The Spring Garden, 2022

It is high time for a garden update as April is now in full swing and the garden is taking off! The month started out very cold and damp, but the last few days have warmed up the soil and everything is coming to life.

The early tulips are here!

This white botanical one, with delicate pointed petals and a rich bluish mauve eye is Tulipa humilis ‘Coerulea Oculata Alba’. It is perfect in the Moon Bed, where it is accompanied by blue and white Anemone blanda…

… and some pretty Narcissi.

This bed has developed into a lovely area for spring flowers. 😃

 

There are lots of Narcissi Cheerfulness in my Herb Bed… they certainly brighten up this area until the herbs start growing. You can see chives in the foreground, already tall enough to cut. 😃

The Herb Bed is also home to a few tulips. These are the first things to catch my eye when coming through our gate – a welcoming sight! They were planted a few years ago so the name is forgotten… maybe ‘Apricot Emperor’.

And here this morning with the Actaea Narcissi.

Apart from a few bulbs, the Herb Bed is still looking rather sparse, so let’s move over to the Oval Bed. There are some other early tulips in flower here, including these deep ruby ones: T. aucheriana. The buttercup yellow centre is such a contrast to the dark petals.

New perennial sweet pea shoots are emerging from the ground, the Viburnum is in bud, and the Pulsatilla are flowering.

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Next, The ‘Edge.

Those red dots are the ‘Showwinner’ Kaufmannia tulips. They are a dwarf tulip, but seem to have unusually short stems. Hopefully the stems will get longer as they do with many other early tulips.

They show up very well against the woodchip mulch and catch the eye even from the house. This is the first Spring for The ‘Edge, and I am going with the flow and seeing what works and what doesn’t. The Miscanthus and Calamagrostis stood there all winter and the red-stemmed Cornus have been lovely since January.

 

The Butterfly Bed succumbed to mice this winter, so I am waiting to see if many tulips have survived. The broom in the middle is wobbling, either due to strong wind or to root damage, but I will wait and see if it flowers before digging it out. The hellebores still look wonderful here.

 

And this Pulmonaria (P. ‘Benediction’) is a striking blue. The bluest I have found yet!

The hellebore below (in the Sunshine Bed) is my favourite at the moment. It turns from creamy yellow to pink and green. (Another one with no label…. where do all these labels disappear to?)

And between all the beds, dandelions!

Still, if they attract wildlife I don’t actually mind them, and they are such valuable plants. As long as they stay in the grass and out of the flower beds. 😉

The hedgerows planted around the perimeter of the garden in 2018 are well established now and the blackthorn opened yesterday. This was a few days later than the ones just down the bottom of the hill, which shows me what a difference it makes being a little higher and more exposed to the elements.

And these buds are about to burst. I wonder if you recognize them….

They are what we call ‘false elder’ as they do not produce the heavenly scented flowers people love to use in syrups and liqueurs. European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) is named so for the red berries produced. They start leafing out at about the same time as the scented Black Elder (Sambucus nigra) but flower much earlier.

Finally, one of the new raised planters is looking really promising, with radishes and salad leaves sprouting and some new parsley and chive plants too. If you are sowing  seeds that should only be barely covered with soil, I can recommend covering the surface with a little hay or straw to keep in moisture and to protect from wind, strong sun or cold nights. They will germinate much more quickly. 😉

The other planter will hold my butternuts, but I can see I need even more space for vegetables this year… Plans are being forged, so watch this space! 😉

I wonder if you have any specific garden projects at the moment?

Have a great Easter weekend.

😃

And Happy Gardening!

🌷🌷🌷

 

 

 

Vegan November 2020: Sweet and Simple Buns

As November is traditionally Vegan Month I thought a traditional recipe from Bavaria might go down well. These are simple buns, made with a yeast dough, sweetened slightly and served dusted with sugar/icing sugar.

They have various names here, depending on where you live, but my Man of Many Talents knows them as ‘Rohrnudeln’ – oven noodles! His Grandmother used to make them and they were a filling treat for hungry boys.

Here is my vegan recipe for them.

Sweet Buns

  • 300g strong flour (2 1/2 cups)
  • 100g plain flour (3/4 cup). (or all plain)
  • 50 g (raw cane) sugar (1/5 cup)
  • 1 packet instant yeast (7g or 2 1/4 tsps)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 150 ml lukewarm water (5 oz)
  • 150 ml lukewarm soya (or other non-dairy) milk (5 oz)
  • A little soya milk or cream and melted vegan butter/margarine for brushing
  • Extra sugar (caster sugar or icing sugar) for sprinkling

Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and add the yeast. Stir in the water and soya milk. Mix and then knead briefly until it is a soft ball of dough. Place in a clean bowl, brush all over with a little vegetable oil, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F)

Punch down the dough and roll out into a long sausage shape. Cut into twelve equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place close together into a greased ovenproof dish (my dish is about 24 x 20 cm … 9×8 inches?) and leave to rest another 15 minutes. Then brush with milk/melted butter or margarine and bake for 25 – 30 minutes.

When golden brown, remove from the oven and brush with milk and butter again, and immediately sprinkle caster sugar over them. Leave to cool a little before serving, dusted with more sugar/icing sugar as desired.

They remind me a bit of doughnuts. 😃 They are best eaten fresh, and taste very good with custard, but on the next day try slicing them and spreading jam over them! 😉

Enjoy! 😃

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