Friday, 29 July 2016

Friends bearing gifts

I would have been pleased enough showing a couple of gardening friends round, and discussing our trip to Tatton Park over coffee and buns in the conservatory, but the pleasure will be remembered for a long time, as I care for and enjoy the plants which they brought.

Both ladies are great gardeners and Janet has been propagating plants for a very long time, and recently Liz has been having great success now she has her lovely greenhouse in operation.

Last year during the Open Gardens I very much admired an usual plant on Liz's patio table, and found out that it  had been propagated by Janet.  It had already turned a little woody and looked almost bonsai like in its pot.  This was one of the plants which Janet brought for me.  Its just been potted up, so will continue to be cossetted and may be put in a border next year.

Amicia zygomeris originates from Mexico and is capable of growing quite large, although it will probably die back during the winter.  I love the leaves which are formed from two pairs of heart shaped glaucous leaflets, and the purple veined stipules.  I also found out that as the light starts to fade, the leaves you can tell that I took this picture late evening.  The young stems are covered in a 'velour' of tiny hairs.

Its a leguminous plant in the pea family, and when it eventually flowers I read that they will be pea like and yellow.

The second plant which Janet brought was a well rooted cutting of Fuchsia microphyilla 'Silver Linings'.  It is a hardy fuchsia with little leaves that have an unusual silver metallic shine, which contrast well with the red stems.  This was one of the 'souvenir' plants which Janet bought when we visited Bourton House Garden back in May.  Janet chose this lovely fuchsia and as we all admired it, she calculated that she would be able to get sufficient cuttings to give us all a little plant.

Liz brought me two lovely additions:  Agastache Mexicana which she had grown from seed, and a piece of her Chiastophyllum oppositifolium which I had much admired in her garden.  I've just repotted the Agastache and hope to plant it out into its permanent position next spring.

Tatton Park

I had been booked on our Kenilworth Gardening Club trip to Tatton Park earlier this year.  Mr S and I were watching footage from the Show on the BBC earlier in the week, and Mr S decided he would love to come with me this last Saturday.  He just managed it as we had a couple of cancellations!  Its was lovely to walk around together...and then sit and enjoy the music, and share our views....

One of the gardens which had caught his eye on the BBC footage was the one with glass panels, and in the flesh it was even better.  Called 'A View Within', it had many elements of interest, which the Designer Eileen Wood has incorporated without the garden feeling overstaged.

Stepping stones through Ajuga reptans 'Mahogany'.  I do have Ajuga reptans purpurea but the form of this one is rather interesting.

A closer view of the glass panels by Julie Langan Architectural Glass Art: wouldn't it be amazing to look out at these at night with a light shining behind and through the glass?

Another attractive back to back garden was 'Inner Sanctum' where a querky brightly coloured water feature was playing in the far corner:

One of the little plants which appeared earlier on a friends facebook page with an appeal to me to identify it was Phacelia or Scorpion Flower.  I found a good description of the plant by Higeldy who also supplies seed.  As well as looking good tucked in amongst other plants, Phacelia is beloved by bees and hooverflies, and also good for cutting, and with its unusual form certainly one I would think of growing next year.  It looked lovely in a mixed border in one of the back to backs:

I would have thought that at the Tatton Park plants would have been correctly labelled.  This plant was on one of the first displays by the entrance.  There were several  clumps of this sedum  all labelled with this name! The spelling I believe should read Sedum Telepinium so there is a u missing, and it is quite the wrong label if my searches showing a tall sedum are correct. In fact Sedum Telepinium it is a sport of Sedum Autumn Joy, and is similar in growth,  which grown here in my garden.

With a cream margin to this little sedum, together with the yellow and orange flowers, this plant really appealed to me.  Sadly on Saturday morning they had no plants for sale, so I took this picture.


 The name of this sedum is most likely Sedum Kamtschaticum variegatum and I have even traced a supplier! 

Here are some other plants which really appealed to me.  I can see that in the coming years my interests may focus on clematis...

Taylors Clematis

This Clematis Viennetta is similar to you remember Viennetta Ice Cream?  Often brought out as a desert for family Sunday Lunches during the 1980s!  It was a novelty, but soon replaced with the lovely homemade puddings.

