In the Garden – September 2022

So this was September in the garden at ‘Tranquility’…

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Now for a little more detail…

 

The Iris Garden

After a few years of neglect, the Iris Garden has had a make-over!  It took both of us, working together, almost a week to get it back, but we are really very happy with it.

Believing that very few of the iris’s had survived, we set about leaving them untouched and carefully weeded around each one.  However, it soon become obvious that they had survived and they needed to be lifted and divided.  Nothing is named, and previously I had just loved the random mix that I had created – most having travelled with me from our previous property.

This garden has a magnolia in the centre – it was well established when we arrived.  I had then planted 6 yellow roses – delbard ‘Cote d’Azure’ and 6 white roses – David Austin ‘Tranquility, alternatively around the magnolia, and four lavender ‘Violet Lace’.  While the roses had just survived, the lavender bushes that had survived had become large and straggly, so were removed.

When finished the bed has the central, trimmed Magnolie surrounded by the existing roses and a nice variety of iris’s, which I am hoping will be in full bloom in twelve months from now.

I couldn’t help including one or two photos of the distraction that we were afforded while working – old military aircraft flying in formation above.

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Sleepout Garden

This garden has had little or no attention, though that is about to change!  I have plans.  But for now, these beautiful azaleas are putting on a show.

Spring Bulb Garden

While the daffodils were finished, or eaten by slugs and snails, and the iris’s that were in place, were just coming into bud, the beautiful Spanish Blue Bells were putting on a show.

Spanish Blue Bells

Indoors

I was so excited to finally see this beautiful orchid, another gifted to me by my beautiful sister-in-law, Lyn.  Dendrobium Canary Bird #1.

It was so difficult to view it at it’s best, but then I realised that given that I had planted it in a flat sided vase, I could lay it on it’s side and was able to admire the beautiful flowers day after day after day…

The Terrace

When planting out bulbs earlier in the year, I planted many into pots and the urns on, and leading to, the terrace.  I was dutifully rewarded with beautiful splashes of colour which could not only be enjoyed when outdoors, but also provided a beautiful happy sight to be enjoyed as I was working in the kitchen.  The colour of tulip ‘Chato’ was almost electric, while the shape and pattern of ‘Timeless’ was beautiful and classic.

Laundry Garden

The garden just outside the laundry window and beside the clothes line almost looks after itself now.  The snapdragons were planted twelve months ago and have been allowed to sprawl, and having flowered right through winter,  I think it is time to start cutting some for indoors.

I am loving that Dutch Iris ‘Angel Wings’ has started to multiply, the colouring of this iris is so delicate with the beautiful lemon complemented by the faintest of blue.

Woodland Garden

Every year the Clivia put on the most magnificent show.  There is a cream plant at one end (nearest the terrace), and I noticed that the plant at the other end (nearest the spring bulb garden) is much more vibrant in colour – I am not sure if it is a different variety or if it is just because of where it is situated…  When the sun shines on this area it almost glows orange, lighting up a normally darker area of the garden.

The beauty of the Quince Flower

I’m always raving about the beauty afforded by the flower of the quince tree!  And here I go again.  Seeing this beautiful old tree in bloom always has me snapping pics – unfortunately there is a huge codling moth problem and given the age and structure of the tree, I find it almost impossible to control, so a lot of the fruit are wasted.

The Veggie Patch

Broad beans, snow peas, chard/silverbeet, rhubarb, and broccoli are alcoming along nicely.  I have managed to salvage some carrots and the parsnips, while not huge are also providing some tasty options for our meals.  One of the simple sides that I love is mashed carrot and parsnip, seasoned with salt and pepper and brought together with a nice dob of butter.  This is not a puree it is a rough mash.  I have tried it as a puree, but I believe that the texture of the rough mash allows the individual flavours to come through much better.

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The fruit trees are blossoming, and I am eagerly watching for fruit formation.  Earlier this year some of the trees were a little confused and went into full flower in February, so I was a little worried that there would be a lack of flowers now.  Fortunately I was wrong.

Other plants are providing a show of colour, the orange of the calendula is looking fabulous with the blue of the borage, and the towering mizuna ‘red streaks’ has been allowed to go into full flower for the wee winged creatures in the garden.

Of course there is on-going weeding happening to keep everything healthy and happy!

A tomato fetish!

OK, I know that I have a thing about tomatoes, always have, and now even more.  As a child I loved eating all things tomato.  Now as a gardener, I also love growing tomatoes.

This year I have planted quite a few varieties (see the list below).  I decided to chance it and plant just three seeds of each, which I did over a few days.  Fortunately germination has gone well, with just one variety failing.  There was one where I only managed one plant, a few where there were just two, but the majority have given me three.  So I am really happy with the progress and looking forward to sharing my tomato plantings and hopefully the colours and flavours of the crop and what I do with it all.

