mandag, juli 28, 2014

The reward

As much as I love roses, along with the rest of the flowers in my garden, I feel this is the real reward for all the hard work and long hours I put into my garden. Fresh vegetables, grown without artificial fertilizers and pesticides, straight from the garden onto the table (and the surplus into the freezer).

No shop bought vegetable ever tastes as good as the ones I grow myself (I know it sounds smug, but it is the simple truth, just the same). Take peas, for example. Frozen peas can be bought cheaply, but compared to the home grown ones, you would not believe they are the same vegetable.

Fresh zucchini has a lovely earthy, nutty flavor, while the shop bought ones tend to have a bitterness to them. Now zucchini is best picked small, but I'm afraid some of mine are bigger than I like them to be (if I just turn my back for a second, they grow bigger than is good for them), but they'll still be good for zucchini gratin and soup.

I have struggled with the french beans this year. Only after the third round of sowing (in mid June!) did they germinate properly. Even though I suspect birds are to blame. Once the tender shoots emerged from the soil, looking like delicious juicy worms (to a bird, that is) they got snapped and pulled up (by the aforementioned birds). Only after I covered the seeds with a sheet, did they manage to grow big enough for the birds to leave them alone. Hence today's small harvest.

Since collecting this lot today, I've shelled and blanched the peas. I've still got the broad beans and sugar snaps to process. Yes, growing your own does require work, time (and patience), but I like to think the wonderful flavour, and the satisfaction I get from the process, outweigh the hours you put into it.

mandag, juli 21, 2014

Beauty and utility

I aim for beauty in my garden (isn't that what all gardeners do...?) I love flowers, and wish to grow them in abundance. I also love vegetables, and grow them for culinary purposes (not to forget the fact that I find vegetables, in their orderly rows, highly appealing too).

A section of our garden was initially established as a cutting- and vegetable garden. We plated honeysuckle to climb along the arches that crossed the raised beds. But unfortunately the cold, hard winters put an effective stop to that particular activity. Yet the arches remained.

This spring I sowed some sugar snap seeds in the soil next to the arches. Lo and behold... after a few weeks the plants started to climb vigorously along the arches. Beauty and utility... and sugar snaps to sweeten my salads.

But I only had one set of arches, while I have two sets of raised beds. So the other day hubby got into action, and made another set of the desired arches. So far they stand tall and bare, but come next spring, sugar snaps are bound to climb upwards along them too.

Meanwhile the beds are a motley crowd of various hardy perennials and annuals, that have found their way there, more or less uninvited. Last autumn we emptied the compost bin into the raised beds (for soil improvement), with these highly unplanned beds as a result. Yet I find them even more charming for that very reason...

lørdag, juli 19, 2014

Light, delicate, dreamy...

As my last crochet blanket was rather colourful and busy, I wanted my new one to be light, delicate and dreamy.

I wanted soft alpaca, delicate colours. And nothing too busy. Once I saw this lovely blanket I knew here was the inspiration I'd been looking for. Pixie at The Crafte Nook had in turn been inspired by this blanket.

While I love both of these blankets and the wonderful colours used, I wanted to make mine... shall I say... 'light, delicate and dreamy'. And soft. So I chose alpaca from Sandnes Garn.

So... here I go again. A new crochet blanket in the making.

tirsdag, juli 15, 2014

Helen's garden

As much as I love my garden, and as much as I want to spend all my spare time in it, there is always the lure of other gardens to visit, that I find hard to resist. Here in Norway there surely is no finer garden than that of Helen Fredholm's.

Helen has created an amazing, lush cottage garden on the grounds of her home in Toten, Norway. She also generously opens her garden to the public on summer weekends. So on Sunday we made Helen's garden our destination.

I have been lucky enough to attend one of Helen's garden design classes some years ago, and visited her garden a couple of times. It is such a treat to enter this magic, romantic world of Helen's, to be guided by her around the beautiful grounds.

I love her roses (I have to admit I have acquired several roses after having seen hers), perennials and her general colour scheme. Helen loves purple, lilac, blue, pink and white flowers, and the way she plants them together just makes my heart sing.

I'm afraid my photos do not in any way do justice to her beautiful garden. Not to worry, Helen's own photos are breathtaking, and can now be admired (along with her story about the garden) in her latest book. Needless to say, her book came home with me (along with yet another rose (Louise Odier) and two blue clematis viticella).

(On a different note, thank you all for your wonderful comments in regards to 'my Insta moment'. You are one amazing, generous lot ;-)

lørdag, juli 12, 2014

My 'Insta moment'

No, you will not find 'Mias Landliv' on Instagram. So far I have not been tempted to join. But I can see the charm in just posting a few quick photos, instead of writing a whole blogpost. To write a post I think I need to have something to say, a story to tell or so forth. Not just a few random photos taken during the day or week, just because I enjoyed taking them (and might wish to share...) But today I'll pretend I'm on Instagram, and post a few pics (garden related, I'm afraid) with only a few words attached to each one.

Roses, roses... (Felicite Parmentier)

Roses (Felicite Parmentier), delphiniums and catmint.

Roses (Maiden's Blush) and laundry rack.

Roses (Felicite Parmentier), catmint and favourite wicker seat overlooking the garden.

Evening sun in the garden.

Potatoes have never looked better or more promising.

Roses (Raubritter) spilling over the white picket fence.

So... this is my 'Insta moment'. Mostly pics, only a few words. Next time I hope I'll have something more to say, maybe even a story to tell. Until then...

onsdag, juli 09, 2014

High summer

High summer... the sun is high up on the sky, the temperatures are high... and the activity levels are low.

We are having some wonderful summer weather at the moment (30C is rather more than we bargained for, but we are loving it).

Not much is being done here, as we prefer to lounge in the shade, under the parasol, sipping cool drinks.

Dinner is a summer favourite too... prawns (garnished with dill, lemon juice and mayo), garlic bread and chilled white wine. No cooking, yet a wonderful taste of summer.

Long may it last. The warm summer weather, that is.

I hope the sun is shining for you too...

mandag, juli 07, 2014

Before the rain

It has rained today. A lot. Not the soft summer kind that my flowers and I prefer, but the heavy downpour kind that makes tall slender flower stems break under the weight of wet heavy flower heads.

The weather forecast predicted the rain to start around midday. Before it was expected I grabbed my camera and took a few shots (just in case the weather man was right... Wonder why he never seems to fail when it comes to foul weather, but does so more often than not when it comes to predicting fair weather...?)

And right he was. We had rain, we had thunder. I retreated into my studio, and started working on the new rosy quilt (as seen in my previous entry), and prayed that the rain would not do too much damage.

My prayers were not answered. But at least I've got these few photos of proud delphiniums and delicate roses, before any damage was done. And no, they do not look like this any more...

We did need rain. Or more so, the garden did. But maybe not in such generous quantities. Never mind, at least the lawn will be green... And I've got my photos to prove how the rest used to look...