In a Vase on Monday: Fizzy lemonade

Each Monday Cathy at Rambling in the Garden leads this meme where we are asked to share a vase using materials from our gardens.

It is a damp grey Monday here, so a vase is just what we need to brighten up the kitchen. It has been very hot, so the rain and cooler temperatures today are so welcome! The Alchemilla has flopped in the rain, so that was a clear choice for the framework of my vase this week.

My Herb Bed contains some Hypericum perforatum which flowered bang on time for midsummer‘s day again as well as this dark-leafed one which isn‘t quite flowering yet. In fact I thought it was a goner when it got frozen back by freezing East winds in the early spring. But it has bounced back.

It is planted near the pale green Hypericum, these red Geums (G. chiloense ‘Blazing Sunset’) and the yellow Anthemis tinctoria, which is a pleasing combination.

And since I was in the Herb Bed I decided to cut some of the Lemon Balm which is getting rather vigorous. I must admit I never use it, preferring my Lemon Verbena for tea. But when I was putting a few sprigs in the vase with all that frothy Alchemilla I couldn‘t help but think of lemonade!

Some Stipa tenuissima (also in the Herb Bed), a broken stem of Calamagrostis (the sparrows?) and a Nigella seedhead saved from a previous vase were added as extras.

And my first Scabiosa ochroleuca to flower went in too. Love that plant… a seedling I brought over from my old garden has grown into a substantial plant, so I hope it will reseed as freely here too.

 

Do visit Cathy to see her vase – and all the other vases being shared today. 😃

 

 

 

Store cupboard recipe 2: Garlic spaghetti

I am sharing another of our favourite vegan store cupboard recipes. This is great with a fresh salad, but failing that we have also eaten it with frozen peas or broccoli. As you may have noticed, we love garlic. And in times like these we do not have think about whether we can eat it without offending anyone the next day! 😜

Garlic spaghetti


It is so quick and simple to make.

For two people you will need:

  • 300g spaghetti
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6+ cloves of garlic, depending on their size (or add an extra two or three!)
  • 1 packet smoked tofu or vegan bacon, chopped into cubes (normal tofu is also good as long as you season it really well)
  • approx 200ml good olive oil
  • herbs, dried or fresh, for sprinkling
  • vegan parmesan or nutritious yeast for sprinkling
  • lots of salt and black pepper

While your spaghetti is cooking, sautée the onion in olive oil until soft, then add the garlic and switch off the heat. In a separate pan fry the tofu in a little olive oil, seasoning with salt and pepper.

Mix the onion, garlic and tofu together and serve over the spaghetti. Sprinkle with herbs etc.

Enjoy!

xxx

 

Heatwaves, Summer Flu, some Tuesday Views and a Mystery Plant

Having recovered from the second (mega) heatwave and a rather nasty summer flu virus, temperatures (both mine and outside!) have subsided enough for me to enjoy the garden and share a few Tuesday Views at last. 🙂

At the beginning of July I enjoyed a two-week interlude between our heatwaves with pleasant temperatures and good company while my sister visited 🙂 The garden was left mostly to its own devices and a few individual plants were watered to tide them over. Overall, considering the incredibly low rainfall we have had since April, the new beds have done well with minimal watering. I am constantly amazed.

Here is the Sunshine Bed in early August…

The annuals really filled in the spaces and the fact that they all survived has confirmed my suspicions that slugs and snails and not lack of watering were responsible for previous failures in my old garden. So far slugs are few and far between here, and I don’t think I have seen any snails yet!

Tithonia, various sunflowers, cosmos, as well as some (leftover) zinnias – which have fortunately turned out to be red – have transformed the bed into a sunny oasis in the dry surroundings.

And I finally got some Californina poppies to grow for me!

Oh, and a mystery plant… it may have been in with some leftover seed scattered haphazardly, but is more likely to be a weed as the flowers are rather unspectacular. But I have never seen it before. Any ideas?

 

 

The Butterfly Bed has done well too, although more ground cover will be needed – autumn will probably become my main planting season as two dry springs and summers in a row have been a challenge.

The Buddleias steal the show and have been attracting butterflies galore. Mostly Painted Ladies, a couple of Swallowtails, some Fritillaries, loads of small blues and recently also Red Admirals…

Some sturdy Scabiosa have finally flowered – sown indoors in February they were brutally planted out at the end of March and barely started growing until the end of June. But they are rewarding me with dozens of flowers and buds. 🙂

And finally, the Herb Bed…

Some of the annuals are looking a little tired – it has been a tough summer. But along with the beautiful Stipa tenuissima, the Hypericums and fennel, Echinacea and Baldrian (Valerian? ‘Patrinia scabiosifolia’), as well as some cosmos and Tithonia the whole bed has provided interest since mid-June.

 

 

 

Do you also feel summer is flying by? July is just a blur now, and I am wondering what the rest of August will bring… more showers we hope!

I have put  all the photos in a slideshow…

 

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I hope to catch up with some blog-reading soon and wonder how everyone’s summer is progressing. I do hope excessive heat or rain hasn’t stopped you enjoying your gardens.

Happy August! 😃🌸☀️

 

In a Vase on Monday: Classic

It’s a beautiful day, the birds are singing and it’s Monday! That means I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her weekly meme, where we plonk things from our gardens into vases to share with the world! 🙂

This week I kept it simple and classic – what could be more elegant and modest than roses and lavender? Add some Alchemilla mollis (not too much) and a few strands of grass and voila! No more fuss and ado.

The light was not quite so harsh and I was able to take the photos on my patio with the top of the south-facing rockery behind.

The grass in the centre is Calamagrostis acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’ and I am in love with this plant. Its feathery flowers opened this week and transformed the rockery.

Here is a picture of it taken from the patio…

The sun was hiding behind a humid haze when I picked these flowers and I took the opportunity to harvest a few bunches of lavender before the flowers get burnt and lose their intensive perfume. When I looked back at these photos I realised the vase completely mirrors what is in the garden behind it!

Oh yes, and the other grass on the left is Melica ciliata, which I first saw growing wild in a nearby deserted stone quarry and knew it would look good in my rockery.

The pale pink rose is ‘The Fairy’, but the deeper pink one was inherited with the garden and is therefore nameless.

The scent of peonies has faded, allowing the lavender to take over, although you have to rub it to notice. The strongest scent out there right now is in fact the wild strawberries. Perhaps I will post about them another day!

What smells good in your garden today?

Have a good week, and don’t forget to visit Cathy and the Monday Vase crowd for some inspiration and smiles!