Friday, 17 June 2011

Gardeners always say never - but never mean it

For someone who doesn't "do pink",  I seem to have quite a lot in my garden.

At the start of the year, I have assorted hellebores.  Mostly in my default colours of purple and yellow (as in shed photo), but there are a few that err on the side of rose coloured.

Hardy geraniums started off with the darkest flowered g. phaeum I could find, but now there are white and cerise as well (the latter albeit bought for its near black/purple foliage).  Above all, I have allowed Herb Robert to pop up in gaps as it sees fit.  I forgive the girly pink flowers as they are loved by insects, but equally for the red stemmed foliage.

Not all my Heucheras have white flowers.

Then there are my Hepaticas and Anenomes - mostly white, but some have a pink flush to their petal, as does my new Clematis, not to mention the Erigeron I am coaxing into nooks and crannies in the brick paved area inside the raised beds.

Barring one yellow flowered alpine, all my Sedums are pink flowered, as is the Bergenia that I rescued from the sorry display in the front garden when we moved in and replanted in a more suitable position.

Come late Summer, Echinacea purpurea will join the display, if the Cepholaria (in my more favoured buttermilk shade) hasn't smothered everything by then.

Add to that assorted Thymes, Sage, Turkish Rocket, Betony, Ragged Robin and self sown Aquilegias.

Finally, there are Foxgloves.  Granted, I have a parviflora, but in the main, they are pink.

So, for all my protestations that I won't include the colour pink in any of my planting plans, on reflection it seems to be the most prolific shade.

Maybe if I actively include it in the garden, my favoured shades of cream and purple will actually take over.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Look of a Wet Weekend

Well after the 40 days & nights without rain, the past few days have more than made up.  And to think one evening at the start of the week, we watched two Buzzards wheeling on the thermals over the lake.  Fortunately on Friday, Howard had made lunch for both of us to take in, so I didn't have to venture far from my desk during the thunderstorm and torrential downpour.  Maybe it's the Welsh ancestry, but I am less downhearted than my work colleagues when it rains.  One of them is obsessed with roller skating, and goes into near drama queen mode at the slightest hint of precipitation for fear his ball bearings will rust.

Today, however, the rain did put a damper on plans.  Not practical to undertake the tasks planned for garden or allotment.  But hopefully the plants are drinking it up, and maybe the rain will discourage the foxes from rummaging in my onion bed.  Maybe it will even be heavy enough to drown out the wasp nest that has taken up residence in my straw bale stash.

Not that is stopped the Magpies.  Their favourite trick of old was to rummage in the guttering for things to drop on us as we sat having tea on the deck.  This year's new generation are a particularly delinquent bunch.  They have taken to fishing stuff out of the compost pile and having a picnic on the roof of one of the hen houses.  Not just stuff from our garden either - white bread, pizza crusts, disemboweled tea bags end up there.  Happens to be the hen house where Giggy, our Leghorn resides.  This small white feathery Ninja likes nothing better than to square up to anything passing by, so I would have loved to see her chicken martial art moves during the week.

Too wet to chase the Magpies off.  Instead, we had a domestic day.  Or rather Howard did.  My sciatica decided to come back to haunt me this morning, so I reclined and did research while Howard gave the cupcake maker I'd bought him for Christmas a test drive.  It worked a treat, and we now have a stash of banana muffins tucked away in a tin, plus some extra special ones cooling down.

When I was little, my mother used to bake all sorts of wonderful things.  Family meals may have been predictable, but afternoon tea was always a treat.  One of her special treats was "Home Made Jaffa Cakes".  These were plain fairy cakes with the middle scooped out, filled with jam and sealed up with melted chocolate.  I was miffed to see a well known chef publish a recipe under that title.  Far less homespun than the real thing though.

Anyway, this afternoon, we decided to have a go at our own version.  I approached the cakes with trepidation, and carefully made the first cone shaped incision.  Having removed the lid, I then sliced it so it was flat.  After that, I spooned a small amount of filling into the hollowed out cake - some apricot jam, others with Dulce de Leche.  Then I replaced the lid and covered the tops with melted chocolate, making sure the lid was sealed in place.

A cup of tea is brewing, and the Blue Shed version of Proust's Madelaines moment awaits.