Month: July 2017

Bloom 2017 – Sweet as a Sweet Pea

This was perhaps the second bunch of Lathyrus I have picked this summer, a welcome sight indeed.

I chose a collection six packets of seeds from Sarah Raven this year.

I sowed them all and had over 50 plants but space in this garden seems to be getting smaller everywhere so I didn’t get to plant them all. The ones I did plant are out in the allotment area. Once again, as I have for the last three years I am growing them on a vertical support system not up teepee’s as I did years before. I have had so much more success with this method.

I am always learning and striving to get better and these wonderful plants are reason enough to grow flowers and I’ll keep trying every year. Here’s to a few more bunches this season.


Photo a Day – Week Twenty

Here goes another week.

Bright sunny start. Love the white light of the greenhouse and that blue sky.

You know me. Can’t resist a sunset sky.

This week our niece baked cookies. Yum!

A new to me sunflower.

Someone was watching out of the window for me.

Homegrown courgettes and broad beans on this pizza. We added pesto too and it was a great flavour combo.

Walked for coffee and collected a bag of used coffee grounds to put on the garden.

And there we have it.


Her Summer List, Our Summer Memories

When summer approaches and we get a few days of good weather I am always inspired to hop on the summer list/goals bandwagon. But then I get disheartened because it will rain for a solid week and time ticks by.

However, I am pretty good at encouraging my younger niece to make a list for herself, one that Gav and I can join in with when she visits. And because we are all going on holiday together there are quite a few things we can cross off while we are away.

But there is another reason to do this. Well more than one!

All these lists, the physical thing, is memory keeping worthy. It’s scrapable! Her handwriting, the spelling mistakes, the way she spaces her words, her choice of the pink card to write on. It is a snapshot (!) in her life and I only have to think about how this darling girl was a teeny baby, just like our new arrival, what seems like only yesterday. But look she is a teenager and time has zoomed by.

So I will take any excuse to capture what I can.

And the other reason? Well, I will make any excuse to enjoy her company, any excuse to have fun together, any excuse to make memories together, any excuse to laugh with her.

Enjoy your Friday, get out there and have good times this summer weekend. We have family rounders tomorrow……….


Two Bean and Avocado Pasta Salad

The weather here today is cool and cloudy, I had a jumper and a coat on when I walked Bud earlier. It’s pretty miserable so I thought I’d cheer myself up by remembering this delicious pasta salad I made recently.

I looooooove pasta salad and don’t know why we only eat it occasionally. Must change that. Anyway I started with black beans and chick peas. Protein for us vegetarians and pulses are just so good for ya!

Then I threw in some chopped tomatoes.

Add the cooked pasta. Any shape will do but I like these fat dumpy tubes officially called Rigatoni. The ridges are there to hold sauce onto the pasta but we don’t have much sauce here. But no matter. Basically I’m saying any shape will do here.

I added parsley. Gav had started to prepare a big bunch of parsley (home grown of course) at the start of the week. He washes it and uses the salad spinner to dry it off then keeps it in an airtight container in the fridge. I know it’s only growing right outside the patio door so going through this process seems overkill but if you need to chop the parsley for a recipe you can’t do that just after washing it very easily so having it washed and ready makes that process easier.

I also added chopped black olives and a little onion.

The avocado went on top just before serving and I put the pasta salad on a bed of lettuce leaves. We had a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

Yum. And good for you.


Photo a Day – Week Eighteen and Nineteen

I know reading here is a challenge of late but Gav has plans in the works and hopefully we’ll be back to normal soon and the site won’t fall over every two minutes. If you are still here, thank you.

Anyway, I’ll keep sharing so here are another couple of weeks worth of photos.

Cutting patches are coming along. This is Ammi majus.

Road works on our morning walk.

My darling younger niece made crispy buns.

Capturing flowers and bees as always.

We went on an adventure up to Glasgow to see Radiohead. My goodness it was amazing.

On the drive home. There is a road across the middle of England called the A66. It is one of the wildest and exposed in the north of England and I love driving along it. Love those ranging poles in case of snow in the winter.

We had a new addition to the family. My older niece had a baby girl. My sisters first Grandchild and the first of a new generation. She is the most adorable.

Sunlit garden.

Went to visit baby and mum again and could not resist these tootsies……

Popped out into the garden early for a little mooch about. The Scabious in the foreground were actually last years plants that over wintered and grew in abundance again. They are annuals but decided to have another go!

Sunrise through the bedroom window. 4.58am.

Courgette flower.

