Sunday, 1 November 2009

Winter is coming!

I’ve had my son staying for a week. He lives in Scotland and was pleasantly surprised to see how warm it is down here still. However today it was decidedly colder with quite a snap in the air. Not a nice day for gardening as the wind was very strong and after a small burst of sun rain was imminent. So I went for a walk to the beach. Along the way I saw these berries DSCF0720 strung in one of the trees and looking  just like jewels. I’m not sure what kind of berries they are but have an idea they are poisonous!

Surprisingly with the amount of wind the sea was calm,DSCF0716 although the beach was strewn with debris and seaweed. DSCF0717 Signs of a rough sea previously! There were a fair number of people on the beach enjoying the small amount of sun.

As I walked back up the hill I looked back and liked the look of the trees round the pool with the old cemetery behind them. DSCF0721 Some trees have lost all their leaves and others are hanging on. The oak and hazel trees in the garden are still covered in leaves whereas the blackcurrants and hawthorne have lost most of theirs.

I am still getting beetroot from the garden. The self blanching celery is doing well and useful for adding to recipes. And the spinach is hanging in there. Just waiting for the first frosts!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple sage is a half hardy member of the sage family. Last winter we had some severe frosts and I thought I had lost it totally. However in the spring I noticed a couple of tiny green shoots so didn’t dig it up and ditch it. Slowly the green shoots became six inch stems and they remained like that for most of the miserable wet summer we had. Then in August it suddenly put on a spurt and started to grow until by September it was a 2ft high bush.DSCF0023 Now in October it is flowering and has the most interesting red flowers. DSCF0028 They are long like catkins DSCF0027 and as the flowers develop they are a bit like monbretia petals. There is only one in full bloom but lots coming on the plant. If they all flower it will be an amazing sight. Sage makes a very good herbal tea for sore throats. And a sandwich of brown bread and butter with sage leaves between will aid digestion and clean out the system!

Also I noticed I have one late roseDSCF0033 and a couple of non stop begonias blooming. DSCF0034 They are determined to show their colours on these grey days we’ve been having. And the blueberry has the most amazing red leaves. DSCF0035 For all it is nearly November the garden is very colourful.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Very quick Broccoli and Stilton soup!

This is a wonderful soup and so quick to make. Ideal for unexpected guests or for bonfire parties. Recipe makes sufficient for 4 people.

1 red onion, 2 large heads of broccoli, clove of garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, black pepper, 1.5 pints of vegetable stock, 4 oz of blue stilton.

Put olive oil in large saucepan. Chop onion and broccoli and place in saucepan. Add minced garlic and ground black pepper. Stir and then heat on low for 5 minutes to sweat veggies. Make up 1.5 pints of vegetable stock using stock cube. Add to saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Turn off heat and add cut up cheese. Stir. Then liquidise until soup is smooth.

Put into bowls and enjoy. Is also good drunk from a mug. I’ve just had a mug in front of the fire and it was delicious. Add buttered granary bread and it’s a feast!

Monday, 19 October 2009


I have been so touched by all the kind messages of support I have received. You are all so wonderful!

Not being inclined to garden at the moment I have been keeping busy by making some leaf appliqués. DSCF0020 I love the autumn and the way the leaves are all the colours of the rainbow. I have been doing these DSCF0017 blocks with my Friday morning class this term and it has been so therapeutic for me. Also I’ve been copyingDSCF0055 leaves onto fabric to be cut out and appliquéd DSCF0051 DSCF0050into a piece of work.  I think of all the subjects that I tackle leaves are the one I love the best.  Closely followed by the sea of course!

It has been very cold these last few days and I have started lighting fires as there is something very cosy about a wood fireDSCF0002 and the crackle and pop of the fire is very companionable. Because of the cold my squirrel has been becoming braver   and coming right up to the back door in the search for food. He is still stealing the bird seed out of the bird house but not enough to make it a problem!

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Rising Like the Phoenix from the Ashes

Well it is now four weeks since my husband dropped the bombshell that he was leaving me after 45 years together but like the Phoenix I am now rising from the ashes. For those four weeks I have mourned and my garden has gone into hibernation! DSCF0014Now it is time to take stock and start again. There are still lots of flowers blooming in the garden. The self sown nasturtiums are still abundant and the begonias are hanging in there. DSCF0012 DSCF0011 If I had dead headed the dahlias I expect they would have done more but even so they are still colourful. DSCF0010

I’m going to have to start mowing the lawn. Not a job I relish so it's just as well it is a tiny lawn. At the moment it is growing toadstools. DSCF0005 DSCF0007 There have never been toadstools before so I don’t know why they have suddenly appeared. Perhaps it is something to do with the weather.

The herbs are hanging in there though they need some attention and I am still picking spinach and self blanching celery. The good part of this is that I can have carte blanche to do what I want and plant what I want. Can’t be all bad! 

Friday, 25 September 2009

Thank you!

I have been so touched by all the messages of support. While writing this blog over the past months I’ve so enjoyed all the comments and would like you all to know how much they have meant to me. The trouble I have now won’t be cleared up quickly but it is made better by the knowledge that I have friends out there. And I was so thrilled to see that I have been nominated for an award. This was quite unexpected! Thank you all so much.

I have been cheered in these sad times by the beautiful moth orchid which lives on my kitchen windowsill. I have had it for eighteen months and suddenly it has produced a new shoot and is in bloom for the second time. Such joy!


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Hard Times Ahead!

I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging lately but I’ve been having some personal problems which have knocked me for six. As soon as I get them sorted I will be back!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Fabric pictures from Dyeing in the Garden plus - Drying Herbs!

