In a Vase on Monday: August Jewels

While I was cutting my flowers this morning for my regular contribution to Cathy‘s lovely meme (see Rambling in the Garden) this poem sprang to mind:

When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple with a red hat…  

I shall go out in my slippers in the rain

And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens.

(by Jenny Joseph)

Well, rest assured these flowers are from MY garden! 😉

(I think it was the pinky red Zinnia that made me think of that poem – it looks a bit like an eccentric hat…)

The base holding everything upright is Cosmos foliage. The other contents are the red Zinnia, a double pink Echinacea, Antirrhinum ‘Orange Wonder’, Echinacea ‘Flamethrower’, Verbena bonariensis, Cosmos Double Click Cranberry and Cosmos Daydream, Geranium Rozanne, one Everlasting Flower, a bit of Hypericum, a sprig of Dill, Geum chiloense ‘Blazing Sunset’ and some Scabiosa Butterfly Blue.

It is hot again today. I‘ll be heading for the hammock later. 😃

Have a good week!

In a Vase on Monday: Standing Out in the Crowd

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling in the Garden invites us to join her in presenting a vase of things found in our gardens or nearby.

So, here I am again with a rather nice posy for my mantlepiece, photographed in the wet Oval Bed. Yes, we had RAIN! 😃😀😁

 

The Euphorbia always gets so tall, and when it then rains it tends to flop everywhere, so I cut a few straggly bits as a crown. The jewel at the centre, standing out well against the lime green, is the Echinacea I used a couple of weeks ago… Green Envy. I raved about it then and will rave about it now. I simple love it!

The vase I chose because it reminded me of raindrops. 😃

Wishing you all a week of calm weather, as hurricanes and heatwaves hit the headlines across the world. It is set to warm up again here in a few days, but after this cooler rainy start to the week we should be able to cope with the heat a bit longer. And we do, after all, need the sun for my tomatoes to ripen!

Happy gardening!

Zucchini (Courgette) Soup

I am waiting for the second wave.

No, not that one.

The second wave of zucchini!

Yes, it is that time of year where many gardeners find themselves inundated with zucchini. My first wave hit at the end of June. And continued until early July.

Since then a steady stream of smaller ones have made it more pleasurable and less stressful! I made large quantities of soup. Twice. With some in the freezer too. And stuffed zucchini is also a regular at the moment.

 

My soup has been a big hit. I think the key to adding flavour is plenty of garlic. I will have to try growing my own garlic one day as we consume an awful lot of it. 😉 A good vegetable stock, a potato and some (surprising?) seasoning make it delicious. Here is the recipe. I wrote it down the first time I made it and liked it so much that I have been using it since:

Zucchini soup

  • 1.25 kg (2.75 lbs) zucchini, roughly chopped into cubes
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • a little olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 500 ml vegetable stock
  • 250 ml almond milk

In a large pot, heat the olive oil and sautée the onion until soft. Add the garlic, zucchini, potato, all the herbs and spices and the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat until the zucchini and potato are soft. It will only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Add the almond milk and then blend until smooth and creamy. 😃

(And if you like garlic as much as we do, this tastes great with garlic bread. 😉)

Zucchini Soup

 

Oh dear, now I am hungry!

Are you enjoying vegetables from your own garden this summer?

xxx

Lovely Lemon Verbena

Herbal tea is really popular in Germany, but there is one sort I will not buy from a store or market. Lemon Verbena. Or Vervain. It simply does not have that gentle rounded flavour you get when you grow your own. So some years ago I started growing my own.

Lemon Verbena, also know as Lippia citriodora or Aloysia triphylla, is sadly not hardy enough for our climate, so I grow it in pots. In a sunny and sheltered spot, with some shade from the strong afternoon sun, it thrives. I have managed to harvest enough to last me through the winter already this year. (I drink one cup a day). So my next harvest will be for gifts, especially for my niece who also appreciates this lovely tea.

Harvesting is simple. Just snip fresh growth, shaping the shrub as you go, and taking care not to shorten it by too much as to weaken the plant. I cut mine by about a third (in autumn by about half). In spring and summer it will start producing new stems and leaves immediately.

Drying the leaves thoroughly is very important if you want to store them. I strip them from the stems, spread them out on a baking sheet and leave them in an airy place, out of direct sunlight, turning them every day. Within a few days they have withered completely and can be stored in an airtight container for up to a year. (I always add a piece of pasta to absorb any possible remaining bit of moisture).

If I have some strong healthy plants in autumn I will overwinter them in my stairwell, which is very light but not heated. I will water very very sparsely and most of the leaves will turn yellow and drop. But as soon as the plants are given some warmth and water in spring, they start regenerating. By the middle of May they can go back outside and be gently acclimatised to sunny conditions. From my experience night-time temperatures shouldn’t be below about 10°C. However, I always order new organic plants for the Spring in case mine don‘t revive. I can never have too many! 😉

Do you grow Lemon Verbena? Perhaps you have some tips I haven‘t mentioned?

Here are a couple of links to some recipes using this herb that I have posted in the past.

Lemon Verbena/Lemon Verbena Sorbet (vegan)

Lemon Cake (not vegan)

Or simply add a couple of leaves to an iced drink.

They smell wonderful. 😃

Now, talking of iced drinks…

Stay cool! 😉😎☀️