Monday, 6 April 2020

In a Vase on Monday - April 2020

I had planted some Narcissi Thalia for the first time last Autumn.  They were in one of the wettest parts of our clayey garden, and have come through the winter well.  I had hoped to put some of the three flowered stems in the Daffodil  Society's show which is held in Henton, but that also has been necessarily cancelled.  They have comes through the sunshine and strong winds unscathed, and deserve to feature at least once.... 

In the vase this week:

Narcissus Thalia

Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' little forgetmenot blue flowers

Gardeners' Gaiters Phalaris arundinacea 

Sedum Autumn Joy

Arum Italicum

I seem to be stuck for words this week.  Words escape me, I am not even my chatty self, I think it is the strange situation we are in.......

Linking in this week with Cathy with her Stark Contrast arrangement

Saturday, 4 April 2020

Meeting the suppliers on my doorstep....

In these strange times I have been more fortunate than many, for which I am grateful.  Grateful to people who are rallying around to reach out....

At the market, only a couple of weeks ago,  whilst buying my week's supplies, Johnnie the stallholder said that they may decided not to attend the markets, on account of the drop in footfall.  This was before the current 'stay at home' measures.  As we parted phone numbers were given.  On Monday I received a call, and on Wednesday I received a delivery of Wootton Organic Ewe's milk yogurt and cheese.  Sunny Side Farm is less than four miles away and is in an area I love to cyle through.

Yesterday we received an order of 'important' bottles.  Cider Vinegar is one of our daily 'medicines', as for apple juice and cider, well we are in Somerset now!

Having tried most of the mainstream brands and also Artisan made ones, the Organic Cider Vinegar we have settled on is one produced by Honey Pot Farm.  I used to get this at Glastonbury's Earth Fare.  Stocks of Honey Pot Farm's Cider Vinegar there have been sporadic over the last year.  We were down to 'deux doigts' in our last bottle.  I tried to encourage The Good Earth in Wells to stock it, and they said they would consider this in the future.

The Good Earth did come up trumps with a supply of flour, adding my order to the one to be delivered, and I went to collect it earlier this week.

Goats Milk and cheese too have been collected from Wookey Farm, and bumping into Sarah at The Good Earth, we are able to get home delivery, if this is on the day she comes into Wells. 

Six on Saturday - 4 April 2020

The Propagator is safe and well and enjoying his garden.  His Thalia daffodils have managed to creep in ahead of mine, it is quite magnificent.  I am ready with my Six on Saturday and with many other will be joining his weekly get together.  Hope you enjoy my collection of six random things about my garden, comments are much appreciated.

It has been cool and bright, with some drying winds.  Tubs and pots have had to be watered...we are expecting the weather to turn warm on Sunday.  We are having a 'drive' coffee morning on the close.  Each keeping to their own drive, no coffee, cakes etc shared, but just banter with a road width between us!  The Amelanchiers which the builders planted over twenty years ago are in full flower for the occasion.

(1) Acer 1

Off the Edge had  acer's unfurling leaves on last week's SOS.  This prompted  me to tread carefully across emerging plants for a close look at 'Acer Corner Acer'.  With just a week of sunshine the leaves have emerged and the plant is in flower.

This is the 'Acer Corner Acer' in her Autumn Frock.

(2) Acer 2

Posh Acer with an excellent pedigree from a special grower and grafted, 'don't you know', has had a change from plastic pot to one more befitting its station, the pot was bought at the same time as the rose last week,  with only the best ericaceous compost used. These acers are about the same age! She is very high maintenance, needs to be protected, does not like too much sun.  She has a special feed etc...Not sure I ought to have bought this one, but am its slave.

When the label snapped in half a few years ago, I meant to write out a new one, my old garden notebook is lost, it has no name. Anyone suggest one...the funnier the better.

(3) Information on the web has widened my enjoyment and knowledge in gardening: temptation and also ordering from specialist nurseries ensue. Of course there is so much out there we could become overwhelmed.  I would rather be outside in the garden rather than sitting at a desk, or scowling through a smaller screen.    Along with all the subscribers to Jekka's last Sunday's newsletter dropped into the online mailbox and makes for great reading: for Easter The Cowslip was featured....

