Category Archives: Gardening
I thought you might like to see a few pictures of my new garden workshop. It’s a log cabin – from Finland – built in our English village garden. As the house and garden we’ve taken on is quite a project, this studio seemed like a good place to start – a place to work and a place for retreat! And because I always like a little reminder of the West Indies, we gave it a Caribbean inspired splash of paint on the trim and a moat of tiny sea pebbles to lend a little mood of seaside. There are shelves and cupboards to keep all my bits of equipment and props, and lots of space to rest and think!
One of my plans for the garden is to grow some lovely edible flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. I’ve planted up plenty of seeds and they are all happy (mostly) in their temporary seed tray beds. But it’s a long way off from here to harvest! The best prospect for instant rewards lies in the herb beds – so I’ve got busy planting an array of fragrant, and flowering herbs around my studio.
These herbs come in handy for a delightful mid morning snack of cheese and crusty bread. I used a local fresh salad cheese – a bit like a light feta cheese. I snipped and sprinkled over some chives, flowering thyme, and mint. Then a drizzle of honey – for a delicious salty sweet combination – and a few drops of golden rapeseed oil. Lastly, a bit of cracked black pepper and it’s soon ready. And yes, that is a nice cup of tea to go alongside!
I’ve been working on some still life projects in the studio. I’m getting used to the light, working on making the right effects and so on. I hope to post some of the results here sometime soon.
We have a lot happening here in Britain over the next few weeks. Our village is gearing up for big celebrations for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. Then, of course, we have the London Olympics…very exciting! More soon.
Hope you like my shed (studio) – don’t hesitate to drop me a comment with any thoughts or ideas!
Is anything as uplifting and joyful as that first exuberant burst of blossom in early Spring? My spirit soars when I meander down the village lanes accompanied by clouds of gentle blossom – and new buds giving the promise of more to come. My appreciation of the seasons seems to intensify each year since we came to live in the English countryside. And of all the seasonal changes, the colour and light of Spring is especially welcome. Walking to the village school with our son and his little friends each morning, I point out all the little blooms and buds. But little boys are really much more interested in discussing Lego and trains!
Never mind, on the walk back home I can linger a bit, perhaps with my camera, and perhaps to find a blossom or two to make a Spring posy.
When the sun is shining, I love to take my lunch out into the garden. What to cook? I think some classic fishcakes are just the thing, with a fresh salad on the side. Golden and crispy, delicate yet satisfying. I made these with Haddock, but you can use any firm white fish (without bones) or if you are feeling indulgent, with crab or little prawns. All delicious!
Out comes the trusty folding table. It’s actually a decorating table that’s never been used for wallpapering – much more useful to pop open for an impromptu lunch! A bit of white lace, my jar of flowers … and it’s ready for service.
Things have been quite busy of late and I have lots of projects on the go. And getting to know this new garden is one of those projects. All sorts of surprises are emerging – little primroses dotting the grass like jewels, cheerful daffodils, tulips and the first signs of peonies. It’s very exciting.(To me!)
More soon. x
As I write this, snowflakes are swirling wildly around the windows and it’s a cold hard vista beyond. It’s hardly inviting to step out into the garden and thoughts of digging, planting, tending seem far away. Still, winter is on the final stretch – the days are growing gradually longer every day and subtle hints of spring are appearing. It is just the moment to start dreaming about a gorgeous, abundant vegetable garden or allotment. In the fields behind our house there are several smallholdings and allotments. I frequently walk among them and feel such admiration for what my neighbours create with their wonderful productive plots. Sometimes I am lucky enough to receive a gift of the bounty – a fat creamy cauliflower, or a cabbage as beautiful as a flower.
I would love to create my own kitchen garden but really need a bit of guidance. A couple of weeks ago I received a copy of New Urban Farmer by Celia Brooks Brown and I cannot imagine there is much about growing food that isn’t included. This book is crammed with all the facts and tips for a successful year on the allotment.
New Urban Farmer – From Plot to Plate is Celia’s new book, recently published by Quadrille. Growing your own vegetables and fruit has become very popular over the past few years and waiting lists for allotments are groaning. For those who get to the top of the list and are ready to start their plot – or those with garden space – this book provides the tips and knowledge to make a success of it. Celia is an accomplished cook and food writer and she really has the expertise and perspective of a food lover. The book is written as a sort of journal, over the course of the seasons, with notes and inspiring recipes packed throughout.
I am so looking forward to some warmer days, and getting out in the garden. I’ll let you know how it goes!