The sweet peas are flowering at last. Had some issues with yellowing buds that just dropped off. Not sure what it was but at least we seem to have some flowers coming now.

My younger niece and I made the new bebe a quilt. It was her first go at this sort of project and she did a great job.

And there we go.

Bloom 2017 – Lime and Pink

After many years growing biennials here in the north of England I seem to have hit upon a successful formula for abundant blooms. In our garden they are not biennials but triennials!

Sow in June, the following summer you get a few flowers but nothing abundant. But if you leave them in the ground for a further year, bam! An abundant crop.

Maybe I’m not growing them in the right conditions and that’s why I don’t get a good crop in that second summer? I have grown Digitalis, Dianthus barbatus and Erysimum for years now and never get a decent harvest unless I leave them for that third year.

The Dianthus are the best of all grown this way and they are the pink of this arrangement. And yep this was the third year of there growth.

I also mixed in Cerinthie, Alchemilla (the lime) and Linaria purpurea for a very country feel vase and her little pal.

The annuals out in the garden are staring to work their magic and I have snipped a few stems here and there any day now there will be a burst of colour. Can’t wait.


52 Stories – Number Fifty One – Making Plans

Here we go with another scrapbook page as I try to get the story I really want to tell into the album.

Making Plans

Here is the story from the page –

It was a little bit of a panic because there was an offer on the Disney World prices so we got together to discuss it and pin down exactly where we wanted to stay. And H had made a wonderful banner to get us all in the mood. We all wore our Mickey ears too well she made Gav and David a pair each. Good FUN.

Have I got the story down? Would I add anything more?

Love that I have made so many pages recently that are not only a re-telling of the facts in the photo, if that makes sense? I feel like I have stretched my story telling muscles a little bit and am hopeful that I’ll carry on the good work! Don’ get me wrong, I still love to tell a factual photo based story but also feel that adding a deeper story is lovely too.

I’m happy with the words for this tale and love that this little piece of our American/Disney adventure has been documented.






The Bees of 2017

After that floral update I thought it would be fun so share a few photos of the bees I’ve been snapping this summer.

Oh the bees! I love the bees. All kinds, all shapes, all sizes. They are vital little creatures and always have a space in my garden and my heart. I wrote about them a couple of years ago.

As you know we are lucky enough to have a neighbour who keeps honey bees although we are not inundated with then as you may imagine. There are some in the garden but I think most fly further afield to gather their nectar.

Not sure if this one is a bee?? But I liked the photo so here he/she is.

I strive to get better photos with the macro lens but accept I probably will never get that perfect shot. I’m okay with that. It seems I won’t give up trying though because come a sunny summer day the first thing I do is pick up that camera and head outside.

One of my most favourite things is to just stand and listen and watch to see what is buzzing about in the garden that day. A perfect way to spend time in my opinion.




Bloom 2017 – Update from the Garden

I thought is was about time I shared a few photos from the garden here. After all that talk of rain its good to look at these pictures, from a couple of weeks ago and see how much everything has come on since then.

Space for the cutting patches has reduced in size this year mainly because the whole area around the greenhouse and it’s new chequerboard patio will be changed at some point so I didn’t want to plant up any part of that space that might have to be dug up before the end of the summer. But just because I knew I had less room to plant in did not make me sow, prick out or grow on less plants! I think it’s turned out to be the opposite…..

Gav suggested I plant closer, to pack them in. Usually I follow the plant spacing guidelines but decided it might be time to try something different so I did indeed pack them in.

And to make it worse I direct sowed in amongst the plants too! I’d forgotten to sow nigella so threw some seeds around. You can see the seed leaves just popping up in the photo below.

I have the usual suspects for the cutting patches. Helianthus, Calendula, Scabious, Cosmos, Cerinthie, Ammi, Salvia, Nicotiana, Antirrhinum.

There is also a row of sweet peas out in the allotment and a few white Borage plants that the bees just love. I have planted Dahlias too but they seem to be sulking and not growing at all much yet. I need to employ patience.

I’ve supported the larger area with netting (you can see it in a couple of the photos above) but the smaller patches have been left to fend for themselves so far. I may try to net because this system is the best way to support the plants and it makes the stems grow straight which always a bonus when arranging.

Hoping for a bumper crop to start soon.


Photo a Day – Week Seventeen

Hello and welcome to another week in pictures.

The courgettes are getting there.

Rain watching.

Rose admiration.

More rain.

But sunshine too.

Got myself a stick.

Working in the garden.

That was a very Buddy and Mel-centric week!