Thursday, 24 April 2014

Rhododendrons - seen around our Lakes holiday cottage and White Moss House

Last year I took a few snaps whilst on my favourite short walk. White Moss House to Brockstone holiday cottage, left past White Moss tarn, down to the duck pond above Dove Cottage, then left back along the old road , past Mark the ice cream man ( stopping for a chat), and back to White Moss House.

I took some photos of the local gardens. Here's one of them. For more photos you can click through to my new Grasmere holiday cottage website. 

Here's a sample.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The herb garden is looking good already, and the sweet cicely is ready for the rhubarb.

With a warm winter and spring, our herb garden is already offering a good choice of fresh herbs. Whenever we cook, we just pop out of the back door and pick whatever seems to fit the meal.

Now that the nights are light it's even easier. No need for blind picking when there isn't a torch to hand. Right now I've got lovage,  sweet cicely,  sorrel, mint, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, sage, fennel and marjoram all at hand. Don't think that because you live in the North of England, in a cool , damp climate, you can't grow herbs. You can. We do!

The thyme and rosemary is actually in a pot, which I've kept under the eaves out of the worst of this winter's rain. In past years I've lost the thyme and rosemary, as they hate having their roots permanently wet. This year they're as happy as the proverbial Larry.

Sweet Cicely in White Moss garden.
Hers a picture of sweet cicely in our White Moss herb garden. It will be a week or so before it's as high as this, but the great thing is that there is enough leaf now to add to the wonderful fresh new rhubarb that's in the shops. The sweet cicely cuts the sharpness of the rhubarb, so you don't need so much sugar. Grow sweet cicely and keep the calories down. Add it to fruit dishes and halve the sugar. That's Herb Magic.
Speaking of Herb Magic, here's a book for herb fans that's on my wish list.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Do you grow lovage?

We love lovage ( corny but true)

During our 30 + years as a top restaurant in the Good Food Guide, lovage featured in many of our dishes. Now with the latest fashion for using a wide range of herbs and finding things in hedgerows, lovage is getting more common in the kitchens of top chefs such as Simon Rogan.

Lovage is very easy to grow. Read all about how to grow and use lovage here.

Here in the Lakes our lovage is already 6 inches high in our Grasmere garden and growing every day. Soon we'll be using the leaves in salads, stews, soups, garnishes. Here's a picture if you're not sure what lovage is. It looks a bit like celery and tastes a little like celery.

You can buy lovage plants ready to go from Amazon UK here. If you prefer to buy the seeds, did you know that Amazon also stock a great range of seeds with free delivery if you order several items? Click on the photo to buy Suttons Lovage seeds from Amazon UK.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Why no posts for so long?

Why have I not posted here this year?

Well, it was January and very wet. No gardening to be had. I was away in February, then when I returned in March, it was still wet. Very wet.

The worse thing though was that all the daffodils in our whole garden have been eaten by deer. Usually the large back hillside garden in covered in daffodils that have spread over the life of the house. In our side garden we have the little narcissi that Wordsworth wrote about. You can see and read about them here.

Wordsworth daffodils
These are the Wordsworth daffodils growing wild in our garden in happier years.

In our main garden we also have daffodils that I've planted myself.

All gone.

This is the culprit.

Deer looking down at me from the top of our garden
The deer are not scared any more. They just look at me, as if saying "so? What you gonna do about it?" The whole area around the deer is usually yellow with daffodils at this time of year.

Oh, the woes of gardeners! I'm not alone . Every gardener in Grasmere has a similar tale. It's dispriting.
Shall I even bother to plant anything this year?
Watch this space............