Sunday, 31 May 2009

Pea Soup with Mint!

Another lovely day with breakfast in the garden. The sun is just coming over the houses and highlighting the daisies and buttercups in the lawn. They look so pretty but will all be gone when the lawn gets mown. Not to worry the daisies spring back overnight and I really don't want the buttercups lovely though they are!
I made some pea soup today. I don't have any peas as the garden is too small to grow them though I'd like to, but I do have loads of mint and it is really young and fresh at the moment. For this quite delicious soup which is ideal for a hot summer day and is also good cold by the way, one needs 350g of peas, one large red onion, a garlic clove, vegetable stock cube and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. That is it! Put the oil in a large heavy saucepan with the chopped onion, the minced garlic and the chopped up peas (sugar snap are best) and heat on low for 10 minutes to sweat the veggies. I also use lots of black pepper. Then boil a pint of water and mix with the stock cube. Pour into the saucepan with a couple of sprigs of mint. Stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. Cool and liquidise to the consistency you like. Eat! Delicious! Especially with a dribble of cream! Yummy!
Went to the garden centre today and found some new to me herbs. I bought some chervil, caraway, winter savoury and woodruff. I love caraway seeds. Especially in a sandwich with lots of butter. Space is getting limited so I'll have to curb the buying and see how things grow. This weather is certainly bringing things on. Only problem is one needs to water pretty regularly.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Blotanical - Find of the Year!

When I started this gardening blog I felt a bit lonely after a while as it didn't appear that there were any other gardeners out there blogging. I looked around and they all seemed to be in the US or in languages I couldn't read. And then I came across a blog which mentioned Blotanical and actually had the address highlighted on the page. The author of the blog went on to say that once she'd joined she had had so much fun and met so many people it was unblievable. In my haste to click on this link I lost the blog address which was pretty stupid as I'd like to thank that person big time. Finding Blotanical has been like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I haven't been a member that long but in the short time I have been there I've had more friendly welcomes, found more interesting gardening blogs both in the UK and abroad and I 've learnt lots already! I've learnt about picks and faves and replying to messages and accessing messages and its just been a load of fun, even though I've clicked on the wrong links a couple of times and ended up in limbo land. In fact I've spent so much time looking round the site that I've not done a lot of gardening. I just have to say a big thank you to my unknown introductee and hope I come across your blog in the fullness of time. And a great big thank you to the site owner for a brilliant idea!

Morning has broken....

I awoke this morning to the sun! It was a glorious morning and I had breakfast sitting on the patio looking out at the garden. That sounds very grand but the patio is really just a paved area in front of the French doors into the kitchen-diner. The bees were already at work on the blossoms on the chives. There is something very satisfying about the sound of bees and chive flowers are lovely. This is such a glorious time of day if the sun is out and the birds are singing. I took a stroll around the plot which took all of five minutes as it is so small and was gratified to see that more seeds are appearing at last. A bit of weeding and I was ready to face the day! Which incidentally has been very very hot....40 degrees C! But some wind which made it a bit cooler. When we first came here the soil was so poor that there were no weeds now they are thriving! I try to cultivate a small patch of chickweed as it is lovely in salads and makes a refreshing herbal tea but I really don't want it all over the garden and I certainly don't want bindweed which is the bane of my life!

Looking around I was amazed to see that I had a stranger in the pot of spinach seedlings. Well that is apart from the borage which is seeding everywhere! What it is I do not know but it looks like a member of the brassica family. Only time will tell if I let it stay there that long. Any suggestions?

Friday, 29 May 2009

The Weather controls the Gardening!

After all the rain we have had a glorious sunny day and suddenly things are growing! The mint is coming on at quite a pace and as I use mint a lot in cooking and making mint teas this is very pleasing. The peppermint isn't growing as quickly as the ordinary mint but it is doing well.

The lettuces are doing well too. I shall have to thin the salad bowl lettuces again soon. The Lollo Rosso has really benefited from the sun too and soon I'll be able to start picking leaves. I wish the Sorrel was doing as well but it is still just a tiny plant. Instead of buying a plant I should have bought seeds as I can see that one plant isn't going to produce enough! There again I don't know why I sowed seeds of borage as I have self sown borage all over the garden. As I love using the young leaves and flowers in salads this is all to the good. I even found that I had self sown bronze fennel. The fennel is growing into a really bushy plant even though it had a small set back with green fly. I wish I could say the same about the dill which looks a bit battered. Too much heavy rain I expect for such a tender plant. And I am delighted with the fern below. I bought it last year and it did nothing. In fact it died off and I began to feel that I had wasted my money. And then suddenly this spring it has sprung into life. I am so pleased as this is a damp shady corner that gets no sun and is over shadowed by the honeysuckle which is rampant.

The blueberry that was attacked by vine weevils looks very sorry for itself and I don't give it much chance but as it isn't taking up any room I need I shall leave it where it is to see what happens. The other blueberries are covered in fruit and looking good.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Not inspired to garden!

