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Still lifes February 19 2016

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

Playing around with high ISOs on the Canon to add a bit of texture to these pictures of plants around the house. 

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

House Plant Still Life

 


January - Making Marmalade January 22 2016

Hello, it’s Gabriella here from Mangia Bene blog. I’m looking after things at What You Sow HQ for the next few weeks whilst Lyndsey is away on her travels. I’ll be posting some food related garden posts so stay tuned… This week it’s marmalade.

homemade-marmalade

January might seem a bit gloomy to some (including me!), but after attending The Garden House marmalade making session it didn’t seem that bad after all. Whilst preparing the oranges we spoke about what January meant to us. It made me think about my family in Italy. It’s at this time of year they start pressing the olives to make their own olive oil. I haven’t managed to make it over to Puglia in January yet, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. We also spoke about New Years resolutions, which made me think that, that should be mine - go to Puglia in January and to make some olive oil. It’s now written down on my list. My favourite January antidote of the evening was about gaining more light each day. From here on in each day we gain two whole more minutes of light. Yay, that made me so happy! Spring is upon us (well, nearly).

Anyway January is nearly over now and that means the short, but very much loved season of the bitter Seville oranges is nearly over too. These oranges are shipped over in their thousands from sunny Spain so us British can have our beloved ‘Marmalade on Toast’. It’s easier to make than you think and great for homemade gifts. These What You Sow labels are perfect to decorate your jars.

Having a sugar thermometer handy would be an extra help, the setting point you’re looking for is 105C. See below the recipe that we used on Tuesday evening. I’ve also got a marmalade recipe on my blog. Have fun preserving!

Garden House Seville Orange Marmalade

IngredientsMakes about 3.5kg

1.4kg   Seville Oranges

1tsp    Salt

2.7kg   Granulated Sugar

2          Lemons (juiced)

 homemade-marmalade

homemade-marmalade

 

Method

  1. Scrub the oranges and put them whole into a large preserving pan along with 2.4 litres of water and the salt. Cover with a lid and simmer the fruit gently until soft. This takes about 1 hour.
  2. Strain off and reserve the liquid. Half the fruit, scoop out the pith and pips with a spoon and put this into a small saucepan. Add another 300ml of water to the pan of pith and pips and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Coarsely slice the orange peel and add to the reserved liquid in the preserving pan. Strain the liquid from the pith and pips and add this liquid to the large pan. Add the lemon juice and sugar, and heat slowly to dissolve the sugar completely, stirring all the time. Increase the heat and bring to a rapid boil, until the setting point is reached. (if using a thermometer it should be at 105C, but still do the saucer test aswell)
  4. To test the setting point, put a saucer in the fridge to cool. When you think the marmalade might be ready, put a spoonful of the boiling jam onto the saucer. Return the saucer to the fridge. Once it’s cold the jam should wrinkle when you push it with your finger.
  5. After taking the marmalade off the heat, remove the scum from the surface with a spoon.
  6. Allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes – or the fruit peel will all float to the top. Stir once and pour into warm sterilised dry jars. Put a greaseproof disc on the top of each jar and cover immediately.


Alpine Strawberries October 29 2015

Alpine Strawberries in OctoberAlpine Strawberries in October

This is exciting. It's October and we have strawberries in the garden. 

Alpine Strawberries in OctoberAlpine Strawberries in OctoberAlpine Strawberries in October


Cosmos October 25 2015

Cosmoscosmoscosmoscosmos

A Homegrown Fayre in East Brighton October 17 2015

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Pickles and beer

Today we attended the first ever Homegrown Fayre at Brighton's community owned pub The Bevy. As well as pumpkin carving, a raffle, and a selection of delectable goodies  the main draw was the competition, where people could enter their homemade and homegrown goodies to be judged by the wonderful Bridgette Saunders of The Garden House

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Pumpkin

I'm delighted to be able to tell you that the Hawberry Ketchup that Gabriella and I made is now an award winning ketchup - securing second prize in the pickling category! Yippee! 

hawberry ketchup

Here are some pictures of the day:

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Giant Pumpkin   The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Homegrown flowers

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Jam.    The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Pumpkins

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Homegrown produce   The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Jam

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Pumpkins   The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Pumpkins

The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Bridge and Dave.    The Bevy Homegrown fayre. Veg

 


An actual miracle. September 09 2015

Hey everyone, remember these guys from back in May?

