Archive for Gardening

The rain has arrived.


Well today the rain is falling and has done so since about 10 this morning. It is now 7 in the evening and it is pitch black outside, so I guess winter is well on its way. Boo! I did manage however to get out into my garden for a couple of hours yesterday and it was wonderful. Sheltered and sunny and it had that lovely crisp autumn feel about the air. The earth was smelling great, that heady aroma of rotting vegetation and leaves, and my friend the robin was hopping around in the holes I was digging.

I took a few photos of the last few blooms in the garden at the moment. They all seem to have that faded glamour of autumn about them. As though they know they don’t have to compete with the fashionistas of summer. I particularly like the hydrangea panniculata – the faded green with a tinge of pink around the edges, and of course the salvias at the moment are beautiful.


huchera sedum succulent

These were the last of my beetroots from my little raised beds.


Emma x

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Roses are red…

Well in my garden they are mostly pink…! Yes I’m a pink rose kind of gal, but I have to say my most favourite colour rose is that so soft apricot, and of course they have to have a scent, otherwise what is the point?

Well I was out looking at all my beautiful roses and thought that I would share them with you and their stories.


This is the first rose I ever bought for myself. Rosa Cornelia. I had this growing in our last garden and I took cuttings of it many years ago so that I would have some where ever I went. It is the prettiest pale pink when it opens and fades gradually to the slightest blush. It is a fairly large climber, and when it is happy is covered with blooms. So pretty.


This rose was given to me by a very dear friend, Fiona, on one significant birthday. I couldn’t leave it in my last garden, too sentimental, so it lived in a pot for a couple of years and is now blooming her socks off in the well manured border. I think it was called Birthday Girl, but I could be wrong.


I bought this rose one year at Hampton Court Flower show when I went with my very knowledgable gardening friend Lucy. It is a David Austin Rose called Lady Diana (I think) but I have had a look on the David Austin website and they don’t seem to do it anymore, maybe it was a show special. Anyhoo, it has the most gorgeous scent and is perfectly quartered in the middle. The only downside of this one is the heads are so heavy that they tend to bow down.


My mom gave this perfect rose to me as a birthday present last year. (Thank you mama!) A David Austin Rose, called Crown Princess Margareta. The colour is SO pretty. The flower heads are as big as your fist and the stems are strong enough to take them. It looks perfect against the cedar on our house. I have it in a pot next to the sliding doors so the classic rose scent can waft in.


The pinkest rose ever! This was a house warming present from our friend Bridget. It was the favourite rose of her late husband, David, and she knew we would love it too. Rose Gertrude Jekyll, named after the very famous British garden designer who was so influential in creating some of the worlds most beautiful gardens. It also has a wonderful scent.

(Sorry for the very long post… I never new I had so many roses!)


My next one is one I bought for myself, after visiting a garden in the New Forest. Paul Noel. Quite a shaggy old rambler rose, pink again.


And finally one that isn’t pink. This is a stunning rambler rose named Veilchenblau. My mom bought this one for my girlie on her 9th birthday, as her favourite colour is purple and this rose is clearly that. It has a rich orange fragrance and is thornless. The flowers are small but come in bunches so the impact is big.

Well I hope you enjoyed my roses as much as I do. (Let’s hope the deer don’t eat them!)

Emma x

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Back yard makeover

My back yard makeover was long overdue. We have a slice of garden at the back of our house, and it was in danger of turning into a dumping ground for stuff. We had left over builders materials, broken pots, sad plants and so on. So I thought that I would give it a bit of a lift.

back yard makeover

So I got to with the left over paving bricks we had from the build and made a random pattern for a little patio. I didn’t really do it properly, with all the cement and hardcore etc etc, and the Handy Husband didn’t really approve, but I figured that it wasn’t going to be a high traffic area so it didn’t need to be super solid. And I quite like the higgledy piggledy effect.

So this is the finished item. The little iron chair came from my mom’s and the old staging is now displaying my new herb garden. How nice to be able to nip outside for the freshest of ingredients!


Herb Garden

Emma x

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Salad crops

I had a very nice time a couple of weeks ago digging in my garden. I wanted to plant some salad crops in one of my raised beds which the lovely handy husband built for me last year. We had already dug a load of horse manure into it and so it was ready for planting. I cheated a little and went to the local nursery and bought some “ready made” baby plants. I know I should have sown seeds, but I missed the boat on that one, so needs must.


