Monday, 29 November 2021

In a Vase on Monday - Frosty morning

 It is clear, cold and frosty.  This last week has seen the frost that caught the nasturtiums.  It feels as if winter has arrived. I was going to pass on making an arrangement this morning, preferring to keep inside, skipping the Earthly Joys of gardening, for the joys of reading .  However the window cleaners turned up for the big annual and pre Christmas clean.  I'm so pleased that it is after the storm as that left the whole house and garden covered with 'shredded tree' material and what looked like a bumper harvest of conifer seeds.

After I had moved all the pots out of the way, so that they can get access to clear out the gutters and wash and polish all the facias, I had worked up a cosy warmth, and a trip down the garden, yielded some Fuchsia Hawkshead stems, and a supporting frill of  Arum maculatum.

I thought a few leaves of Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost', would be timely, but they were rather weather worn and tatty.

Keep warm and safe, and enjoy the simple of things in life such as a good book.  I am currently reading Earthly Joys by Philippa Gregory.  This is the first of two books.  I bought both  some time ago on the recommendation of my friend Jean who used to be a professional gardener. The writing is superb, the historical content cleverly woken in, and particularly riveting for any gardeners interested in the history of gardens and plant introductions. Yes I too would recommend this book.

I'm linking in as usual with Cathy, and wonder what other contributors will be sharing with this week.  Of course, we are lucky to be an 'international' bunch, so there is the Joy of all climates and season to share. 

Sunday, 28 November 2021

Hot beetroot salad with Yarley Goat Cheese.

 It was going to be salad for lunch, but again I didn't feel like anything hot. Some of the cold elements of the salad: home cooked beetroot, seeds etc, ended up being reheated in a light layer of oil with roasted fennel seed , whilst the Yarley Goat's cheese was being gently heated in butter.  With a few extras such as pumpkin seeds, home made pesto and the great tasting hot chilli sauce.

With this Sunday being sunny, it was plenty warm enough, to sit out in the conservatory.  We were entertained by a flock of redwing mixed with field fares foraging in the grass just beyond our garden wall.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Six on Saturday - 27 November 2021

 Last Saturday I drove all the way across the levels to the Somerset HPS  last lecture of the year.  After the AGM,  Derry Watkins talked about borderline hardy plants in the garden.  At the same time I picked up two plants which I am due to take care of under the HPS conservation Scheme. 

1. Chrysanthemum 'Picasso' is in a poor state, rather congested, under fed, and constricted in a pot.  I think it has been lurking in that one for a couple of seasons, as last year there was no meeting.  "This plant was introduced to cultivation in 2003 but not made commercially available. It is a compact hardy herbaceous perennial chrysanthemum forming a neat done of foliage and flowers with a height of 45 cm and a spread of 45 cm too.  Dense sprays of small to medium 'pom-pom' peach coloured flowers fade to buff, and require full sun." 

2. Iris variegata var. reginae 'Bozhimir Davidov'.  This plant was introduced in 2010 and around the mid 1980's was bought from Boughton Dower House in Northamptonshire, home of Sir David Scott and Valerie Finnis.  Height 35cm x 40cm spread,  White flowers with falls heavily veined in deep violet'. I am definitely going to have to give this one the best care to get it going.  Of course, for now it may be nothing considering we are going into winter.  Any experience and advice on caring for these two would be appreciated. 

3. To add to my chrysanthemum trial and care routine, I was brought a pot of hardy Chrysanthemum Hillside Apricot.  At the previous HPS meeting Mary Payne mentioned this plant as the one Chrysanthemums that she would not do without.  Brenda Wilson another member of the HPS who came to introduce herself to me after her husband Peter and her recognised me from the AGS zoom meetings brought me that plant.  It has some good shoots coming around the pot ready for next year, and the flower left on just for identification purposes.

4. I could not resist this plant brought by Derry Watkins: Centaurea 'Silver Feather'., a silver leaved Knapweed.  There were three things which attracted me: silver leaves, divided leaves, and a Knapweed!

