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Sloe and easy

A short treatise on the Blackthorn..

A springtime grumble

A bit of a complaint about Forsythias and other plants.

Scents and sensibility...

The heady scents of winter: small flowers, big smells.

Marmalade and Jello

In which we debate the differences in language and introduce the concept of Marmalade.

First Lay your Hedge....

The art of making solid, stock proof hedges lives on...

Raindrops keep fallin' on my head

It is raining. This is not unusual on this side of the Atlantic. We are making the best of it: the British 'stiff upper lip' is alive and well.

And the answers are....

The answers to James's Winter Quiz.

Let's get Quizzical

A gardeny quiz to get you through the first days of proper winter. With a prize.

Dixter in the drizzle

A visit to Great Dixter is well worth the trip: even if it is raining.

A bit of a Squash

Pumpkins and Halloween

Quince for the memory

The delights and depths of the Quince

A time to Bulb

In which thought is given to bulb planting.

Oh, I do like to be beside the Seaside...

Cornwall, Gardens, Shipwrecks and Chips

Dreaming of Dahlias

The dahlia: unwavering provider of colour and zing to the late summer garden.

Wheel Meet Again...

The wheelbarrow - one of the simplest and yet most important tools ever invented by man.

Scottish sunshine

A look at the beaches, gardens and surprisingly perfect weather on the Isle of Colonsay.

A lawn by any other name

Grass, Cricket and the advisability of monoculture.

Ain't Nobody here....

Everybody should keep hens: go and get some.

Gardens and Cake

In celebration of The National Gardens Scheme and one particular garden in Oxfordshire.

The Greatest Show on Earth - Chelsea Flower Show

Hooray, it is Chelsea Flower Show week. The world's most famous flower show turns 100.

Ashes to Ashes...

On trees, history, longbows and diseases.


The summer is nearly here and so are the flower shows.

"Polish On, Polish Off"

In defence of the manipulation of trees and in praise of The Karate Kid

Magnolia Appeal

I defy anybody to resist a Magnolia. Big leaves, fabulous flowers and a sense of majesty.

Stake it to the Limit

On Spring's reluctance and staking perennials.

Galanthophilia can be contagious

In Britain it is a bit grey and damp at this time of year - unless you get down on the ground and talk to the Snowdrops.

An Introduction

A new blog in a new country -- please tag along for the ride.

Recent comments

Re: Marmalade and Jello

Those shred things are a national embarrassment. I apologise that you had to see them: they are a pale and feeble imitation of the real thing.

I hope you get to make some: perhaps I should fly over and randomly distribute jars of my wife's marmalade to the design readers of Fine Gardening.

Re: A bit of a Squash

Thank you all for your comments - especially you, Wife_Mother_Gardener - I am expecting slices of pumpkin pie to cross the Atlantic any day now!
Have put a picture of our latest Pumpkin recipe above: sauteed pumpkin and pears with parmesan.Delicious and even better because of the alliteration!

Re: Dreaming of Dahlias

THank you. There is a lot of interesting stuff out there.

Re: Wheel Meet Again...

tntreeman: Enter the modern age: forget the sail and give them a motor for their barrows!

Re: Gardens and Cake

Stroma tells me that there is no flour because the baking powder makes it rise.

CtPat: You are of course right, 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, one pound and one shilling to a Guinea. I was never very good at figures. When I first was learning maths at school we learnt the old system, it changed when I was 11. The new decimal system was much simpler!

tntreeman: I have conveyed your compliments to Stroma. Thank you.

steveA: That seems like a reasonable condition. I will bear it in mind.

Re: Gardens and Cake

The cake in question was made by my daughter from Carrot and Courgettes. The recipe is below, she (Stroma) is a whizz-bang baker and whenever she is home the kitchen table groans with delicious things. It is in some way fortunate that she no lives in London or I fear I would be so fat as to be unable to do any gardening at all! For more of her cakes look here http://stromabakes.tumblr.com

Carrot and courgette cake
200g peeled and grated carrot
200g peeled and grated courgette
90g sultanas
100ml orange juice
6 eggs
300g caster sugar
250ml olive oil
500g blanched hazelnuts, finely ground
1tsp baking powder
1tsp grated nutmeg
1tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
60g sunflower and pumpkin seeds plus extra for dusting

125g unsalted butter
200g cream cheese
250g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180/ gas mark 6.
Grease two 23cm round cake tins with olive oil.
Use kitchen paper to soak up excess moisture from grated vegetables, then add sultanas and orange juice and leave to soak.
Whisk together eggs and sugar until light and airy, slowly add olive oil while whisking.
In a separate bowl whisk together ground hazelnuts, baking powder, spices and coconut. Add these dry ingredients to wet. Finally add soaked vegetables, sultanas and seeds.
Divide mixture evenly between tins, and level out. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean, this can sometimes take longer, as this cake has a lot of moisture.
Allow to cool in tins for ten minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and leave to cool completely.
While cooling make the cream cheese icing, beat the softened butter alone for 2-3 minutes, add cream cheese and beat, then add icing sugar and vanilla and beat again, until smooth.
Lightly toast remaining seeds in oven for 5 minutes.
Spread base cake with layer of icing then place next cake on top and spread icing on and sprinkle with toasted seeds

Re: Stake it to the Limit

Thank you all for taking the time to comment
Mainer59: You can use (as Ruth says) pretty much anything with a lot of twiggy sideshoots. The only ones that I would avoid are branches that root easily - like willows.
tntreeman: Hazel is Corylus maxima. A lovely tall shrub with catkins and (provided the squirrels stay away) nuts in Autumn

Re: An Introduction

Hi Kristine.
Thank you.
There is a lot of stuff in there but the rose in the foreground is called Rosa Cornelia, the orange by the steps is a Papaver orientalis whose namer I have forgotten and the pinky/purple flowers with black blotches are just annual Poppies.
There is a lot of fragrance and I am always changing my mind about colours and favourites. Hopefully, the more I blog here, the more I can tell you.
Stick around and see!