Archive for Out and About

Garden visit

Firstly let me say sorry this post isn’t as good as the first version I wrote which my computer lost, it never is when you have to write the same thing again is it?

Wednesday we visited The Manor House Garden while it was open as part of the National Garden Scheme, a scheme which opens private gardens to the public for charity. I love visiting gardens through this scheme, they are ‘ordinary’ gardens rather than gardens planned and maintained with the public in mind. Thats not to say this garden was ordinary, most of the gardens open aren’t ordinary at all, but it is someone’s backgarden and often they are more the sort of size of most people’s backgardens.

This garden was a little jem, it had only been rediscovered about 20 years ago and has been carefully restored to the original Gertrude Jekyll plans since. There was a lovely wild garden, some beautifully planted walls and a rose garden with some interesting ideas for plants to put with the roses in our garden.

Another feature of NGS gardens is often good cake, and this one did not disapoint and we have a lovely afternoon tea with tiny sandwiches and yummy cake. It wasn’t their fault I only got half a slice of chocolate cake, the little man thought it was yummy as well and ate the other half.

He liked the pond with huge goldfish and the tiny bantam hens best, they are a little more dynamic than plants. I actually was rather taken with these cute little hens, peking bantams, and could quite easily see a couple of them pottering round our backgarden. The original thought was hens would be difficult to get someone to look after if we went away but I think we are already past that point so maybe we could reconsider. They were such characters with their little feathery feet.

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Thyme in the garden

Last week we visited the RHS Garden at Wisley which was a lovely day out despite the rain. We didn’t have time to see all of it and some areas weren’t very full at the moment, including the vegetable gardens that I was particularly interested in seeing, so we will have to go back again. It did give me hope that even tho I haven’t got my raised bed yet it isn’t going to be too late to grow a reasonable amount this year as there isn’t a huge amount going on in a veg garden at the moment.

We particularly liked the glasshouse, and not just because it was raining outside, and the trials field was very interesting. The small one thought the children’s lunch box was very good and he would be correct, actually all the food was good. It turned out to be a good place to take him as he had plenty of space to run around in and wear himself out – he even asked to go back in the pushchair at one point.

On the way out is the plant centre which has a huge number of plants. I will confess to not looking round the outside bits much at all except the herbs as it was heaving it down with rain, but I did buy 3 different thymes, a chamomile and a wild strawberry and I actually thought their prices were pretty good. Certainly the 3 small thymes were the nicest I’ve seen for sale as I have been looking for some for a little while and they were less than £2 each. I have seen plants for sale for a lot more than that that didn’t look half as nice.

We will definatly be going back to see the changes in the garden over the seasons as we all enjoyed it as a day out, the plant centre was great, it is fairly convienent to get too and the cake was good.

Today I planted the three thymes up into a small terracotta trough. One is common thyme, one is lemon thyme with a yellow foliage and the third is a silver foliage one. Yes I have their names on labels, but those are in the trough with the plants and that is outside. Sorry, that isn’t very helpful really. Anyway, it looks good.

This will be part of my herb garden in pots when I get some more plants big enough to use. So far I only have one other trough with tiny chive, oregano and sage plants I have grown from seed, a rosemary grown from a cutting and a lemon balm I bought earlier on. I have curly parsley, bush basil and sweet basil seedlings to plant up soon into a second trough, probably with the chamomile, and lovage and mint seedlings which will be in individual pots because they are thugs. I’d love a little standard bay tree clipped into a ball but will have to save up for that as I don’t have the patience to grow that from seed or even train one from a small plant. I’m hoping to plant some coriander seeds soon as well and that will probably be all I have space and tubs for at the moment. At least with pots I can expand it without running out of flower bed space, I just need to buy more pots. Hopefully I can keep the pots near the back door along the sheltered south facing wall during the cooler months and move the ones that don’t like it so hot in summer when I won’t mind going further to pick them for cooking. I can also bring in any tender plants and have fresh herbs all year. Thats the theory anyway.

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Things I’ve been up to

Unfortunatly this week I’ve been ill 😦 so haven’t done much cooking apart from the bare minimum. I did cook a rather nice (If I do say so myself) pea and bacon risotto, no bacon for me, on friday which resulted in three clean plates.No recipe, I just made it up as I went along. I used one of the new Knor stock pot things for the stock, rather than my usual marigold powder. Its a kind of gel instead of a powder and it did look like very concentrated home made stock but I don’t think I’ll buy any more once I’ve used this packet up as the taste wasn’t significantly different and it contains a lot more salt that the reduced salt marigold I usually use. One plus was there are 8 pots in the pack when I originally thought there was only 4.

Yesterday was my first tutorial / dayschool for my OU course S369, otherwise knows as The geological record of environmental change. Its really interesting although I am very behind already. The tutorial did give me a good overview of the bigger picture and explained some things I’d been struggling with. It also resparked my interest so hopefully the reading should go quicker as it has been taking me ages. The jump to level 3 seems quite large still, I’m not looking forward to the first TMA.

The tutorial was in Bristol and far more interesting than the tutorial itself, was the geocaching I did whilst there. See my log here for the full story. What’s geocaching? Well its a sort of treasure hunt using GPS receivers. Great fun and gets you outside and to all sorts of places you wouldn’t otherwise visit.

On the garden front, I haven’t been out there a lot but the daffs are now out and I the chilli and parsley seeds have started growing. I need to get on with the March seed sowings too. Unfortunatly the two white geraniums I planted out in pots caught the frost, I think, and are not looking happy so I might need to replace them with something else. We need to get a lawn mower soon, I can’t believe how fast the grass is growing.

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