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These are just a few. I was going for fabrics that I could use in appliqué, especially greens and flowery effects!

How to Dry Herbs

If you don’t know what to do with your herbs now that autumn is here then why not dry them to use over the winter. They can be used in cooking or to make herbal teas.

The best time to cut the herbs is in the early morning when the sun (ha! ha!) has dried off the dew!  Make sure that the leaves are clean. Rinse in cool water if necessary and then pat dry. Remove any dead or discoloured leaves. Then tie into bunches and tie the ends together with string. Sometimes I use a rubber band to make life simple! Then hang the bunches upside down in a cool dark place, which is dust free and well ventilated. An attic or airing cupboard is good. After two to three weeks the herbs will have become dry and brittle. Strip the leaves from the stem and lightly crush. Then store in small glass jars with closely fitting lids. Plastic bags can be used but I prefer glass jars. Leaves can be left whole, especially leaves such as bay.  And I have to say that failing an attic or a large enough airing cupboard I have hung the herbs on the curtain rail in the kitchen and they have been fine.

Dry seeds by putting the seed heads into a brown paper bag – well a paper bag, and leaving until the seeds fall off the seed heads. Then collect and store in small glass jars. Coriander, fennel and caraway spring to mind immediately as herbs that seed well.



Sunday, 13 September 2009

The End of Summer!

The sun was shining but the beach was deserted. The beach huts shut up and the visitors gone home.DSCF0044 Such a sad sight! But look at that immaculate garden behind the beach hut. So tidy and organised.DSCF0041 A complete contrast to my own patch.

So when I went home I started to clear and tidy. I pulled up all the wilted and finished borage and put it in the compost bin along with the contents of numerous tubs and pots. I also pulled up some of the remaining courgettes and put those into a blue bag for the collection on Thursday. I didn’t think the mildewed leaves would do the compost a lot of good. I also chopped and pruned various shrubs and plants around the garden so that the soil could breathe before I dug it over. And what did I find? I found slugs and snails. DSCF0003 It seemed like hundreds of them. And not small one’s either but giant slugs just waiting to lay waste the remaining greenery and the few small courgettes still to be picked. Ugh!  I loathe slugs. Slugs and bindweed! The banes of my life. Martin put down some bird friendly slug pellets and it was like the killing fields DSCF0007 with dead and dyeing slugs everywhere. And yet still they appear. They must have a death wish! 

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Dyeing in the Garden!

Today was lovely and sunny again. Did I go in the garden and do some weeding? No! Did I go in the garden and start tidying up ready for the winter? No! Did I pick the last few courgettes and the remaining green unblighted tomatoes? No! So what did I do? I did some dyeing!

Since we have had a wooden floor laid down in our kitchen Martin has been very against me doing any major dyeing. No laying out the acrylic boards and dyeing 60 inch lengths of fabric on the kitchen table. No I am restricted to working around the sink. Which is fine but a bit hampering when I want to do larger pieces. So I took it all into the garden and had fun. Here are some views of what I did!






Tomorrow I will press them and see what I have got. Some lovely stripey pieces I hope!

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Berry Nice!

My car is in the garage so I had to walk to work today. A tedious walk along a fairly busy road but with an amazing lot to see! 

DSCF0598DSCF0597DSCF0591 There were small newly formed pine cones peeping over the fence of someone’s garden. And in the verge thistles waiting to shed their seeds everywhere.

DSCF0592 Berries galore and of so many different varieties. These were on ornamental trees planted in the verge and were most attractive. Could they be rowans?

DSCF0594 I couldn’t resist taking a picture of these lovely roses looking over the fence. They had the most delicious scent!

DSCF0596 These white blossoms were in profusion along someone’s fence and looked lovely.


DSCF0603 Holly berries on the variegate holly. Still working up to being red!

DSCF0606 Draceana blossom which is so common around Falmouth at the moment. It has a slight honey like scent and is very attractive to bees.

DSCF0610 Even more berries of a different kind but I have no idea what they are.

DSCF0612 Lovely hydrangea blossoms turning colour. These grow most profusely along the road.

DSCF0614 A lone apple! Whether it was a bad crop or one that didn’t get picked I don’t know. But it looked very edible!

DSCF0616 Very attractive berries growing against a wall. Again this was a very large bush with lots of berries.

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Views of the countryside on the other side of the road looking across to Maenporth. The cows seem delighted to have some sun!

More berries! These seemed to be extremely juicy and were a bit like yew berries but in clusters.


DSCF0625 I know the name of this berried bush but can’t spell it! And as I don’t want you to laugh at me I’m not going to try!

DSCF0627 I have pink Japanese anemones but I have always wanted white ones as I like them better. They look good against the deep purple of the bush.

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Lots of rose hips with blackberries and late blooming honeysuckle in amongst them. There were lots and lots and I was very tempted to pick some for rose hip syrup!

This is a view of the allotments on the other side of the road. They have only been going since the spring and yet look as if they’ve been there for ever!


DSCF0644 These berries were most attractive. Earlier in the year the bushes were a profusion of small white flowers.

DSCF0646 I just liked this pot with it’s blue flowers and just had to have a picture. If only mine were as good!

Russion Vine which is a terrible plant for climbing over things to the exclusion of everything else. It looks lovely but is really destructive if not kept in check.


This is tree in our close which is covered in cherries at this time of the year. Unfortunately they are ornamental and not good for eating. Even the birds seem to leave them alone!


And last but not least the lovely changing colours on the tree opposite our house. This tree is a picture in the spring with pink blossom and then in the autumn runs the gamut from green through yellow to red in the leaves. If you are still with me after all this then you might like to know that the walk home takes twenty minutes but longer when taking pictures!