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  • Tomatoes
    • Amish Paste – 4 September 2022 (germinated 10 September)
    • Ananas Noir – 4 Septebmer 2022 (germinated 10 September)
    • Andy (seed saved by our neighbours of a home ago.  Andy had a fabulous garden and every season I was gifted beautiful baskets of tomatoes which I made into sauce, and we ate in salads.  Andy’s wife, Lucy, saved the seeds for me, and I have been growing them now for some years – we didn’t know the exact variety, so I chose to call them ‘Andy’) – 4 September 2022 (1 seed germinated 11 September)
    • Big Beryl – 4 September 2022 (germinated 10 September)
    • Big Rainbow – 4 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Black Cherry (old seed) – 4 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Black Plum – 5 September 2022 (germinated 11 September)
    • Cherry Roma (old seed) – 5 September 2022 (germinated 11 September)
    • Costoluto Fiorentino – 5 September 2022 (germinated 11 September)
    • Cuor di Bue (old seed) – 5 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Eden (seeds saved from locally grown tomatoes purchased when in Eden, from memory, it is a smallish tomato 5-7 cm across, red skin and orange flesh, delicious) – 5 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Green Zebra (old seed) – 6 September 2022 (germinated)
    • Koenig Humbert (seed saved and passed on by a local gardener earlier this year – 6 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Lecase Di Apulia (old seed) – 6 September 2022 (germinated 13 September)
    • Oxheart (Eden) – (seeds saved from locally grown tomatoes purchased when in Eden, from memory, it is a smallish tomato 5-7 cm across, red skin and orange flesh, delicious) – 6 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Palmwoods (old seed) – 7 September 2022 (did not germinate)
    • Periforme Abruzzese – 7 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Pineapple – 7 September 2022 (germinated 14 September)
    • Purple Cherokee – 5 September 2022 (germinated 12 September)
    • Red & Black – 7 September 2022 (germinated 13 September)
    • Roma (old seed) – 7 September 2022 (germinated)
    • Rouge de Marmande (old seed) – 7 September 2022 (germinated)
    • San Marzano (old seed) – 8 September 2022 (germinated)
    • Sweet Berry Truss /Strabena – 8 September 2022 (germinated)
    • Yellow Pear (old seed) – 8 September 2022 (germinated)
    • Yellow Stuffer (old seed) – 8 September 2022 (germinated)

Seeds planted:

Apart from the tomatoes, the only other seeds that I planted were peas, bush variety, which I tend not to have much luck with, hopefully this time will be better…

  •  Peas
    • Green Feast – 7 September 2022

 

In the Garden – May 2022

The Citrus Garden

I’ve been conjuring up a plan to start planting vegetables outside of the vegetable garden, and it’s slowly coming to fruition.   The first garden on my list was the Citrus Garden, and rather than trying to work the entire garden, I mixed up a batch of manure and garden compost, and then proceeded to work it into the areas that I wanted to plant up.  With that done, the first thing that I wanted to do was relocate the broad leaf sage and then plant a traditional sage plant next to it.   With that quick task done, I set to work on the area where the Russian kale seedlings were to be planted, it looked like I had planted pvc pipe rather than seedlings, but it had a purpose.

You may, or may not note that I’m trying to keep walkways between the areas that are being planted for easy access.  The pathways will become compacted from being walked on, while the areas that are being planted up, mulched etc, will not – well that is the plan…  The little pathways will also provide easy access for weeding, planting and so forth.  The birds, however, have a different plan, and I now need to walk around, rake in hand, raking the mulch off the pathways and back onto the garden!

As the month progressed, I planted broccoli – Chinese (Kailaan), onions  – Barletta, French shallots, Swiss chard and begamot.

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Strawberries

Already in place were quite a few strawberries, including three strawberry plants, ‘Reine des Vallees’.  Once you taste these little strawberries you really begin to understand what a strawberry should taste like.

The three ‘Reine des Vallees’ plants have thrived since planting, but as they are a clumping type of strawberry, they have very few runners, so anything that looks like it may have potential is pinned down to the soil to encourage growth.  The other interesting point  about this plant is that it doesn’t rely on the length of the day to produce fruit!  I find this fascinating, and am still amazed that I am continuing to pick berries now – the only problem is that they don’t make it into the kitchen, rather, they go straight into my mouth!

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I’m hoping that I can stop eating these delicious little berries straight from the plant so that I can make a simple little, refreshing sweet treat that I think they would be delicious in – Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly – no added sugar and just three ingredients!

