The Three “P”s

As an English trainer I learned that the three “P”s are Presentation, Practice, and Production.

As a gardener I am learning that they are Patience, Patience and Patience!

As a cook… I’d never thought of this before, until I made this favourite sauce again the other day: Peas, Pasta, Parsley!

Many of the condiments and sauces traditionally served with meat and fish are difficult to pair with vegetarian dishes. And I do miss them. Mustard on tofu? Bread sauce with potatoes? Mint sauce with…? But my parsley sauce (which I ate with fish many years ago) appears now and then quite happily in my vegetarian dishes. Here’s a summer dish, combining it with summer veg.

Pasta and Peas with Parsley Sauce

Parsley Sauce

Melt 30g (1 oz) butter in a pan. Add 30g (1 oz) flour and salt and pepper. Cook for one minute. Slowly whisk in 225ml (1 cup) of cream and  225ml (1 cup) of milk. Keep whisking on a low heat until it thickens and is nice and smooth. Finely chop a large bunch of parsley. Remove the sauce from the heat and throw in the parsley. Stir and let stand a few minutes. You can reheat it if necessary when your pasta and peas are ready.

Cook as much pasta and as many peas as you fancy. Then smother with parsley sauce and enjoy!

P.S. A few years ago I read about an English woman who had a pea phobia. Apparently she could not even walk past the frozen foods section of the supermarket without hyperventilating! How awful!

Link for conversion tables:

Dad and some Delightful Dahlias


It’s my father’s birthday today… he loves colour in the garden, so this post should appeal to him. Colour was not hard to find in the grounds of an old English hall nearby – the focus of a visit the other day…

Gardeners were busy everywhere, and as we entered the walled garden through a large door I was bowled over by the dahlias! Such cheerful flowers!

Here are just a few – take a look and let them brighten your day too!

Click on one of the photos to see larger images in the gallery. And let me know what your favourite is!

Going to Seed

“The love of gardening is a seed that once sown never dies.”

Gertrude Jekyll


Many of my garden flowers are now over, and producing wonderful seedheads in various shapes and patterns. Let’s take a closer look at some of them!

The Physalis alkekengi  (Lampionblume) seed capsules have started turning orange already and lend an autumny feel to the garden. They are related to the Cape Gooseberry, but are not edible and are extremely hardy (and invasive!)…

Nigella damascena – beautiful seed pods, and edible seeds…

Rosehips glisten and remind me that the summer is drawing to an end…

Day Lily seed pods still looking so fresh and green…

Cranesbill, (Storchschnabel) with its beautiful curves…

Clematis – almost as beautiful as the flowers themselves, these hair-like seedheads are a pretty garden ornament


All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today


Don’t stop sowing just because the birds ate a few seeds.

(Danish Proverb)


Banana and Blackberry Muffins

I’ve saved this recipe up, as I actually made these a couple of weeks ago when the first blackberries arrived in our shops. Sweet bananas and fruity blackberries, combined with cardamom and cinnamon… Yum!

Banana and Blackberry Muffins

This is one of my favourite muffin recipes, which I’ve posted before with blueberries (see here). The original recipe comes from Cheeky Kitchen, but I have slightly adapted it over the years.


2 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
1 oz (30g) butter/margarine
1/2 cup (110ml) oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps cardamom & 1 1/2 tsps cinnamon
1 3/4 cups (220g) flour
1/4 cup (55ml) milk/soya milk
A generous 1 1/2 cups (225 – 250g) fresh (or frozen) blackberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine bananas, sugar, butter and oil. Mix well. Add milk. Sieve and fold in dry ingredients. Mix in blackberries. Spoon into 12 large muffin tins. Bake at 190 degrees for 25 minutes, or until muffin tops spring back to the touch.


Note: if you use margarine and soya milk they are vegan. :-)

Link for conversion tables:

Summer Flowers Part 3: Dipladenia

The final part of this mini-series on my favourite summer container plants looks at the Dipladenia…

Also known as Mandevilla, the Dipladenia only appeared in our garden centres a few years ago. My deep pinky red one, with a hint of orange in its centre, has come through three (or is it four?) winters in my cellar, performing wonderfully every year. There are various shades of pink and red available, and I think white too. It really needs some kind of trellis, as it likes to climb.

It loves the sun and heat, doesn’t wilt if I forget to water it, and is not susceptible to bugs at all. It needs a few weeks of sunshine in the spring before it starts flowering again, but then it flowers from July onwards, until it comes in for the winter before the first frosts.

The genus was named after Henry Mandeville, a British diplomat and gardener of the 19th century.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short look at some of my favourite summer flowers.

What do you have on your patio or balcony, doorstep or veranda? I’d love to hear what has been successful in pots for you this summer!