Bumbley bumble bees and other critters

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Oh the humble bumble bee. I love bees.

I know I’ve said it before and I count myself very lucky to live next door to several apiaries but there are also lots of regular old bumble as well as the honey bees in our garden.

A few weeks ago I was stood by a clump of knautia plants which were full of bees. I stood and watched them and after a few minutes I rushed back into the house to get the camera and proceeded to snap away hoping to get some pictures of the different kinds of bumble that were feasting on the flowers.

After several attempts at scouring the internet for bee identification tips I think I have identified these beauties… gave up!

But I hope that somewhere amongst these photos is the tree bumble bee, a black bee, a carder bee and a garden bumble bee.

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Along with these lovelies I also spotted this….

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Eeeek! More internet searching this time I was successful in identifying the spider as a nursery web spider. She is so pretty, as long as she is out there in the garden.

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I’ve been waiting for the buddleja to pull in some butterflies. Here is one of three peacock butterflies that I spotted feeding.

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And finally in this creature adventure a few hover flies landing on a pretty and crinkly poppy.

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I’m off to hone my creature spotting credentials and see what else is out there.Oh and dream of a macro lens….

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30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Red pepper, black olives and basil

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Ha! I took over the pizza making again this week. Here is number twelve. I tried the basil oil mixture again on this one. The combination of red pepper and black olives is always a winner in my book and the basil was good too.

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White pizza dough, Gav’s sauce and the usual mozzarella.

Definitely a winner.

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Photo a Day – week nineteen

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I thought it was all going to be food and drink this week! But a few others got in here too.

A trip to Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate which just happens to have a Betty’s tea room, so breakfast had to be done.

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Trying my hand at bread rolls again.

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Using some of our home grown blueberries.

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A picnic in the park with H and my sister.

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Reading on the patio. (Giving the kindle another go.)

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The moment I put the vacuum near the footstool it becomes Buds fav. spot….

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This view is my favourite. I love seeing the bright sunshine outside through the drawn voile curtains. When I put those curtains up this is the image I had in my mind for how it would look.

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And there goes another week. Hope yours was a good one.

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Bloom 3.0 – Ammi two ways

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A few weeks ago I was mooching around Pinterest looking for floral inspiration an pinned this and this. I hoped that at some point in the summer I would have enough of those blue and whites to create something similar.

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More purple than blue but still this basic idea is there. I was thrilled when I arranged that little vase-full.

And I had some ammi left over so made another airy arrangement using my favourite calendula and a bonus of two white poppies.

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The poppies don’t last long, I seared the stem ends in boiling water for 20 seconds, but the are so pretty and worked well in this vase.

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Ammi is great. It certainly adds a frothy and very country feel to an arrangement.  I must remember to try and sow it in the autumn for bigger plants this year.

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Just look at those wonderful cheery flowers. Oh! this Bloom thing makes my heart sing. And if floral is your thing don’t forget about the wonderful seasonal flower alliance going on over here.

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From garden to table – pea and bean pasta

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We grow veg. We love pasta. We love making easy simple sauces for said pasta.

I am sure I have posted photos of similar meals year on year but since we are eating this kind of pasta dish weekly at the moment I thought it would be good to share again.

One of the most perfect moments in growing vegetables is the day you wander around with your little trug and pick pick pick till you have the makings of your supper. Truly perfect and you know what? It never gets old!

So I collected a trug of green veg. Broad beans, mange tout and a few pea pods.

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Get the pasta boiling. With these veg I could add them all into the pasta water to cook. No extra pan – bonus! I threw the veg in with about three minutes left on the timer for the pasta. They were perfectly cooked and just a little ‘al dente’.

I mixed lemon juice and olive oil and a few herbs together with seasoning and after I drained the pasta and veg returned these to the pan and tossed in the lemon oil dressing.

A grating of vegetarian Parmesan and there we go.

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Color//Colour – orange

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I was not a fan of orange in my younger days but now I love it.

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Another great colourful week. Last up on the colour front this time around will be blue (although my niece thinks I need to keep going and include silver, black and gold and ……)

For more inspiration on colour check out the two blogging ladies that began this color//colour adventure over here.