Fresh Berries in Apple Jelly
Created for something light and refreshing to serve alongside a rich chocolate dessert!
Category: Brunch, Dessert
Style: Australian
Keyword: Apple, Berries, Fruit Jelly, Jelly
Quantity: 6 small glasses
Author: sbaskitchen
Ingredients
  • 300 ml pink lady apple juice
  • 3 gelatine leaves
  • 150 g of berries
Instructions
  1. Carefully warm the apple juice in a saucepan.
  2. Soften the gelatine leaves in a small bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the softened leaves to the apple juice and stir over a low heat just enough to dissolve the gelatine, then remove from the heat, strain into a jug and allow to cool, (but not set).

  4. Pour a little of the cooled jelly mixture into the base of your glasses and allow it to just set in the refrigerator.
  5. Arrange a layer of berries on top, then add a little more jelly to cover the fruit.
  6. Refrigerate until set. Continue to build up the layers of berries by allowing them to set in the jelly before adding more.
  7. This will ensure the berries are evenly dispersed through the jelly.
  8. Allow to set in the refrigerator before serving.
Notes
  • If the remaining jelly starts to become too firm before you need it, simply warm it a little and then allow it to cool before adding the next layer of jelly and berries.

 

I don’t think that there is room for anything else in this garden at the moment, so just need to maintain and nurture!   That hasn’t stopped me from planning what to plant when the warmer months approach, though!

The Veggie Patch

Plantings
  • Broccoli – Purple Sprouting – Early (Bed #4)
  • Romanesco Broccoli interspersed with garlic in the little space left in Bed #6
  • Cabbage – Sugarloaf, and Broccoli – White Sprouting seedlings into veggie bed #9.  When that was done, I planted a basket full of golden shallots in between the rows.
  • Broccoli  – Green Sprouting and Spring Onion – White Lisbon (Bed #10)

A Peak into the Vegie Patch –
Beds 6, 10 and 9

Veggie Patch Plan

Weeding & Tidying

The root veg bed (bed #6) is neat and tidy, weeded  and mulched , the carrots are a bit patchy though – I’m having so much trouble with pests enjoying the tender carrot tops.  While I wasn’t sure if I should, I decided to tansplant the swede turnip seedlings, only time will tell if it was the right thing to do.  One thing though, the parsnips are looking fabulous!

With the tomato plants nearing the end of their productivity, it was time to remove the plants and dispose of them, and then bundle the stakes for storage.   Any tomatoes that were still green were removed from the plants and spread out on trays indoors for ripening.  It all takes time, but is rewarding to see everything tidied up and still have tomatoes for a while after the plants were removed.

Finally I found time to do some work on the compost bins, closing off compost bin #2.   Compost bin #3 is now being filled, but  I still have to empty compost bin #4, which is a wire frame that I use to finish off the compost, once that’s done I can move the contents of bin #1 into it for finishing.

Some seed sowing & Propagating

I have only had time to plant a few seeds – I know that it was late, but it was worth it.

  • Cauliflower ‘All Year Round’ (old seed), these seeds have proven to be too old and did not germinate, but there was no harm trying.
  • Cauliflower ‘Green Macerata’ (planted 3 May – germinated 9 May)
  • Cauliflower ‘Purple Siciliy'(planted 3 May – germinated 7 May)

On a whim, I also scattered a mixture of salad seeds in a tub just outside the back door.  I have no idea what’s in it, I can just recall mixing a whole heap of old seeds some time ago, figuring that they may make a nice cut and grow planting! They were old seeds then, but it seems that sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

Seed mix scattered into a pot, coming through.

During a recent break at a little coastal village,  I collected a few cuttings, I just can’t help myself!  They have all been potted and now I must wait…

  • Ivy Geranium – such a pretty pink…
  • Perfumed geranium – I think it’s citronella
  • Succulents
  • Osteospermum (African Daisy) – Purple
  • Osteospermum (African Daisy – White
  • Bougainvillea – Pink

If the bougainvillea cutting doesn’t strike, I think that I may just have to go and buy one – how good does it look in the terracotta pot?

Spring bulbs arrived

When you receive the spring bulb catalogues it is just sooooo hard not to order everything, so what I do is select just a few and order 12 -15 of each, that way I can plant up a pot with one variety or just plant one variety all together in the garden for more of an impact.   I’m looking forward to seeing my little selection in bloom…

  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Love Call’
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Timeless’ – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Strong Gold’ – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Bokassa Tulip ‘Rose’

However, each year I get an email advising of a mystery box of bulbs – honestly, who can resist!  I love this little surprise packet, discovering the contents and working out where I will plant its contents.

