Friday, 30 September 2016

FREE ROSES for Your Garden!

It is a well known fact that I am a greedy gardener.  Once I find a plant I love I just want more and more.  This is especially true when it comes to some of the more delicate coloured roses like this one,  Chandos Beauty.  Yes, she has a few holes in her but it is nearly October.

Earlier this summer, I was deadheading the roses and had a thought, since I was pruning off bits why not try to root some of the cuttings.  

Now, I am not going to tell you that my success rate was great.  Half of the cuttings died...but half LIVED!  Not only did they live, some are actually thriving!  The Chandos Beauty cutting already has a new flower bud.

If you have a special rose in your garden and you'd love to have more, why not try to root some cuttings.  It's pretty easy really,  here are the How To's taken from Gardeners'

You can take cuttings from any type of rose you choose, but just make sure you select long, strong, healthy stems from this season's growth, not old wood.
Make the cuttings 25cm long, cutting above a bud at the top to remove the shoot tip and below one at the base. Leave one leaf at the top and remove all the lower leaves.
Dip the base of the cutting into rooting hormone mixture. Insert several cuttings into a large pot of gritty compost.
Water well, place the pot in a shaded spot and leave until cuttings have rooted. Keep the compost moist. Pot up rose plants individually when well rooted, probably next summer.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

First Poly Tunnel Harvest

Life is a funny thing.  What you like and what you think you like are often two different things.  Take our poly tunnel, for example, it was already on our allotment when we got the plot and I cursed it for being a blot on the landscape. Now it is one of my favourite things.

In the beginning, the poly tunnel was full of weeds, dried up tomato plants, and every kind of bug you can imagine.  The infestation was so bad that a bite on Andy's arm required a trip to A&E for treatment.  Now it is filled with vigorous young plants.  Today I harvested my first crop, this lovely chard.  It will be interesting to see how far into the autumn-winter season we will be able to enjoy fresh vegetables from the plot.  

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fried Apples

There are some dishes that aren't pretty but, boy, are they good.  This recipe for fried apples is one of those of dishes. 

This time of year all sorts of apples are ripening and falling from the trees.   It really doesn't matter what kind of apple you use.  I used two different kinds of apples from my little espalier apple trees in my back garden.  One kind cooked down into a rich pulp and the other held on to it's 'slice' shape, combined they were delicious. 

This is the perfect recipe for using up those less than perfect apples, you know the kind, windfalls with a bruise, a bug bite, or any other kind of blemish.  So collect a few apples and let's get frying:


1 1/2 to 2 cups apples - peeled, cored, and sliced  (I used 5 medium apples)
2-3 Tablespoons butter
Juice of 1 lemon
1 or 2 Tablespoons brown sugar (adjust according to tartness of apples)
1 or 2 Tablespoons white sugar 
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Melt butter in a medium frying pan. Toss the apples in the lemon juice.  Add the apples and cook until most of the butter is absorbed by the apples.  The apple slices should be JUST tender, not completely cooked.   Add the white and brown sugar, cooking until the sugars have become syrupy.  Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle over the cinnamon and stir to distribute the cinnamon.  Serve hot!

Fried apples are lovely over french toast or pancakes or served warm over vanilla ice cream.

For an extra special treat, spoon fried apples over a warm scone to make a delicious short cake.  Don't forget the cream!