Tuesday, 26 May 2015


So Sian returns from the allotment last evening with some leeks, grown from tiny plants sown in Essex by my sister, nurtured in one of S’s raised beds and sent down to the Allotment some months ago. A great result now I am wondering how to cook them.  I think this recipe 

Clams with leek, fennel and parsley
Though you could add a twirl of al dente spaghetti or linguine to this dish, it is the fragrant, briny broth that delights – better with a crusty loaf and a spoon.
 Serves 2
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
1 large leek, trimmed and finely diced
Salt and pepper
1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
A pinch of red pepper flakes
1 kg small clams, scrubbed
A splash of white wine
2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped spring onions/Lemon Wedges

1 In a wide, deep pot, heat the olive oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened – about 5 minutes.

2 Season with salt and pepper, then add the fennel seeds, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Add the clams, turn the heat to high, and stir well with a wooden spoon to coat.

3 Splash in the wine, put on the lid, and continue to cook until all the clams have opened – about 5 to 6 minutes.

4 Stir in the parsley and spring onions. Spoon the clams and broth into bowls. Serve with lemon wedges.

One Good Dish by David Tanis (Artisan Books)

Monday, 25 May 2015


New to me, it appears if you want a spring-flowering display to go on as long as possible, plant separate layers of different varieties of bulbs in one pot. Its about timing, just as any fading bulb foliage starts to look untidy, useful things like geraniums into play!

Sian set to with Tulips and Anemones (tulips not shown here) with some lovely pink geraniums saved from last year.

Thursday, 14 May 2015


Training Geranium 

The other day Sian returned from a Garden Centre near Bagshot proffering a lovely trailing geranium, an act designed to distract from other purchases or the prelude to asking help in a garden chore.

Either way geraniums are a favourite flower.  

Geraniums are part of the Pelargonium genus of flowering plants, which includes about 200 species of perennials, succulents, and shrubs!

I am not sure if this directly applies to my plant, however pelargonium have been used for intestinal problems, wounds and respiratory ailments: good to know.

Pelargoniums rank as one of the highest number of potted flowering plants sold. Certainly they were going gangbusters at B&Q the other day.

Sunday, 10 May 2015


Up at the allotment the other day; Could I be forgiven for thinking that the numerous plastic chairs next to particular Plots were for my benefit? These seats provide the lack lustre artist with a resting place.

Little time to rest for people that actually do the work. There is lamentation and gnashing of teeth as a few frosts have taken their toll of some of the potatoes. Slugs are about and looking for runner bean plants.  These must be the early onslaughts.

A dry Spring too this year, hence the watering cans of all sizes and shapes that are dotted around and about.

Oh well we all need rest and water.

Friday, 8 May 2015



By the end of last weekend many more allotment beds were showing a fine tilth and had been planted or were soon to be.

On one particular part of the Allotments everything was very much in apple pie order, complete with apple blossom! All of this reminded me of the lengths to which we would go at school to make our beds and other tidying to ensure we would have a fighting chance of winning the Dormitory Trophy.

A tidy (seed) bed is a happy seedbed.