In a Vase on Monday: (A) Spring in My Step

I am happy to be joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her lovely Monday meme today. My hellebores are looking so pretty and there were enough to pick for a vase, albeit with quite short stems. 😃

My title describes how I have been walking around the garden the last few days… I have even been able to clear a lot of winter debris so the spring bulbs can shine. Lots of green shoots showing! 😃

The pink vase seemed appropriate, as all but one of my hellebore flowers so far are a shade of pink. I really love the double one… ‘Double Ellen Pink’.

The mottled one is ‘Diva’, as is the white one… The white flowers fade to a lovely pinky mauve.

I added a couple of sprigs of Pussy Willow – last week‘s storm took down a whole tree full of buds along the route we walk our dog, and I took the opportunity to break off a few large twigs for a vase. I do hope the storm in the UK has not affected any of you too badly.

Wishing you all calm and mild weather this coming week!

 

Cardamom and Almond Cake (Vegan)

With January almost over (yippee!), and the days becoming noticeably longer (another yippee!) I hope to have a flower or two to share very soon. But in the meantime I decided to make my Cardamom and Almond Cake again, so that I can share the recipe with you. I made it at New Year and it was so good, but not as cardamommy as I had hoped. So today I added an extra teaspoonful of this delicious spice and it was perfect!

It reminds me a little of the (non-vegan) Swedish Visiting Cake I made a few years ago, with a soft spongy texture, the contrasting crispy flaked almond topping, and of course the lovely aroma. And this one is of course vegan. 😃

So here is my recipe – my second for Veganuary 2020. Please let me know if you try it as it is my own creation!

Cardamom Almond Cake

Preheat your oven to 180° C (350°F) and grease and flour a 24 cm (9 inch) baking tin.

In a large bowl, sift together:

  • 250g (2 cups) self-raising flour
  • 50g (1/2 cup) ground almonds or almond flour
  • a pinch of baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tbsps cornflour
  • 6 tsps ground cardamom spice

In a pan, melt:

  • 60g (half stick) vegan butter
  • with 250g (1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • and then add 60 ml (4 tbsps) vegetable oil (eg rapeseed oil)

In a dish, mix:

  • 450ml (2 cups) plain unsweetened soya yoghurt
  • a dash of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps soya milk

In addition you need about 25g (1oz) flaked almonds.

Now pour all the wet ingredients into the sieved flour mixture and gently fold in. You should not beat or mix, only fold. And watch the bubbles appear as the chemistry does its magic! Pour into your prepared tin immediately, scatter flaked almonds on top and place in your hot oven. Bake for about 35-40 minutes. I made half this recipe (8 slices) in an 18 cm (7 inch) tin today and it only needed about 35 minutes. Do check regularly though, as the almonds may start to burn if it is in too long.

Here is the larger cake:

And here is a slice for you to try…. 😉

Enjoy!

And have a good week!

😃

All Good Wishes for a Very Happy 2020!

‘Hope’ is my word for 2020.

As we enter another new year, another decade, I look forward to seeing our trees grow, the garden flourish and our surrounding countryside recover from two severe drought years.

There IS always hope.

I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and may your gardens provide you with much pleasure and joy in the year 2020!

In a Vase on Monday: Hello Autumn!

The last day of summer was warm and mostly sunny – perfect for gathering some flowers for a vase to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. 🙂

The first flower I chose was my Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’ – a tall and airy plant with lots of colour impact in the butterfly bed. The Verbena bonariensis next to it went perfectly. Then I added some Miscanthus and Pennisetum, a Cranberry Cosmos, some silvery Artemisia foliage and a couple of sprigs of pink Gaura.

A second posy of autumny colours was placed on the picnic table  – we had a delicious barbecue dinner outside early evening, savouring every moment in the knowledge that it may be the last day warm enough to do that this year. The miniature beer glass contained a red zinnia, Tithonia, Chrysopsis, Borage, some yellow Achillea and my favourite Rudbeckia.  🙂 The first picture includes the papery remains of one of the small wasp nests we have had dotted all around the house, barn and garage – in autumn they just drop and are blown about in the wind before simply disintegrating. The wasps are peaceful and have not disturbed us at all, even when eating outside.

