Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Visit to Beth Chatto's Garden

 One of my dream gardens to visit has been Beth Chatto's. Top of my list of 'outings' from our holiday in Lavenham in Suffolk was a day out to these gardens.  Mr S did all the driving as it was still some way.

I was just so excited, that I wondered what the strange feeling was as I first arrived and could see a corner of the gravel garden as we approched the ticket office: it was the biggest beam on my face. I think it lasted all through the visit, and is here now as I sort out some of the pictures for this post.  

The gardens have a very good website and you can get a better view than any of my photographs can give by visiting different pages: both the gravel garden and the scree garden were of course favourites. 

The succulent display had me walking along it not just the once!

I came away from the garden with photographs of individual plants that I particularly liked, which I wanted to study a little more before getting them for the garden at home: Muarrubium bourgaei All Hallows Green and  Teucrium ackermannii.

Most areas for growing stock plants and the nursery areas are tantalising beyond public access but often within view, however the nursery has excellent paths and was very well stocked.  I came back with three little treasures that I had seen growing which I thought would grow well in the gravel area: Verbena bonariensis 'Little One', Limonium bellidifolium and Erysimum pulchellum. From the shop I bought a rather nice grey bowl for one of the succulents in the conservatory.

What I like is that there is a place you can get lunch, but it is not overtop just supplying 'fuel' for the garden visitor.  Good quality and straight forward with seating under cover but with open sides.  I think it was part of the covered area for shady plants.  On the day of our visit which was hot and sunny, it was an excellent place to leave Mr S. whilst I went up and down the paths in the sales area. Unlike the website, there are tables along the carpark  side facing a lovely field, where people can sit and have any snack they may have brought.  It does say no picnics but this is 'no picnics' in the garden, which is completely understandable.

Monday, 25 October 2021

In a Vase on Monday - African Sky

I was given a nicely rooted cutting of 'African Sky'early this year by  Angela.  As soon as this Salvia plant needed pinching out, I simply put the bits in the side of the pot, as Angela had shown me.

I planted the main plant in the garden, and kept an assortment of cuttings in a pot.  A little light prunning to prevent wind rock, suddenly provided me with a little inspiration for my Vase today.  I was going to go 'Cold Turkey'(more about that next week)regarding the post today, but African Sky provided the ultimate inspiration.

I have found out that there are Elephants in Nigeria, and I know these to be African beads, but I know they did not come from Nigeria.  As I have been reading my current book set under African Skies, I have been looking up the meaning of various words and been interested to see the various clothes, head gear and jewelry that is worn by the affluent.  In 'The Girl with the Louding Voice', Adunni the main character comes from the poorest of circumstances and is subject sadly to much abuse.  Adunni's Voice is loud and clear, and at first I was taken back by the 'poor English', but this is how she talked and strangely I found that I also read this in the 'French Creole from Mauritius' and the sentence construction and words were very similar.  I can now read 'Nigerian pigeon English fluently! What a great first novel by author Abi (Abimbola) DarĂ©.

I haven't yet finished the book, but can whole heartedly recommend it. It is a real page turner, and I have had to pull myself away from it to get meals cooked, and this blog written.

By chance Angela who gave me this plant is also in the Book Club reading this book. She is also a member of the Wells Literary group and had been working hard during the current festival.

I joining with Cathy who has 'Sweet' arrangement this week.

Saturday, 23 October 2021

Six on Saturday - 23 October 2021

We have had wind and rain, warm days and cool clear days, all in the space of a week.  The nights are getting shorter, and there is loads to do in the garden.  I ought to be there getting on with tasks, but it always interesting to see what other are up to, and also having this log allows me to look back at plants, my thoughts when first planting them, and the changes in the garden.

1. Right up by the back wall I had a lovely clump of Corydalis cheilanthifolia, which had done very nicely for a few years, and I had also moved a piece to another area.  In my autumn clear up I was sad to notice that both had decided to pop their clogs.  However as I cleared along the wall, I found a self seeded one.  When a nice plant finds the place it wants to grow, l hope it flourishes there and also flowers next year.

