Showing posts from February, 2013

Annual plug plants

Like Helen and some others, I have been asked to be an ambassador for Plant me Now, a garden centre selling plants online .  This means being sent plants to review which is not a hardship!   Before I made up my mind I looked at their website and I liked the way it had been  put together, focussing very strongly at what to sow and plant at different times of year.  This knowledge is something you take for granted as a reasonably experienced gardener but chatting to my daughter in law, the proud owner of her first grown up sized garden, I was reminded that when you are starting out this is the kind of thing that you don’t know, or know in a patchy kind of way.  So it is a helpful and well thought out site which would be particularly useful to reasonably new gardeners but which I can also see myself using. The first lot of plants to come my way are annuals , seedlings started off early which come as generous sized plug plants.  I mused a bit as to what to have.  I never used to gro

The easiest bread recipe ever.

I love having a pantry and running a store cupboard.  I love opening the door and seeing everything lined up on the shelves. I love the deep slate shelf where the eggs and vegetables sit.  I love the bags hanging on the door.  And most of all I love the fact that I can always find what I need to feed my family.  Somewhere in there will be what you need to make a meal for three stretch to six or to make homemade soup on a cold February morning. This morning I found some ageing broccoli in the bottom of the fridge and converted it, with the help of the store cupboard, into broccoli and Stilton soup.  While I was chopping onions I suddenly had the urge to have some new bread with the soup for lunch.  We make all our own bread but our normal mix needs a few hours to rise.  It was half past eleven so the only chance of new bread for lunch lay in making some soda bread. Soda bread is so easy to make.  It doesn't keep for long.  Just like French bread it needs to be eaten o

Design, Grow, Sell: reviewing a book about setting up a garden based business.

Country Living magazine has had a series running for a while now called "Kitchen table talent".  It began as a competition for those who made things, grew things, wrote things or had other passions which they followed in their spare time, on their kitchen table.  Those who won a competition in each of the areas were given advice and assistance to help them turn their passion into a business.  This book, "Design, Grow, Sell: a guide to starting and running a successful gardening business from your home" is one of a series published by Harriman House in association with the magazine to look at how to turn your talent into a business. It is written by Sophie Davies who is herself both a journalist and a career changer who studied at the English Gardening School and ran her own garden design business.  I have been sent a copy to review and thought that as it interested  me it might interest you too! My first thought on reading this was that there are two audie

Four years after leaving my job

Four years ago today I put my notice in and left my big job.  Below is the blog I wrote in February 2009 when I had just done it.  It was fascinating to me to read it again so here it is: why I did it and what I thought at the time.  And at the bottom are my thoughts on what has happened to my life since then. February 14th 2009.  I have done it now. I have put my notice in. I have no job to go to and no immediate plans to find one. What kind of idiot puts their notice in during a recession? I am surrounded by people at work worrying about redundancy and I know some people who have already been made redundant and who are coping with the knocked sideways shock of it all. I feel almost guilty for walking away from a job in these circumstances but I am doing so, and it is not even a job I hate. Work has been a huge part of my life for the last twenty years or so. When my first marriage failed I had to earn some money so I was pushed back into the world of work when my children we

Trees on the boundary

It was winter when we came here seven years ago.  There are a lot of trees on our land and along our boundary, in the hedges, standing on corners, and I couldn't believe that in winter I did not know what they were.  I have got better now at identifying trees without their leaves so I thought I would take you a walk around the edges of our property and have a look at the trees, in their winter beauty. Let's start up behind the house where three big beech trees grow on the top of the great curve of rock beneath which the house sits, tucked out of the wind.  Welsh nouns, as in French and other languages, are either masculine or feminine.  All trees are feminine words in Welsh and the Welsh for beech is ffawydden. Beech is generally a lowland tree and there are not many around here.  These three mark the boundary between us and our neighbours at the farm.  I love the smoothness of their bark and the vividness of the new leaves in spring.  Occasionally a friend who is a tre