Further one there was another clematis grower: Priorswood Clematis

Clematis Arabella

I liked the way the flowers were held on long stems...lovely for my In a Vase on Monday arrangements!

Clematis Justa

This year I am growing more fuchsias, and could not help but admire this mountain of flowering fuchsia plants.

There was a good specimen plant that caught my eye on account of the form of the branches and the colour of the bloom which had a white tube and sepal, with a lavender blue corolla, plus its name Star Wars!  Moreover there was a plant available!

Another little special bloom, which I shall may want to add to the garden:

Scabious Barocca

then there were the sheds and sculptures...but I think I need another blogging session to cover that!

Finish Rye Again

Today I baked another batch of Finnish Rye.  This time I kept to the recipe in Jane Mason's Book Perfecting Sourdough.  There are options within the recipe, in this case I chose white flour, wholemeal rye to refresh the sourdough, and honey but halved it.

As previous times I doubled up on the recipe, starting with the refreshing of the rye sourdough just after lunch,  kneaded it last thing at night, and then popped the dough into buttered tins, which were left to rise overnight in the conservatory.  I had thought at first to try the fridge, but it seemed a little too cool in there.

My rye sourdough starter was running down...but I made the mistake of taking 100g to refresh, so now with 300g rye and 600g water...I have a large vat in the fridge, so I shall have to continue baking! I ought to have started with the 50g suggested by Jane Mason!

For my first attempt at this recipe I used some white spelt flour and white wheat flour, with wholemeal rye to refresh the starter, and that was delicious and very good.   The technique fits in with how I like to bake: overnight rise, and straight in the oven, after kneading, and popping straight into tins.  This is really straight forward, and you could almost do this with your eyes shut, making this one recipe and technique so reliable and therefore the one to turn to if one is not necessarily on top form!

My second adaptation was to refresh the starter with rye and spelt, then for the flours use 150g Khorosan,, 300g white, and 50g amaranthe grains, with carob syrup for the sweet note.  I baked some in small tins, and sold them at our WI meeting to other members as we had a sale of cakes and preserves to raise funds for the WI's Denman College.  One of the members is so interested in sourdough that I have invited her over for a day's baking.

I think it is the technique of just one rise, so easy for the times when there are so many things to get on with!

Thursday, 28 July 2016


During our week in Howarth, we set off one day taking the bus to visit Saltaire.  We changed buses in Keighley which has an excellent and very clean bus station...but the driver forgot that we wanted to stop and walk down to Saltaire, so it was a good thing that I was looking from left to right...and managed to ping the stop button, in time to avoid an overlong walk.

My friend Kay had even suggested Saltaire as a base for a holiday, and I can quite see why when we arrived in the village, with its attractive public buildings as well as workers' housing set out on a grid system, leading down to the river.  Its open spaces and neat, tidy and well kept buidlings, encouraged to walk along many its roads.  

The arrangement of housing was reminiscent of the Swindon railway village.

When Salt Mills was opened in 1853, it was the biggest factory in the world, where 3000 workers worked at 1200 looms to produce 30,000 yards of cloth each day.  You can walk along the canal between two large factory buildings.

The United Reform Church was build in 1859 in the Italianate Style.  We were lucky to find it open in the afternoon, so popped inside.  'Down by the Dougie' has written nicely about the Church so do go there if you want to read more!

The inside is painted in a pale blue, and has some lovely pews.

As usual I am on the lookout for angels, and this one sculptured by John Adams Acton is called Angel of the Resurrection.  It stands in Sir Titus Salt and Lady Salt's Mausoleum.

Salt's Mill is no longer a working mill.  It has several floors with shops and exhibits.

In this little display, I even found an example of the Dartington Glass Daisy Platter...similar to the one I use for cake.....

Several of the outlets were closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, but are open later in the week.  There was non the less plenty to keep us interested and entertained.  We had a lovely lunch: mine was the very nice salad which included cubed mango which went very well with the smoked chicken breast.

The David Hockney exhibit alone makes Saltaire Mills worth visiting.  

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!