With its finely dived silver foliage and those feather lilac-pink flowers, it is evergreen but it dislikes winter wet.  In this instance I shall follow one of Derry's tips for dealing with such plants: don't plant out in wet or cold soil in late autumn but wait till the soil warms up in the spring, and given a year to get established it should then be able to stand the winter weather, with hopefully some cuttings taken to overwinter as a fall back in case it succumbs. This will form part of my silver leaved plant collection as well as being a good food source for bees and butterflies.

5. Dreaded vine weevils have gone through the sempervivum collection: pans have been washed and await inspiration on what to add. Had I still got my larger collection I would have been in tears.

6. Auricula Nessun Norma may just make an early appearance.....

For my (Hardy Plant Society) HPS friends, or anyone really interested in snowdrops, I'd like to share with you that if you are members, or become members of the Galanthus Group, which any HPS member may join for £5, there are still three more zoom webinars on 30th November, 31 January, and 28 February.  The first this coming Tuesday is "My Snowdrop Garden" speaker Paddy Tobin. If you get your skates on you could join in time and not miss this one.

I need to get my skates on and finish this post, and link into Jon the Propagator, as I can hear Mr S is soon approaching the "Breakfast is ready" call.

Monday, 22 November 2021

In a Vase On Monday - 22/11/2023

 After a run of warm and cloudy weather, we have bright clear skies, and a northerly breeze, so although we still haven't had a hard frost, I thought it precautionary to cut some material from the garden yesterday afternoon, and they stood overnight in a bucket of water.  I had fully intended getting some gardening done after that, but it was too cold for me.

The vase was quickly assembled early this morning and photographed in the living room with natural side light.  With a westerly facing window the light gave soft shadows.

In the frame but out of focus is another of the smaller terracotta soldiers picked up all those years ago when we visited the archaeological excavations, where we met one of the old farmers who discovered this wonder of the world.

In the vase are  Pittospurum garnettii,  Fuchsia Delta's Sarah, Salvia Amistad and Verbena rigida

Inside we have continued to enjoy last week's Salvia Leucantha, with the odd shed of petals.

Again with a larger standing terracotta army soldier figurine.  We bought from a farmer who made these in his garden.  We were directed to only buy from the official shops.  However I felt that this enterprising chap would be my source.  The guide was able to translate for us, but his advice was that these handmade soldiers would not last.  I have had them for 25 years and the tall soldier was even in the garden for several years. 

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Another lunch dish success

 Having got in from our 'Round Hay Hill' road walk this lunch time, it was time to get something quick for lunch. I was starting to wish it had been hot soup.

I was going to make a beetroot salad, but just going outside to pick some fresh garden green leaves, the thought of a cold lunch was a little too much! Or rather not enough and chilling.  I racked my brains.  We have cold roasted pumpkin, and some chicken livers.  I had bought two 'huge chickens' at the market, with one being frozen Christmas Day and had the livers from these.  After my experiment last time with having them sliced as an appetiser, a dish formed itself in my mind as I was searching through the fridge.

Butter, green pumpkin seeds for crunchiness, Marsala wine and more butter for richness, and a drizzle of the Sweet Chilli Sauce from our nearby Bioaqua Farm.  The pumpkin cubes were warmed in sizzling butter, and after seven minutes pushed to the side of the pan, with the livers fried whole till pink.  They were removed, then sliced and returned to the pan to be tossed in the butter and marsala reduction.

Together with a slice of home made granary bread, a fine and delicious lunch, followed by fruit and Dates and Brazil Nuts.

From time to time you create a dish unique to the circumstances and what you just happen to have in the fridge, and this is a dish worth repeating and repeating.

