My Grasses in Winter

As my regular readers will have gathered by now, I love grasses!

🌾🌾🌾

I simply do not have enough of them and hope to remedy that over the next few years. But today I thought I would reflect on those that stand up to winter best in my garden.

 

First of all my favourite Pennisetum, on the corner of the Herb Bed.

Pennisetum alooecuroides var. viridescens

It is a bushy plant with compact growth which means the dark seedheads remain pretty stable all winter, even with a lot of snow on them. This is a windy corner too, and extremely hot and dry in summer, but the Pennisetum is completely unperturbed by wind or drought. Definitely a thumbs up for this one. 👍

Miscanthus Red Chief and Adagio with Calamagrostis (Karl Foerster) in the Butterfly Bed are still looking fairly fresh and are completely intact.

The Calamagrostis thins down a little over winter making less of a statement, but remains tall and straight with virtually no flopping. Red Chief loses its pink tinge a little, but is a lovely golden brown with a touch of bronze on the seedheads.

Adagio (the smaller Miscanthus further down the bed) flops a little and is more susceptible to the snow, but again it is still a lovely golden brown. Thumbs up!

At the far end of the Butterfly Bed (far left)is Miscanthus sinensis Hermann Müssel…

I am afraid he hasn’t done well for two years in a row so if he doesn’t take off this summer I will move him to another spot. Not one I would chose in future.

Then we have Miscanthus ‘Federweißer’ in the Moon Bed…

…and in the Oval Bed (on the left).

Wonderful! I fell in love with this plant in spring 2020 and now have two fabulous specimens. These are keepers! 👍

The other Miscanthus in the Oval Bed at the front is Beth Chatto. I must say I was not that impressed in the summer, but this is a very sturdy plant with tough stems and has stood up to heavy wet snow quite well. The seedheads have lasted well too.

So, nice for winter interest but with less impact in summer.

Finally, the Erogrostis trichodes…

Despite being on the windiest corner (and getting smothered in heavy snow this winter) it still has the ability to look pretty whatever the weather. Raindrops or frost enable this little grass to stand out, making it a must for my winter garden. It adds some extra sparkle. 😃 (Oh, and do you see those hare pawprints in the snow in the background?!) 🐇

The Panicums and another Miscanthus in the Sunshine Bed have long collapsed or look very dishevelled. I love the strong background they give to this bed in summer among the Helianthus. But they offer very poor winter interest. I know from other bloggers that some Panicums stand up better than others, but I think I prefer to stick with what has already proved successful in this garden… Calamagrostis, Pennisetum and the Miscanthus I have mentioned. More of these will be part of my spring 2021 project.

By the way, my Stipa tenuissima have all been completely buried by the snow. I wonder how long it will take for them to stand up again when it melts….

What grasses do you grow, and do they still look good now? Any recommendations for warm and dry spots would be much appreciated!

Have a great weekend! 💕

 

Piet Oudolf as Inspiration

I watched an absolutely wonderful film about Piet Oudolf earlier this week and want to share it with you!

Five Seasons: The Gardens of Piet Oudolf

The film takes a look at some of the gardens he has designed, such as the Lurie Garden in Chicago, the High Line in New York, or the Hauser and Wirth garden in the south of England. It also focuses on the changing of seasons in these and in his own garden, Hummelo.

A very big thank you to Angie at North Trail Living for sharing this film and for posting links to several other documentaries on famous gardeners too. Do take a look at her post!

My Man of Many Talents gave me two more of Piet Oudolf’s books for Christmas. I haven’t started reading this one yet, which is a German version, describing how his garden ‘Hummelo’ evolved.

But I completely devoured this one on Christmas and Boxing Day…

… reading it from cover to cover! It is actually a list of plants, with photos, descriptions and useful planting information…

This picture has been open on my desk for several weeks now and is providing inspiration for my next spring project.

It is from another German version of one of Oudolf’s books, written with Noël Kingsbury. I am afraid I don’t know the English title…

 

Have you visited any of Piet Oudolf’s gardens? Read any of bis books? If you know of him, what do you think about his planting style? Would love to hear anything you know about him or his gardens!

Thanks for reading!

In a Vase on Monday: Flowers for Dorris

Last week I was so sad to hear that our blogging friend Dorris (Rebecca) had passed away in December. I will miss her fun-loving nature, the gorgeous photos of her garden, and her lovely creative vases. I may never have met her, but felt I knew her a little through her posts. We shared a love of many plants including Verbena bonariensis, Calamagrostis, Geums and Californian poppies.

So my vase this week is one from June, warm and cheerful, with Geums and Californian poppies. It seemed appropriate as my garden is covered in snow anyway.

Our In a Vase on Monday host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, has also dedicated her vase to Dorris this week.

More Californian poppies for Dorris/Rebecca. My sympathy to all who knew and loved her.

❤️

Veganuary 2021: Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

Well, the garden is pretty frozen and covered with a thin layer of snow, so there is little to report. I am vaguely planning my next projects for spring, but it does still seem a long way off! So let’s go into the warm kitchen today and see what’s cooking this January. Or should I say Veganuary. I think most people have heard of Veganuary now, as it has spread from the UK to many other countries. It is basically a campaign to promote healthy eating and vegan food.

The other day I made some real comfort food… my vegan version of Cauliflower Cheese. I use my trusty cashew sauce (which is also perfect for vegan ‘spaghetti carbonara’) and add some cheesy flavour with vegan parmesan and/or nutritious yeast. The leeks really bring out the flavour in this dish, so don’t be tempted to use an onion instead! Here is the recipe. Enjoy!

Vegan Cauliflower ‘Cheese’

For 2-3 servings

  • 1 small cauliflower and a bit of broccoli or romanesco (for colour 😉)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leek
  • 250g mushrooms

For the sauce:

  • 100g cashews
  • 400 ml almond or soya milk
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsps nutritious yeast flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • squeeze of lemon juice

Vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs for sprinkling on top

 

First of all, divide your cauliflower etc into florets. Cook with a bay leaf in boiling water for about ten minutes until just cooked. Don’t overcook it!

Now slice the leek thinly and fry gently until soft. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook through. Remove from the heat.

Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a high speed mixer. Just keep on mixing until it is really really smooth. My machine is pretty powerful so it only takes about a minute. Put it in a saucepan and put it on the stove on medium heat. This needs stirring constantly, so don’t forget it! Meanwhile heat up the grill in your oven and put a dish in there to warm.
After a couple of minutes of stirring the sauce it will start to thicken. This takes a while, so keep on stirring so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of your pan.

Drain your cauliflower (remove the bay leaf!) and put it in your warm dish. Spoon the leek and mushroom mix over it. Then pour the cashew sauce on top. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan or seasoned breadcrumbs and place under the grill. As soon as it starts to bubble and turn golden on top, remove from the oven and serve.

Good with any type of potato, bread or garlic bread.

 

I hope you might try my vegan version of this traditional dish and perhaps take a look at some of my other vegan recipes on my recipes page. (Click on recipes on the bar under the header.)

Happy Veganuary!