With the final visit to our family home, Christmas, and a quick trip to visit with my beautiful sister, Jan, there was very little time for the garden in December… However, I did manage to sneak in a little time now and then – it’s my escape, it’s where I can relax, it’s my happy place and I love it, even if it is out of control!
At this time of year the lilies are in full bloom adding beautiful colour and height wherever they are in the garden – these are just two that I managed to snap – the yellow tiger was the best it has ever been. I saw them almost every day that I was at home, as I pass this little garden on my way to the compost!
Isn’t this white Agapanthus just stunning! Not only did I stop and take in its beauty, but as usual I spent way to much time watching as the bees collected pollen from the flowers.
The veggie garden continued to give, even though our absence meant that it was not being cared for greatly! Fortunately, with garlic, once you’ve planted it, it requires very little attention, so this year’s harvest was great! I made sure that I got it out of the ground and in for drying and storing in between trips. Unfortunately, with the weather wet and humid, there was a brown rot issue and much of the stone fruit was lost to either brown rot or the birds as I didn’t have time to net. I did, however, manage to salvage a little.
I just had to share this with you! As I fossicked through the raspberry patch, I came across this beautiful piece of natural art. The home owner had departed, so I had the opportunity to view their handy work up close. Isn’t it just beautiful…
Again I was too late getting my tomatoes in! I did actually manage to get the first bed planted in November, but the other bed and a half weren’t planted until 22 December – way too late!
After screening the garden compost and digging it through the beds, I added ground up egg shell, sheep manure, and a little organic fertiliser. Once I dug everything through again, I topped the beds with organic sugar cane mulch and, to prevent the birds from undoing all my hard work, I secured wire mesh over the top.
Finally, I managed to get the well developed plants into the ground.
This is a peak at the tomatoes planted in November
All remaining plants were gifted to family and friends as part of their Christmas gifts…
Then there were the flowers! I’ll just let the pictures tell the story…
And the vases of flowers…
Finally, as mentioned in my previous post, the lavender from the garden ended up in a tart! Sadly we lost our apricots to brown rot, so the apricots are not from our garden.
This tart is a given each year, when the apricots are ripe and the lavender is flowering.
- 1 quantity of sweet shortcrust pastry (see below for gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry recipe link)
- 18 - 24 large apricots
- 1 tbsp of soft brown sugar
- 4 sprigs of lavender
- 20 g butter softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup ground almond meal
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1 tbsp plain flour (see below for gluten free option)
Preheat oven to 175˚ (fan)
Roll out pastry and line a 25cm, loose bottomed, fluted tart tin, trimming and removing the excess. Place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
Wash the apricots, cut in half and remove the stone, and then cut each half into three wedges.
Make the frangipane.
Remove the uncooked tart shell from the refrigerator and spread the frangipane evenly over the base.
Remove the little flowers from each of the sprigs of lavender and sprinkle over the frangipane.
Arrange the apricots, standing them cut side up in concentric circles, beginning from the outer edge.
Spinkle with brown sugar.
Place the tart into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and the tips of the apricots begin to brown a little.
Allow the tart to cool before removing it from the tin.
Place the butter and sugar into a bowl and, using a handheld mixer, or a wooden spoon, and cream together.
Add the almond meal and flour, and mix to combine.
Finally add the egg yolk and vanilla and gently mix together.
- Recipe for Gluten Free Sweet Short Crust Pastry
- For gluten free frangipane, replace plain flour with gluten free flour
- Recipe for my Gluten Free Flour Blend
Until next time
Happy gardening !