Monthly Archives:

June 2011

Messy Strawberries

The time came for our first strawberries and cream of the summer and I had mine messy!

By messy, I mean, I made Eton Mess, from a recipe I found here. It’s from Delia and it’s super fast and easy.

KayCee, (for some strange reason!) doesn’t like cream so I bought Carte D’or, strawberry and yogurt delice ice cream. The plan was for everyone, except KayCee, to have Eton Mess for dessert but the ice cream was obviously far too tempting and Aiden and Ella couldn’t resist! So I had Eton mess all by myself and enjoyed every last bit of it 🙂
And the best bit of the children wanting ice cream instead…. the leftovers! 🙂

messy strawberries - strawberries and ice cream

All that was missing was a glass of Pimms and the sun, which of course, went away when we planned to have dinner outside followed by a quintessential summer dessert!! Don’tcha just love English weather?!
Instead of a light dinner, we had roast pork, mashed potatoes and vegetables. It was lovely.
We had two days of (for me) unbearable heat and the day I wanted it to be warm, we got cloud and rain. Oh well, at least I was able to get in the garden and get some more seeds planted without roasting in the heat!
Talking of Pimms…..my birthday is coming up so I should really go and add some to my wishlist on Amazon! *grin*

Sports Day #1

It was Ella’s first sports day today and she was super excited about it this morning.
The thing she loved most, was having to go to school in shorts, t-shirt and trainers instead of her school uniform.

Ella dressed in shorts and t-shirt for her first sports day

She likes to leave her long hair down usually but we tied it back today and it looked lovely 🙂

Ella's hair tied up for sports day

 

Ella's hair tied back for sports day

When she came out of her classroom, she looked around for me and gave me a big, gorgeous smile.
She said, ‘Mum, we’re not allowed to run to you’, so obviously, they’d all been told to stay in line and not run to mummies and daddies!

I took some videos of her races because Anthony had to work in the shop on his own today so couldn’t come and watch her.

Ella at her school sports day

You could tell she really enjoyed it and when she came running out of her classroom afterwards, she had a huge grin and shouted, ‘that was sooo fun’ :o)

I think it’s tired her out now though….she’s lay on the sofa watching Beauty and the Beast!

Growing my own….hopefully!

My attempt at growing my own is going ok, so far! My herbs, apart from one basil plant, which I think has been food for some kind of caterpillar, are doing really well. The coriander, which is one of 2 herbs that I’ve grown from seed, looks like it’s going to start flowering soon *smiles*. It’s getting very tall and I’m looking forward to harvesting the seeds.

Growing my own coriander
Growing my own

Don’t know what I’m going to do with them though because I don’t like coriander! I’ll probably just grow more and more and end up with tons of seeds that I’ll have to try and give away!

I’ve been doing some research and I’ve read a few articles that suggest the dislike of coriander could be genetic. They’re doing studies now so it’s not known for sure but there seems to be a definite,
marmite-ish-ness about it (ok, so I know it’s a made-up word but it sounds good to me lol) and for those who don’t know what my made up word means, it means, you either love it or hate it.

I’ve never liked it and can tell 99% of the time if a dish has it in. However, I do like growing it. It was very easy to grow from seed and it gave me the confidence to try other things so I’ll forever have a soft spot for coriander!

I’ve also had some success with a box of wildflower seeds. We’ve bought wildflower mixes loads of times but they never really did anything.
This time, there are loads of different flowers and they look lovely 🙂

I don’t know what any of them are called but I don’t mind; they’re pretty!

Today, I’ve been sowing seeds and I’ve got them in my new plastic greenhouse 🙂

I’ve planted some peas, french beans, Sicily purple cauliflower, Aalsmeer cauliflower, romanesco cauliflower, amaranth calaloo, celtuce and mustard leaf Indian green amsoi.
I ran out of seed trays so used some margarine and coleslaw tubs and I cut up an ice cream tub to make the labels.

My brother’s coming to rotavate our garden and then we’re going to make some raised beds.
I can’t wait to get growing all different kinds of vegetables.

Last year, KayCee was given a geranium from a lady on the street and after having it in the window all winter, I decided to plant it out.
I thought I’d killed it but today I saw a flower on it so it’s doing ok and I’m very pleased about that because KayCee wouldn’t have been very pleased if it wasn’t!

Robin’s Nest

The weather yesterday was wonderful here in Lincoln. It was far too hot to get anything done in the garden but it was perfect for sitting under the canopy, watching the world go by.
Which is what I did for most of the day!

Robin’s Nest In The Ivy

As I sat looking around the garden, thinking of all the things that needed doing, and feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all if I’m honest, I heard a strange sound. It sounded like very loud crickets or something similar. It was coming from the fence where we had attacked the ivy a couple of weeks ago.

We knew there was a bird’s nest high up because we’d seen the sparrows collecting stuff to make it so we kept clear of that area.
We didn’t, however, know that a robin had made her nest very low down in the ivy. It turned out, the noise was the babies, calling for food every time their mother went near.

I was delighted and quickly took some pictures. I sat and watched the mother bird going to and fro, feeding her babies and I thought how lucky we were to have this wonderful thing happening in our garden.

