Monday, 25 July 2016

In a Vase on Monday...Knot Wilting

No I am not wilting...I am facing the heat in a very lady like way, by not mentioning it or complaining!

First thing after the washing up was done, I went out to pick a few stems to put in my vase.  As quickly as I could get my camera out the Knot Weed: Persicaria Red Dragon was wilting, hence the Knot Wilting part of the title!  This is my Cathy Plant, so maybe Cathy or someone else will offer tips on how to condition Persicaria.  Cathy is hosting this meme and has posted a hot vase this week, so do go and see hers too!

The first of my white phlox, stems of Penstemon Heavenly Blue, seed heads of nigella, sedum spectabile, and dark maroon clematis Valuceau, and again Comtesse de Bouchard and keeping cool are fresh whilst the Red Dragon wilts.

My nasturtiums are doing really well at the moment, but did not feel the bright orange and yellow flowers would quite go in this vase, but I love the form of the seed heads, so added some, as they are a similar green to the tones on the knotweed leaves and the sedum.

Hubby and I have a lovely day at Tatton Park on Saturday.  With the theme of flowers and vases, and using locally grown flowers I would love to share some pictures from The Flowers from the Farm Shed.  The shed was designed to be used by a bride as a haven for planning her big day....

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Cliffe Castle Keighley

The one day we moved the car during our week at Howarth was the day we visited Cliffe Castle.  The weather was dreary, and we felt a visit to somewhere indoors would be fine after our days walking on the hill sides around Howarth.  We had seen the leaflet in our appartment, and decided to go for it.

Just on the outskirts of Keighley, this Victorian Mansion was converted into a Museum.  It has some downstairs rooms decorated with lovely furtniture, fireplaces and paintings etc.

As always I am on the look out for Angels, but this one is Cupid reviving Psyche.  This is a Victorian copy of Canova's sculpture.

The silks on the walls, and the curtains, pelmets and ceilings alone are worth a second look.

This Russian malachite and ormolu fireplace had been nearly returned...and guess what?  She who reads and wants to understand everything found a major mistake in the the information boards which had just been put up!  Hopefully now that it has been pointed out, it will be corrected.  This was just made for show, and any fire would destroy the lovely piece.

This is one of a pair of large bronze vases in the Great Drawing Room, but sadly there was no information on them.

Elsewhere there were many gems, and quite honestly one visit is insufficient to take in everything.  I decided skip many areas, and leave them for another time.  

There was an interesting section on glazed pottery, both old and more recent

With all the trials etc and the forthcoming negotiations regarding the EU, I wonder whether the 'Europeans' will remember that the British helped so much with 'their' wars on their soils, and also ordinary people helped with the rebuidling of places. The people of Keighley raised funds and Poix du Nord has a Community Hall which is truely magnificent.    Keighley and Poix du Nord are recorded as being the first towns to enter into a twinning agreement which took place in 1920.

In another area, both Mr S and I were very interested in clog making section, with its tools, examples etc.  There were tool to bend the clog irons which were nailed to the bottom of the wooden clogs.

Some of the buckles are  ornate and very handsome, and I am sure these would have been for the clogs for 'middling' people.  When we saw the little silk shoes in the Bronte Museum, sorry no photography permitted there, but they do have a good website, with a pair of tiny wooden patterns, with a note to say that the Brontes would have worn these..we felt it gave quite the wrong impression.  I am sure the Brontes would have worn boots, or clogs to go on their many walks across the moors, and the patterns would have been to protect their silk shoes when they went to parties or on 'posh' visits to get them from the house to their pony trap or other conveyance.  I did overhear a party discussing the tiny shoes and marvelling at what light footwear people used to wear...As a side note there is still a clog maker not far away at Hebdon Bridge, and on another visit, I think I would love to visit them, and maybe come away with a pair!

Always noticing little bits of needlework, I love this embroidered needle case at Cliffe Castle.

