Monday, 17 August 2015

Home Again

Hello there - thank you for dropping by, and for all the lovely comments which you made about my holiday posts. I continue to be delighted every time I get one and it means a great deal that you still enjoy stopping for a while at my blog.
After our hols P had a week of annual leave, so we had some lovely sunny day trips which I'm really looking forward to sharing with you soon, and since then I've been readjusting to the second half of the school holidays here. Our holiday was a week earlier than usual so I found that instead of two weeks left I had three afterwards. As is my tradition I made a list of house and garden jobs I want to get done before I return to work, and I did manage to get a few done last week which was gratifying, as well as spending a very companionable and creative afternoon in my shed with my friend J. I did some jewellery-making and J drew, and we had tea and a nice Blackberry and Apple Loaf. I would have shared a photo with you, but it was rather reluctant to emerge from the tin, and we ended up scooping it rather than slicing it. Ah well, not very photogenic but it still tasted good.

I also got out my preserving pan and took the redcurrants from the freezer. I was making redcurrant jelly, so I cooked them up until they were quite pulpy.

Then I used my new jelly-straining kit to drain the juice from the currants. This was much quicker than I expected and I resisted the urge to squeeze the bag which can make the jelly cloudy.

I also defrosted the blackcurrants and made them into jam.

Here's a small selection of the many jars I ended up with. Let's just say I don't think we'll run out of jam any time soon.

 I've spent a good deal of time out in the garden recently as the weather has mainly been dry and warm. It's brought out beautiful creatures like this Comma butterfly which kindly stayed still long enough for me to take some photos. My track record with wildlife photography isn't great, so I was very pleased.

Despite the garden needing a good deal of tidying and staking at the moment there are still some patches of colour. After repainting the garden shed at the start of the summer I am thrilled with what a good backdrop it makes for my pot of sweet peas and the phlox which grows next to it. I love the pink and blue combination.

The hydrangea's in bloom too now, and looks very pretty when it first opens in shades of pinky green

There is plenty of colour dotted around, like this velvety Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' which I bought last week.

The bronze fennel is looking good now too, and I enjoy watching bees and insects collecting pollen from its flat blooms outside my shed window.

There are fiery colours too now in the form of crocosmias, both orange ...

... and red.  This one is 'Lucifer' and stands tall in the bed next to the fennel, a very hot combination.

I love the way this fabulously bright nasturtium is tumbling over our blue fence. I'll make a note to grow one here again next year.

The rowan tree's laden with berries now.

I like to sit under it (trying not to get bugs in my hair, as it is still quite a little tree). A cup of tea goes down very well here, I find.

Our apple tree is absolutely groaning under the weight of apples, and this is after I thinned them out. Perhaps I should've been more ruthless.

In the front garden the Japanese Anenomes are out in force under our window, and continue to delight. 

They are a wonderful value-for-money flower. This sea of blooms is the result of one small pot bought years ago. They spread amazingly well and bloom from late July into the beginning of October - what more could you ask?

Indoors I'm enjoying the herbs on our windowsill, especially the mint which I'm using to make fresh mint tea with, inspired by our recent holiday.

I shall leave you with an inexpensive bunch of tiny chrysanthemums which I bought over a week ago. Their soft pastelly colours are quite a contrast with all those hot colours out in the garden.

Right, I'm off to tackle the next thing on my list. Shall I start painting the bathroom or make curtains? A cup of tea first, I think. I'm off to put the kettle on. 
See you soon x


  1. Your garden is looking fantastic and I love the thought of you having a 'crafty' in your gorgeous shed. I think you're all set on the jam front (if you'll pardon the pun!) - unless you want to make some rowan jelly! We have a small rowan tree too (a mother's day present a few years ago) but autumn does seem to come to it really early. Have a great week. xx

  2. Do you know, I was wondering about making something with the rowan berries! Perhaps a hedgerow jelly? We've now got three rowan trees - one bought and the other two self-seeded - in quite a small garden. Only one's producing berries so far, though so I don't need to rush. Hope your week's a good one too :)
    Cathy x

  3. You have some lovely colours around you at the moment. Your fennel looks particularly good, all frothy and golden. I can almost taste the name from here, yum! Have fun. Karen x

  4. Your garden is looking quite voluptuous! (envy envy! Mine is just very green at the moment - a combination of lack of decent sunshine and loads of rain!) Our rowan is bending double with all it's berries - however the blackbirds are certainly removing them at a rapid rate! Think I might go and put the kettle on too!

  5. How gorgeous your garden is looking, the shed is indeed a lovely backdrop. Well done on all the jam, it's very satisfying to have plenty of jars of jam in the cupboard isn't it. CJ xx

  6. Your cake sounds good, I often have cakes that don't look very photogeneric either! Your garden looks lovely with so much colour still to be seen. I have grown Rudbeckia 'Cherry Brandy' from seed. Yours looks l wonderful ours is still in bud at the moment. Sarah x

  7. Wow that was a lot of juice that you got from the redcurrants, and some lovely jams and jellies as a result of your hard work! You have a lot of great colour in your garden still, so lovely to see! xx

  8. Lovely garden shots, I need to start making jelly & jam or I won't have any in stock for next year. It's always so tempting to squeeze the bag isn't it? x

  9. I enjoyed that peek into your garden, our own is mostly lots and lots of green this year with only the roses doing well so seeing your garden has brightened my day. Hx


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