Monday, 19 February 2018

In a Vase on Monday - Small offerings

In a New Vase...just the right size to show off a few snowdrops.

I had thought I had lost my smallest of ceramic vases so bought this at a stall at the Shepton Mallet Snow Drop Festival on Friday.  Alison C:  a Fair Maid from IAVOM joined me for a lovely afternoon at the festival.

Pride of place in the front is a flower from a new snowdrop bought at the show: Viridapice nivalis green tip  This is quite a common snowdrop I understand...but I love it as it is easily identified by the green on the outer petals.

Along side are  snowdrops which survived the move from the midlands, and a couple of periwinkle flowers from a clump of Vinca Minor.  Its not quite the right blue to match the vase..but I have little else in flower.

Whilst unpacking the last of my boxes of vases on Sunday I found the smallest vase...too small for these but fine for a trio of mud spattered primroses.

With it a spring of rosemary and a little stem of sedum a gift plant from Alison last year, which is starting to sprout very nicely.  I think it may be Sedum Autumn Charm 'Lajos'.  Here it is sitting on a very old doily which would have graced tea time tables in the days before paper or plastic ones.

Cathy has her arrangement on a tea go and see what is on offer to wet your appetite there.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Snowdrops in Somerset

Those Fair Maids of February, those White Ladies were all the focus of the Shepton Mallett Snowdrop Festival 2018.

I met up with one of the Fair Maids of IAVOM fame and spent a lovely sunny February Friday afternoon exploring the two specialist stands in the market square, the exhibitions in the Church, and visiting some of the gardens open for snowdrops.

We just managed to fit in our visit to Windsor Hill House and Old Mill.  We were made most welcome.  Nestled amongst rolling hills, with springs and streams, this is where James Allen the famous Victorian Snowdrop enthusiast was born in 1830 and where he lived until 1853.

We listened with great interest to the owner who had some sobering stories about illnesses and looting mobs, and the bravery of James's older brother holding them at bay even though he was just 17.

I loved this old roller in the border, with a clump of the Candlemas Bells piercing the deep leaf litter. I wonder just how old this roller is, could this have been a Valentine Present?  Love the hearts.

Earlier, in the Church, we looked around a number of stands and exhibits.  Not having found my tiny little vase in my unpacking, I succumbed and bought one just right for showing off just a few snowdrop blooms.  I do hope that my purchase of snowdrop Viridapice nivalis green tip bulks up sufficiently for me to pick a few blooms next year.  As I start to get my eye in and see what differences there are between the cultivars, I have noticed much more about the blooms.  I like for instance about this one that it is very easily distinguished by its green wash to the lower outer petals, but I have also noticed the prominent and split spath.

I bought the plant from Jackie Williams the owner of Triffids Nursery.

In the Church Alison bought some tickets for the various prizes with all funds going to help with the festival.  We both admired the beautifully decorated cake...but if we could choose a prize it would be the large bowl full of growing snowdrops.

In Shepton we also visited the home where James Allen carried out much selection and hybridization of snowdrops of which he was a pioneer, with galanthus Merlin and Magnet being sole survivors to the botrytis which destroyed much of his work and which must have been devastating for him.

 Galanthus Merlin Flower

Galanthus Magnet 

Another IAVOM friend Anna, who is perhaps the most knowledgeable of the group as regards snowdrops has suggested a very good site for me to refer to: Judy's snowdrops

These are snowdrops and small arrangements from my previous garden...I just hope that when the few bulbs I brought from my last garden flower this spring the little one with a clear horseshow shows up, which is one I grew from seed.

February focaccia

What is the difference between a Focaccia and a Pizza?

I thought I would make a Pizza, but added more herbs, and oil and make a soft fluffy base, and therefore it became a Focaccia.

Topped with pesto, and fennel roasted butternut squash, a few olives on one, some left over hummus on the other...and then all the buffalo mozzarella.

One for supper this evening...

and another into the freezer for another day!

As they are warmed up, there will be a further grating of pecorino cheese, and fresh basil tossed over the top as it is taken to the table.  A delicious fennel and walnut salad, with added sliced radishes will complete the meal.

I am now really happy that the run of cupboards with lovely pull out baskets etc is in full working order.  I have found my lovely ceramic heart a Christmas present from Jayne some time back, and am now waiting to find decorative hooks to hang both this and the lovely sampler: a house warming present from Kay in Kenilworth.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

All you need is love and cake

Love is a Mosaic made by Helen Clues


She spied wild flowers on the seashore

Wild flowers on the Seashore - Cyprus 2011