2. The strong winds and rains tested some plants, and the delightful late flowering Salvia Leucantha bore the blunt.  It is destined to be removed, but with some many flowers, I'll prop it up and enjoy a further week or two of its handsome foliage and flowers.  The little rooted cutting was sent by the lovely Gill.  I have taken cuttings, and young plants will be planted elsewhere next spring.

3. I picked up a few ready grown Wallflower 'Sugar Rush' Primrose earlier this week, I may well pot them up individually so that they can grow on a little, then be placed around the garden and also in the Salvia Leucantha gap, once the plants are removed.

4. Last year I lost the prostrate rosemaries and also the Foxtail one.  I have a small one coming on: will this do for good drainage, as it is suspended between two rocks?

5.  Pear 'Beth'  when first planted in December 2019had plenty of room: 

Here is it this week in October 2021..

On one side even though cut to the ground last winter Fuchsia Delta's Sarah is a well over a metre high and finally flowering nicely. and on the other the upright Rosemary is starting to flower.  You can see smaller good rosemary replacements waiting to find their rightful place.  The pear obviously needs to have both the Fuchsia and Rosemary removed.  Fuchsia cuttings will be taken this weekend! Both plants are pending removal.

6.Each autumn till now, I have dithered about picking Apple D'Arcy Spive. It  is a late season Russet type apple discovered in the garden of  The Hall in the village of Tollesdunt D'Arcy in the eighteenth century. as also learnt that  they ought to be picked after Bon Fire night.  Of course that may have been to ensure non were wasted in the bobbin games, as these would have been precious keepers. 

Its leaves have supported upteem creatures, and yet there are apples to pick.

Monday, 18 October 2021

In a Vase on Monday - Colours of Autumn

 It is definetly autumn, and after the weeks of sunshine and wonderful light, today it is on the change with fine mizzle and mists, hence the addtion of the little brass snail.  I had to don waterproofs to go out and cut these flowers in the rain, and arrange them on the outside table, so there is still a splattering of drops on the arrangement.

As there is no sunshine I'm leaving this arrangement on the conservatory table along with pumpkins, nuts and chillis which are curing and adding to the 'still life'.

The red chillis are from the garden, and hopefully will dry well, and provide not only chilli flakes, but also seed to replant next spring.  In the vase are the Alstromeria Indian Summer, Golden Lonicera nitida 'Baggesen's Gold, and heads of Sedum (Old Name) Spectabile 'Autumn Joy' which have turned dark red.

On Sunday mornings I head out with a group of friends on a cycle ride.  We have each increased our confidence and strength during the last few months, and yesterday's ride found me suddenly stopping to investigate the small stall someone had put outside their gates.  A large bag of wet watnuts for £2 and a few free russet apples outside another house, together with a nice chat with the generous gardener, made for a rest part of the way through our ride. It was nearly 19Km not allowing for the wrong turnings and doubling back!  The most impressive feat is that I am mastering my phone, noting the route when I get back, but also using the Paper Ordnance Survey Map and then agreeing to share it. 

In the afternoon, yesterday, some from our book club attended an event: Meet the Author which was put on as part of Wells Literature Festival.  The Author in question is Lucy Atkins, and we had all recently read her latest book, which I recommend.

Saturday, 16 October 2021

Six on Saturday - 16 October 2021

1. If you go to a food festival and find a garlic stall that in addition to selling various garlic themed jars, but also bulbs for planting, how can one resist?  I bought a purple 'Rhapsody Wight' from The Garlic Farm on the Isle of White.  I was only mentioning to a friend about my growing garlic, and how succedssful it had been, and that I keep the biggest cloves to grow on. I promised her for next week, a few of my best cloves for her to try.  Now I shall be able to slit this bulb with her, giving us each two types to plant in the coming week or two.

2.  Serrutula tinctoria seoanei was moved to the front edge early in the spring, and it has settled in nicely.  That area of the bed is where there are also various marjorams growing and those have just been cut back, leaving a little more bare earth than I would have liked. The very large Teucrium has also been removed. 

3. Just along from there I have planted out small divisions of Alchemilla erythropoda: dwarf lady's mantle.  It has been dry for weeks, and I'll have to keep an eye on these and give them a good watering every few days till they are established, after which I find they are pretty resilient. I had to clear out Eryngium Bourgatii: Mediterranean Sea Holly which just died after flowering. Maybe it is one of the short-lived eryngiums having flowered for five years, I liked both its leaves and early flowers.  Empty spaces mean new opportunities to grow different plants, or move plants from other areas of the garden.

