Monday, 29 July 2013

Simple lunch

Now the produce is staring to flow - lettuce, rocket from the back garden and radishes from the plot.  With a wonderful artisan loaf from Hitchin Bakehouse and some lamb steaks (cooking on the bbq outside).  Absolutley delicious.

Friday, 26 July 2013


 This year has seen a few failures already.  The strawberries haven't grown that well, did produce fruit but then something has munched them all before they ripened.  Want to move them all together next year and cover to keep out the nasties.

Peas have been a bit of a disaster, the first lot got eaten completely by pigeons. The second lot haven't fared much better with the CDs hanging up - more sturdy cage next year might be needed.  I have managed to havest a few but never enough for a whole portion.

The gaps either side of this post are dead raspberry canes.  These were all Tadmoor and just have failed to thrive.  The Autumn Bliss however are looking like they will have a decent crop this year.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Flip flops

Note to self - don't wear flips flops to the allotment (unless you want to wash your feet and legs and flip flops afterwards!!!)

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Tayberries on the way .....

Tayberries on the way .....

Friday, 19 July 2013

Deadheading delight

There is something very relaxing about deadheading, something I am quite able to loose myself in, pottering around the garden, snip snip here and there.

I have visions of living in another era, wearing a floaty dress and a big floppy hat whilst the sound of cricket or croquet is played in the distance, jugs of Pimms clinking on the terrace.

Containers in bloom

 The containers that were planted at Whitsun seem to have finally caught up and are blooming.  All looking very bright and cheerful in the garden.  We have been in the garden so much this year already that the time and investment seems well worth it.

July evening

Friday, 12 July 2013

Rosa 'City of London"

If only you could photograph the smell ....

Thursday, 11 July 2013

RIP Blueberry

Not sure what we did wrong here (if anything) but this poor plant is no longer with us.  At least the others in the bath seem to be fine.  

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Sunday planting

Somehow on Sunday morning, I managed to make myself get up and go down to the allotment to plant.  Knowing it was going to the hottest day of the year so far (plus a Wimbledon final match to watch) provided the motivation needed.

By 7.45am I was on the plot planting - thinking I would have the place to myself, the peace was rudely shattered by many other turning up to water.  

By 9am I was hot, sweaty and all finished and ready for a swim at the outdoor pool to cool down. 


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Saturday morning

Pigeon defences - lets hope the CDs do the trick when I plant some more peas for my second attempt at growing this year.

Some more strawberries ripening - hopefully I will get up there to pick them before some other creature munches them.  The crops aren't great so need to do some work on the strawberry bed for improve the soil for next year.

Poppy Field

Amazing field of poppies near Harston, Cambridgeshire.  Not the best light so MUST go back again before they disappear.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Proper bread from Hitchin Bakehouse

Following a link that a friend posted on Facebook, I did some goggling and discovered the Hitchin Bakehouse.  The bakehouse is an artistan bakery in the next town.  Having read a bit about sourdough breads on other blogs I decided to order some to try.

Knowing that we were going to be at home over the weekend and with the hot weather forecast, it was likely to be outside dining, I plumped for the Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia and the Hitchin Sourdough.  They only bake to order at the moment, so a text arrives to advise your bread is ready and off I went to Hitchin.  

As you enter the house to collect, the waft of freshly cooked bread hits you and immediately you want to try some!  

The sourdough lasted long enough for me to get home - and soon become brunch with some scrambled eggs.  The focaccia we saved until tea time and it was quickly devoured in two sandwiches with wiltshire ham and homemade chutney and sun dried tomatoes (and the obligatory glass of red wine!)

The bread had flavour and texture (unlike the pappy stuff sold in the supermarkets).  We WILL be ordering some more -

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Rosa 'Sheer Silk'

First bloom on the standard rose.  Beautiful in early morning light and the most delicate of scents.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Plant out of place

The definition of a weed is a plant in the wrong place,  with this one I might just leave it where it is looking so beautiful nestled in the verge of the plot.

Saturday morning

Managed to get to the plot this morning before the heat of the day.  After watering, got a bed weeded ready for planting and sowing later on this weekend.

First strawberries were picked - only two so not quite enough for breakfast but very nice nevertheless.

The mangetout have been completed munched by pigeons, so I have acquired a pile of old CDs and hope my installation below allows a few of them to recover!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Lavender and Roses

For many years I dreamt of a garden filled with roses and underplanted with lavender.   Finally this is starting to be realised ....  There were four empty pots in the back garden from citrus trees that hadn't made it through the last two winters.  The pots were sitting there looking all empty and forlorn and our local garden centre (which happens to be shared with Harkness Roses) had 25% of roses so it seemed too good an offer to miss.  

So off Rosehill I go and pick my four roses - selected two of them for their scent alone.  We decided to get two standards to add some height in to the garden and break up the view.  Ultimately we hope to redesign the lawn and plant these all in the ground.

After that I headed to Hitchin Lavender and bought a selection of different lavenders.  Managing to sneak in a swift cream tea before I was missed too much at home!

So now onto the planting ....

First up, two standard roses.  The pots have been underplanted with Lavender Folgate.

Then the two floribunda roses - both chosen for the strong scent - really there is no point having a rose unless it smells.  Both underplanted with different lavenders.

Lastly a line of Hidcote for the herb garden and already the most beautiful scent is starting the fill the garden when you brush pass them and all from local nurseries.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

First crop!!!

It won't make a whole meal but last night I picked the first crop from our allotment.  Two lone radish which we added to a greek salad.

The first of much more to come :-)

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

We have crops!

Things are growing - at first I thought it was all weeds.  But after some careful selection and removing everything I knew was a weed -I am left with beetroot, spinach, carrot, chard and possibly some spring onion and parnsips in there somewhere.

The soil wasn't a fine tilth and the seeds were all very old, so anything grows is a real bonus.

Elderflower Cordial

On Thursday morning I was suffering with pre-exam nerves, pacing around the house.  Clearing up a pile of newspapers I found a recipe for elderflower cordial.

So picking up my snips I wandered down to the local shop for the lemons and on the way back passed picked a handful of elderflowers.  

I have no idea why I have never made this before as it was sooooo simple.  

10 elderflower blooms (picked best mid morning on a sunny day)
900ml of boiling water
3-4 lemons - add zest first, then squeeze and lastly cut into chunks and add
680g of caster sugar

Place flowers in large bowl, pour in the boiling water.  Add the lemons and sugar.  Stir well.
Cover and leave for 48 hours.
Then strain using muslin through a sieve to clean bottles.

Finished cordial tastes so much better than the shop bought.  It is not as sweet and has kept the tang of the elderflower.  I have experimented with freezing some in small plastic tubs so can have the taste of the summer in the darkest depths of winter.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Border additions

Having cleared up the border there are some definite gaps.  So taking advantage of some the very good offers on with nurseries at the moment.  These all came from Crocus and are seeming to do well.  Fingers crossed for flowers this year.