Saturday, 20 November 2021

Six on Saturday - 20 November 2021

1. Getting involved with your local gardening club:

 During the week our Gardening Club's speaker was Jo Hayes.  I design and update our club's website, and each month I post about the forthcoming talk or event. Our talks organiser chooses excellent speakers, and we are very fortunate is having two members who are excellent speakers themselves.  After our talk this week by Jo Haynes, I hope that some members may start to grow or widen their interest in cyclamen, and indeed quite a few of Jo's plants were sold.  At £5 a pot some thought they were a little pricy at first, but were viewed in a different light, after she explained how long it took to grow the plants from seed, and that being the only way to propagate cyclamen.  I noticed there were more takers after that.  Hopefully next year, I shall have more takers for all the seeds that I collect. 

How and why I came to 'volunteer' to do the design and updating of the website as I had no previous experience, and just how far I have come, is thanks to the encouragement of the committee. Maybe it is just knowing that if I needed help, asking for it, would hopefully bring a solution, and if in doubt ask Mr Google! Using that same method only today I have learnt how to take a screen shot and save it, so that I can keep a record.  Jo kindly sent me a picture as I like to put up a little about our speaker. 

If you don't try you will never succeed....

I first heard Jo speak, in January 2019 at my regional branch of the HPS, where in addition to buying a pretty Cyclamen coum, I also bought seed of one variety.

As well as leading us through the year with the different species as they flower, she advised us of species to grow in the garden, and also ones which needed frost free conditions, or which at least require a cold greenhouse, Jo told us about her work as National Collection Holder, and the work of The Cyclamen Society, which has an annual seed distribution available to members.

Jo Hynes contact details as the National Cyclamen Collection holder are on the Plant Heritage Site.  

2. One of the original plants bought from Jo, at our first encounter,  is Cyclamen cilicium, I went out to take a picture of it and even now, after flowers are over,  it offers a pretty 'winter green' focus point in the gravel garden. Later on it completely disappears leaving the stage to other gravel garden plants.

3. Also grown from seed bought at the same time is Cyclamen graecum subs.candicum which I have risked growing in the gravel garden, where it certainly gets a good baking in the summer.  I wonder whether this is fool hardy of mef?  This is the second year, and the leaves are very interesting.  It will be another couple of years before they flower.

4. Released from its pot during the summer Cyclamen hederifolium Lysander, bought from John Massey's nursery provides delightful leaf cover at the foot of Ghislaine de Feligonde. The original source for this plant came from Taygetos mountains close to Sparta, and named after this ancient city's Greek Hero.

5. I planted the remainder of this year's hederifolium seeds and they are already germinating.

6. Did I buy any this time?  Just the one, which is a selected leaf form of Cyclamen hederifolium.

And I was tickled pink with a gift of a tiny little Cyclamen purpurascens, which will take some cossetting and guarding from slugs.  Jo advised me that of all the cyclamen this is perhaps the only one which the slugs go for. I had asked her if she grew these when I contacted her a few weeks ago.  This is a virtually evergreen cyclamen, which prefers shade, and which is said to have a wonderful  scent of Lily of the Valley, and used in the perfume industry. This one will be grown on the shaded side ledge and when in flower can then be moved to where the fragrance can be enjoyed.

Of course, I am not forgetting all the other cyclamen in the garden, but those will need to wait another time, and as for Jon: The Propagator, even though he has spent time running long distances and decorating, he still leads us by posting and has the confidence to show us his greenhouse which he is going to work on this weekend.  I am sure we shall have some 'after' pictures next week.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Apricot and Pecan Sourdough

 Having had this loaf on day two toasted for breakfast this morning, and it being just perfect fresh on the following morning after baking, I thought I would write a post about this loaf.  Firstly so that I can retrieve it from my blog for use again, and also it may inspire you to try something very much like it.

I have been reading 'Healthy Baking' by Jordan Bourke, and have followed his techniques more or less.  This require a 'very active starter', which I refreshed twice on the day before baking.  Here it was refreshed with equal weights strong white and tap water.  I tend to refresh my starter in slightly larger quantities.  However to arrive at the 225g for the recipe, the following is a guide.