Despite the days getting noticeably shorter and the nights much cooler (just above freezing recently with a light frost last week) the garden still has much to offer. I wonder if you are also happy to see the heat of summer fading and the golden autumn days arriving – it is my favourite season and has got off to a good start with some light rain, although a good downpour would be more welcome!

Happy Autumn!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Experimenting

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden with a Monday vase.

It is always a joy to cut flowers and bring them indoors. What is even better is when there is enough material to experiment a little. And even better than that is when you have a ‘new’ vase!

Well, actually this ‘Lotus’ vase was purchased in the spring, and I was hesitant about using it as I feared it would need so much to fill it. It is a shallow glazed dish with a removable lid that has about 30 holes in it. I was surprised at how I could put varying stem lengths in it to create a rather pleasing arrangement. It will definitely be used more frequently in future!

The flowers and grasses used are:

Zinnia, Rudbeckia fulgida, Rudbeckia Prairie Glow, Cosmos Bright Lights, Cosmos Purity, Cosmos Double Click Cranberry, Lantana, Fennel seedheads, Echinacea Sunrise, Miscanthus Adagio, Pennisetum, culinary Sage leaves, Artemisia Silver Queen, Helenium Lemon Queen, Borage, Hypericum Miracle Night, Verbena bonariensis and probably a couple of others I have forgotten!

Special thoughts are with our host today. Do go and visit her and see what lovely flowers have been put in vases around the globe.

(Click on any image below to see a slideshow)

Wishing you all some of the gorgeous September sunshine we have been enjoying!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Antiquity

I am joining Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme once again, and have picked some flowers to put in a vase and share.

I don’t think I have a single antique among my possessions, but the title of this week’s vase refers rather to the pretty Cosmos which features here and gave the inspiration for the pink colour theme. Whoever gave this flower its name was quite clever – the colour does in fact fade as the flower ages, just as a piece of material might fade over the years, giving a feel of time passing by, or nostalgia. How apt as we see summer fading to autumn as well.

The glass vase also contains some of the last wild flowers blooming in our meadow: Queen Anne’s Lace, Chamomile, Achillea…

In addition, there is a sprig of Buddleia, some Miscanthus, pink Heuchera, a white Cosmos ‘Purity’ and the lovely deep pinky red Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’. I can recommend all three of the Cosmos. Each has a different growth habit; the white is tall and willowy, the Cranberry tall and bushy and very resilient to wind, and Antiquity is much shorter with barely noticeable foliage. Antiquity does need deadheading though, as the dark seedheads look rather unsightly. But since I love deadheading I don’t mind – I spent a whole morning doing the rounds last week!

I wonder if you grew Cosmos this year and which ones you liked best? I will be choosing seeds for next year soon and these three are on my list.

Before I go, I have got an extra vase today which is for my Mum and Dad. 🙂 Mum gave me the sweet little cream jug recently and my Dad loves Antirrhinums! These red and orange ones set seed at the foundations of the house where a pot of them stood last summer. A nice surprise.

Do visit Cathy to see her vase today.

And have a great week!

In a Vase on Monday: Gold

Another week has flown by and it is time to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden once again with a vase of materials from our gardens.

Last week my vase featured soft silvers and blues, so this week I decided to bring some bolder colours indoors. The flowers used are mainly from the sunshine bed. The starting point however was some Golden Rod growing just outside our garden fence… a sure sign that summer is slowly coming to an end.

Various sunflowers add some more yellow and gold tones, while the Tithonia, Rudbeckia ‘Prairie Glow’ (gorgeous isn’t it?) and Echinacea ‘Flame Thrower’ provide some orange.

A couple of Zinnias add a hint of red – the seed packets said they would be pink and white, but I am so glad they turned out this colour!

The grasses are Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ and a wild grass which looks like the original grass Mr Foerster got his inspiration from. In fact it was seeing these grasses growing in the wild that ignited my growing passion for using grasses within my own garden. I added another splash of gold from some Euphorbia and a sprig of fennel, Patrinia scabiosifolia and Hypericum from the herb bed.

(Click on any picture for a slide show)

I hope these colours have made your Monday a bit sunnier. 🙂

Have a good week!