Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Lily-in-the-Valley is out. It takes a while to get the clump properly established but it's worth it at this time of year. However, now I'm finding that they are beginning to encroach into a neighbouring patch of Crocosmia "Spitfire" and now I'm not sure whether to separate them or to see if they can both thrive in peaceful co-existence.

I've also learnt today not to take pictures of white flowers in bright sunshine. The first lot I look didn't really come out properly as the white bells of the L-o-t-V just shone too much. But after lunch it became cloudy and so I took some more pictures and this time they worked.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

January 2005 I bought a plant I had never heard of from eBay. It was an Olearia, a Daisy bush and I think I paid about £1.50. When it came it was a tiny cutting about 2 inches tall and I potted it up and nursed it. By the summer it was big enough to plant out, althouhg I will admit that I moved it at least twice before it found its current home.
I researched it and found out that it reaches 4-5 feet fully grown and is evergreen. I've subsequently discovered that the foliage in winter isn't the most exciting I've ever seen but I'm willing to put up with that for the flowers at this time of year.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

This week the Husband and I went up to London and to Tate Britain to an exhibition of the works of William Hogarth. It's interesting, Hogarth died in 1764 but despite all those years the subjects of his real paintings remain true to life and the characters of many look like someone who you might meet today. Of his portraits the most interesting are of the sitters who came from what we would nowadays call "middle rank" or else working class - one of my favourites was of Hogarth's servants and I've managed to find a tiny picture of it.

Of course Hogarth isw best remembered for his series such as "the Rakes Progress" and "The Harlot's Progress" and these works were fascinating too. But the trouble is that none of these were huge works and the amount of detail in each required very close inspection which I was unable to do in the crowded galleries. Despite this I enjoyed them too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

I love trees with red leaves but of our trees we have only the one - a malus. This is the tiome of year when it looks at its best.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Laying in bed this morning I suddenly remembered that I took this picture a couple of weeks ago. Good job I remembered as at the moment I'm not taking any photos and neither am I on the computer much. Instead I'm taking advantage of the very warm and dry weather to get the garden sorted out, or at least parts of it. My garden is South facing and the soil is clay and the more I can do before the soil bakes hard for the summer the better.

Today it is forecast to be hot, dry and sunny. The forecasters say that the weather will be 10 degrees warmer than usual for this time of the year. So much for the nay-sayers who refuse to believe in global warming.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Amelanchier Lamarkii is, I think, my favourite in the garden. Although usually grown as a tree I train it as a large shrub so that all the blossom in spring and the green leaves afterwards are at eye level. Also the red berries later in the year are sufficiently low that I can see them and enough off the ground that the cats can't get at the birds while they are feasting.

I took this picture four days ago. Now the patio is covered with blossom as it is going over. At least I'm not having a repeat of the spring when strong winds stripped off all the blossom immediately it appeared so we had virtually no berries later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Cold Poached Salmon

This is what I made on Good Friday. The Stepson stayed with the Husband and I last week until Sunday and so for the Friday we had this. I originally found this recipe in a magazine years ago and it rapidly became a real favourite with the family (except for the Stepdaughter who doesn't like fish). It's easy to make and always moist and delicious.


salmon steaks or fillets - 1 per person
1 bay leaf
half a lemon, sliced
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar (or half to a whole glassof white wine if you have any left over)


  1. Put the salmon in a pan. Pour over just enough cold water to cover the fish. Add the bay leaf, lemon slices vinegar or wine and the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for one minute.
  2. Cover the pan with a lid and leave fish until it is cold without taking the lid off (this can take an hour or more).
  3. Serve with herby mayonnaise (2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs like parsley, chives, dill and mint stirred into half a pint of good mayonnaise) and salad.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Yes, Spring is certainly here

I saw a clump of three trees in full blossom while I was out on a walk this afternoon and couldn't resist taking a photo of them.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Back after a nasty dose of gastric flu all weekend and part of yesterday and while I was making a quick trip to buy a birthday card for my brother which was late because I was ill in bed - I discovered that the young Magnolia in the front garden, a Magnolia "Susan" had come out into flower. Luckily I carry my camera in my handbag all the time so here it is.