored vodka that has a flavor profile more closely aligned with gin. Totally delicious.

A TRULY INSPIRING AND BEAUTIFUL BOOK: THE LAND GARDENERS CUT FLOWERS published by Thames & Hudson. In this visual diary of life in the garden, The Land Gardeners share their beliefs on the importance of soil health, introduce you to their favorite blooms and inspire you to create your own cutting garden with expert knowledge on how to grow and what to gather by season. This is the story of The Land Gardeners, creators of productive gardens and stunning bundles of cut flowers. Based in the original walled garden at Wardington Manor, The Land Gardeners have revived the tradition of working with the land to produce abundant, seasonal flowers for clients’ use in decoration, design and events. But for all the frivolous, bucolic beauty of the flowers, it is the productivity and health of the soil that truly underpins The Land Gardeners’ philosophy. The book explores lively soil, the joy (and, arguably, necessity) of gathering from our gardens, and the imperative that we care for our soils and live among healthy, vital gardens. Chapters include: The Land Gardeners – how Bridget Elworthy (New Zealand) and Henrietta Courtauld (England) created The Land Gardeners in 2012, their background in growing and designing, their philosophy. A Floral History – how it all began in the walled garden at Wardington Manor, Oxfordshire, England. Creation of a Cutting Garden – the fundamental importance of soil health. The life in the soil: how we improve it, how we feed it, how we make compost. The importance of organic and biodynamic growing. The Flower Room – gathering, preparing, arranging and selling. A Year of Flowers – growing throughout the year: spring (narcissi, tulips, hesperis); summer (roses, peonies, delphiniums, scabious, ammi); autumn (cosmos, dahlias, gladiolus); winter (bulbs, aconites, snowdrops, berries, hips). Your Cut-Flower Garden – creating cut-flower borders; planting and growing; feeding the soil; growing under cover; tools; staking and supports. Growing Cut Flowers – The Land Gardeners’ favourite flowers: roses, peonies, dahlias, bulbs, annuals, perennials, foliage, shrubs and trees. Resources – books; websites for information on cutting gardens; suppliers of plants; seed companies; tools and equipment.

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