Morning Day 1: 15g sourdough starter fairly fresh from the fridge (perhaps refreshed a couple of days previously), add 15g each water and strong white flour, and 5g brown sugar.  Evening Day 1 add 40g each water and strong white flour, and 5g brown sugar. Each time leave on the counter in your kitchen.

Morning Day 2:

225g of your now very active starter

300ml water from the tap

40g brown sugar

Mix these together, don't worry about any lumps.

In a separate larger bowl mix the following:

40g white rye or you can use stoneground wholemeal rye

100g wholemeal spelt

325g Strong While Flour

12g salt

Mix all these together, and add the wet mixture, mix using your scraper till all the dry bits are incorporated.

Leave for an hour

50g dried apricots, cut up and soaked in a warm water, whilst the dough is resting.

50g pecan gently roasted for a few minutes

1 to 2 teaspoons fennel seeds roasted mixed with the pecans. carefully, you don't want scorched nuts! Break up into smallish pieces.

As they are cooling, crush the fennel in a pestle and mortar, leaving a few seeds visible. 

Drain off the apricots, and take the dough out the bowl, incorporate the nuts, spices and apricots. You can lightly knead, but the idea is that you will be doing some stretches either in the bowl or as I prefer, to do this on an oiled worksurface.  This adds a little oil to the dough each time you stretch and helps to make for a less hard crust.  Repeat the stretches about four times, when you will see the dough gradually gains strength. There are loads of help on the internet such as  Bake with Jack .

Leave to prove, the length of time depends on many factors, I find about five hours is about right. Divide as you wish, stretch and shape a round, leave fifteen minutes or so covered, then shape as appropriate for your tin or banneton. 

I had a 500g and a 750g banneton.  Tins are easier and quite as good.  

I bake at 200C Fan Oven with a tin in the bottom to which I add boiling water just as the door is shut with the loaves in the oven. It takes about 35 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves.  Remove from oven and tins/baking sheets, banneton , and cool on a rack. One loaf goes into the freezer.

The nuts and fruit can be varied depending on what you may already have in your larder.

I am going to make my stuffing balls for Christmas with this bread...

Excellent used as a basis for Eggy Bread, or bread and butter pudding. As it is not a 'Sweet Loaf', it also goes very well with Chees or Pate and chutney.

Cleaning shoes and how to stop your wax cracking

 If you clean your shoes just for the sake of it, not minutes before you are due to go out, of when you have just been out and got them all muddy or covered with some disgusting material, not that I count mud as disgusting, it will bring great satisfaction.

From a young age, my father when getting me up in the mornings, would get me to clean my shoes.  He often cleaned his own at the same time.  In the tropics when your shoes can go 'mouldy' overnight under your bed, it was essential to have this daily maintenance.  We didn't have several pairs of shoes, just the one pair for school, one for best, and rubber flipflops.

I don't remember my younger siblings being involved.  My father said caring and looking after your clothes, was a habit he picked up in the army.  When I clean my shoes I thank my father for having instilled in me the pleasure of looking after what you have.

Today I cleaned both pairs of my Un Loops, Mr S's shoes and my walking boots.  The black and brown pairs of brushes date back to my school days. Yes spit does work! 

One of the great gripes I have had with tins of shoe polish is that the wax soon goes hard and cracks.  When I say soon, I mean perhaps after a couple of years.  Once the wax goes that way it is difficult to use. When I had a gas cooker, I would gently warm up the wax till it melted.  Ideally the whole tin should last till the very end.  The culprit is evaporation! If you find a tiny hole in the lid of your tin of polish, cover it with a bit of tape, and make sure your tins are properly closed when storing in you shoe cleaning cady.


Just as I thought to post about my love of clean shoes and shoe cleaning, I decided to search to see if anyone else has mentioned this problem.  Hah!  Others have too,,,and I came across this. 

Cleaning shoes is just the thing for a rainy day!