4. The Pelagoniums are being prepared for overwintering  by having foliage chopping down  etc.  Here  two pots of Pelargonium Ardens are ready to be moved to the shelf in the shed.  This is the first year that having had rain and continuing watering that they have flowered right through.  I had to cut flowering stems and leaves off.  Again I had to stop myself propagating this as I would soon run out of space.

5. When I inspected a few succulents growing in a trough by the front door, they all dropped off, into my hand and emptying the soil, I found the nasty little culprits: small fat grubs of the vine weevil. Shall I cry?  Maybe best not to admit it.  I have cut the stem of one of my favourites: Echeveria purple pearl and will pot up it some fresh compost, and keep the succulent in the conservatory. It was cut during the week, and yesterday the bottom of the stem was nice and dry and ready to go into some fresh compost. I have had this one since early 2018, however I had set some leaves a few weeks ago planning my 'succession planting', I may plant out a succulent bed for the summer next year.

This Jade Money is still in its original moss ball, and get the occuasional watering with house plant food.

It sits in this pot on some pebbles on the utility windowsill mostly.

But if a plant like this one has been growing in a little moss even since it was a tiny piece in moss gathered from a local bank, do I really need soil?

Crassula Kokedama 2018

6. I love trees and large shrubs in the Autumn, whether evergreen or deciduous.  I suppose that having a plant that has to grow all through the summer to flower late in the year has a whole summer long of growing and exposure to slugs and other pests.  Maybe that is why on the whole I go for the spring ephemerals.  I have a love/hate feeling about this little plant that always flowers in October. Should it go into the bin after it has flowered? I have said this each year for at least five!!! I would rather have something that is slug proof and will enjoy the fancy leaved cyclamen hederifolium instead. 

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Saturday Supper

I hadn't been shopping as I ought to have done.  The weather has been too nice.  It was either cycle into town or have a long walk, and garden etc... Heck! what were we to have for dinner? Could have been beans on toast, but with the creative juices running this is what I came up with.....

 Butternut squash, which had been lurking in the basket for a couple of weeks, sliced and roasted, then stacked one with the hollow over a ring from further up the fruit.  Stuffing, cooked seperately was red and wild rice with dressings of herbs and chilli oil.  Lovely Wookey Farm Yarley Cheese which one can grill, here I cooked in on a griddle together with herbs and pumpkin seeds.  Veg was the last half of a Romanesco with a dollop of home made garden pesto, garnish was baby beetroot leaves salvage from the beetroot just before they went in the pressure cooker. Beetroot is for today.

For drinks we shared a 500ml bottle of sulphide free Bartinett Cider which Colin and Julie from Honey Pot Farm brought round this Thursday.  Having enjoyed their many different types of Apple Juice, as well as vinegar, we thought we would their cider a try.  Having only recently had lunch at the Newt with their Bartinett Cider, we felt we were able to compare, and Honey Pot Farm's Cider will be on our delivery list in the future...

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Six on Satuday - 9 October 2021

1. Just as I was wondering what new I could learn about things happening in the garden at this time of the year, when I was piqued by a friend's post on facebook about a change in one of her Dahlias.  Her David Howard had changed most of its petals, whereas on mine just a few emerged white. For a couple of weeks I was wondering whether David was developing a Mallen Streak, or was just going 'grey' as the Autumn encroached, or might have suffered from inadequate watering whilst we were away.

I had a bit of a dig around on the internet, as I had given away my lovely book on Dahlias, and came across the term 'Colour Fluidity'.  The link will take you to an interesting article on Longfield's site, together with more interesting articles on Dahlia growing.  I may just have one Dahlia in the garden, but it is still interesting to learn about such things.

2. When it isn't a spider, and don't we all have lots of those at the moment, and it still have eight long legs, and still doesn't look like a Daddy Longlegs, but with no waist and no ability to spin a web this Harvestman is enjoying the sunshine.

