Autumn produce from the garden and a bit of magic

The low, warm, golden, autumn sun has lured me out into the garden, the morning rays highlighting blooms, transforming them into beautiful jewels.

I tried to capture the magical atmosphere with pictures, but sadly they don’t quite compare to the real thing.

nasturtiumA nasturtium radiating the golden light

dahlia-paul-emoryDahlia – Paul Emory

dahlia-halloweenDahlia – Halloween, looking as spooky as a dahlia can get!

dahlia-cafe-au-laitDahlia, Cafe au Lait, shouting ‘put me in vase’!

dahlia-light-yellowDahlia, unknown. Looking very elegant.

dahlia-selinaDahlia Selina, which was glowing in the sunlight

dahlia-rip cityDahlia Rip City, looking mighty fine!

dried-articoke-flowersDried artichoke flowers that will give sone winter structure to the kitchen garden

We’re enjoying the autumn bounty from the garden. Squashes are not only a delicious kitchen delicacy that’ll store throughout the winter. They also make gorgeous table decorations. The usual bunch of garden flowers have made way for a platter of squashes, their colours are inspiring, with fabulous depth, more enticing than a Farrow and Ball colour chart!

squash-table-centreMy squash table centre

squash-honey-bear-crown-princeCrown Prince and Honey Bear, ready to be harvested

the-autumn-squash-bedMy Squash and courgette jungle!

butternut-squash-hunterThis fella sucessfully took my chair out of action this summer!

Every year I grow a few Cape Gooseberry (Physalis) plants; there orange fruits encased in a paper lantern have a unique zing which I find very moreish. They can also be served as an indulgent treat by pealing the paper lantern back to reveal the berry which can be half submerged in melted chocolate then allowed to dry, delicious!

cape-gooseberries-physalisA few Cape Gooseberries, a yummy garden snack

cape-gooseberry-physalis-growingThe delicate Cape Goosebery lantern

My apple thinning quest earlier in the year has paid off. The boring tedious task of thinning bunches of apples down to a pair has meant we have a lovely crop of apples this year.




applesA few shots of this years apple crop

Produce from a friends garden!

SquashI was thrilled to be given this magnificent specimen of a squash as a gift. It looks fabulous on the centre of our table instead of the usual flowers. Memories have flooded back of an autumn trip to the Napa Valley, there was a stunning and very stylish (what I would call rustic chic) display of various varieties of squash in a lovely restaurant in Calistoga. I’m feeling quite inspired, I quite fancy a display of squash next year, there are so many different shapes, colours and textures. Also, a great gift, it definitely makes a change from the usual bunch of flowers. A very sophisticated, earthy beauty of a vegetable. The only slight issue is where to plant them, but, there’s always a way, I’ve never let restricted space constrain me in the past!

The next conundrum, the fate of this wonderful specimen, squash risotto or a Thai curry.

Last few weeks of summer

We’re nearing the end of August and savouring the last few weeks of summer. We’ve had several days of rain in the last couple of weeks, sandwiched between lovely summer sunshine. It feels as though the lower vegetable patch has doubled in size during this time, the gravel paths have been engulfed with luscious vegetable crops making access tricky. Every time I pass the pumpkin patch I discover new ones nestled under their canopy of leaves, it looks like we’ll be having a good Halloween display. We’re cropping a good daily handful of courgettes and the butternut squash is defying all boundaries and crossing not only its borders, but weaving itself through the bean and pumpkin beds as well. The squash are tricky to spot as they’re light green camouflage is yet to turn an autumnal yellow.Vegetable beds in full swing


The bottom vegetable beds in full swing

Back in March the husband and I coppiced one of our cobnut trees, counting the rings on the branches we cut back it had been a good twenty years since it’s last cut. Our plan is to coppice a tree every year on a 5 year rotation, the resulting stakes are kitchen garden treasures; they make beautiful structures for beans to ramble up or to keep the dahlias upright on a windy day. Rustic arches give height, interest and something for the sweet peas to climb up. I banned boring, ugly, utilitarian bamboo canes from the kitchen garden years ago replacing them with charming, irregular, characterful chestnut and hazel stakes. To me the aesthetics of the kitchen garden are as important as its produce. After toil, bad language, and a terrible cobnut branch tangle, our first tree was coppiced and cleared; it seemed such a brutal operation that the chance of its survival was slim. I’m relieved and delighted to say it’s thriving, putting up a great selection of shoots that will no doubt become beautiful, straight, long stakes in 5 years time.

coppiced cobnut treeCoppiced cobnut in March 2015

New growth on the hazelCoppiced cobnut in August 2015