Month: May 2014

Around the garden in early May

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I am a creature of habit. I adore apple blossom and will always take as many photos of the apple trees in bloom as possible.

I wanted to remember this combination of the deep pink blossom and the purple/pink Lunaria flowers. You can just see them blurry at the back of the above photo. I grew them from seed last year hoping to have armfuls for cutting but only about four plants grew away well so I decided to leave the stems on the flowers and hope the self seed a little.

Gav did a great job with all the Tulips in pots. We have had a succession of flowers for weeks now.

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The Clematis montana gearing up for a great display once again.

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The view back to the house complete with pooch and washing line!

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A tapestry of greens and a little purple. Salad and flowers sat on the table by the greenhouse.

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Had to take a photo of the stem of this plant. It’s a teasel and I grew them from seed last year. You can see that the leaves on each side are joined together so at the base of the plant a reservoir is formed.

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Here it is from above. You can see the reflection of the water down there in the bowl formed by the leaves. I am curious as to why this plant does it. Might have to look that up.

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More apple trees. Liked the sun on the bark of the little trunk and the box hedge.

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And finally, not a plant but a baking himself silly dog.

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That is one of his fav spots and he lays there till he can’t breathe for panting and staggers to his water bowl to rehydrate. Crazy!

Bloom 3.0 – Bluebells and Viburnum

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One of the joys of the garden is giving its all right now. The wonderful Viburnum opulus. The bright acid green balls of tiny flowers make a perfect foliage plant for cutting and we are lucky enough to have two huge bushes in the shared wood behind the house.

The only flower I had in abundance was the ever present bluebell so I cut a couple of handfuls to see if I could make this work.

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Also in the mix are a couple of Euphorbia stems and some Clematis tendrils. I thought an outside location for the photo would be a great idea but was battling with the wind, you can see a blurry Viburnum ball in the middle of the shot above and the next gust knocked  the whole vase over. Fortunately it didn’t break and I called it a day on the photography.

I snapped another shot the following day inside this time.

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I shall have to cut another bunch of the Viburnum even if it is the only thing in the vase. It would be a shame to miss that beautiful green.

And anyone coming from Erin’s blog over at Floret Flower Farm, welcome. That is a great project and I am enjoying joining in and seeing everyone’s arrangements.

Oh! The sights we saw.

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Last weekend Gav and I took my younger niece to London. She sort of invited herself along. It went something like this – ‘I’d like London, can I come?’ How could we resist?

We arrived Friday evening got to the hotel out in the Docklands and took her for hot chocolate in the hotel bar area.

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Next day we started with a hearty breakfast.

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I think those two went back to the breakfast buffet a few too many times.

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But no rest for us, off to the Tower!

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A famous raven and a Yeoman Guard in the courtyard at the Tower of London (above) and a sentry outside the building where the Crown Jewels are kept.

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Then off we went but were lucky to see Tower Bridge raise to let a tall ship up the Thames. Pretty sure I have never seen the bridge raise before.

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We spotted this, I was thrilled.

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Then we took H on a red bus past Downing Street and Horse Guards Parade.

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But not before we did a pit stop at the crazy busy M and M World in Leicester Square.

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Caught the tube, where they looked for the underground mice…

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And after walking across the Millennium Bridge and letting Gav look at ‘art’ in the Tate modern we headed back to the hotel on the Docklands Light Railway where she snapped us.

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On Sunday H and I went on the Air Line cable car.

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It was a little windy but a great view and experience. Then we met Gav at the Natural History Museum.

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Where we did a whistle stop tour of the Dinosaurs exhibit which is amazing then off the Gav’s fav. place.

The Science Museum!

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And then after two jam packed days we headed home.

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It was an amazing time, full of fun and laughs and sights and new things seen and it was a pleasure and an honour to look after this little darling for the weekend.

30 Vegetarian Pizzas – Mushroom and Black Pepper

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I’m not sure where Gav got this idea from but it is a great twist (pardon the pun) on a regular old mushroom pizza. The usual sauce and pre-grated hard mozzarella cheese as the base. He then slices the mushroom thinly and gave the pizza a good scattering of freshly milled black pepper before popping it in the oven.

The black pepper lifts the mushroom-y flavour. Really good and easy.

 

Photo a Day – week eight

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Shall we do some more?

The first English Asparagus.

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Dear Auntie H, make mine a large slice please.

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Watching snooker.

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The apple trees are blossoming.

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A selection of terracotta pots.

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Wonderful tulips.

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Morning coffee in one of the many Emma Bridgewater cups.

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There we have it. Enjoy a good week everyone.

One Little Word – update

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It has been a while since I mentioned my little word. Truth be told I am still struggling with this whole process but I’ve been thinking about this subject for weeks now and even though it isn’t tied in directly to the class and my word I think I should write it down because it is nattering inside my brain and in the spirit of listening I am, so here goes.

When I was little I couldn’t grasp the idea that decisions you made didn’t have to be forever. Let me explain.

You embrace change and decide to go and live in the country. Bham! That’s it, you’re gone to the country and can never be a city girl again. Or you go and live abroad and after a few years want to come back but you can’t because you decided to go and live in France and that’s that, or change jobs and that’s it forever, decision made no going back.

