Sunday, 29 June 2014

Carrot Chutney and Cheese Sandwiches

There is a certain large department store with a famous food hall that makes the best sandwiches.  My favourite is Wensleydale Cheese and Carrot Chutney.  I am an addict.  

Thanks to this MOCKS & SPENCER SWEET CARROT CHUTNEY RECIPE from the Crafty Garden Hoe I should be able to make one at home any time I like.  

Pop over to the Crafty Garden Hoe Website for the recipe and so much more! 

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Shropshire Lad

Here's the latest acquisition  in my growing collection of David Austin roses, Shropshire Lad.  It was recommended by my gardening guru, Georgie Newbery of COMMON FARM FLOWERS.  She is brilliant as is Shropshire Lad.

For more floral temptations visit DAVID AUSTIN ROSES.  

Friday, 20 June 2014

Bee Kind

Recently I found a bumble bee trapped in a spider's web.  He was obviously fighting for his life and making a terrible noise as he struggled to free himself. Using great caution and a small twig, I managed to extricate the bumble bee who was exhausted from his struggles.  It was very distressing to see a lovely fat bumble bee in such a state and made me wonder if there were things I could do to make their lives a bit easier. 

I did a little research and spoke to some bee keeping friends who suggested I make a bee waterer.  It seems that dehydration is a big problem for bees. They can only drink from very shallow water, even a drink from a bird bath can result in drowning.  

All you need is a shallow dish, a few marbles, or in this case some beautiful stones I've collected from the beach.  Add fresh water but do not completely cover the stones.  The bees need a dry spot on which to stand as they get a drink. 

Remember to top up the water on very warm days as it will evaporate very quickly.  And if you find an exhausted bee and want to give it some extra TLC, here are some tips on how to make an energy drink to get him up and buzzing again!    Click Here for EMERGENCY BEE CARE

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Seed Bombs

I have been collecting and cleaning seeds from my ox-eye daisies.  I am working on a plan.

I think I am going to seed bomb the area behind our garden fence.   I don't know if it will work but it's worth a try...after all the seeds are free!  

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

A Very British Summer's Day

Recently there has been a lot of debate on the news as to what it means to be British. Can naturalised citizens ever be truly British? The Prime Minister says it's about values, speaking the language, and a sense of fair play.  

This debate lead me to think about what it takes to make the perfect British summer's day.   For example, roses with blooms as big as dinner plates!

Or roses with more petals than you can count....and

Lavender hedges that hum with bees and smell like a giant bar of soap... and

Warm strawberries slowly ripening in the sun .....

Which get made into jam, to eat with scones for afternoon tea.  Perhaps the appreciation of these things should be included in the Prime Minister's list of what it means to be British.  

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

The Sandbox, Security Blanket, and The Sacrifice

Once upon a time there was a little girl with a security blanket.  It was a lovely soft, pink security blanket with a satin trimmed edge and she adored it. The little girl's parents were less enamoured of 'Blankie'  and would spend hours and hours plotting Blankie's demise.   The tattered blanket was an embarrassment to them, after all, the child was four and would soon be going to school.  Something had to be done about Blankie and quickly!

The little girl knew she was growing up, too.  In her big back garden, where she and the neighbourhood children played, was a sandbox.  All the other children loved playing in the sandbox but she thought it was for babies, and besides sand was SO messy.   The little girl had a plan,  she would ask her parents to turn the sandbox into a flower bed.   Surely they would prefer flowers to a box of sand!  

   Everyone knows the best time to discuss a business proposition is over a nice meal, so at dinner the little girl introduced the 'Flower Bed Project'. 'Daddy, can we turn the sandbox into a flower bed?'   Silence, forks were held aloft in mid-air.  Daddy raised one eyebrow, he always did that when he had a cunning plan.   'I'll get rid of the sand and make a flower bed for you if you get rid of Blankie',  he said, seeing the final solution to the security blanket issue.

What a dastardly, evil plot, thought the little girl.  As much as she loved flowers she loved Blankie more.  'What if I get rid of the sand myself?'   Now Daddy knew how much sand was in that sandbox and that the little girl had no way of getting rid of it.  He didn't really want to make a flower bed anyway.  'OK, you get rid of the sand and I'll make the old sandbox into a flower bed.' Daddy was sure this was NEVER going to happen.

  Now, the whole time this conversation was taking place, Momma was quietly listening.  She loved Daddy but sometimes she thought he was too strict.   When Daddy went to the sitting room to read his newspaper she whispered to the little girl, 'I have an idea!' 

Early the next morning, after Daddy had gone to work, they put their plan into action.  Down at the end of the garden was a creek where they could put the sand from the sandbox.  It would settle to the bottom of the silty water and make a lovely home for the crawdads and little creatures that lived in the gently flowing water of the creek.  There was only one problem, how to transport the sand from the sandbox across the long garden and down the slope to the creek.  

   They began filling buckets and old pots and pans, and carrying the sand down to the creek but this took too long. All the neighbourhood children came to help but there was still so much sand! Soon Daddy would be home for lunch and know what they were doing.  The sand HAD to be removed before lunchtime.  

    Then someone,  I don't know who, had a clever idea.  'Let's shovel the sand onto Blankie and drag it down to the creek.  We can move lots more sand even more quickly.'   AND IT WORKED...

By the time Daddy came home for lunch, all the sand was gone from the sandbox.  The little girl took Daddy by the hand and proudly lead him to the empty sandbox.  'What kind of flowers would you like to grow?' asked Daddy, hiding a secret smile.  He knew he'd been out foxed but he'd won, too.  'I'd like blue cornflowers and petunias, please.'  

  In the corner of the empty sandbox lay the shredded remains of a pink blanket soon to be buried under a mound of dark soil, part of a brightly blooming flower bed.  And that is how I mean... SHE became a budding young gardener.