Monday, 30 January 2017

The Green Happiness.

It is January, and like every year I am on a diet. There is one difference from the previous years. I am on a vegan diet, from the book: 50 Days of Green Happiness.(The Green Happiness)

Although this title has a nice ring to it, I still feel some doubt. To eat no fish for 50 days, isn’t that asking a little bit too much? My daughter already started and she is enthusiastic. Her skin glows and she feels much more energetic. You really should do it Mom; she is trying to persuade me. So I made up my mind and ordered the book.

As the book arrives, it is clear I have to purchase an impressive amount of fruits and vegetables in order to prepare the first meal. I make up a list and with this I buy many unknown products. E.g. buckwheat, oat and noble yeast flakes. Still I am worrying. Is this Vegan food going to be tasteful at all? Luckily the taste is fine.

The exotic fruits used have intriguing seedpods. Of course a garden woman like me cannot resist sowing them! I wrap the avocado and mango seeds in wet paper towels, put them in a plastic bag, twist a towel around it and place them on the heating radiator. As soon as the seeds break open, I plant them in a pot. Nice!

Then I suddenly remember: there's chia seed in the closet. Could I sow these too? Or otherwise the sunflower seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seed .......  My imagination runs riot. I am going to sow all these next spring!

It is obvious, I am indeed more energetic. And the expectation to grow all these seeds .....

That will be at least another 50 days of Green Happiness!

Mango on the fruit bowl.

It looks like an oyster! 

Peel of the skin.

Wrap the seed in a paper towel and put it in a plastic bag.

Place the seeds on the heating radiator and wait...

Mango in a pot.

 Avocado. I have already peeled off the brown skin.

A few weeks later....Ready for indoor planting!

Pumpkin seeds. They have to wait for milder weather.

Meet & greet with Tessa, one of the authors of the book "50 Days of Green Happiness".

My own favorite 'left over soup'

My recipe 'Left over soup' for 4 persons:

 half bell pepper
 half cauliflower 
 half leek
1 ribbed celery
8 carrots
1 l  water
1 bouillon cube
150 g Houmous

Cut the vegetables and cook all ingredients except the Houmous in a pan. After cooking, mix with a immersion blender. Add the Houmous. MMMMM!

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Monday, 23 January 2017

Amaryllis the continuing story.

Regular readers of my blog may remember I bought three Amaryllis bulbs in November. I liked the idea of blooming Amaryllis during the Christmas time. To give the bulbs a little extra, I gilded the bulbs. (Read the story again) However, the Christmas season passed without a single Amaryllis flowering!

This January, I placed the bulbs in a white flowerpot. By doing so the “gold” on the bulbs is less visible. After all Christmas is over. Then suddenly, from two out of the three bulbs a stem emerges. Finally something is going to happen!

As I return from a short trip, the both Amaryllises are flowering abundantly. However, not in the white colour that was on the venders’ picture; but pink! I don’t mind; they are beautiful as well.

And what, you might ask, about the third one? The last of the three bulbs is still looking as it was last November. No sign of life. Probably it is an even later bloomer, or is this Amaryllis just waiting for next Christmas?

In that case, I certainly hope this is the white one!

The situation in December.

And the situation in Januari.

The flowers are pink.....

.. but I like that too!

White and gold.

The third Amaryllis bulb. Nothing has changed!

I hope it is a white one, like the picture of the vendor.

New followers a warm welcome!

Monday, 16 January 2017

One day at Hidcote Manor Garden.

Do you also gasp for flowers in this time of the year? That is why I search for pictures of flowers in my computer files. Doing so the pictures of Hidcote Manor Garden appear. Hidcote. Just what I need right now!

We visited this garden again last summer. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful gardens in England. Years ago, we visited this garden too.

As we have passed the pay desk, we step into the room of Major Laurence Johnson who used to be the owner. I cannot remember I have visited this room before. Did I miss it the first time? My husband and I agree that we most certainly would like to live in this room. If you could just sit behind his desk - which you are not allowed to! - you would have a magnificent view over the garden.

We leave the house and enter the garden. Major Laurence Johnson has been working on this garden for 40 years. Nowadays the National Trust owns the garden. There is so much to see. The borders, perfectly maintained, have beautiful colour combinations. The century-old trees, the topiary yew hedges, the paving, everything is very tasteful. Even the neighbouring houses match with the garden design.

It strikes me that some borders have been replanted recently. They have used many annuals to camouflage the empty spots. That's something to remember for my own garden!

We sit on every bench in the garden. It's nice to view the garden from different angles. I often jump up from the bench. What kind of plant is that, I ask myself? What is growing under that tree? I jump up to take a picture very often too. I just want to capture the whole garden.

But that is quite impossible. You just have to let the garden sink in, analyse, process, evaluate it, and on a dull winter day .....


The study of the Major.

Even the neighboring houses match.

In the background Hidcote Manor.

These borders have been recently replanted. 

Do you see the annual planting?

Striking combination.

A small building with a large view!

Close up. What a beautiful combination.

The paving.

The pond, 50 shades of green.

Another pond, with many colours!

Major Laurence Johnson in his garden.

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Monday, 9 January 2017

A magical moment.

"I have promised myself to lie more on the grass, looking at the clouds in 2017," I tell my husband. He laughs at me. You? However a few days later…....

It is foggy and it freezes as I drive home with my car. Suddenly, the sun pushes the fog aside. The once bleak landscape is transformed into a fairy tale. The branches of the White Popler ( Populus alba) are covered with the ice of frozen fog. I continue driving and enjoying the scenery. Then I remember my promise for 2017! Although I cannot lie in the grass, I can stop the car and get out.

It is quiet. No sound anywhere. I look at the silver bark of the White Popler trees. Silver barks and silver branches ... Magnificent. As I take a closer look at the branches, I see the ice has grown on one side only. That's because of the ruling western winds in this aria.  For the same reason the trees have grown to one side as well. Here in this quiet road I can see the "wind".

Suddenly ...... Pffffft. A soft sound. It is in front of me, next to me and behind me. Pffft. Pffft, like thousands of small arrows whizzing down.

The sun is melting the ice. The "wind" whooshes down. I have been caught in the middle of it by surprise.

A magical moment.

New followers a warm welcome.

The branches are covered with ice.

If I look closer.....

.... I can see the "wind".

Silver branches.

It is silent overhere.

A magical moment.

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