I say I thought this way when I was a child but really I still do.

I am not a fan of change. It scares the dickens out of me. My brain runs riot about all the negative things associated with change. How will I cope with something new? Everyone will know how useless I am. I’ll never understand anything about this new computer.

Yes, there are serious self-confidence issues here but also I think, a huge lack of understanding of the bigger picture in life and a lack of understanding of myself?

Of course I can change jobs and if I don’t like it I can look for something else. Or Gav and I could go and live in the country, we could always come back to the city. Nothing is set in stone.

I’ll say it again because writing it down might make me believe it. Nothing is set in stone.

Being brave, having confidence, taking a chance is something I work on perhaps not often enough but hopefully by documenting it here I can keep working on it.

Bloom 3.0 – update in May

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It is amazing what a month can do. Last time I posted about the seedlings was the beginning of April and here at the start of May (I took the photos on 2nd) everything has grown so much.

The Calendula, Salvia and Helianthus have all been potted on. As well as the Papaver and Stocks.

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We have a stuffed full, wonderful greenhouse. There are all sorts in this photo including veg seedlings.

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I am starting to harden off some of the hardy annuals and  planted out some Cerinthie last weekend.

The pull of the garden is growing as spring lengthens, like it does every year. I feel the need to step out and look at it all often, especially when the sun shines. The sudden lush-ness and burgeoning growth is magnetic to me. I find that I go outside and wander about staring at this and that thinking about all the jobs that need doing and then I wander back into the house again without doing any of those jobs. Right or wrong that is my way and I am so okay with it. Most of the to-do list will get done at some point, it will be alright in the end. And the weeds, well if I leave them long enough the growth of the plants suppress them for a while at least.

I am that kind of gardener. Lazy!

I had a crazy idea to try and stagger the flowering of my beloved Alchemilla mollis. I had three patches of this perennial in one of the small raised beds so I took the secateurs to the two smaller clumps hoping that this will push their flowering back a few weeks. You can see the poor old, now leaf-less, plants below.

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We’ll see what happens.

So there we have it. Come on the growing season I am ready to GO!

Lists – Celebrity crush

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There are tons of lists out there in web-land.

I love a list. I already have the mammoth click tick list going on but I thought it would be fun to write a list a month and share it here. I got my inspiration from over here in their archives. (Click on the free download ones.)

I have even got a couple of guest posters line up!

Okay let’s do a fun and silly one which speaks volumes for my true personality…….

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Celebrity Crush!

In order to get to this final list of fifteen I did a lot of memory searching and looked through some of the popular films from the 1980’s etc because I am old and forgetful! My off the top of my head list was missing some of those very first crushes so I’m glad I searched back in time to jog my memory.

I used that ‘pit of your stomach swoon’ factor to narrow down it down and these are the lucky guys that would be on my laminated list.

  • Harrison Ford
  • Pete Duel – Alias Smith and Jones
  • Tom Cruise
  • Lewis Collins – Bodie and Doyle
  • Kevin Costner
  • Robert Urich
  • Sam J Jones – Flash Gordon
  • Chris O’Donnell
  • Robert Pattinson
  • David Soul – Starsky and Hutch
  • Noah Wyle – ER
  • Ryan O’Neil
  • David Boreanez
  • Robert Redford
  • Sting

I made a little board of them all over here. How about you? Do you like a list? Do you like a handsome celebrity?

Back next month with another list (it won’t be quite a swoon-worthy as this one was though….)

Bloom 3.0 – Bluebells and Erysimum

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I am loving all these wallflowers. The mild winter has made a difference to their growth and timing. The star here is the variety ‘Blood Red’.

I picked lemon balm foliage along with bluebells for this arrangement. I seared the stem ends of the lemon balm in boiling water for 20 seconds or so.

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There are a few Euphorbia stems sneaked in too. I like the blue tea glass as the vase, not quite the colour of the bluebells but it gives a hint of the right colour and ties in with the flowers.

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The lime green of the Euphorbia is my favourite and works so well against deep strong colours.

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If you like beautiful flowers there is a weekly ‘challenge’ going on over here. So interesting to see what’s blooming in other parts of the world and all those talented growers and arrangers.

30 Vegetarian Pizza’s – Our Giardiniera

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This recipe is taken directly from Pizza Express. The only difference is that our tomatoes are not pre-marinated and the base is just our regular white dough one. The sauce is Gav’s usual.

So the topping was red peppers, mushrooms, artichoke (from a jar), black olives and leeks from the garden. The result delicious. This is one of my all time favourite combinations. I just love artichokes. For a vegetarian they add a really great alternative sort of flavour and they are firm so add some ‘bite’. I have a couple more ideas for using them on pizzas so stay tuned.

I included the photo below so you can see how thin we rolled this pizza’s dough. Gav does vary the thickness of the bases but I am a thin base girl at heart. Just thick enough so the sauce doesn’t seep through is good enough for me. That was you get all the flavour of the toppings and just enough base to balance it all out.

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And that was number four.