Monday, 29 April 2013

Busy,busy,busy

It is such a busy time now, still sowing seeds, pricking out seedlings, potting on seedlings, planting out seedlings and planting direct. Oh then of course the never ending clearing beds and pots of all the weed seedlings. But to be honest we love it,the daily checking to see what is emerging next,checking that there are no slugs or snails chewing away at out prized possessions. Are there roots at the bottom of the pot? Does it need pricking out or potting on already? How much water are we giving everything? We must also remember to stand back and look at everything and enjoy it all, so here are a few things amongst all the doing!!  that I am enjoying




Hermodactylus Tuberosa a lovely shiny deep brown, almost black, lovely papery white flower with the lip outlined yellow. They are a bit wind battered in the top picture ,this was to show how they bulk up when happy. They are in a sunny position and they don't like to be crowded so sit at the base of a standard Holly  tree.

Echium Webbi,
As you can see it is in the greenhouse, it does go outside when it gets warmer but has flowered later than usual even in the greenhouse.
This is our forced rhubarb

Which gave us a lovely pudding along with a heart!!!!!


Conference Pear blossom out today, I was hoping it wouldn't come out yet as I know we are expecting more frosts,  none of the other fruit trees are quite there yet so fleece will be at the ready.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Lucky,lucky,lucky

What are the odds of winning prizes from 2 blogs on one day,pretty remote I know, but somehow I managed to do just that last week.I know they say things come in threes but I really didn't want to push my luck and do the lottery as well as I was chuffed as I was.
Firstly I won  a set of The Ten-Minute Gardener's Diary from Jo at thegoodlife who was celebrating her Four year anniversary.I enjoy following Jo's blog as she has a really good wide group of topics she likes to cover. The late Geoff Hamilton (as people who follow me regularly will realise I am a fan), recommended to visit a  Nursery each month and see what is in flower,so Jo is following in his footsteps and of course coming home with a plant or two then telling us all about them.She also has an allotment which she gives us updates on and tests equipment and writes reviews-the last being some lovely solar lanterns.I have many gardening books but don't have these diaries.They are lovely and split into Vegetable,Flower and Fruit Growing.I haven't been able to put them down since getting them and even took one with me to the dentist today.


Next to surprise me was Tanya at Lovely Greens, Tanya was giving away soap or a lip balm to four lucky readers,just by leaving a comment I was one of those lucky four.Tanya does't just give away soaps and lip balms she actually makes them, along with bath melts and fizzes and many other gift sets.She uses natural wholesome ingredients sourced locally where possible.Tanya is a very busy person,she says she is on "A journey of living a simpler and more natural life in the Isle of Man.Gardening,beekeeping,Handmade Bath and Beauty and more"
At first I was going to chose the Rosemary and Tea tree soap as I love both of these,but as I was smiling so much at having just won 2 prizes I chose Sunshine,it came and smiled at me with its lovely citrus smell and orange wrapping.It has citronella and sweet Melissa balm and is said to be soothing and energizing.It smells absolutely divine and I really did try to let it just sit on the side as it just kept smiling back at me.But I had to try it,it produces a lovely lather and cleans the dirtiest of gardening hands,then leaving them nice and smooth afterwards.I hope you pop over to both blogs and check them out and enjoy them as much as I do

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

At last !!!!

AT LAST,the potatoes are in and thanks to reading other peoples blogs I am trying some different ones this year.L am still growing Foremost but new to me are Bambino,Vales Sovereign and Sarpo Mira,we don't have a large area for growing potatoes as we are mainly raised beds.

As you can see we have an area that we cover with weed suppressant membrane, you can just about make out the slits,I plant the potatoes through these a good 12 " deep and then there is no need to earth up.The membrane not only acts as weed barrier but tends to warm the soil up as well.

AT LAST finally showing some life is

The rhubarb,we have some we are forcing so will take some pictures when we take the cover from it,this is also in the raised bed so I think hiding away from all the bitter wind we have been having.

AT LAST the Globe artichokes,I have grown ornamentals before and sowed these from seed last year and planted them in the autumn so am really hoping they are going to do something this year.

AT LAST I also managed to clear the strawberry bed and found quite a few flower buds hiding away underneath all the dead leaves.I am sure these will get frosted but there will be plenty more to follow,I then gave them a good feed.
AT LAST I have started to move lots of things across to the unheated greenhouse as I was running out of room in the heated one,I will let them harden off in here,normally I would put them out with some fleece over but I don't think we have seen the last of the really cold stuff yet.
 
AT LAST Just to prove I grow flowers as well as my blog name suggests I took a picture of these lovely Hyacinths,they smell heavenly.They were in a wicker basket my brother gave to me on our birthday(he is my twin) a couple of years ago.The crocus have gone over but I know these will last a while.
AT LAST,the lovely bright green leaves of the Hawthorn is showing along the hedgerows,it is a lovely green so fresh.
AT LAST I actually managed to sit in the garden with a cuppa and had a lovely time watching the Blue-tits,there were 3 sets going from box to box,having a good look round a good chatter to each other then a bit of inter-action between the sets.One in particular could't have been totally happy with his mate and was intent on trying to woe one of the other females.They got a bit carried away at one point and were in and out of the hedge until the blackbird came and gave them a good telling off as they were a bit close to his nest.I also saw the thrush dive out of the Pyracantha yesterday, it would be nice to see her nesting in the garden again,she nested in the honeysuckle one year which was right next to our table,in a normal summer(the last two not counting) we tend to have most of our meals outside so we ended up having to move the table.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

April and still making Soup !!!!

I have said in a previous post about the sweet peas,well I did sew another lot-fortunately I still had some seed left.Because of the mice situation this lot got sown on the kitchen windowsill and in polystyrene modules.Once they are about 3-4 inches tall you need to pinch the tops out, this will give a much bushier plant
      The recent sun we have just had is bringing out all sorts of little gems,some welcome and some worryingly as the weather forecast is still so cold.


This Hellebore I have also had in a previous post it is Helleborus x Ericsmithii,the lovely pink on the back of the petals is so subtle,with the sun shining on it the yellow stamens and the lovely green at the base of the petal's I think make it a real little gem

I have also been busy in the kitchen with the  hot cross buns and various cakes that just have to be consumed this time of year.I am still making soups!!!!!!  It is April for goodness sake.So I am going to share this Butternut squash soup that has a nice warm kick to it.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 oniion chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger-less if you are not so keen on ginger
1 jalepeno pepper,seeded and chopped
1 butternut squash(about 2 pound) peeled,seeded,chopped
500ml chicken stock
1 can evaporated milk(12fld oz)
1/2 cup coconut milk(I use powder Fox's Spices do a lovely one,150ml warm water to 50 gm powder makes a lovely milk)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp cumin


Looking at the colours of this lot you just know you are going to get something yummy from it!

Melt the butter,add the onion,ginger and pepper.Cook until the onion has become translucent. Add the cumin and give it all a good stir before adding the stock.If you don't like it creamy(which hubby doesn't) don't add the evaporated milk but add more stock.Add the butternut squash and bring to the boil,reduce to a medium heat,cover and simmer until the squash is tender-about 30 mins.
Stir in the evaporated milk,coconut milk and salt and pepper to taste.Stir and cook for another 5 minutes.

In batches liquidise or use a hand blender and do it in the pan.If using a liquidiser put back into a clean pan.Ladle into bowls,I garnished mine with home-made Greek yoghurt(new purchase,will let you know how I get on with it) and thyme from the garden


                                           It is silky smooth and spicy at the same time-enjoy