Join me for another ‘Week of Flowers’!

At this time of year the sun only makes it through the fog occasionally, which can make life pretty dreary. However, usually there are nice distractions to look forward to in December and the traditional Advent time; drinking mulled wine with friends at the Christmas markets, sitting around a table with friends and neighbours enjoying some homemade cookies and spiced tea, or braving the exciting hustle and bustle of the town centre to get some Christmas shopping done.

Well, once again all that will not be possible and a grim Christmas season faces us here in Germany. So, as an alternative distraction I am asking you, my blogging friends, to join me in sharing some extra colour and cheer next week.

Parrot tulips and Muscari, April 2021

Parrot tulips and Muscari, April 2021

Last year my Week of Flowers 2020 was such a success, with so many people from around the world joining me and posting wonderful colourful photos from their gardens. It really did me good, and the feedback was amazing. Let’s do it again! All you have to do to join in is post one flowery photo a day, for a week, starting from Wednesday 1st December, 2021. Put a link to your post in the comments section on my daily post, and turn on the sunshine!

If you are too busy to share a photo on each of the seven days, just join in when you want. Every single contribution will be appreciated by us all!

Tithonia, July 2021

Tithonia, July 2021

So, from Wednesday the 1st December through to Tuesday the 7th December 2021 let’s share a flower (or two) a day.

Are you with me? 😃😘😃

Ten Years of Words and Herbs!

I just got a notification from wordpress that it is my blog’s anniversary today, and realised it was ten years ago that I took the first tentative steps into the blogging world.

And I have enjoyed every minute!

Thank you for reading, commenting, liking and following. I appreciate all the positive vibes I get from you all!

😃🌻😃

 

 

The Oval Bed

Finally I can show you what has been keeping me busy during lockdown, and keeping me sane… 😜  I think!

In the middle of winter I started planning my next garden bed. The long-term plan is to have several beds like islands on the south side of the house, with grasses being the linking feature. This latest bed is intended to bring the garden – and the birds – closer to the house. The centre will have a stone birdbath. I hope I will find something suitable from a local stonemason once things return to normal.

This was the view in winter, photographed from the warm living room, when only the edges had been marked out…

And then before planting began…

Don‘t worry, the obelsiks have been straightened out…and fixed with steel rods deep in the ground. Let‘s hope they withstand our strong winds on this exposed hill! They will look lopsided at certain angles anyway as the whole garden slopes slightly.

This is what it looked like after the first planting session on Good Friday:

Waiting for plant orders to arrive meant constant weeding was necessary in between. But finally, last week, the newly sown grass leading to the centre was up, and most of my planting was complete (for now!). So I spent several hours spreading wood chippings as mulch to suppress the weeds and retain moisture…

There are about 80 plants in there, some of them divisions from other flower beds, but don‘t they just disappear! To give you an idea of size, the tallest obelisk is about 2 metres, the smallest 1.2 metres.

I put the sprinkler on it afterwards and am very impressed with the moisture retention so far. I also like the appearance – softer than gravel, but distinctively different to the other beds.

I have chosen Dianthus and Phlox for ground cover, Stipa tenuissima and Miscanthus as grasses, and several Clematis on the obelisks. Two are flowering already…

Nubia (which should flower all summer)

And the Duchesse of Edinburgh, just unfurlinge her petals…

I also planted Centranthus ruber, Verbena bonariensis and Gaura for height, Echinacea, Salvia and Scabiosa for the pollinators, and added my favourite Viburnum – V. carlesii ‘Aurora’.

Scabiosa Butterfly Blue

All these plants should be eventually be happy with our dry well-drained soil and south-west-facing position. The wind may be a problem. But I will cross that bridge when I come to it! 😉 After all, my word of the year is HOPE, and I hope to gradually find plants that are tough enough for our hot summers, cold winters and strong winds!

Helianthemum ‘Ben Hope’ (chosen for the name!)

Now I need to plant out my annuals grown from seed into all the beds – sunflowers and tithonia for the sunshine bed, calendula for the herb bed and gaura, cosmos and cleome in the Oval Bed. So glad I have had this project (and such good weather for it) to keep me physically and mentally occupied over the past two months. 😃

Have you had any particular projects or done anything different in your garden this spring?

 

 

In a Vase on Monday: Winky Pinky Whatever

I am pleased to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her regular Monday meme, as we start another weird week…

This rather pretty Aquilegia has a strange name, ‘Winky Double Rose and White’ but I am not going to discriminate it for that. 😉 I believe in freedom of the individual! And it has an upright and honest constitution.

It has set a few seedlings since last year but none of them are in flower yet.  The deep purply pink leaves of Heuchera ‘Forever Purple’ and the maroon Geranium phaeum are a little dark and sombre but compliment the pink hues nicely. There is a deep velvety red Viola tucked in tight somewhere too. I also added a Pulmonaria ‘Wuppertal’ (Lungwort) which is actually past its best but the freckled leaves are almost as pretty as the flowers. And it is a reminder…

To lighten things up a bit I added a wild strawberry flower and a white Allium cowanii as well as an Alchemilla leaf. The leaves had to be rinsed as they were still covered in pollen despite a fair bit of rain recently. It seems we are having another mast year and the conifers are pumping out pollen like there is no tomorrow. I wonder if they know something we don‘t….

The doiley in the photos was crocheted by me several summers ago as a kind of therapeutic exercise… maybe I need something like that now too.

 

Excuse my odd mood this week. No, I am not on drugs and have not started drinking. Perhaps I am going potty or losing my marbles. I think you can all sympathise though.

Have a good week, and stay safe sane.

😷🤪🤪🤪😷

 

Store cupboard recipes 3 and 4

I have been craving sweet stuff recently and made myself some flapjacks. After all, you only need sugar, margarine and oats! If you have golden syrup even better.  Mine were bit crumbly, but this recipe I am linking to uses half sugar and half syrup, so give yourself a treat and give it a go!

BBC website Flapjacks recipe

Of course, mine were vegan, using margarine instead of butter. And I added a little maple syrup. Other options for spicing them up would be adding a teaspoon of cinnamon or cardamom. Or a handful of dried cranberries.

The second recipe is one I have been meaning to post for years! It is an old favourite for a quick and tasty dinner when there are no fresh veggies left in the fridge. I think it was originally a rice salad that ‘evolved’ into a hot dish. I call it  simply ‘Curry rice’. 😃

Curry Rice

All you need for two to three portions is:

  • 200g basmati rice
  • About 2 tbsps margarine
  • 1-2 tbsps curry powder (depending on how hot your curry powder is!)
  • 200g (frozen) green beans
  • 200g tin of sweetcorn
  • Salt and black pepper

Warm a large serving dish in the oven. Cook your rice and your green beans separately, according to the instructions on the packets. When the beans are cooked, turn off the heat, add the sweetcorn and leave for a couple of minutes to warm through. Then drain.

Mix the rice, beans and corn, the margarine and the seasoning thoroughly and place in your warm serving dish.

We like this with homemade naan bread or spicy fried tofu cubes. You could in fact serve it as a side dish but we like a big portion, so it is a main meal in our house!

Hope you too are eating well during lockdown. 😉

P.S. Here are a few more recipes that can be made with minimum ingredients:

Falafel

Cannellini and Tomato Bake

Vegan Milchreis