3. And this is not spiders' webs covering the sempervivum Sprite, and not a cultivar of a Sempervivumn Arachnoideum as far as I know, but the frost like hairs on the leaves caught my fancy.  Sempervivums and succulents seem to be having a resurgence at the moment. It is going through its green stage though when I bought it earlier on this year it was quite red.

4. When I found a late flowering small allium I felt I had to get it, and it is just starting to open its flowers now.  Allium thunbergii Ozawa which is a small allium will hopefully clump up in the gravel garden.

5. A single plant in isolation with plenty of space to itself with its flowers glowing in the early morning light is a joy to behold.  I hope the bidens survives the winter.

At the stage when I was helping plant out the Elizabethan garden at Kenilworth Castle I learnt that when prize plants were first grown, they were grown in singles with plenty of space and given due reverence.  On the whole I seem to favour that approach, though I also like mass planting too. The first potato to come to England was planted in Kenilworth.

6. The cyclamen hederifolium whether special ones in pots such as this 'Silver Shield' with pink flowers

or otherrs such as this all Silver leaved form in the garden, continue to bejewel my garden, and give me great pleasure.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Bake with Jack Apple and Cinnamon Buns

 When my nest is slightly akilter, as it has been over the last three years, a good way of destressing is baking.  I downloaded Apple and Cinnamon Buns by Bake with Jack. Whether you are new to baking or have been involved in the yeasty or sourdough stuff for years, Jack Youtube channel talks will inspire, entertain, and inform you. During the last talk, I discovered that Jack's First and New Book is due out next year, and I have put in a pre-order.  Shall I do Bake each Recipe and write about it as I did with Jane Mason's Book of Buns and Perfecting Sourdough?

Sixteen minus six mean that there are ten left here now.....

We were delighted with the two workmen and having finished their work, we sent off with three warm buns each, and a tip.

Monday, 4 October 2021

In a Vase on Monday

The Mexican bush Sage: Salvia Leucantha probably Purple Velvet is the sole subject in a little cut glass vase.  This plant arrived late last year in a giffy bag, from one of my SOS friends.  With attention to its needs, and a little warmth, it made its way through the winter and was planted out in May.  After waiting patiently the shrub is now in full flower, and I challenge anyone to walk past without carressing its purple fluffy flowers.

With its white woolly stems it is a great plant, but it is tender.  A few soft wood cutting have been taken, and I hope to take a few more of the heavier stems in a week or two.  This is a late flowering Salvia and although it showed some colour over the last two or three weeks, it is now an absolute picture.

How do you capture the soft velvety texture? Now that colour in velvet would make a fabulous winter evening dress just the colour of my Amethysts.

I am sure there will be arrangements of garden grown plants to be enjoyed over on Cathy's blog: Rambling in the Garden.


Saturday, 2 October 2021

Six on Satuday - 2 Ocotber 2021

1.  I recently read a comment that designs for gardens rarely incorporate the area for drying clothes.  From the start I have been a non tumble dryer.  Having lived in smallish houses I have not wanted either to sacrifice the space needed for one, or have clothes shrunk, checking the tables I find most say do not tumble dry.  By watching the weather forecast, almost all the washing is dried outside.  Our washing line, when not in use is folded and stored in the shed, and when out fits in its socket around which I have a slate with a circular slot, a remanent from an old birdfeeder.  When not in use it is covered by another stone, just to stop small frogs or insects falling down the hole. The stepping stones mean than no small plants are walked on. Yes I cut down all the stems of Eryngiums Silver Ghost during the week, as I would rather enjoy the rosemary which were being masked by their browings flower heads.

2. Pseudowinteria colorata Red Leopard had to be moved this week, as we are having some work done, and I feared it would be trampled on.  I rather like it in its pot.  I had to clear out the old tomato plants...

3. Sitting having breakfast in the conservatory this morning, on a bleak dark rainy autumn day, the variegated leaves of the Weigela Florida Variegata shone out. I have to remember to enjoy this before the leaves fall.

4. From the bedroom window this morning, I caught a glimpse of the tops of the Amelanchier Trees showing the start of its Autumn Colour.

5. The Fatsia planted out into its large pot, is looking quite handsome, on the larger gravel..the gravel is a large size, but here the plants will only be in pots, except for a few self sowers.  Again the ever green leaves and their network of cream Spider's Web markings will show up well all winter.

