Monday, 30 October 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Still a few flowers

Cathy has posted a lovely bright arrangement and I am linking in with her blog as she leads this great coming together of gardeners and lovers of flowers and posies.  Do go and see what she has cut from her garden.  You too may love to join in and share what is going on in your garden with material cut for a posy.

Here is my little arrangement this week.  I really thought I would have no flowers at all by the end of October.  Whilst the garden is still in a very early development stage, I am still longing after the wide variety of material in my previous garden...but a little time enjoying the low autumn sunshine during a spot of weeding found enough material for this little mauve and white posy.

Earlier this year I found some plants of Verbena rigida at the market.

Herein the vase both flowers and seed heads make an appearance.  For a few years, I have seen Verbena rigida in other gardens.  It is planted out in a patch of earth and was hiding behind the courgettes, which only last week gave up the ghost.  It has been tucked behind the courgettes and edged by parsley, the verbena rigida has been flowering its socks off and providing nectar for the bees and butterflies, and its amazing that there are still a few this late in the season.  I do hope it will carry over to next year....

The Fuschias seem to love this garden or maybe the season has suited them. I cut a little spray of the hardy Star Wars Fuschia.

It has made a nice compact plant and has lovely flowers made up of white sepals over a violet corolla, which shine out in the poorer autumn light.  I bought it at the Tatton Park show last year...and wonder how large it will grow.  It needs to be moved closer to the front edge of the border, I shall have to read up about the best times.  I would hate to loose it, and may wait and take cuttings first and get these going before disturbing the plant.

The white begonia is just one of the bedding fibrous rooted ones which I had planted up in a tub with other plants, and I spotted this for the vase when I was moving the tub to be closer to the house to protect it from the frosts which were forecasted last night.

Of course a couple of stems of Red Dragon which is still flowering...well one grows it for the leaves, but with their little white flowers it makes a good back filler.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Holiday in St Davids

A visit to the smallest City in Britain has long been on the cards, maybe a little later in the year than we would normally have planned, and finally we made it.

Our 'resting' point for the week was a very smart and well appointed place looking right onto Cross Square with views to the countryside.  From the lovely bay window in the living room, each evening we watched the display as the jackdaws arranged themselves both on roofs, in trees, arriving in groups, calling to each other, and swirling around for the sheer pleasure of flying, against the background of clocks and church bells ringing.  A local artist Amada Wright had a delightful embroidered piece in the Cathedral, and it well worth a peep at her work in the gallery on Goat Street.

What did we do on the couple of wet and windy days?  I had taken my knitting of course....wool, grey like the skies and stones, we watched the wind snatching the clouds across the sky, sat, relaxed, and enjoyed the 'lack of jobs to be done' feeling.

From the Bishop's Palace and the Cathedral set in a valley carved by a fast flowing stream there were many different views and walks...

We caught glimpses of lots of birds on our walks: red kites, and the chuffs on the cliffs, along with many sea birds, kestrels and warblers.  I was surprised by the number of flowers in bloom in little sheltered pockets: campions, violets and gorse were quite plentiful.  We caught glimpses of seals along the coast and found a pup snoozing on rocks, I'm not sure whether it was trying to find a comfortable position on the rocks or  maybe it was trying to to rub off its baby fur.

Even though we had two great storms in one week, we had several days during which we could walk along the coast.  Walking straight from St David's we visited St Non's Bay, and walked along the cliffs with fine views of the sea.

I watched the waves travel up with layer then fall back down like a waterfall for quite a long time .

The rocks varied in colour with change of bedding plane angles...

On our little expedition to Melin Tregwynt Mill where we stopped for lunch, we thought we had found the perfect cloth for some new cushions.  Sadly when we got back home the pattern just did not work on our furniture....

On our way back, we took a little detour, and walked along the coast again to an Ancient Monument: Carreg Sampson

As there were quite a few cattle in the field, some of which were sheltering within the stones, we daren't go any closer and inspect the stones at close quarters!!

On another much wetter day we visited Solva Wollen Mill, and there enjoyed some refreshment.  Having spied a rather interesting Aeonium,: green with narrow purple border, I asked if I could have a couple of cuttings, they were really pleased that I had asked, and were more than happy for me to have them.

We had a long and arduous drive home to Somerset, partly because of the traffic holdups, due mainly to the density of vehicles.  As usual we had a stop at a NT Property: Tredegar House.  We felt it did not quite match the standard of other NT properties we have visited.  Having since read up a little more, I understand the background, and since the NT only took over the management of the property from Newport City Council in 2012, it may change in time.  Going up the stairs I felt it had been used for something like a school, and having read since, that it had been for a time a Catholic Boarding School, it may be interesting if the NT maybe could display some rooms as they would have been set out for the boarders.  It would be well worth another visit...for example isn't this store cupboard in the Housekeeper's parlor a dream?

I brought back a selection of seaweeds from The Mermaid's Larder to remind us of the smell of the sea.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Basic Sourdough Batter Bread

Again another bake from Perfecting Sourdough.  From its title you would expect this to be a ...basic...bread.  Well it didn't turn out that way, I would describe it as 'a tea loaf the sourdough way'  With the following ingredients:

65g wheat sourdough starter
345g white spelt
65g water
100g cold pressed rapeseed oil
100g sugar
120g milk
1 egg
3/4 tsp baking powder

Like another member of the Facebook group, I felt with the sweetness it cried out for some fruit.  I added a couple of my small fistfuls of raisins.

