Friday, 26 June 2009


“And when your back stops aching and your hands begin to harden,
You will find yourself a partner In the Glory of the Garden.”
Rudyard Kipling

I’ve loved being in the cottage garden this month - busy planting bedding plants into pots and planters and, in the sunshine and showers, watching the flowers and vegetables growing as fast as the lawn and the field grass on the bankings. Of course, The Glory Of The Garden in full bloom can be an enormous pleasure as well as a real pain, as Kipling knew, especially when I put myself out of action for a few days after hurting my back lifting a batch of compost. Ouch!

I’ve lots of photos to share this month. Some of the plants I’m showing you have been established at the cottage for many years, like the red-hot-poker plant (Kniphofia) and the blue Lupins (Lupinus angustifolius) and some, like those in the flower border, were only planted out last year but are already giving us a colourful mid-summer display.

Red-Hot Poker

Blue Lupins

The Flower Border

Oriental Poppy

Leafy Hosta


Ruby in The Blue Lupins

In the vegetable garden, the early Pentland Javelin potatoes are coming along nicely and their foliage is now filling the raised bed. I’ll be watching out for flowering soon, which will signal the onset of a bountiful and tasty harvest. The tomato plants in the greenhouse are at various stages of growth and I also have pepper and pumpkin to nurse to fruition. In the herb garden, I now have more coriander and basil than I have use for, and so intend to try to dry and/or freeze some of it, for later in the year.

There's plenty happening in the new greenhouse

And I have a old sink full of Coriander...

The hens are currently enjoying long lazy days out in the field. So much so, one of them caused me a little concern this month. Hens , you see, cannot see in the dark and so go to roost at dusk - but this month - it has been well after ten thirty when they have toddled back to the hen house to be shut in for the night. It was around the time of the longest day, when Kylie was not to be found sitting safely on her perch with Britney and Beyonce and I feared she had been taken by a fox. The whole family went out looking for her with torches, calling her name, (yes, she normally does reply when spoken to!) to no avail. Thankfully, as I had hoped, having not made it back to the henhouse in time for nightfall, she had sensibly found herself a place to hide and sleep until daybreak – which was at three thirty am - when she woke everyone by making an awful lot of noise outside the kitchen door. The chicken version of Mummy I’m Home!

This month, I’m thrilled to announce that my novel When We First Love, which was first published in 2004 but has since been out of print, is available once more both at on-line and from high street booksellers.

Available on-line or from highstreet booksellers

RECEIPE OF THE MONTH - Spinach Quiche with Bacon and Cheese.
This month’s recipe is inspired by the success of the spinach-beet growing in the old butler’s sink outside the kitchen door. It’s a hearty summertime lunch dish which I like to serve up with a tossed salad and slices of bread and butter. My Aga is off for the summer and so I cooked it in my stand-by electric fan oven. Hence it's a bit browner on one side. Never mind, it tasted good!
A savoury short crust pastry to line your dish, part baked.
Bacon chopped and fried with 2-3 spring onions. I used smoked back bacon.
A good handful of spinach-beet or spinach leaves.
A helping of cheese, grated. Use whatever you have including soft cheeses like ricotta or feta.
Eggs, beaten. I used 8 – but you use however many you need to ¾ fill your pastry case.
Add the spinach to the pan when the bacon and onion are cooked.
Sweat down for one minute. Add to the base of your pastry case.
Beat together as many eggs as you need with a splash of milk.
Grate the cheese into the egg, bacon, onion and spinach mixture.
Cook in a medium-hot oven of around 200 degrees/Gas 6.

That's about it for June. Oh, I've played around with the blog settings again, after folk emailing to say they had tried but given up on leaving a comment. This time, I really think I done away with the complications - so please do feel free to leave a comment or a suggestion. I'd love to hear from you and I promise to reply.

See you at the end of July....?