Sunday 28 October 2012

First real frost

Very cold this morning - bright sunshine and a bitter north wind. There was ice on the fountain and a spattering of white snow. I abandoned plans for weeding and just dashed out to pick raspberries - about 3 lbs - and 4lbs of tomatoes from the greenhouse which I'll ripen on the kitchen window sill.
I brought some of the tender plants into the conservatory for the winter - geraniums, fuchsia and bougainvillea. The geraniums keep flowering all winter and will brighten up the grey days.

Friday 26 October 2012

Turning yellow

Yellow tones in the maple and walnut trees. Golden hosta leaves below the rockery.
Yesterday we did a quick trip to family in Dublin. Driving along by Phoenix Park the trees were so beautiful with reds and oranges and browns intermingled with dark green.

Last weekend I took some photos of Froggarts Cottage Garden with the foliage on trees, bushes and herbaceous plants like hostas turning distinctly yellow. We arrived home from the airport at midnight to see a carpet of yellow leaves blown down from the big ash trees in the  the field. Today the ash trees and the walnuts and maples are beginning to look very bare. Seems like we're not getting the vivid colours we have some years. Perhaps it was the lack of sunshine this year. The golden yellows are beautiful anyway.
Redcurrant bushes are turning yellow and starting to shed leaves

More yellow tinges, set off with the black-eyed daisies which have flowered all summer long

Variagated shrub with extra autumn hues
Don't know the name of this lovely small tree. It has beech-like leaves and small yellow flowers
in the early spring before the leaves come out.
The last of the squashes - colourful "Celebration".

Monday 15 October 2012

Weekend chores

The weekend was sunny at times after a light frost and ver calm but on both afternoons it rained so there was only time for a bit of tidying up.

The brussel sprouts are looking better now - although some have been eaten by slugs and are stumpy and bare. I hoed around them but didn't have time to stake them up. Our neighbour at the top of the hill has a large plot with all his brussel sprouts standing like soldiers each with a nice stick holding them up. Earlier his onions were beautiful - all big and uniform and no sign of the deadly allium leaf miner that has ruined our onions and leeks last year and shallots this year.

I cleared out the Cuore D'albengo tomatoes in the grenhouse which didn't do as well as those in the conservatory and tidied up some space ready for big pots of potatoes. The potato yield this year wasn't good so we're going to need some extra ones to get through till next year. We usually grow some in pots or bags from February but thought we'd give it a go right away. They'll be protected from weather and pests in the greenhouse.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Tomato Soup

This morning I looked at the growing number of punnets and bowls of tomatoes in the fridge and thought SOUP! The Big Boy and Cuore d'albengo tomatoes are easy to peel encouraged just a little bit by a bowl of hot water. They also don't have many seeds so the yield is very good. So to make yummy tomato soup:

  • Destalk and peel the tomatoes and remove most of the pips
  • Keep as much juice as possible
  • Add a little salt and black pepper (according to how you like it)
  • Whizz in batches in the liquidizer
That's it - no cooking, no stock - just tomatoes.
Serve warm or cold with a swirl of cream.
You can freeze it in plastic tubs to cheer you up in the winter.

Cuore d'albengo tomatoes 

Monday 8 October 2012

Autumn flowers

It's really Autumn now - cold nights (2-3 degrees C) and bright sun over the weekend, but today is grey and misty. The leaves on the trees and shrubs are beginning to turn and some are even falling. The plum trees are completely bare of leaves. There are still a few bright spots with these late bloomers:

Miniature Cyclamen

Japanese Anenomes

Michaelmas Daisies

Rose flower, bud and bright red rose-hips