After several unanswered e-mails, a registered letter and a hastily placed long-distance call to Douglassville directory assistance, I found that Sara Lee Corporation had purchased Kiwi Brands. Lorraine answered their customer assistance hotline.

It turned out that we had the solution entirely backwards. The holes were placed in the lids to let an “oily goo” evaporate! Several batches of the black shoe wax were apparently mixed incorrectly and an oily substance (Lorraine’s words) was rising to the surface of the polish. Once Kiwi headquarters was made aware of the problem they were faced with throwing out all of their stock from these batches, which would cost a lot of money, or else fixing the problem as cheaply as possible. They opted for the latter. Temporary workers were set to the task of punching a small hole in the lid of each tin in the affected batches. . These tins were left sitting in storage and the holes were covered prior to shipping.

Monday, 15 November 2021

In a Vase on Monday - 15 November 2021

 It is the middle of November, this morning was misty as I set off for my geology field trip.  Yesterday I spent a few hours in the garden moving plants, and also cutting back geraniums and pansies, to reveal all those labels marking the places where the spring bulbs will come up.  

The Viola tricolor were salvaged and are in the small vase.  

The Salvia Leucantha having been up to the neck just below their velour necks in a bucket of water overnight,  have held very well.  I've moved the whole plant to a sheltered position and also taken a couple of cuttings as insurance.

Placed on the conservatory table I have a few walnuts and a painted stone.  When we were on holiday in Lavenham we popped a little way north to Bury St Edmonds.  It happened to be market day and walking along my attention was drawn to some prettily decorated stones by Sharon, Her stall is called Pot Doodle.  I bought several with this one reminding us of our last dog  who used to sit amongst my pet bantam hens.

Humble Pie and Cold Turkey....I first heard about the book on Classic FM, the channel our alarm radio is set to.  As a lover of idioms, this was a little treat to myself, that I keep dipping into, finding the origins of sayings most interesting...something to make me smile just like the decorated stone above.

I missed the 8th anniversary of In a Vase on Monday last week so well done to Cathy who hosts this meme, and everyone one of the regular contributors.  This will be my 207th contribution, but that is just the number for which I remembered to add the In a Vase on Monday tag/label.  That means that Cathy has posted over twice that number.  Therefore I am in great admiration of Cathy who came up with a blockbuster of an idea. The term blockbuster is explained in the book but has come to a very different meaning these days.  Best not look up the origins, it is gruesome, but all our vases this week I am sure were thoughtfully constructed, it being remembrance Sunday yesterday.  For a good part of the afternoon I could hear the bells from Wells Cathedral which stopped silent at 11, continued then stopped at 3pm for the special service they were holding.  I join in with Cathy she will probably have announced the winner of last week's challenge.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Six on Saturday - 13 November 2021

With slightly more time to spare, and a reduced resolve to get on with other hobbies, I have been flicking through periodicals and magazines.  Although not a gardener himself, I find myself reading out snippets to Mr S. He is quickly learning to 'speak the speak' just as we can for football such as 'Well its was a game of two halves, and if the team had not come together and scored that extra goal, it would have been a draw'. As an example a couple of extracts  from Gardens Illustrated November 2021 applies to my garden too and maybe to your?

"Plants are allowed to place themselves, shifting the pathways through natural processes of self-seeding and creeping growth" in reality plants are getting out of hand and you were warned that once you planted Briza Maxima you would never be without it, but did you listen?

"Rather than gaining a settled permanence, the community of plants remains in a state of flux; the key word is change." When I planted that shrub it seemed right but now I need to move it, yes if you compare the garden year to year or even throughout the same season,  you could get giddy, except for the layout cos it would be too hard to change that! And I've bought some new plants and need to make space for them, so that plant will have to go, Oh no, it can get moved to the front garden.

Clever words and strap lines, collect them and use them: suddenly your garden will be magazine worthy even if to this point, you were slightly embarrassed.  The wordsmith probably gets a higher renumeration that the plantsman person, however if the two are combined: Magic!  Which is why I keep reading and enjoying my gardening magazines and books. 