This painterly photo is a picture of a corner of my garden through a rain streaked window. It just isn't gardening weather and I am so pleased to see that I am not the only one having a wet time. Thank you all for your comments. They were much appreciated!

I am concerned about my Lovage as it has some yellowed leaves on one side and I'm wondering why. Could it be we've had too much rain?

More about the self sown begonias. This pot is producing yellow flowers and yet the original was white! There are also deep red flowers coming from the white original as well. It is quite fascinating to see the variety that I am getting from the original colours of white and salmon pink! Individually these flowers are nondescript but all together in a pot they look good!

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Weather!

We have gone from a lovely hot Bank Holiday Sunday to a miserable wet and windy middle of the week. It was all downhill from Sunday and not the sort of weather to inspire one to be in the garden. The wind this morning was so strong that it was actually blowing the panes of glass off the pots with seeds in them. And this isn't light glass but heavy glass that came out of my front door! I wish I hadn't procrastinated and decided to leave the watering with Miracle Grow because now looking at the plants I really think some of them could have done with a helping hand. Should this rain and wind stop I will be out there getting it organised and done. The wind has done for my lovely pink petunia (see picture below in last post) and not only blown all the flowers off but also broken the growing stems. Gardening can be so frustrating!

Friday, 22 May 2009

Some sun at last!

The herb garden is doing well with several plants bushing out and taking more than their fare share of space. I have a line of Lollo Rosso lettuces next to the path and some Salad Bowl lettuces as well as a few beetroot. Growing in pots are spinach and borage.

This year, fingers crossed, the blackcurrants seem to be doing very well and we have had a few sunny days so perhaps things will start to move in the garden. This weekend I want to thin out the lettuces and beetroot and plant the courgettes and cucumbers which I have grown from seed. In spite of the weather the Basil is coming on slowly. I have a piece of glass over the pot to help it keep warm as the nights are still cold.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Self Sown Begonias

These are pictures of the flower that has opened on the self sown begonias from last years hanging basket. They don't look like begonias to me but then the originals could have been hybrids. Then again perhaps they are something else! But what? In themselves they are quite insignificant but if the whole pot blooms at once they will make quite a showing. They are more like snapdragon blossoms!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Vine Weevils

I really, really hate Vine Weevils. The blueberry that I put into the ground from a pot was looking sad and as I'd found grubs from the Vine Weevil in the pot after I'd moved it I thought I had better check. So I dug it up and sure enough it had the dreaded bugs. Not many of them but enough. So I squished as many as I could see and then I completely washed the roots under the hose and drowned any others plus eggs. So I now had a bare rooted plant which I put into a new hole with some blood and bone fertiliser. I then cut it right back so that it wasn't having to work on all fronts and fingers crossed it might survive. I then watered the old planting place with Vine Weevil killer to be on the safe side. When I planted up the other plant pots with bedding plants I emptied the compost out and used new but I didn't find any signs of the bugs so I'm hoping this is the only one. I had Vine Weevil infestation several years ago and they completely destroyed my Fuchsias. I haven't grown them since. Gardening can be so frustrating!

Monday, 11 May 2009


I have had to water daily in the garden as we haven't had any significant rain for several days. My seedlings are all at the vulnerable stage and I noticed that my newly planted climbing rose was looking droopy. A good drink of water soon perked it up. The greenfly seem to have gone from the fennel which is good as I certainly don't want greenfly on everything. The poorly courgette plant gave up the ghost. It was obviously too cold for it and wasn't hardened off enough. The courgette seeds I've planted are doing well and are out in the open so they stand a good chance of surviving as they won't need to be hardened off. I wish I could say the same of the ridge cucumbers. I have three small seedlings out of ten! We are due to get rain tomorrow so perhaps this will perk things up!

Sunday, 3 May 2009


After a lot of thought I decided not to have the allotment. There would be a lot of work involved and as I work every afternoon it would become a rod for my back and either I'd grow to resent it or it would be neglected. So after a lot of thought I decided it wasn't for me. There is a life after gardening and I am sure that my small garden will be sufficient for me even if I can't grow all the vegetables I would like. The answer of course is to move to another house with a bigger garden!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Blackcurrants and seeds!

I was horrified to find that my bronze fennel was covered in greenfly! Fortunately they had confined themselves to this one plant. I had a small amount of spray so I sprayed the plant this evening and hope this does the trick. Otherwise it will be diluted Fairy Liquid in water!
The weather has been a mixture of rain and sun this past week and everything has been growing really well. That is apart from the two courgette plants I bought. One is OK but the other one is barely hanging in there. Too cold probably for it and yet my courgette seeds have all germinated and are onto second leaf stage.
What is doing well are the blackcurrants. They have loads of blossom and look really healthy which is a change from last year when they seemed to have all sorts of problems. Fingers crossed that this will last! Gardening can be so frustrating!

I have been offered an allotment and we are going to walk up and have a look at it tomorrow. It is only a five minute walk away from where I live and as well as being very useful for growing all those vegetables that I can't grow at the moment it will be a source of exercise! I am quite excited!