Cliffe Castle also has other collections of minerals, fossils, stained glass etc.

On this visit there was a theme of Alice in Wonderland..I guess to keep the younger visitors interested.  It was well organised, and so interesting that we enjoyed it as it pointed out several interesting links and bits of information.  Just how true is this?  Was Charles Dodgson one of the first to use the innovative dust jacket? I refuse to go down the rabbit hole that is the internet and check on this one!

Monday, 18 July 2016

In a Vase on Monday - Clematis Rule OK?

Its going to be really hot today...yesterday the temperature was up to 26 C in the back garden, and we had lunch in the gazebo.  Today I went out straight after breakfast to pick some flowers, as last night they all looked a little overcome by the heat.  Cathy is having a party for here are some arrangements to join in with her festivities.  Do go and see what Cathy has come up in the way of inspired vase this week.

I picked the material for my first vase, and quickly brought them into the kitchen and put them in a jug which I had filled with water earlier on...and they looked so right in that white jug, that the vase I had planned on using is back in the cupboard.

The Clematis in this one is Comtesse de Bouchard, and she is supported by lavender, Pittosporum Garnettii, Achillea Millefolium Lilac Beauty, a tall marjoram, Sanguisorba Officinalis 'Pink Tanna', some 'pompom' seed head of Phuopsis stylosa and Stachys Byzantina, which was given to me by Diane last year.  Even with its really small flowers nestled in grey woolly calyxes the Stachys are attracting many bees.

For my smaller 'vase', I chose this stone looking one....again a Clematis and a few herbs:  Clematis viticella pupurea plena elegans, some golden marjoram flowers, and the flower head from Bronze fennel.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Erodium pelargoniflorum 'Sweetheart'

Our gardening club has 'blossomed' in the last eighteen months.  The need to raise more funds from visits to member' gardens and plant sales, to pay quality lecturers has really enriched my gardening interest.

Recently I bought a little plant raised from seed by Janet called Erodium pelargoniflorum 'Sweetheart', a 'storksbill' .  Geraniums are commonly called cranesbills!  It was just a little more than a plug plant size, and I decided to pot in on and have it as a little specimen on the patio.  Since the slugs seemed to be attracted to it, it found its home on top of the stone patio table.

This evening the little plant was displaying both its sweet little flowers, which have five white petals with rose spots and veins, and also its great seed heads.

 I know that dead heading really does promote more flowers, but  I have been watching the candelabra arrangement of the seed pods form over the last few days: green topped with red at the tips are the 'Storks' bills'.  I am enjoying looking at the details of the flower buds too...

I hope that it will overwinter...

Friday, 15 July 2016

Sourdough Millet Bread and Buns for the weekend

I felt like baking some more sourdough, but I just did not feel like getting too far ahead in baking through the recipes in Perfecting Sourdough.  I still have some millet flour left over from trying this recipe some months ago and also now have some millet seeds.

Jane Mason has a good Sourdough Miltet Bread recipe on her website Virtuous Bread.  I based my dough on this one, but used 75% wholemeal and 25% white flour for the wheat flour, of course the rye sourdough starter and the millet four.  I refreshed the starter just after lunch, and by 8 pm it was pretty active so I finished off the kneading etc at about 9 pm, and set the dough in the fridge to rise.

This morning I took it out, let it hang around whilst we had breakfast, then shaped it and left the loaves to rise on parchment lined baking sheets, covered in plastic bags.

For the buns, I incorporated the dregs of the fruit and fibre cereal moistened with a little milk, and added a chopped up banana.The raw buns were pretty soft and not too easy to shape, but the ended up looking rather rustic and charming.  These will form the basis of our breakfast tomorrow...well only a bun or so each!

I thought to add some whole millet berries to decorate them, and had these soaking overnight.

By the time the bread was out of the oven, I was ready for my morning coffee...and the 'baker's bun'.  It tastes delicious....