1. The Elephant Bush is happier in the conservatory than on the kitchen window sill, but as it gets cooler it may need to migrate back into the warmth. Diana, one of my blogging friends in South Africa inspired me further with uses for 'Spekboom's  succulent leaves as a garnish on 'Spagbog'. Portulacaria afra goes by many names such as  Elephant Bush: Dwarf Jade, Pork Bush.  This is a variegated version. Diana posted about Elephants eating this plant with some great pictures of the Elephants browsing a stance of these shrubs in South Africa.

Here the garden fairy realises that a trip to SA can only now be just a dream, so it is wonderful that there are other ways of enjoying the beauty of that country through some of the plants, books and film footage, and of course blogs and articles on line.

2. Sedum or that other long name but living up to its cultivar name of 'Autumn Joy' is hanging on.

3. Phlox bifida Ralph Hayward I find is a short lived plant in my garden.  To insure future seasons each year since it came I practice 'succession planning' planting and soon after flowering take cuttings.  At least I have one good plant, but since there is another one in the gravel gravel garden, I thought I would allow this one a little top dressing and got a little carried away using some interesting stones I had in my collection.

I hope it will be worth putting on the shed display shelf next year, as this is what its mama looked like in May this year!

4. By being late in flower this year, the Hydrangea continues to give joy. I don't know the variety but this one is from some prunnings which I picked up from the gardener at the Palace one winter a few years ago, who said that at this time of the year I probably was far too late.  I had three plants until recently, but decided to dig up and despatch the one which caught the late sun as it struggled through wilting each afternoon. Hopefully those remaining plants will be more resilient.

5. It was time to say goodbye to those three begonias that have given such a fine display planted below the
Fatsia Japonica Spider's Web.

6. Saved before they got sodden, the pan of emerging Dianthus cruentus seedlings has now been moved to the shed in a position as close to the window as possible.  It may be one of those pans that get moved in and out depending on the likelihood of rain.

Whether you are a 'wordsmith' or not, the main thing that holds us Six on Saturdayers together it an interest in plants, our own gardens, and a curiosity to know more, and form a community under the direction of The Anchor Man: Jon The Prop.  Of course, your curiosity may lead you to delve in, even if you have better things to do with your time to contribute.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Inspired by Jordan Bourke's Fig, Almond and Cinnamon Sourdough

When I last visited the library my interest was peaked by a book entitled 'Health Baking', and a quick flip through let me know that this book ought to come home for a lengthier perusal. 

I have out at the moment Vanessa Kimbell's School Sweet Baking, but for my current mood am finding that a little too intense.  Jordan Bourke's Healthy Baking is more to my taste and has some delicious looking ferments and ways to use whole grains in mixed dishes with vegetables.  

Using just a few of the delicious dried figs, which I almost always have in stock, as well as some whole almonds on my open shelves, the Fig, Almond and Cinnamon Sourdough recipe is the first recipe I am baking from Jordan Bourke's book 'Healthy Eating'.  I followed  the recipe except I omitted the cinnamon and in its place used some crushed cardamom seeds.

I also halved the dough to make two 500g sized loaves.  Made with a mixture of white and whole grained spelt, it makes a delicious breakfast bread which we had fresh the first day and toasted this morning.  There is only a slight sweetness so this bread also goes very well with cheeses. 

From his website I found this Panfried Chickpea Fritter recipe which will be on the supper menu in the coming days. 

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Six on Saturday - 6 November 2021

 This week the first frost of the season hit the garden.  Nothing seems to have been affected, but we did have the lovely fern shapes on the top of the conservatory.  

1. Before the frosts one and only Dahlia David Howard was cut down earlier in the week, and since it was growing in a large pot, for now, I have just brought the pot into the shed.  Please would someone explain if I should take it out of its soil and 'dry it out' then put it back in some damp soil/sand or whatever, ready to spend its few months rest. As we haven't had any rain, the soil in the pot was already on the dry side.