Robin's nest

I worried, though, that because we’d cut the ivy, we’d opened the nest up to predators and my concerns were to be confirmed when I went to check on them this morning.

The nest is empty. I couldn’t help but cry. It’s my fault these four, beautiful little birds are dead. If only I’d listened to Ant when he said we should wait a while to cut the ivy, they’d be safe in their nest now.
I feel so guilty and will never, ever, touch that ivy in spring again.
I thought we were safe cutting low down because I never thought a bird would make its nest that low.

I have a lot to learn about gardening and wildlife and this was one hard lesson to take :'(

Wisteria and Raspberries

After never being able to grow anything before, my gardening skills seem to be improving at an astonishing rate!

I started off a few months ago by planting some herb seeds. I didn’t hold out much hope because every time I tried to grow anything, it didn’t happen. I stopped buying houseplants because they always died and I felt guilty!

I really loved the idea of being able to fetch fresh herbs from the garden and decided I had enough time, (and help from the internet!) to make things grow! I must admit, I made a mistake with my first lot of seeds. I planted them and they all started growing, to my amazement, but then, I tried moving them into a bigger planter far too early and of the six types of herbs I planted, only the coriander survived…..or so I thought. I went to water them earlier and now see some thyme fighting it’s way up 🙂

Coriander is one of the few herbs that I’m not very keen on but hey, it’s growing, and even if I never use it in cooking, it looks lovely in the garden.
Growing herbs, wisteria and raspberries

I soon had the gardening bug and ordered some Gladiolus callianthus bulbs. I planted them in the middle of April and they’re doing great. They should flower around August and I’m looking forward to smelling the perfume these gorgeous flowers have.

Gladiolus

I have to confess that I didn’t bother buying more herb seeds, I cheated and bought herb plants from the supermarket when they were on special offer. Instead of putting them on a saucer in the window, I planted them in an assortment of containers in the garden. I have basil, thyme, flat and curly leaf parsley and mint.
I’m going to grow some chives from seed next and I also want to try some rosemary. Looks a bit messy at the moment but I will get the garden more organised soon!

Herbs

 

Mint

There are big changes happening in our garden at the moment. We had, at one time, a beautiful pond next to the patio and for the first two years, it was my pride and joy. I remember getting extremely excited when I saw the first frog in the pond. It was a great moment for me because as a child, we’d lived near a brook and I used to love seeing the frog spawn and playing with the tadpoles. I’ve always loved frogs and wanted our pond to be frog friendly.
We planted a bog garden next to the pond with logs for the frogs to hide under and we made the pond slope gradually so it had a little beach to enable the frogs to get in and out easily.

Our old pond

Ant and I were both at home a lot during this time. Anthony was getting over a serious episode of depression and I was a new mum. The pond gave us both something to do and a peaceful place to relax.
Then came full-time work. First, it was Ant who went to work as a manager of our local laundrette/dry cleaners then I started helping out occasionally and was soon working all day, every day.
The garden and the pond especially got neglected. To make matters worse, after a couple of years at the laundry, it was sold to new owners and I was suddenly without a job.
Ant had left a few months before it was sold, to go self-employed as an I.T. Consultant. Business was slow at first and the combined drop in income meant things that weren’t essential (garden and pond) got left in favour of keeping us fed and clothed.
This year, the bog garden is overgrown, the water in the pond is stagnant and the frogs are gone. It made me sad every time I saw the sorry state the pond was in.
So last week, we emptied it. We were going to fill it in and grass it over but decided to make a sunken seat after seeing one on Gardeners World.

I am, however, still going to be having a water feature  *smiles*  as I don’t think I could have a garden without one!
We have a preformed waterfall that we’re going to set into a rockery under the elder tree. I adore the tree and can see myself sitting on the new sunken seat next summer, listening to the sound of the water trickling down and being shaded by the tree.  Absolute bliss.
We have a lot of work ahead of us but it’ll all be worth it in the end.

Here are a couple of photos to show the amazing change 3 years can make when you leave a garden to do as it pleases!

Before

Swing set

After:

Overgrown garden

We can’t see the row of house in the first picture because the conifer has grown taller than the houses and all the ivy, Russian vine and goodness knows what else has covered the fence and grown up into the trees. It’s created a nice private garden but we had to help the trees and remove some of the ivy and vines before they did damage.

Overgrown garden

I wonder how many of you have been thinking, what have wisteria and raspberries got to do with this post? Well here’s what I originally came to talk about and got sidetracked!

My wisteria plant and raspberry cane were delivered yesterday and as soon as I’ve finished here, I’m going into the garden to get them planted.
I’ve been doing some research and I found that wisteria originally grew up trees. They like their roots to be in a shaded spot and they take the goodness from the leaves as they fall and rot into the ground so we’re going to let it grow up another elder tree we have.
It needs regular pruning to help it thrive and we have to make sure it’s not going to damage the tree in any way.
I hope I can pull this off because it’s going to look beautiful when it flowers.

The kids are going to love being able to pick their own raspberries from the garden. We’ve already got a blackberry bush and had great fun picking the berries, freezing them and then making a pie when we’d collected enough!

So I’d best get started before it rains again!

Thanks for reading and check back for updates as I’m going to be doing lots more gardening 🙂

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