The Yard in November 2020

Everyone has a problem area on their property don’t they? Well, in terms of planting, our problem area is our yard.

The yard is a large paved area between the house, barn and garage, and in summer it heats up immensely. In the summer months it is brightened up by geraniums (well, Pelargoniums actually). They are about the only flowers that do not wilt in the heat, and it is clear why they are such a tradition on Bavarian yards and balconies.

Here you can see some in late summer, also planted around the bamboo in the huge green pot.

But this year I tried planting up some additional pots with shrubs and plants that should also overwinter. Not easy when considering how shady the yard is in winter and that we may have temperatures constantly below zero for several weeks. In emergencies I can put a few plants in the barn for a few nights. Anyway, we will see if we get a mild winter again…

Violas are great for autumn pots, as they simply freeze in winter and return as soon as the first rays of spring sunshine warm them up. The Carex will last a couple of years in a pot and will then be planted out in the garden, as will the violas next May, and new Pelargoniums will take their place.

I also like to use small conifers in my pots. Again, they will be planted out into the garden once they get too big.

Below you will also see a red rose, some small sedum, dianthus, carex, a pale pink Potentilla and a dwarf Buddleia.

I am hoping these will all prove to be hardy enough and will come back next year.

On the other side of the barn doors is the sledge, which will have a small potted Christmas tree in it soon, and be decorated with fairy lights for some essential Advent kitsch! I may go over the top this year; with Christmas markets banned I will need some extra sparkle at home. πŸ˜‰

And here are the pots on that side of the barn too. On the left, a Hippophae rhamnoides, or Sea Buckthorn. This one is male and will not bear berries as I want it for its foliage here. It is supposedly very hardy and takes any amount of heat, wind or frost.

The next pot is Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’, another very hardy and heat tolerant plant, and it has absolutely gorgeous autumn colour.

A yellow summer Daisy is tucked in behind it, already damaged by frost but still flowering!

If the Itea and Buckthorn survive our north winds in winter they will get bigger pots next year as a reward. πŸ˜ƒ

You can also see some grasses in the picture above – Imperata cylindrica ‘Red Baron’ and Hakonechloa – then another rose (The Fairy), and the wonderful burnt caramel Β of the Spiraea japonica ‘Magic Carpet’. This small shrub looks lovely when it flowers, but the autumn foliage and fresh green shoots in spring are why I chose it.

I still have a couple of summer plants left. All the pelargoniums went a couple of weeks ago but I can’t bring myself to put this pretty little purple daisy on the compost until the last flower dies.

I don’t even know its name, but it has been beautiful all summer!

And here is another summer daisy that didn’t flower until it cooled down a bit in September. It seems to like chilly and damp November days!

 

Finally I planted up one little winter pot with a new creamy white Hellebore, an erica and some wintery white violas.

I have already potted up lots of tulips which will bring extra colour to the yard in late spring.

So I am almost ready for winter now.

How about you? Are you and your garden ready for winter? Have you got any containers for winter interest? How cold can it get in your part of the world?

Thanks for visiting. And happy gardening!

 

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. πŸ˜ƒ

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! πŸ˜ƒ

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 weekβ€˜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!

 

In a Vase on Monday: Hello Hellebores!

It is so good to be able to pick flowers again to joinΒ Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday vase meme. πŸ˜ƒ

Well, only one flower actually, as this is the first Hellebore to flower in the butterfly bed. But lots of buds are coming along on this and several other hellebores.

This one is Paradenia, one of the HGC collection, and is a fresh pale pink which shows up well in an otherwise brown garden bed.

I added some dark red Heuchera leaves that are beginning to regain some colour, a sprig of rosemary and and a sprig of Euonymus. The narrow necked jar stands on my latest gardening magazine on my desk… open at a page with gorgeous photos of spring bulbs and hellebores that are a sight for winter-tired eyes.

And on the book-rest behind I have a favourite double page open which is what my dream garden would look like… inspiration for new plans. πŸ˜ƒ

I have not found it in English, but alone the pictures of this beautiful garden that the author created are stunning. Peter Janke was clearly inspired by the Beth Chatto garden where he worked for a couple of years before starting on the design of his own garden in Germany. His website is also partly in English:

https://www.peter-janke-gartenkonzepte.de/en/

Sadly this garden is far too far away (10-hour drive!) for a visit. πŸ™ƒ

Thanks to Cathy for hosting the meme, and wishing you all a good week ahead.

β˜€οΈβ˜€οΈβ˜€οΈ

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. πŸ˜ƒ

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 180Β° C (350Β°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…. πŸ˜‰

Enjoy!

And have a good week!

πŸ˜ƒ