Anyway the nursery had quite a nice selection, with the added benefit that they had a mixed leaf lettuce pack which means I get red ones and green ones, but not too many of any. So all planted into nice rows, very satisfying!


As you can see I planted Cos Lettuce, Mixed Salad Lettuce, Beetroot, Swiss Chard (for their beautifully coloured stalks), Col Rabbi and purple Pok Choi. I do like to make my veg garden look nice as well as taste nice, and have to admit that the Swiss Chard is more for the colour than taste. If anyone has a nice recipe for Swiss Chard, do let me know.

Looking forward to picking my first salad.

Emma x

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Rhubarb crumble

Well the weather has improved and I spent the weekend out in my garden, digging over the soil, weeding and putting in the ground various plants that have been given to me over the last few months. So patient they have been waiting for the sun to shine and the ground to warm up. I also checked on the rhubarb that I planted late last year in my lovely new raised beds. I think with all the rain we have had and the amount of horse manure I put on the beds, the rhubarb is looking very healthy. So I decided to make the Handy Husband one of his favourite puddings – Rhubarb Crumble.

It was a delight to pull the first stems off my plants, they give a very satisfying squeak when you turn and pull from the bottom of the stem, and reveals the pale flesh against the beautiful pink outside of the stalk. So pretty.


For the crumble I decided to break away from my usual recipe in the hope that the Handy Husband would be even more delighted with the result. Although it is always a risky business when altering a favourite as he is of the opinion that you shouldn’t mess with perfection! But I just couldn’t resist…

So I added some chopped up preserved ginger (it had been lurking in the fridge begging to be used in something)  and a little ground ginger to the brown sugar and rhubarb, just to give it a little warmth and kick. I always feel ginger and rhubarb are a match made in heaven.

For the crumble mix, instead of my regular 4,4,3,3 mix (4oz plain flour, 4oz rolled oats, 3oz sugar, 3 oz butter) I went for 2oz ground almonds, 2 oz flour and the rest the same. I think the result was a great success and the Handy Husband said he liked the additions. Phew!

Emma x

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Happy Chicken

The Handy Husband has been very busy over the last few weekends rebuilding the little treehouse he created when we moved in. (There was a comment that the last one looked like a sentry post from Tenko – so it was either get a toy gun on the deck or rebuild – very glad he went for the latter!)

So after much discussion about the design we finally came up with this idea. Very cute, and a little like an oversized chicken coop – perfect for my little chicken!




I particularly like the door and the way it pivots on the bottom corner. My genius idea of course! It’s just as well the Handy Husband is a genius with a hammer! My girlie is very happy with her new den, and has already moved in an old rug and several items necessary to make it just right. I am sure she will have many friends round for adventures in the new house, and who knows if we ever have one of those elusive balmy summer nights she may even sleep in it!


Emma x

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Bamboo project

Well the weather men got it wrong again today, they did say it was going to be a soggy wet day, but it hasn’t rained a drop! So the lovely husband and I decided to do some gardening.

I am lucky enough to have a wonderful gardening friend, Lucy. She lives in Emsworth and has the most beautiful, interesting garden. Our friendship started many years ago in London when she gave me some little tomato plants. Her London garden was an inspiration to me and all her gardens since have continued to be so. She has a wealth of plant knowledge from names to planting techniques and always has a flair for design. Lucy was kind enough to give me three large bamboo clumps which she had dug out of her garden to make way for a summer house extension. Well we went to pick them up with the trailer and although Lucy had said they were large, they are indeed about 20 feet tall. Still we got them home safe and sound.

So today we planted them.

I have a lovely compost heap, made by my handy husband, and I wanted to use the bamboo to screen it from the rest of the garden.


beforebamboo3The pile of wood had to be moved, the little potted Christmas tree still hasn’t found its home in the garden, but I’m sure it will and after much shuffling of plants, we finally decided on the layout and dug the holes. (Well, I watched and advised while the handy husband dug the holes!) And this is the result.



Of course I had a cup of Earl Grey tea. So a big thank you to Lucy for such a lovely gift. Now I can watch them grow and will think of my friend as I do.

Elsewhere in the garden I noticed some spring life coming back. My rhubarb is starting to sprout in my new raised beds. The handy husband’s favourite pudding is rhubarb crumble, so he is very keen for me to nurture these along. Also just into the new year I planted one of my christmas presents, 12 raspberry canes. They are the summer fruiting variety Glen Ample, and came from Marshalls-Seeds. I’m so looking forward to being able to pick my own raspberries again – how lovely!


raspberriesThanks for reading.

Emma x

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