Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Viburnum x Burkwoodii

I bought this plant earlier in the year when it was in bloom, they were white flowers with a lovely fragrance especially at night. After the flowers there were red flat pods that swelled into red berries which are now turning black, so it has been interesting so far from spring through autumn.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Japanese Maple - Acer palmatum 'Garnet"

This Acer was given to us by my mother in law a few years ago, it is a beautiful colour at all times when in leaf but at this time of the year the foliage almost glows.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Ellemford Show

The sheep at the Ellemford show yesterday looked fantastic, they had been shampooed and their horns polished to perfection.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Jar of Herbs Winner

This worthy winner came first in the jar of herbs category in the Lammermuir Pastoral Society, Ellemford Show, I came third. As there is a healthy competition between me and the gentleman who entered this jar, I have informed him I will be searching every boot sale and charity shop for a huge jar so I can beat him next year, me competitive, never. He has raised the bar as he came first in many categorys and therefore won the Mary Gold cup for vegetables. It is a great result as he has only ever achieved "Highly Commended" before, well done him.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Jar of Herbs

It is the Lammermuir show tomorrow and this is my entry for the jar of herbs category. There are quite a few Basil, Chives, Fennel, Lovage, Marjoram, Chocolate, Ginger and Apple Mint, Parsley, Rosemary, Tri-Colour and Pineapple Sage and Thyme.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Kale - Red Bore

Another delicious kale we use in stir fries, so easy to grow and we just pick a few leaves as we need them. Our local vegetable farm shop has displays of full stalks and sells as many of the leaves to customers as they require, they make a great display.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Kale-Cavallo Nero

A delicious kale that we use in all sorts of ways especially stir fries. It is a dark dull green colour with long slender knobbly leaves.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Lemon Basil

Lemon basil has a really strong lemon scent and taste, makes a very good lemon basil olive oil.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Bombus hortorum, Garden Bumble Bee

It wasn't only the butterflies that were out getting the last of the nectar on the Eryngiums the Bumble bees were out too.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Peacock Butterfly

This looked a very faded worn butterfly, it's colours were pale and there were tears in it's wings. I read that peacock butterflies are probably the longest-lived butterflies in Britain, with adults surviving from late July, well into the following spring, perhaps into June. Therefore, contrary to popular belief that butterflies only live for a few days, some Peacocks may live to see their 11th month (albeit having spent five or six months of their adult lives asleep in hibernation). Maybe this butterfly belongs in the Guinness book of records and has survived thirteen months, that's what I want to believe.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Red Admiral Butterfly

It was a beautiful calm day and when I was weeding the border I was surrounded by busy bees and butterflies, it was a lovely sight to see them so active collecting in the nectar.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Colchicum in Bloom

Thank goodness I got a picture of the Colchicums on our bank at lunchtime as somebody has driven over and flattened them. We have had no white vans but a few coloured delivery vans, I am not amused.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Fungus, Eggs or What?

Often on our early morning walk with the dog we come across this weird stuff on the grass, it changes from yellow to white after a day or so. I have looked in my mushroom and fungus book and I have checked my nature book and I haven't found anything remotely like it. Anybody know what it is?

Update : A suggestion from my friends in Essex it maybe a Cercopidae, common name Spittle Bug

Monday, 14 September 2009

Japanese anemone

Another plant from the garden of my very clever horticultural friend in Essex which I am delighted is surviving well. It really brightens up the garden at this time of the year especially in shady corners.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Dahlia - Bishop of Llandaff

Another striking dahlia with it's bronzy, black foliage. Named after the Bishop Hughes Llandaff (now Cardiff) in 1924.

