Monday, 14 August 2017

In a Vase on Monday - Stars

In the wee small hours this morning, I tiptoed into the garden...I just could not sleep, and wondered whether I would be able to spot some shooting stars.  It was not to be, it was around 3:30 am, and then slowly the sky began to cloud over.



This morning at the breakfast table I have something to brighten up the day.  The vase is like a glazed stone with holes in it...and it just the right shade of green...picked up in a Charity Shop some time ago.

The little yellow flowers of the Sedum Kamtschaticum variegatum  are the stars in this arrangement.  I love the way the leaves have a narrow cream margin, and the flower buds are tinged pink, then open to a golden yellow colour.  This colour is then echoed in the nasturtium, and also the leaves of the Japanese grass Hakonechloa macra Albostriata.  I wonder whether this is the correct name since the striata are more golden than white! Maybe it is Aureola.

This is a picture of the sedum at Tatton Park, where I first saw it, but where it had been sold out.



My plant came from the pop up stall in Wells where Tadham Alpines set out their tantalising range.  We are very fortunate to have plant growers at both the Wednesday and Friday markets, and pop up stalls, as well the special events at the Bishop's Palace Gardens.

Cathy who hosts this meme has some rich coloured blooms in her arrangement this week...and a plant I may well have to acquire for the garden:  it is Persicaria 'Fat Domino'..Do go and have a look at her arrangement, and maybe even join in with this meme.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Izzi stays for a couple of days

It's a treat to have Izzi stay a couple of nights.  First we met up at Stourhead, where we had a walk round the grounds as Izzi wanted to visit the grottoes.  There were more than one...all were rather interesting, some had sculptures, water, mosses and ferns too!



A Dwarf Buckeye was in full flower in a shady part of the walk.  Shafts of light piercing the canopy of higher trees spotlighted the intricate flowers.


Another interesting tree was this Corylopsis glabrescens from Japan...


I've just looked it up and it turns out to be a Fragrant Winter Hazel.  Since I love the form of this plant in the summer...I am looking forward to a trip next spring to see it in all its glory.  The arboretum at Stourhead has a wide range of trees arranged in a parkland setting surrounding lakes, with paths that lead you around, and where there are magnificent views from almost all angles.

I'm not sure if this is an angel or not, but I spied these little 'cherubs' painted on a bench in The Pantheon...


Mr S was given a 'family ticket' for the East Somerset Railway by his team at work...so on a wet and dismal day it was off to see the trains, and have lunch in their cafe...but we had to make sure that the train was running to time...In between we played a game of marbles..yes you can play a game based on guessing the number of marbles in the other persons hand..Izzi has confirmed that it is called Eggs in the bush.  It was one of the games printed in the little book, which came with a little bag if you bought ten marbles.  Both Izzi and I have even more marbles at home!



On another day we spent the afternoon at Wookey Hole Caves. I had no preconceptions, but overall rather enjoyed the visit.  There were no dolls hanging from strings...no coloured lights...no bangs...but rather good walkways.  For part of the tour we had to don hard hats:


Often in caves you can see seams of minerals, here there were 'cheese seams' and you could see large blooms of the special molds that help to make this wonderful tasting cheese.  These were seams that you could smell even before you could see them.   Had I known there would be goat's cheese there, I would have bought one...


We had an informative guide, and there were some very interesting formations, such as this one known as King Arthur's Beard.  I would even go to say I would like to visit the caves a second time!


Once outside, we explored the avenue of dinosaurs and had to have a little sit down to admire the scenery...and this one had been turned into a wooden seat.


We watched the film in the 4 D cinema...but sadly missed the circus performance.  Instead we rather enjoyed the exhibition, admiring the many clown faces painted on eggs, and the extensive miniature circus models.


Close up they were rather detailed...in one of the cabinets...(no photograph) was what looked like a potato which had been a clown's face, long forgotten...but completely rotten and oozing junk down a couple of shelves...we were both fascinated, and Izzi had not forgotten this the next day.


Izzi is not aversed to getting in there with soggy linen etc, and trying her hand at one of the first stages of paper making.


Of course in between craft and drawing at home....picking courgettes, the one cucumber, and parsley.


Fuchias

The fuchsias are doing well in the garden.  For many years I have had one or two in the garden...perhaps up to five different varieties.  Down in Somerset they seem to flourish.  When Izzi came to visit, on our travels to the post box to post cards to her friends, and all around, we admired the many types embellishing front gardens and hanging baskets.

Back home, we had a tour of the garden and of course picked a few rather lovely blooms.


Whilst Izzi was with us, she had of course, access to Grandma's best art pencils..her favourite for the moment are my Derwent Inktense pencils..and a little pot of water and paintbrush.  Izzi soon learnt that the best results needed clean water, and changed the water regularly.  I very much left her to her own devices during periods when I knew she needed some quiet, and it also gave me time to get lunch or dinner sorted out.  Three of the fuchsia blooms have  been committed to paper.



and I love this 'botanical' drawing.


Kamut Bread the sourdough way

This is one of the loaves we are baking on the Facebook Group.  I do rather like Kamut flour or as it is also known: Khorasan flour. I used to get this flour as part of my order from Shipton Mill, and even posted a recipe for Khorasan  Breakfast Buns quite some time ago on their site.

This time I quickly picked up a bag of Dove's Farm Kamut flour from a local supermarket.



My starter was healthy and bubbling, and as usual I had upscaled the ingredients to make two loaves.


and the soft golden colour of the Kamut Flour was silky smooth in the kneading.  I followed the recipe, and everything looked fine....until I looked at the loaves rising in the oven, each on their own shelves.  I knew straight away that it would the tale of the good, the bad and the ugly!  The recipe is good, the baker had a bad technique: turning out the dough from the baskets was problematic with 'ugly' results!


When I cut into the loaf, it rather looked like one of the caves in Wookey Hole.  Mr S had thought of getting one of his n guauge scale figures to stand in this huge hole.  However, we were desperate to start our lunch!


Non of the loaves were wasted.  We ate the more reasonable slices, and the rest got made into a rather delicious bread pudding...enriched with egg, milk, raisins, peel, spices etc.

Yesterday I attempted the recipe again...but did not feel like having the fight with the baskets, so used bread tins.  The dough was rather lively and gave big rise...no there are no large holes this time.


Monday, 7 August 2017

New Pelargonium

Last week, we visited Stourhead.  This National Interest property has a superb garden.  Of particular interest to me was the Geranium House.   Sir Richard Colt Hoare was an avid collector and loved pelargoniums.  I find the species plants charming and some have wonderful form...the leaves and their arrangement, their colouring and shape are so varied.

I am in a restraining mode...so chose just one of the many species plants on offer at the very good shop to bring home with me.  I love the foliage  it is much divided and almost fern like, ranging from bright acid green in the younger leaves to older one having purple tones.    Here is my new plant: 
Pelargonium myrrhifolium v coriandrifolius, though the plant label read Geranium coriandrifolium.  



It originates from the Western Cape Province of South Africa.



As soon as there is a flower, I'll add a picture.

Just in case you want to read more and find sources leading to more about Pelargoniums, you really must try Pellynut's site.

The other species Pelargonium currently in the conservatory is Pelargonium sidoides...of which I have now two newly rooted cuttings.  I love the round grey leaves and the purple flowers just keep on growing on the same stalk!