I chose to line the tin with baking parchment, as it was loose bottomed, and with the long rise to the batter, I wondered whether it would ooze out of the bottom otherwise.  There is no kneading at all with this one, and therefore the texture was definitely cake like, more so since spelt has that soft melty mouth feel even in a well kneaded loaf.

My first taste left me a little underwhelmed.  I thought it would be much more tangy with all the long took somewhere around five hours rather than the three suggested, even though my refreshed starter was almost jumping out of the bowl in the morning.

However on the following day, sliced with butter and jam, it was rather good.  I froze half the loaf, and have had a piece on day 2, 3, and four, when it is still a lovely treat with a drink of coffee.  It has grown on me.  I think next time I may add some spice, and other items, and making this loaf has given me the confidence to try variations of this 'sourdough tea loaf'.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Sedum sieboldii

This is the little Sedum sieboldii sitting in the front porch.  As normal it waits till autumn to put on its show.  I planted it some years ago in a very long tomb, which shows its trailing stems and pretty flowers to great advantage.  For some reason this sedum is the go to plant for snails, slugs and the very large number of woodlice we have.  It hails from Japan.

Sedum sieboldii

Next spring as the fresh growth emerges, I'll have to put the pot high up hopefully about of the reach of the gnawing creatures, and also try to take cuttings.  This must be one of my favourite Sedums...well for the moment!

Last week I was given part of a friends plant which I very much admired on a previous visit.  It was the finely serrated leaves with a lovely glaucous green colour.  I have found that its name Sedum Pachyclados has been changed to Rhodiola pachyclados, it hails from Iran and is suitable for hot dry borders.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

October Garden Update

Last month the Amalanchier trees in the front garden turned red and golden, and lost the majority of its leaves within the month.

I managed to buy three packets of wallflower plants from the market this week, all thirty hopefully ivory white,  which have taken the place of the antirrhinums and asters.  By the trees I planted bulbs of Allium Purple Sensation.  This is the first time I have Allium Bulbs.  I hope the colours of purple and white work in the spring sunshine, we shall see!! All the golden lonicera: Lonicera nitida 'Baggensen's Gold have established themselves nicely, and will continue to be trimmed, maybe ending up as four topiary balls.

The Fuchsias are still doing very well, and this lovely 'coral' coloured one taken from 'cuttings' gleamed from a posy of flowers given to me by Janet in Kenilworth has found a shady position on the table.

As the light changes I am finding different plants associate well such as the Pseudowintera Colorata Red Leopord with its red spots against the waving Japanese Grass Hakonechloa macra Albostriata, both growing on in pots, but with the grass having a leg up on another upturned pot!

This last week I could not resist spending all my pocket money in one go, buy five get one free:

I had been speaking to Graham who sits at the pop up stall in Wells close by the bus station with plants from his Tadham Alpines nursery, about one of the plants, and since it was there again I just had to get it...that started a selection of another five pots!!!!

In effect this is a pink hawksbit.  Since I have yellow ones growing wild in my front lawn, I feel that this pink one will add a touch of class.

Just because this lady loves leaves, form, and little astilbes.  I had this in my previous garden, but left it behind.

Lovely leaves...looking forward to seeing how this differs from the other Tiarella I brought with me.

Where we have finally placed the washing line, will be the thyme 'lawn', with several varieties forming a low patch.  Around it, about where we stand to hang out the washing, there will be stepping stones and small loose stones through which I hope the thymes will crawl.

I just have a thing for Primulas, I used to win prizes with golden showers in particular, but with a smaller garden, I thought they would be behind me, but I just loved this one.  When I read up that this had been collected from 'Napoleonic trenches', I know one friend for whom I shall buy another one, this week.

Such a well grown plant, and a had to make up the sixth plant for this group.

And just in case I think that I now have every plant a happy girl could have, I saw this one in my friend's lovely garden...thou shalt not covet came to mind!!!!  I made sure that Alison checked it was still there as I was leaving.  Maybe next year there will be sufficient tubers for propagation, or I will find the plant on my 'hunting' expeditions to nurseries.

With lovely fern like leaves and red stems, then blue flowers next just has that wow factor for me!

Monday, 2 October 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Good enough to Eat

Its with apologies that I post yet again a simple vase.  The garden is not quite planted up with the permanent shrubs and perennials which no doubt will find their rightful place in the next few years.  The vase was made up in a rush on Friday evening minutes before friends arrived for supper.

It was a supper for 'new' dancing friends Peter and David, and as Peter's wife is vegetarian I decided to make everything suitable for the entire company.  I even wanted the flowers to be edible hence the nasturtiums.  I had sown the seed collected from my previous garden rather late in the year and these are just starting to flower, and they could be cut down any day by frosts.  In the meantime lazy slow bumblebees are collecting nectar from these.

After a celeriac and cider soup, the main dish was a quinoa 'rissotto' if there can be such a thing, maybe it should be called a quinotto, with quinoa grown just a few miles away, with pumpkin and smoked chestnuts from Madeira, pumpkin seeds, etc....with a side dish of braised swiss chard from the garden, with whole orange sicilian almond cake to finish.

  I had been in a quandry as to what to make until I was inspired by another Friend and blogger's post about her pumpkin rissotto.

I wonder whether Cathy would like a dish like this?  I can't remember what I made for lunch when she and the golfer visited my garden in Kenilworth?  Cathy is the person who each weeks leads us gardeners and In a Vase on Monday posters to join together.  This week her arrangement is based on Persicarias.  I hope that like me you will visit her page too, and that of other friends to see what they have posted.