Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Progressing to a lush green space ....

It has been some years since we took over this garden - it was quite sparse but the mature hedges were good. However, the garden did not provide a calming green space & the first winter, I kept looking at bare fences while planning the changes for an all year round green sanctuary space.


This taken this week from almost the same spots as the above for comparison. The patio was updated last Autumn to give use the space we use outdoors  .... 


I love the green space that we enjoy now in a suburban environs. I do all the gardening except the hedges which are cut each year once all the nesting birds have raised their broods  ...


Each Winter, I still take photos to see where improvements can be made to make it a year round haven - not perfect but private & comfortable ...


Monday, 19 June 2017

Helping wildlife in the Shire

Hi everyone
I have always championed wildlife & have worked on making our garden a space that is rich in wildlife - birds, hedgehogs, bees, squirrels, bats etc.

Numerous studies have highlighted that green spaces are good for our mental health - even National Geographic has raised the mental health benefits of being in outdoors & connecting to nature.

We have put up numerous bird houses for the many species of birds that we know visit - birds like different spaces to nest, including the hedges & ivy in the garden.


We have numerous bird feeders in the hedges & in the greenery which birds love because they enjoy protection from the sparrow hawk who regular takes stray birds ...


All wildlife need access to fresh water - we have 2 footed bird baths - one is almost hidden in the greenery which is very popular with birds as the water stays cooler & they enjoy protection. The second is close to the conservatory with a ceramic water bowl close to it - they are well used.

We also have a new metal hanging one close to the small bird feeder (only small birds can get through to feed. This is again sheltered & in the shade to keep the water cool.


The sheltered garden is very green & this has encouraged a diverse range of birds because they enjoy the 'wooded' aspect even through it is a suburban garden ...


I always participate in the 30 Days Wild challenge - looking at ways to help wildlife & I think if we all just make our own spaces more wildlife friendly, we will be contributing in a small but important way.

Is your space wildlife friendly?  Do you know which wildlife visits you? Thanks for stopping by & taking the time to comment ...
Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Taming the ivy ....

Hi everyone

Are you also trying to get on top of garden jobs.

Our conservatory is our most used space in the house - it straddles the living room & dining room & faces the garden with all its greens so is a calming, casual space that just energises me.

It is also the space where we have friends & family over for meals because we can easily fit 12 at the table in relaxed environs ...



Getting ready for friends - table set in the conservatory for 12 visitors ...


I love the views of the garden from our conservatory ...


A festive meal for friends it is important for this space to be lovely all year round  ...


At Easter - enjoying the brighter weather 


I like to have a green view & the fence next to the conservatory has ivy to soften it. Two years ago, the ivy had to be trimmed back hard when the fence panels were replaced. Lots of feeding & trimming has meant that the ivy has bounced back ....

I love calming out at the end of the day with my secateurs to tame the plants and so it was this week


I always use the green planting tray to collect all the cuttings as I go along - it makes tidying up so quick ...

This is the ivy trimmings - a lot of it but it needed taming.


However, I did it carefully as we sometimes get birds nesting in it ...


I did not want to trim too much because I love the green wall it provides ...



Another job ticked off my list .... Do you have a never-ending to-do list?  Tell all ... Thank you for stopping by & taking time to comment.

Dee ~♥~


Monday, 12 June 2017

A visit to Sue's allotment

During half term, I visited family & friends down in Dorset & had the opportunity to visit my friend Sue's allotment.

I have been following her progress via photos for months - it was overgrown with loads of weeds & she has been updating me on her progress, including a shed & some paving ....

The grass arriving to be put down on the dig over & levelled space

Ms M, Frances &  I were thrilled to be invited to visit her at the allotment.

Look at all the progress - the shed is now a beautiful cornflower colour - bean / flower supports at up, and don't you just love her pink twine?


Fabulous environment in the sunshine ....


 We then had a walk around the other allotments - so much work going on, each so individual with so many lovely flowers & plants growing ...


Look at those beautiful supports?


More lovely handmade structures around the allotments ...


The lovely Sue at her shed & us three visitors posing after doing nothing to help ...


A little panorama of her allotment ...


Us girlies with Sue in the middle ...


Us three girlies - Me, Frances & Ms M being silly in the sun ...


Thank you Sue for a fabulous afternoon in the sunshine & for letting us enjoy your lovely space with you. We are planning a proper party in the summer down at the allotment - you will have to stop by for an update on that!

Dee ~♥~

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Running hares ....

Hi everyone

I know many of you will be familiar with a favourite Bunny bowl of mine because it features on my sideboard quite often.

It was a gift from Ms M some years back for my birthday which is close to Easter. My regular readers  know about our two lionhead free range house rabbits Fred & Vivaldi (now both passed away after long, happy lives)


We did not know who the potter was & last year, quite accidentally I saw a mention of a very similar bowl in an article on the Prue Leigh & the Oxfordshire potter John Atkinson of Bell Pottery was named as the maker.  The design is aptly called 'running hares'.


 My lovely running hare bowl which is not just for Easter ...



I am excited to show you an addition to my running hares collection -  a matching jug received as a birthday present.



How lovely they both look together & they are a lovely reminder of our special bunnies ...

I love the artisan look of the sponge ware with its lovely details,  earthy colour & design. Do you collect anything?

