Freezing February

A very cold area of high pressure has swept across Northern Europe from Russia and we are experiencing the first really cold spell of this winter with daytime highs of around -6°C. I would love to join Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for a vase again today, but there is not yet anything I could pick!

So instead a couple of views from brisk walks in the sunshine…

I can feel the cold just by looking at this picture… 😉

This pathway is along the edge of an area of woodland where only beech grow, and being on a south-facing slope it catches the sun nicely, melting the snow and warming the ground enough to allow the first little flowers of our native Hepatica (H.nobilis) to start unfurling…

It is always a major event for me when I see these first blooms! I looked in vain for some Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), which is also one of the very first wild flowers to appear here, but perhaps that needs a few more days of sunshine.

Up on the hills above us the woodland contains mostly evergreens, and the view is quite different…

Sunday afternoon walk (-6°C)

I wonder how your season is progressing this week, as we in the northern hemisphere slowly but surely move towards the spring equinox. I hope you are getting some winter sunshine at least!

Stay warm and cosy!


I Love 💖 Black Bean Burgers!

Yes, they are my favourite veggie burgers ever, and I can’t believe it took me so long to try making them!

They are so full of flavour, so quick to make, and so good for you too.

Here is my recipe, which has been tried and tested several times. I have tuned it to our taste, but try adding other herbs and spices if you prefer.

Black Bean Burgers

For four burgers you will need:

  • 1 (400g/14oz) tin of black beans, drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 4 tbsps oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed (the sort that is like flour) or soya flour
  • 2 tsps mixed herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • dried breadcrumbs for coating
  • oil for frying

Place all ingredients except the breadcrumbs and oil into a food mixer and process to a slightly chunky paste. Form into four patties, coat in the breadcrumbs and chill for at least thirty minutes. Then heat the oil in a frying pan and fry until golden brown. Serve in buns with fries and all the trimmings (e.g. gherkins, salad, ketchup and mustard or mayonnaise). 😀


In a Vase on Monday: Top Ten for September

This week I am joining not only Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her Monday meme, but also – for the first time – Chloris at The Blooming Garden for her series of posts where she encourages us to choose our favourite ten blooms each month.

Ten favourites in various vases!

 First of all this lovely Helianthus has outdone itself this year…

It was here when we came, but rarely did anything but produce a flower or two. Finally it is flowering profusely, but spreading profusely too!

I have combined it in this vase with my favourite Miscanthus, ‘Adagio’. I would highly recommend this dwarf variety which got established very quickly in my rockery and is a pretty focal point for much of the year.

Next, the Persicaria ‘Firetail’

It got off to a slow start in July, after a very dry spring and early summer, but has recovered magnificently. The leaves are also very pretty and although it is rather tall it never flops, even after heavy rain or wind.

The rose behind it is one my sister gave me several years ago…

It didn’t do well so I moved it, and this year it seems to have settled in at last and has flowered a second time. It smells lovely. Sorry, no name – I call it ‘Susan’. 😉

Next up is my beloved Sedum. These flowers make us think of my partner’s grandmother, as she loved them so much. In fact some of them came from her garden, so again, I have no idea what sort they are.

However, this next sedum, which is in a patio pot, is Sedum cauticola ‘Robustum’…

It fills the edges of pots nicely with its dark stems and foliage, and then the flowers are an added bonus in September and October.

Another Miscanthus, possibly ‘Flamingo’ with a slightly pink tinge, is in the next vase, along with my currently favourite Japanese Anemone ‘Serenade’ and the white Scabiosa I sowed this spring – I think they are ‘Snowmaiden’.

Last but not least, the Cosmos I have been raving about for the past few weeks – Cosmos ‘Double Click Cranberries’

Thank you to our two lovely hosts!

P.S. An extra vase for my Mum, who is feeling under the weather, and for Dad too, as they had to cancel a much-looked-forward-to short break in the south of England. xx

Sunflowers from the flower field


In a Vase on Monday: September Sparklers

The Miscanthus ‘Adagio’ is flowering – the silvery spikes seem to have appeared overnight (well, within the few days I was away from home actually!) and it is lovely to see them sparkling in the damp and dewy September mornings.

Naturally they had to feature in this week’s vase, alongside the other earlier flowering Miscanthus.

The sedums worked as a nice base, holding stems in place. I added some Persicaria ‘Firetail’, a sprig of Japanese Anemone and Buddleia, a single stem of Teucrium and a few cranberry Cosmos (hiding at the back!).

I hope you will visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden so you can enjoy her vase and all those from around the world who have linked in to her meme once again.


In a Vase on Monday: My Summer Garden

My Monday vase is certainly not as bright and sunny as our hostess Cathy’s (do go and visit her today at Rambling in the Garden), but it does give you a pretty good idea of what my garden looks like at this time of year.

A cutting garden would be lovely for Dahlias, sunflowers and other annuals, but the snails and slugs limit me to using containers for my summer annuals which then get baked in the heat and drowned in the rain. So I have limited them to a minimum this summer and only the Queen Ann’s Lace (Daucus carota) is in pots along with some Scabiosa and a few Cosmos. (Yes, the slugs love the Daucus leaves and have even devoured a few Scabiosa seedlings!)

The other plants I have used this week are all in the garden, or from the wilder edges of the garden! Red Knautia, white, red and cream Scabious, Persicaria ‘Firetail’, Teucrium hircanicum, Feverfew, Perovskia, Succisella inflexa ‘Frosted Pearls’, and some Anemone flowers and buds.

The red Persicaria had too little rain early on to develop nice strong stems, so it is looking a bit floppy this year. Hopefully the (torrential) rain we had yesterday will give it a boost.

Fortunately I put this vase together before the storm hit on Sunday evening… the Perovskia is prostrate, but no real damage was done.

Thanks to Cathy, and hope you all have a good week!


The Tuesday View: 4th July 2017

It is a warm and muggy Tuesday as I take my photos for my weekly look at the south-west rockery.

The ants have just flown and the sun keeps disappearing behind threatening clouds, but it remains dry. The garden has benefitted enormously from showers over the past five or six days, and the red Lychnis continues to provide splashes of colour.

The lavender is at its peak and the golden rod is standing tall, regardless of rain or drought, sun or wind.

The Perovskia on this side of the rockery will be opening soon, as will the Achillea in the round plant support in the foreground… it is just starting to show some yellow.

Here is the same view when the sun disappeared behind another cloud!

I look forward to seeing other Tuesday views this week. Do join me if you can!

In a Vase on Monday: Weird and Wonderful

So many weird and wonderful shapes in my vase this week!

Stately Heuchera, upright Allium,  silvery white Lavender, tall Teucrium hircanum, fresh foliage of Persicaria (‘Lance Corporal’), hairy Clematis tangutica seed heads, wiry Russian Sage (Perovskia) just before flowering, huge round globes of Cephalaria gigantea (looks like giant Scabiosa), curvy Willowherb, fluffy Melica ciliata, and the beautiful Daucus carota ‘Dara’ in its shades of pink (also not fully open yet, but I just couldn’t wait to pick one!).

Do visit our host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden, and see what is in her vase today. And my apologies to Blogspot bloggers last week – I had difficulties posting comments, but your vases were – as always – wonderful! 🙂