For Easter look out for Cowslip (Primula veris) also known as St Peter’s keys or Keys of Heaven. These names are associated with the legend that St Peter let his keys to Heaven drop to earth when he learned that a duplicate set had been made. Where they fell the cowslip grew.

Our gardening club have compiled a list of local nursery people, growers and suppliers who will do local deliveries, and sharing this information around.  We treasure our local growers, so we all need to help keep them afloat.

(4) Cowslips

Here is a patch of my garden: my little Heaven, where the cowslip is coming into flower.  Reading that the flowers are edible I shall be hunting out a special dish for Easter in which it can star.  As another part of my 'heavenly' activities is preparing delicious dishes, I am sure to find inspiration amongst the Herb Based Recipes on Jekka's web page.  

(5)  Gardening Books and Magazines

This is one of the books I kept when I had a massive book clear out......


(6) Irises 

I am a  novice when it comes to Irises. I very much love the forms of the plants as well as the flowers. I  always stop to admire them in other gardens, but have never quite got into them.  Maybe it is because I have never spent time getting to learn about them and understanding them.  Is this going to the start of something new?  I like 'the new to me', and in the absence of adventures out there, I may have found a new learning project...

As in my last garden I now have a clump of Iris Sibirica: this time Silver Edge which has yet to flower, a few Iris Reticulata, and a small dwarf iris Knick Knack . 

 In the front garden is Iris Jane Philips which had been growing in a large tub. This was a gift from Simone. I had simply slipped the plant into an appropriate sized hole.  After flowering it will require some attention for sure...

Iris Jane Philips undivided

From some corms dug up from a Gardening Committee member's garden, unknown type, name etc...just 'loving planted with hope' these are yet to flower...I think they are Dutch bulb iris...

The inspiration for writing up the last of this week's SOSs is My Garden Blogging Friend Brian Skeys post about Irises and his visit to Doddington Hall.  Down the rabbit hole I fell.  I found  a Utube video of the gardens and the technique for dividing the plants whilst hopefully maintaining the following years's flowers. This inspired me to add this section on Irises in my garden.

I am finding information on how to care for them insightful.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Easiest Focaccia Bread

Yesterday my son baked his first loaf...I am as gleeful as when he took his first steps.  I was sent pictures of course.  He usually has a fresh crusty loaf and some of my way he has made me into  a proud mother!

Just in case any friend wants to have a go at making something when they can't go out, I found an excellent tasting Focaccia Bread recipe and technique with video of some of the key techniques.  You are welcome to share this.

For British Bakers, I would only add that I used 500g flour and 450ml water.
I used dried yeast not the instant yeast as that is all that I had, and soaked it in the room temperature water with about 50 g of the flour. As I was making this overnight I used room temperature water and half the yeast. I just weigh the water in grams.

The mixture is brought together, without any of the conventional kneading, and left to rise overnight.  We have a small under the counter fridge, so the bowl spent the night in the conservatory.

This is what it looked like this morning.....

Greasing the pans with butter or lard first then adding olive oil...other oils at this C time if that is all you have will be fine.  Next time I will make three in smaller cake pans then just half of the cooked ones will be fine for lunch...

They came out of the oven and were left to cool for ten minutes or so.

We had it with a mixed salad....

I have several posts on different focaccias...I particularly like the sourdough focaccia.

Monday, 30 March 2020

In a Vase on Monday - 30 March 2020

Cathy has a gem of a post with a gem whose properties she explains has "healing qualities: amongst other things, it is believed to bring courage and creative energy, and assistance in times of chaos, disruption and emotional trauma…"

Yesterday in an effort to keep the few Pelargoniums I have in tip top condition,  they had a good soaking and titivation in the garden.  When they went back into the conservatory,  I noticed that some of the very brittle stems of Pelargonium myrrhifolium var coriandrifolium were damaged, and had to be removed.  I thought they looked so pretty and lacy and put them in a tiny vase on the Kitchen windowsill.

Primula Lilac Lace which has been an absolute star in the garden had more than a few stems to spare...

On Reflection......Lacey

(Added show the Primula Lilac lace in the garden following Cathy's comment)

From one little plant bought Spring 2017, I now have five good clumps like this one.  The plants need a lot of feed to keep them strong...with all those flowers they would otherwise wear themselves out.

Keep safe and take care......