Thursday 27 September 2018

Indian Summer

We are having beautifully calm and sunny autumn weather, its described as an 'Indian Summer'. I love days like these.
I'm tackling the front border. It is in such a chaotic state that its easy to be ruthless. Once I've dug out the overgrown planting and cleared the soil I barrel in some soil improver from the dumpy bag I bought last week. It smells great! (Peasant - moi?)
Its good to have a reason to be out of doors. Its warm in the sun, but the shadows are cool and it quickly becomes cold as the sun sinks.
The fir tree in the middle of the picture self-seeded into the area of gravel garden and I like the height that it creates.
The parent plant grows on the boundary of our garden with the road and is HUGE.
I know that we are going to have to remove the self-seeded one before it becomes a problem. In our previous home a large blue cedar caused cracks to appear in our sitting room wall and we don't want to repeat that particular problem!
It looks far enough away from the building at the moment, but we have to imagine how far the roots might be spreading.

Tuesday 25 September 2018


My Meyer lemon bush has been outside all summer. I've thinned out some of the branches and taken cuttings. I don't know why I never thought to do it before because the bush is precious to me. It was a present from my father over thirty years ago and it always crops well. 
Flowers and new fruit are constantly forming. Some of the leaves have turned rather yellow so I've taken off quite a lot of ripened fruit, brought the bush into the greenhouse and given it some feed.
I love the taste of lemon and use it a lot in cooking. Magic lemon pudding is a family favourite and its quick and easy to make. 
The 'magic' element is that while the surface of the pudding is cake-like after cooking, the middle remains moist and when you spoon into it, functions as a sauce.
Magic Lemon Pudding
2 lemons, grated rind and juice
2oz butter
3oz sugar
2 eggs, separated
2oz flour
scant 1/2 pint milk.

Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the beaten egg yolks and some of the flour, then milk, lemon and the rest of the flour. Whisk the egg whites 'til stiff and fold into the lemon mixture.
Bake 30 - 40 mins at gas mark 4.

Saturday 22 September 2018


The weather has changed, rain, cold and very strong winds are knocking the walnuts from the tree (but not the squirrels, who are feasting) and shrivelling the foliage from the squash. Some are harvested
but others,
especially the butternuts
have yet to mature.
I ordered a dumpy bag of soil improver at the beginning of the week and now it's sitting in an awkward position in the yard waiting for the rain to stop falling and the wind to stop blowing!
When the sun does shine it is fleeting and low, and soon it will have disappeared completely from the sitting room windows which face east and west. In summer when the sun is high light falls on the floor, but now it reaches further into the room and illuminates odd fragments. 
A handful of flowers rescued from the garden.
Christine Post's carving, Mother and Child.

No glimpse of the sun today.
We are hunkered down.
Perhaps I'll manage to shovel some soil improver next week!

Monday 17 September 2018

American Museum in Britain

On Saturday we went to the American Museum to celebrate the opening of the NewAmerican Garden.

We arrived to the deafening sound of cannon fire!
How the soldiers kept their uniforms clean I do not know.
White pants in battle!!

Hearing stories about the cat o' nine tails.

Prairie planting with Native American shrubs and perennials.

View over George Washington's garden, Mount Vernon.

An enviable crop of squash.
And who's here?

A rather imperious-looking Mrs GW and her hubby.

I couldn't resist photographing this lady with her tussle mussie, the colours were so pleasing with her outfit.
Herbs and dye flowers hanging to dry from the ceiling.

A swing band played to listeners sitting on the grass amphitheatre. 
The music and the singers were great
and the grass was hardly damp at all!
The new gardens were designed by a Washington DC-based landscape architecture firm, Ochre Van Sweden using many Native American plants in the free-form style made famous by the firm's founder members. The photograph below is of one the firms American projects.
Now I fancy a riot of colour in my own garden for next year!