Saturday, 12 September 2009


We haven't done well this year with our Dahlias but they are still giving us a good show when everything else is dying back. A good friend of ours who loves Dahlias will appreciate the following

The dahlia is also known as Tenjikubotan (天竺牡丹) in Japanese, which literally means 'Peony of India'. According to the Japanese language of flowers, it means 'good taste'.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Rosa rugosa

This rose grows in our hedgerows, it flowers in the summer wafting a wonderful perfume as you walk by. Like this one there is the odd bloom into Autumn and the roses are followed by large shiny rose hips.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Orchid - cambria

A few months ago my mother in law gave us an orchid which has beautiful mauve blooms and is still flowering. When I saw this one I couldn't resist it, it only cost £6 and if it blooms for as long as the other one then it will prove to be very good value. I just hope I can look after them and get a second flowering next year.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Meadow saffron - Colchicum

I always get a thrill at this time of the year when these flowers start to push through the grass, as there is only a flower but no leaves there is no warning of the bloom to come, hence one of their common names naked ladies. In a few weeks they will be in full bloom, die away and their leaves will appear in Spring.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Purple Basil - Ocimum basilcum purpurea

My favorite basil I think it tastes stronger than any other basil. The colour does restrict it's use on occasion. I always think of basil in Italian cooking it was only recently I found out how much it is used in Indian cuisine.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Pot marigold - Calendula officinalis

Perfect evening for photography absolutely still and calm and the result....I took a photo in the poly tunnel as I was being eaten alive by midges, the joys of the country. I love this flower the colour is almost neon, it seeded itself amongst our vegetables and I just let it grow.

Sunday, 6 September 2009


We had a lesson in samosa making today, the end product when cooked was delicious far better than anything bought in the supermarket and most Indian restaurants . I will never look or eat a samosa again without examining how well it is wrapped, or appreciating how fiddly and time consuming they are to put together. I am sure those that are experts whizz them out like a production line. The photograph is not mine, I foolishly forgot my camera, this much more artistic, professional photograph was taken by my brother in law but I'm sure the perfect samosa was one I must have parceled!

Saturday, 5 September 2009


I dug up the rest of our potatoes today, it was back breaking work as the ground is very wet and heavy but it is very rewarding to pick the potatoes out of the earth, it is like dipping into a lucky bag. We have eaten our earlies and just finishing some Anya potatoes the earlies were blight free, the Anya's have slight blight so won't store. In the picture top row left are Desiree potatoes a main crop and blight free, next to them are Doon Pearl a second early also blight free. In the middle row right are Yukon Gold delicious yellow fleshed potatoes also blight free. Below them are Mayan Gold very similar but they have a bit of blight so will have to be used first. Next to them are two trays of King Edwards, my favorite potatoe for roasting, one row had blight, one didn't both planted at the same time, same conditions. None of our potatoes have had scab and few eel worms. I was told sometime ago to put leaf mould in the bottom of the trench when planting, this is the second year I have done this maybe that is the solution.

Friday, 4 September 2009

The Yew - Taxus baccata

An ancient tree species that has survived since before the ice age. It has been revered and used by humankind throughout the ages. For me the word Taxus will always remind me of the chemo therapy my mother received which was derived from the Yew tree. I am very allergic to the sap so always have to use gloves when handling it if cutting back or making into holly wreaths. I think the berries look like little jewels.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Rowan Tree - Sorbus aucuparia

One of my earliest memories of a tree is a Rowan tree in my grandmothers garden, I thought the berries were magic. According to folk lore the Rowan tree can offer protection from evil spirits. Thank goodness we have so many around our house!

In the yard there grows a Rowan.
Thou with reverent care should'st tend it.
Holy is the tree there growing.
Holy likewise are it's branches.
On it's boughs the leaves are holy.
And it's berries yet more holy.

Excerpt from The Kalevala,
a compilation of Finnish folk lore

Wednesday, 2 September 2009


We had unexpected visitors today, Rhodie the brother of our dog Skye, Abby a lovely Labrador that we looked after for a few months and Muddle who is a complete muddle not very pretty but adorable. Rhodie used to be called Gus after our brother in law because out of the 9 puppies our dog India had, he liked Gus most of all. All of them live at Manderston now, very privileged happy dogs.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009


At last the tomatoes are ripening in the poly tunnel. Soon I will be freezing the excess for sauces and the green ones that won't ripen will be made into chutney. The photo is of a common one "Gardeners Delight" we have a yellow one to try this year more on this when tasted later.