Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Three generations of garden lovers

My maternal grandfather. At one point he was a gardener for the Cartland family (he didn't much like Barbara Cartland). Every time I pick raspberries now, I think of him, having spent many happy times picking and eating the ruby jewels from his garden when I was small.
My mum, who developed her garden from the standard 1970's suburban rows of marigolds and alyssum (and a back garden full of my father's dahlias), into a shrubby and herbaceous riot of colour and texture. And not averse to the odd trick - SomeBeans was impressed by the gorgeous flowers on a hazel the first time he visited chez Mouffetard. They were fabric.
Sadly, only one remains. Apologies for the 'dress' - it was the 1970's. I still love dahlias.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oranges and Lemons


Attractive to foggie-toddlers, allegedly edible, and it can be used to make paper and as a coagulant in traditional Algerian cheese. Plus, an excellent shelter for snails - I harvested seventeen hiding within the U-shaped valleys of its stems one evening.Close up, the 'petals' are luminous, looking like the waving arms of a sea anemone.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Looking up Buttermere to Haystacks

A wonderful week, with no rain, and some sun but not too hot. A de-stressing week of scrambling up mountains and hills and peering at small creatures - we had a great view of a stoat going up the path to Haystacks at a considerably quicker rate than I managed it, and a close encounter with a red squirrel which expressed the desire to suicidally cross the road in front of our car. Obviously he's not met Tufty.

View from Great Gable

Most of the garden and allotment seem to have survived the week, with a harvest of broad beans, cabbage, onions and potatoes to come home to.

As promised - a sundew, although we had actual real sun as well. It's interesting to read that, whilst the Venus Fly Trap responds to pretty much anything which triggers three hairs inside its maw, the sundew responds greatest to stimuli which contain nitrogen, one of the key nutrients in short supply in their boggy homes.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The hidden heart of the Dierama

Having missed out on blogger's bloom day, this is a bit of a belated celebration of some of the flowers in the garden at the moment. And because in my previous post I concentrated on blue, I thought I'd come over all girly and pink for this one.

Some of these were a bit of a cheat, being more on the mauve side of pink but make up for this by their innate flounciness.

As for the title of the post - well, it's amazing what you don't see unless you look very closely. I'd never noticed this before, until I started playing with the camera. It seems that Dierama doesn't wear its heart on its sleeve, but rather hides it away, making its discovery a real treat.

I'm now off to wheeze up mountains in the Lake District for a week, where the closest we will get to sun are probably some photos of sundews :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Arte y Pico Award

What larks - I've been very kindly awarded the Arte y Pico award by two people. It's probably cheating, but I'll combine the thanks in a single post. Apologies for not doing so sooner, work has been horribly interfering with gardening for the past few weeks, unfortunately.

Thank you to both VP and to Emma Townshend for their nominations - it's daft, but I love my blog, so it's lovely that other people sometimes drop by to see what's going on.

Like the Oscars, there are some basic ground rules to receiving the award. Unlike the Oscars, I do not have to ponce about in a borrowed dress and loaned jewellery - just as well, because despite VP's kind comments, elegant most certainly is not a word that springs to mind. Anyway, the rules are:

1. Choose 5 blogs you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogging community, regardless of the language.

2. Each award should have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog to be visited by everyone

3. Each award winner should show the award and put the name and link to the blog that presented him/her with the award.

4. The award winner and the one who has given the award should show the Arte y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5. Show these rules

For those of you who enjoy the feeling of prickly wool next to the skin, the Arte y Pico website has some delightful wool bikinis (just go down the page a bit). Ideal for a day on the beach at Rhyll.
So, it is with great pleasure that I pass on the award to the following bloggers, whose creations I enjoy:
  • Cote jardin - interesting, lovely photos, and also helps me improve my French.

  • James A-S for Blogging at Blackpitts - no doubt he's had many nominations, but here's one more;

  • Olives and Artichokes - plants and food, as well as sunshine - what more could you ask for?

  • The green-fingered photographer - wonderful photos, to which I aspire.

  • Pencil and Leaf - brought to my attention very recently by a post by the Garden Monkey; I am in awe of the artistry.

No obligations to carry the meme on.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

...liver, with some fava beans and a nice chianti

I've had a quite domesticated weekend. As well as using a wide range of broad bean recipes over the past couple of weeks (including a liver and broad bean risotto - hence the quote, although we had a sauvigonon blanc rather than a chianti), I've been producing fruit based puddings as if there were no tomorrow.

Firstly, strawberry cheesecake ice-cream, and today (in a bid to use up the egg whites left over after the ice cream, so as not to incur the wrath of Gordon Brown because of food wastage), raspberry pavolova. Although SomeBeans described it, rather uncharitably, as raspberry splatlova. I've never made meringue before. The 'Octavia' raspberries were delicious. As were the cream and meringue, obviously ;-)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Violet to Blue

The human mind is a strange thing. What it chooses to remember is very fickle. Meetings, anniversaries, names - all forgotten. Obscure album tracks from albums never listened to, yet alone owned, remembered.The title to this post is the name of a Nik Kershaw (remember him? 1980's, short, fingerless gloves, big hair) album track. I read the review in Smash Hits, and remembered both the title and the story behind it (a girl called Violet dying of a drugs overdose). Now, 22 years later, I am rather tritely using it for a post about blue flowers. I've been playing with macro photography again, making use of the sunshine between the showers.
Incidentally, bumblebees (which, if you have read a previous post, are all called Delius) have a preference for blue and violet flowers, with violet being the most preferred. I like the fact that the researchers had to use 'naive' bees in their experiment.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


This evening, I have been experimenting with macro photography.

I'll have another practice at the weekend, if the weather is a bit better.

This plant looks beautiful even in bud - can you tell what it is?

The background is a Cercis canandensis 'Forest Pansy'