Thank you for stopping by & spending time reading & commenting ...
Dee ~♥~

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

An update on my organic, home grown salads

Hi everyone

I recently shared how I planted up some new planters with the intention of having abundant summer salad greens.


This is what they looked like when they were planted up in early May. I am so pleased with my new elho planters with their clear lids to keep the green bug free ....

They are now so lush, green & healthy in less than a month


Their abundant leaves touching the top of the lids & peeking out the sides when I open to pick leaves.


We are picking a large bowl each day to enjoy the crisp, fresh leaves. I am so thankful that I have my trusty salad spinner still handy .... no more commercially grown, chlorine washed greens that wilt quickly after opening the bags!


Yesterday we had rain lashing us as I was tutoring - I hate arriving like a drowned rat to drip on immaculate student homes, but the gardens need it as well as the warmth we have had.


I have been so impressed with the growth of the tiny, spindly radish seedlings that I planted; I was quite excited to see the pink bulb peeking through the soil. Yay - I love the crispness of radish. 


However, I did not want to waste the gorgeous, vivid green leaves - seen in the middle of the planters with their larger leaves.


My first radish ...


The young radish leaves are perfectly good as salad greens because they are filled with nutrients & goodness 


The herb troughs are filled with aromatic herbs as well as some rocket leaves, chives, mints, edible nasturtium leaves & later flowers, parsley & more - a delight to select for salads ...


I looked up some recipes that use radishes or the leaves ... This sounds amazing ... 

Radish, carrot & spring onion salad with orange-soaked raisins (V)
The most colourful and cheerful-looking of salads, this is delicious with a couple of thick slices of good ham. Serves four as a side dish.
50g raisins
50ml orange juice
A bunch of radishes – about 200g
About 150g small carrots
1 bunch spring onions
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cider vinegar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put the raisins and orange juice in a small pan, bring just to a simmer, take off the heat and leave to cool.
Once the raisins are cold, you can make the salad. Wash and trim the radishes and slice them into thin discs. Peel the carrots and cut them into similar-sized, thin slices – you may need to halve or even quarter the carrots lengthways first, to be able to cut them to the right shape and size. Thinly slice the spring onions. Combine all the vegetables in a bowl.
Drain the raisins, reserving the orange juice. Mix the raisins into the bowl of veg. Combine the orange juice with the olive oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper, and mix well. Stir the dressing into the bowl of sliced veg and serve.
and this will definitely be tried too - 
Much as I respect that view, if I have a bumper crop of anything, I always enjoy tinkering and experimenting with it, and radishes are no exception. I've had great success using these red roots in salads and slaws, and chucking their leaves into soups and wilting them for pasta dishes. I also love a radish raita with a curry (the roots thinly sliced and folded into a mixture of plain yoghurt and soft goat's cheese, and spiked with a little fresh mint) and on occasion have even been known to cook them (see the simple glazed radish recipe below).
and a recipe for a sweet dish of radish 

Glazed radishes (V)

A nice way to treat radishes that are not quite as super-fresh as you'd like them to be. It makes a great side dish for a roast. Serves three to four.
25g butter
250g radishes, trimmed and washed
1 tsp caster sugar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
About 150ml stock
Chopped parsley, to serve
Melt the butter over a medium heat in a deep frying pan or a saucepan large enough to take the radishes in a single layer. Add the radishes, sugar, a good pinch of salt and enough stock to come halfway up the radishes. Bring to a simmer and cook gently, uncovered, giving the pan a shake or a stir every now and then, until the radishes are just tender but still with some resistance to the bite – around 15 minutes. Remove the radishes with a slotted spoon, transfer to a warmed dish and keep warm.
Raise the heat under the pan and rapidly boil the remaining liquid until reduced to a thick glaze (it may well need little or no extra cooking). Return the radishes to the pan, turn to coat them in the glaze, season again and serve sprinkled with chopped parsley.
The abundant crop of radish leaves are good in our salads because they are tender, crisp & with just a little tang ... 

SALADS

The most obvious way to eat radishes and their greens is raw in a salad.  This is how I most often eat them, probably because it’s the easiest!  The greens have a nice flavor and are great mixed in with other salad greens. 
I also think I will try some of these recipes too - the grilled corn salad is a perfect bbq salad 
  • 2 ears organic sweet corn
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 3-4 radishes
  • 1 jalapeno
  • fresh chives
  • fresh mint
  • fresh basil
  • 1 lime
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper

First, peel the corn down to a single layer of husk and soak them in water for at least 10 minutes.  Then you will want to get your BBQ going, because this is a grilled corn salad, baby!

See the link for how to make the salad 
Are you growing anything? What is your favourite salads? Last week, a friend & I had this lovely salad in Shrewsbury



It inspired me to make my salads more adventurous - this is mine this week, the green leaves all from my garden.

Green leaves with yellow baby tomatoes, beetroot, sweet yellow peppers, spicy sunflower seeds & tiny dried pear pieces ....


A similar salad with garden salad leaves, baby yellow tomatoes & peppers, beetroot, parsley from the herb garden, seeds & avocado then dressed with balsamic vinegar ....


Please share & inspire us all to be healthy 
Thanks for stopping by & taking time to read & comment - it is much appreciated. 
Dee ~♥~