Monday 29 June 2020

Happy ramblings: Rosa 'Seagull'

When we were leaving our previous house and garden, I took 10 cuttings of my rambling rose, Rosa Seagull. Roses aren't exactly known for being easy growing plants, and I'd never taken rose cuttings before and wasn't that hopeful that the cuttings would take. So it was quite a surprise when 9 of the 10 cuttings did!

So two years ago I planted two 20cm 'sticks' into the border of our south-facing fence. Here's the result. 

This was after a large attack of greenfly, just when the flower buds were developing, which my soapy water squirter took care of. It recovered well!

It's a very fragrant rose, and in the hot weather last week, sitting outside for dinner at our garden table, the aroma was beautiful.
And it was alive with buzzing from the many bees seeking it's pollen.

The flowers are now spent, so I'm going to prune back the stems and with luck, I might get a second smaller flowering.

As for all those other 7 plants, I didn't have room for them, so I gave them away so others could enjoy them.

It turns out that taking rose cuttings successfully is really quite easy, so do give it a try.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curry with Sorrel

Serves 4-6

Olive oil (or canola/rapeseed oil)
2 tablespoons (30ml) grated ginger
6-8 garlic gloves, crushed
2 teaspoons (10ml) curry paste or powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) ground cumin
1 teaspoon (5ml) ground chilli powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) turmeric
2 medium-large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-3cm chunks
1/2 cup (120g) dry red lentils
1 can coconut milk
1 cup (240g) of water
1 cup/a good thick handful of Sorrel (or Spinach/Chard leaves), larger stems stripped out and leaves torn up a little.

Steamed rice

1. Prepare vegetables and spices.

2. In a large pot, add some oil, and all the ginger, garlic and spices. Stir, and cook this for a few minutes on a medium heat.

3. Stir in the sweet potato, lentils, coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Then cover, turn the heat down for c. 20 minutes or until the sweet potato is tender.

4. Add in the Sorrel. Stir, replace the lid, and cook for a couple more minutes.

5. Serve immediately over steamed rice.

a) The Sorrel adds a lemony tang that we think goes really well with this recipe. And with Sorrel being a perennial vegetable that is so easy to grow, we tend to choose it over Spinach and Chard now.

b) We are generous with the garlic and ginger and use double the amount from the original recipe. So do start with less if you aren't sure you like quite that much.

c) This is a great recipe for batch cooking. We often make 3 times the recipe, then freeze most of it in containers. A standard (not small) takeaway container will hold enough for two. Then just unfreeze when you want, heat up and make rice, and there you have a healthy and yummy meal for when you are low on spoons.

Spilling the Beans, Julie Van Rosendaal & Sue Duncan, 2011, page 146.
ISBN: 978 1 77050 041 9

About Gwenfar's Garden's recipes

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Front garden: Spring 2020 overview, in pictures

The front garden, May 2020

The front garden has really come a long way since we first moved in. So this is an overview in pictures (I am too exhausted to write much at the moment), particularly as so many plants are now looking so good.

For comparison, this is what the front garden looked like when we moved in.
November 2017

So, going back to earlier this Spring...

March 2020
Overview near the front door

Under the Quince treen: Primula vulgaris and Anemone blanda, with grassy leaves
from Stipa tenuissima.

Looking towards the lounge room window

Quince tree

View from the front gate

One of my favourite daffodils, the fragrant Narcissus 'Cragford'

April 2020

Quince flower, Cydonia oblonga 'Vranja'

Under the quince tree, Muscari aucheri 'Blue Magic'

Planter under the lounge room window. Tulipa 'Ballerina' (orange), plus a rouge that was pulled out!

Tulipa Ballerina and Tulipa Havran (beetroot colour), plus Myosotis sylvatica and other plants

Viola 'Butterpat', which also has a lovely fragrance. Planted next to the front door.

Tulipa 'Abu Hassan'

Front: Primula veris, back: Primula elatior

May 2020

 Quince tree and Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea'

Camassia, in detail

Planted together: red Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw', and orange Geum 'Totally Tangerine'

Geum 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' up close

In another part of the garden, Geum coccineum 'Koi'

View from lounge room

Primula bulleyana and bumblebee

View from the front gate, with a young Acer Griseum

The front garden has come a long way since November 2017! Whilst I do all the designing and planting plans, the garden wouldn't be where it is without the help of my gardener Andrea. Thanks Andrea, we've created, I believe, a beautiful space.