Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The Journey is the Reward

After having spent the last few weeks trying to understand my complex and ever changing world, I have finally taken time out to try to understand myself. 

I need a logically coherent way of living, which doesn’t seem to be able to be achieved Sad smile 

Never mind, moving swiftly on, I finally managed to spend time this week – ON THE DECKING !! – Yes, the Decking, which although it has been around for years, hasn’t had the benefit of a comfy bench, since the other fell apart, having been abandoned to the weather. 


It may not look much, but there in the background is my lovely sweat peas, that have been incredibly prolific this year.  I have also managed to grow some Cosmos


I hadn’t realised that they were Cosmos – I had bought them grown from seed by a lovely lady at the Dundry Woman’s Institute but they hadn’t got a name attached to them.  After further research and some help from some incredibly kind Facebook and Twitter friends, I have discovered that they are Cosmos bipinnatus “Fizzy Rose Picotee”.  Further joy – Jane Deane went on to tell me that they can be used for dyeing.  Alum Mordant and using the flower heads.  I don’t think the four that I managed to grow this year, but next year – I have plans Thumbs up

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Bountiful Harvest time

and setting down stores for the winter. 

Now we have some beautiful weather for a while, the world around me feels quite calm (for a change!!)


Having tackled Pickle, Chutney and Jam, not forgetting Sweetcorn relish over the last few days – I am feeling really good about not letting the Summer Bounty go to waste – plums are illustrated, and I have blackberrys and crab apples ready to go. 

The Piccalilli was a recipe courtesy of the The Big Allotment Challenge – which I found fascinating, even if it was quite disjointed – each episode seemed to cover too large a timespan and I got confusedConfused smile

Unfortunately though the smell was appalling and when decanting it into jars it smelled and looked like baby poop… Having said that, when we had a taster when it cooled enough to try – wow….worth all the grief !!

I would though do things differently to the original writers and as usual the methodology is confusing to me and doesn’t flag up enormous waiting times for things like salt to work, where I could usefully be doing other things. 

In the meantime here is a rose from my garden for you to enjoy – the one which was a rose, then a dog rose, then has some rose hips on it and now back again as a rose… It is called Irish Blessings – so with the sun shining the way it is today I am counting mine – Smile 


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Flower Power.. and gypsy wishes


The storm also took off one of the heads of one of my plants I had grown from bulb – courtesy of a local garden centre giving them to me for free.  I suppose I best find out what they are !!

They do look lovely in the Tussie Mussie vase though. 

When I made up a couple of small bouquets to put in two of the carers’ cars (instead of air fresheners – an idea they spotted whilst we were out and about in Portishead) one of the guys thought it was a heather bouquet at first sight, just as a gypsy might sell.

I had one of those gestalt moments – that is what is missing from my garden – no heather.  Despite having grown them for years and years – I have totally forgotten to replant them this time.  So I have remedied this and ordered some from ebay – nothing like a quick fix eh !!


Tarragon confusion



My French Tarragon seems also to have decided to grow after all.  But I got excited too soon.  I have now discovered the one in flower is actually the Mexican Tarragon.  Both purchased from Sarah Raven as plugs. 

I have found though there are one or two plants growing in pots under the coffee grounds or woollen slug pellets – so I wait to see what they turn out to be. 

In the meantime, I have taken the decision to buy two plants already cultivated of the French variety and now have another go at cultivating it properly. 

Harvesting my First Toms



There has been a lot of storms over the weekend, but I am pleased to announce that I have finally managed to grow not one BUT two tomatoes !!! Despite coming back on the weekend to find the bushes on the floor due to the wind etc.  Not sure these plants will produce enough to keep Toby in supply, but it is a start !!

I really didn’t have the confidence to transplant these little beauties from their pots which they long outgrew to the growbags.  I couldn’t work out how to use the “rings” which are basically pots with the bottoms cut out. 

Joshua, my eldest son, on his last trip over took control and these are the six bushes before the rain and sunshine have given them a growth spurt. 


My beans and peas are also looking grand – although they too have suffered with being flooded out.  A little worried about the corgettes as well – perhaps a little too late in the year.  

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Herbs and Tussie-Mussie

Sweet Pea Tussie Mussie


I have had a garden for many years – 32 to be precise… and before that loved growing plants on my window and at work I became addicted after having been given a small cutting which grew despite being very neglected.

About 9 years ago or so – I had to have part my current garden decked-over, as the dog had destroyed most of any living grass.  Fine – we love Murphy – so the decking was a good compromise – especially when I had fountains added and pots of lovely flowering plants – all very reminiscent of Mediterranean.   Then it all died back when we were away. Plants needed watering, and I was devastated.

I didn’t know where to start this year when faced with trying to sort out some sort of comfortable area where I could sit and spin/weave and read a book, and be surrounded with living things – not the evidence of years of neglect.  I also didn’t want the decking area to become another place of guilt.  Like the mess in the house. 

So – deep breathes and Sarah Raven catalogue to hand I got started. 

I have – as you will see on my Kitchen Notes blog (when I get around to updating it) – my preoccupation this year has been to learn to cook. 

To cook, I have learned I need ingredients –

Ingredients are not always easily to be found – despite Jamie Oliver assuring me that the “big, bad boys” are readily available at a supermarket near me… You ought to have seen the assistant’s face when I asked her !! (I am talking preserved lemons here… not anything else….).

Tarragon was my first discovery – couldn’t buy it anywhere fresh – then discovered a whole load of issues with it… so much so I think I will start another small sub-blog – and I am going to discuss that here..

I don’t have an urge to write thousands of blogs – just will find my life a bit simpler if I can keep the separate areas of interest in different rooms !

Also over the last year or so I have had the need to cut the eco footprint my life is having on the world.  Not sure that is the phrase – but I have been horrified by just how many very large vehicles we pass on the motorway zooming our food to us and other essentials of life.  I am not comfortable with me being part of that problem…

Hadn’t even occurred to me that cut flowers would also have an impact until a recent programme – so I have chosen sweat peas as my starter project – along with loads of others recommended by Sarah Raven (!!).

I have photographed one of the little bouquets that I am harvesting on a daily basis – along with some lavender and other sweet smelling herbs – ALL HOMEGROWN !! How proud am I…

They are in a little Tussie-Mussie vase that was a present last week from the American Museum – the most delightful little herb shop that I have come across. 

I was really chuffed about learning about Tussie-Mussie’s and was going to call this blog after it – as it is a little bouquet of thoughts – then I found out what the Victorian Slang meaning of it was….

Still like the vase and bouquet though – big is not always best….

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