This year’s mystery package included:

  • Allium sativum  – Garlic. ‘Australian White’ (2 bulbs) – having already planted my garlic, I managed to find some space and planted these in Vegie bed #6
  • Hyacinthoides hispanica – Spanish Bells Blue (10 bulbs) – planted in Duchesses’ Garden
  • Ipheion uniflorum syn. Triteleia uniflorum – Spring Star ‘Light Blue’ (50 bulbs) – planted in the Woodland Forest Garden
  • Iris x hollandica – Dutch Iris Mixed (30 bulbs) – planted in pots
  • Freesia refracta alba – Freesia refracta alba ‘Grandma Freesias’ (20 bulbs)
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Ice Follies’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Ice Follies’ in the Mauve Garden
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Las Vegas’ (3 bulbs)
  • NarcissusDaffodil – Mixed (25 bulbs) – planted in pots
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Tête-à-tête’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Tête-à-tête’ in the Spring Bulb Garden
  • Narcissus – Daffodil ‘Sunlover’ (5 bulbs) – planted with existing patch of ‘Sunlover’ in the Spring Bulb Garden
  • Narcissus jonquilla – Jonquil ‘Grand Monarch’ (5 bulbs)
  • Ornithogalum arabicum – Black Pearl Lily (6 bulbs)
  • Ranunculus asiaticus – Ranunculi ‘Red’ (20 corms) – planted in the ‘Laundry Garden’
  • Tulipa hybrida – Double Tulip ‘Chato’ (3 bulbs) – planted in a pot
  • Tulipa hybrida – Triumph Tulip ‘Denmark’ (4 bulbs) planted in a pots

Well, that was a little snippet from the garden in May.

Until next time…

Happy gardening

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In the Garden – December 2021

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.

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Swiss Chard / Silverbeet

I am currently working through my site and tidying things up!  What a job…  Hopefully when I’m done everything will be much easier to find and/or follow.

So while I’m tidying up, I’m also updating.  This is a copy of a page that I created back in 2017.  I have just finished updating it, adding more detail with regard to how to grow Swiss chard, and also how to save the seed.  I’ve even been creating labels for the seeds that I save to share with family, friends and community, and will gradually upload the labels to my site for access to those who love to save seeds and give them away, like I do.  So here we go, this is all about Swiss Chard / Silverbeet.

(Beta vulgaris)

While we all know Swiss Chard / Silverbeet as a vegetable, that is such a great addition to any vegie patch. On my first trip to to France, I also discovered it’s value, in particular the coloured varieties, as an ornamental in flower gardens.  The Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, is the first place I think of when reminiscing about such beautiful displays.  To this day I recall walking through the gates for the first time, when my eyes were automatically drawn toward a stunning vision of rich reds and greens. I had never seen Swiss Chard used in such displays before.

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Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

These delicate little pillows of ricotta and Swiss chard / silverbeet were given their wonderful name because they are not blanketed in fresh pasta like the ravioli that we all know and love.  This dish is fast becoming a favourite in our home – it is delicious, surprisingly simple to make, very economical and has very few ingredients.  I love making it because it means I get to make use of produce from our vegie patch.  It is so rewarding to take your basket and fill it with the ingredients needed to prepare your next meal…

Ravioli Ignudi - 20

Ravioli Ignudi (Naked Ravioli)

Ingredients

  • 300 g ricotta
  • 400 g Swiss chard, leaves only
  • 1 1/3 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 16 whole fresh sage leaves
  • Salt

Directions

  1. Bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the Swiss chard and boil until tender, about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain thoroughly, wrap in a cloth and squeeze until the chard is very dry. Chop very finely.
  4. Gradually combine the Swiss chard with the ricotta. Add about two-thirds of the Parmesan, the nutmeg and egg yolks. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Scoop up a small quantity of the mixture with a spoon and, with well-floured hands, form it into a little oval pillow about 3cm long.
  6. Dredge the little pillow lightly with some of the flour and set aside.
  7. Continue forming little oval pillows with the remaining ricotta mixture.
  8. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil.
  9. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the sage leaves in a frying pan and keep warm.
  10. When the water reaches a rapid boil, add the ravioli, a few at a time, and cook until they rise to the surface (as you would for gnocchi).
  11. Remove the ravioli with a slotted spoon, draining well, and place them into the warm melted butter and sage.
  12. Continue cooking the remaining ravioli in the same manner.
  13. Arrange the ravioli in a serving dish and drizzle with the melted butter and sage. Dust with the remaining Parmesan and grind over a little black pepper.

Notes:

  • I like to bake some tomatoes and add them together with a few shards of crispy prosciutto to the plate when serving, just for colour, flavour and texture.
  • We also like to crisp some of the Ignudi up a little in the butter.
  • While I have used my Gluten Free Flour Blend, this recipe was originally made with normal wheat plain flour, so either can be used, depending on dietary requirements.
  • Adapted from a lovely old book, Tuscany – The Beautiful Cookbook (1996) L De Medici, p78.
  • I make my own soft ricotta style cheese.

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