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30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Broccoli, red onion and basil

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For pizza number eleven it was my turn in the kitchen. Broccoli and pesto seems to work for a pasta sauce so why not on a pizza?  I know I’ve tried to adapt pasta to pizza before and it didn’t work out but I gave it another go.

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I was set on this plan but when I checked the fridge, no pesto!

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am all too comfortable winging it (often with disastrous results….) in the food department so instead of ready made pesto I chopped the basil and mixed it with a little olive oil. To stop the herb charring in the heat of the oven I hid little dollops of the oil mix under the broccoli! It more or less worked and I loved the basil broccoli combination.

I used all white flour for the base and lucky for me had one of Gav’s tomato pasta sauces on hand. The cheese is our usual grated mozzarella.

Bigger slices of red onion are needed next time because that was a little lost but overall a success.

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Bloom 3.0 – update

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It’s time for a progress report on Bloom 3.0 and a quick tour of what’s going on in the garden right now.

Above are the lovely cornflowers.

Here is a run down of the annuals I’ve grown this year for cutting.

  • Ammi Majus
  • Calendula officinalis
  • Nicotiana ‘whisper mixed’
  • Centaurea mix
  • Cosmos
  • Helianthus ‘Valentine’ and ‘Italian White’
  • Lathyrus two packets of mixed colours
  • Nigella damascena
  • Papaver rhoeas ‘Mother of Pearl’
  • Salvia viridis mix
  • Ten weeks Stocks mix

I have lots of other plants that I use for cutting too. Basically anything is fair game in the garden for a vase if I can force myself to cut it!

I’ve been cutting sweet peas for about two weeks now. The supports and added ‘muck’ I put into their little plot has paid dividends. Below is the plot in the wood at the back of the house. Our back gate is just out of the shot facing the main bed.

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Thanks to two great posts over here I really paid extra attention to these plants and so far so good. I had to add more netting to the top of the supports. They are reaching about 6 ft now.

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I have never had sweet pea stems this long before.

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The bed that was planted with all the other annuals is doing well too and that netting, well why didn’t I do this years ago?

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The sunflowers are still growing as are the cosmos. Looking forward to those flowering soon.

Of course I am already thinking how to do better next year. Which plants I’d like to add to the mix. I am short of annual foliage plants so must remember that and I do need to add another couple of ‘bride’s’ (as Sarah calls them) to the plants I grow for cutting.

The joy of growing your own cut flowers is beyond words. I get lost in my little flower world when I go out there to pick and ponder. And then when I eventually come back indoors not only have I spent time with nature I have a bountiful harvest in my hand  which is saving pennies and air miles too.

I go through phases with this hobby just like all my other hobbies but following along with Floret and Sarah and all the other lovely blogs is adding to the enjoyment of doing the flower growing thing.

This has been a great year so far. Hope that the rest of the summer and the odd feed keeps the little annuals producing flowers.

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Photo a Day – week eighteen

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Another week. Here we go.

Lucky enough to go and enjoy live music in the form of Midlake at Halifax Minster. It was candlelit and amazing.

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Found myself a ball…..

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The Google doodle for the World Cup final.

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Finally finished this game when H came over on Monday.

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A snapshot of all the floral abundance.

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Our blueberries.

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My favourite salad of all. Vegetarian Nicoise.

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And that was that.

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Bloom 3.0 – Cornflowers, ammi and salvia

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The little purple vase is getting lots of use right now.

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I cut the flowers for this arrangement thinking of a purple and white scheme but then added the splashes of pink as a contrast.

Also in the mix is Cerinthie and the flowers of a plant I truly don’t know the name of. Those pale pink stems? It comes in purple too, I have one of those, I think it spreads about and most folk consider them weeds but I love it. My Mother-in-law gave a pink one from her garden and before I planted it I cut it back and of course couldn’t throw the flower spikes away.

I tried to keep it loose and spreading out a little. I really need that chicken wire to help create those lovely arrangements like Erin!

But that said I love this vase of flowers just as it is.

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