6. As well as the tomato haulms which had to be removed, this small chilli plant had to vacate Pseudowinteria's new home.  I did plan on ditching all the chilli plants and starting again in the spring, but this small plant may be brought inside to weather the winter.

I hope I manage to get out into the garden and be able to move plants, remove plants, take cuttings etc before our heavy clay soil gets too claggy, but when the weather improves there is so much call on one's time.  Thus it was ever so.....

Over now to join in with Jon's gang and see what everyone else has been up to and not up to this week.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Lavenham Holiday

 After a few days back home, looking out the best of the pictues of a holiday and recapping all that we enjoyed, I spend a little more time getting to appreciate all the places we visited. Of course holidays away have not been possible, and for the moment we were very happy to be able to have spent our holiday in a area that is completely new to us.  The weather was as good as it can get which we took full advantage of, and enjoyed many walks and outside activities.

We chose Lavenham, it had been on our list for several years ago and had our holiday booked originally for May 2020.  Helen Burgess who owns Staddles was most accomodating back then with a full refund as soon as we realised that the country was is a 'no travel' situation.  

With a handsome view of half timbered houses opposite

and a painterly view from the front doorstep towards to centre

This Medieval Wool Town had ample interesting small roads to amble around and fine houses to view. We took advantage of the quiet, almost traffic free evenings to wander around and view fine houses with often glimpses into their beamed interiors.

On one of our late afternoon saunters a few beautiful vintage cars were parked in the square and we got chatting to the owners sitting outside The Angel Hotel as they relaxed. Of course they had been carefully dusted off after their drive,  I could see in gleam of pride on the owner's face when I couldn't hlep but capture the lovely sky in the deep midnight blue of the paintwork.

We visited the Guildhall and also the very interesting Little Hall Museum which is run by the Suffolk Building Preservation Trust. 

If you are visiting Lavenham and have only time for one, then Little Hall is by far the best.  We took advantage of the short introductory talk by one of the volunteers who explained about the history of the town and source of wealth which was from Lavenham Blue woven broad cloth.  A good outline of how the house came to be bought by Gayer-Anderson Brothers and their family history, restoration of the house, and their many other interests which gave a substance to understanding all the furnishings, pictures and works of art in the house. Compared to all the English Heritage Property and NT houses we visited, this I rank far above those.  The gardens too were charming.

Guild Hall to the right across the square

Next door to the Little Hall Museum is The Great House, where we treated ourselves to Lunch just the once! We had to book in advance to get in. We were not altogher impressed with a few of the touches such as a ie one teaspoon of sweet corn kernels as an 'amuse bouche' and finding that we had been charged for bread on top of the price of the menu.  The addition automatically to the bill of the price of planting a tree, to 'off-set the carbon footprint of eating there,  too came as a jolt so I asked for that the later to be taken off, though I did pay for the bread.  By all means charge for the bread, but make it plain that it is a cost on the menu, and not simply have the waiter say would you like bread with your starters.  Putting that aside this was 'fine cuisine.

Middle courses missing......

The desserts were a Tour de Force.

A less cheffy meal but equally delicious lunch was enjoyed at the Restaurant at No 10 which is on the corner of Lady and Water Streets. Service and staff very pleasant and our dishes were easily altered to suit us better. On the Sunday we had our 'Roast' at the pub The Cock Horse, and as for the Indian Curry House The Mensaab, where we enjoyed a leisurely dinner which was just about as perfect as could be.  Whilst we were there, having enjoyed our starters, and waiting for the main courses to arrive,  I happened to hear a 'Mr Burgess' turn up at the bar to collect their order.  What a coincidence is that?  Of all the days and times we could have been in this restuarant, and my just happening to rear and recognise the name, of course we introduced ourselves, such amazing things happened not that infreqently.  

Much fine quality ingredients and food were purchased from the shops in Lavenham, including the Baker, the Butcher, and local small stores.  

Locally we came to adpot a few 'circular' walks with fine views of the countryside and along the disused railway. I just could not help myself but pick some wild blackberries, some of which were cooked to make a lovely topping for my breakfast cereal.

More seperate posts will follow about visits to gardens, towns and properties....