2.  I have been resisting buying bulbs or anything new to grow on for the spring, as I want to grow more from seed.  Over the last three years bulbs have been planted in the garden, but as we were walking past our small independent nursery where I tend to pick up pots, I thought I would support them by buying a little packet of bulbs.  We were walking, and really could not manage any more as I had gone to buy feet to prop up my pots so they don't get waterlogged over the winter, freeze and shatter.  Half of the bulbs were damaged/wizened/mouldy.  Usually at this price I would not have bothered to return or make a complaint, but I have decided to be less timid.  By the time I had cycled back a 'student' was covering the lunch time slot, so I said an exchange would be fine.  This time I decided to open the packet in the shop.  The same thing happened.  Rather than throw two packets away, and I get my money back, I felt the kindest way forward was to suggest that I choose the best 6 Cabanna Tulip bulbs.  They have been planted, and I shall report back sometime next year.

3. Shadows and morning light offer up aspects of the garden which are easily overlooked.  I  had to be quick to go out and catch the shadow cast by the Cyclamen Hederifolium which had pleased me so much over breakfast.

4.  Turning around I caught the sun shinning through the last remaining blooms of the little patio Rose.  I had to check the name and what a coincidence it is called 'Shine On', new to the garden this spring.

5. Meet Verbena bonariensis 'Little One' which is a souvenir of my visit to Beth Chatto's garden.  It will add a little height in a diminutive sort of way to the gravel garden.

6. I am still fond of the little Viola Tricolor which I grew from seed sent to me by Jim.  Some of the larger plants were trimmed back, and I am pleased to say they have bounced back.  I ought to look for seed to save to sow again this spring. Violas is a good small plant to pop into gaps after the early spring flowers are over.

And Violas are edible and a delightful little garnish which help make a salad lunch quite pretty. I do like an edible flower and we are still eating our own lettuce.  My plate was piled high with lettuce, this was Mr S's place where I have to bury both the green and purple leaves under the beetroot!

Monday, 1 November 2021

In a Vase on Monday - The last of this year's roses

With gusts on the increase, and a need to trim the rose trees, the remaining buds on Rose Grace were put together and graced our main daytime sitting area over the weekend.

Starting with tight buds on the Thursday,  with more open roses, the arrangement was a delight.

The red chillies which were the last of the harvest from the garden plants are now nicely dried, but remain in place as a bright accent in the centre of the table. 

My neighbour Val offered me some of her purple flowering Verbena bonariensis, which I planted up in a border, but I cut the flowering stem from the seedling to allow it to bulk up for next season.  Together with some ivy fruits picked on a recent walk down our lane, and the flowering tips of Persicaria Red Dragon, a second posy was also ready to show this morning. And on the theme of 'upcycling' I added another item Chamaecyparis pisifera ‘Filifera Golden Mop'that would have otherwise ended up earlier in the compost heap, as will both these arrangments in a couple of days.

I'm joining in with Cathy and from her garden she will have set her arrangement, no doubt with excellent props.

Laverne Socks No 2

 I haven't picked up my knitting needles since I finished these socks in July.  What with one thing and another, but now it is cooler, and I have received the hint that I am not sitting down enough, it was time to look through my knitting bag, sort it out and think of something interesting to knit.

When I came to pack these socks away, I found that I had knit the same pattern back in 2016.  There they were nestled up in my stock of new socks box. 

I've decided to move along and knit some wrist warmers to send to my sister.  I'm trying out a pair to judge the construction as I would like to knit ones that are longer in the arm for her.  I found a pattern on Ravelry called Spatterdash which I am attempting, but may well try different patterns after all, they are probably a little quicker to knit up that socks, and will make surprise Christmas Presents.

With all the challenges to use less fossil fuels, but the importance of keeping warm and comfortable, I think that wool will be making a great comeback, not that it ever fell out of favour in this household.