We chopped up the stem of this succulent and hoped that something magical would happen. 

Propagating Aeonium with What You Sow      Propagating Aeonium with What You Sow

Look what happened!!

They are growing into actual tiny plants!

Propagating Aeonium with What You Sow

Propagating Aeonium with What You SowPropagating Aeonium with What You SowPropagating Aeonium with What You SowPropagating Aeonium with What You SowPropagating Aeonium with What You Sow

Sometimes I feel a bit disenchanted with the world and then something like this happens and it's all okay again. 

 

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A stroll around the garden September 03 2015

I haven't really taken my camera into the garden since Gardening Group finished in June, and apart from the cocktail party and the flower arranging workshop, I've hardly even used it at all. 

September is my favourite month, it always is. As the weather begins to get crisp, it's time to wear thick socks and more layers. Leaves begin to fall, yet the occasional warm day will still occur and dinners outside involve blankets on our knees. The garden is full of colour and you can almost live off the harvest from the food you've grown yourselves. The bright colours of late summer blooms mix with the muted tones of seed heads and red leaves. And it feels like a time of new beginnings. 

This morning I took a turn around the garden.

Here's what I found, in no particular order. 

Dahlia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Dahlia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Dahlia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Dahlia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Dahlia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Alpine Strawberry. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Artichoke seed heads. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Dahlia bud. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Honesty seeds.A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Logs. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Poppy Seeds heads. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Begonia. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Poppy Seed head. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Poppy seed heads. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Red hot pokers. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Echeveria. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Poppy seed head. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Nasturtium. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Raspberry. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Sunflower. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

Rhodochiton. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow    Green tomatoes. A September stroll around the garden with What You Sow

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How to do the flowers - Miss Mole's advice on flower arranging August 05 2015

Miss Mole's Flower Emporium

In July, Miss Mole of Miss Mole's Flower Emporium came to The Garden House to give us some pointers on flower arranging. 

<p>She gave us plenty of advice for keeping flowers:</p> <ul> <li><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Always cut stems at an angle</span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Sugar, bleach and plant food in the water will all help keep </span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">cut </span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">flowers </span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">looking fresh </span><span style="line-height: 1.4;">for longer</span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Remove dead flowers from your bouquet as they will release ethylene and make the other flowers die</span></li> <li><span style="line-height: 1.4;">Completely change your water every 3 days</span></li> </ul>

She gave us plenty of advice for keeping flowers:

  • Always cut stems at an angle
  • Sugar, bleach and plant food in the water will all help keep cut flowers looking fresh for longer
  • Remove dead flowers from your bouquet as they will release ethylene and make the other flowers die
  • Completely change your water every 3 days

Miss Moles' Flower Emporium Miss Moles' Flower Emporium

She showed us how to make a bouquet by choosing flowers and foliage then turning the bouquet in your hand as you keep adding to it. 

Miss Moles' Flower Emporium  Miss Moles' Flower Emporium

Then she showed us how to make a simple buttonhole using a carnation. 

Miss Moles' Flower Emporium  Miss Moles' Flower Emporium

 


Using all the colours - Edible flowers in cocktails July 23 2015

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

Summer is glorious this year, and with it comes the garden all full of colour, more so in July than at any other time of the year.

Inspired by this wonderful colour, I decided to hold a cocktail party last week in the garden room, to celebrate my thirty-something birthday. My idea was that we would collect all the edible flowers from around the garden and use them to make our cocktails look pretty.

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails       What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

In advance, I also made some rose infused vodka and raspberry sugar syrup with ingredients from the garden. We created our own signature cocktail and I’ll post the recipes for all of those over the next day or so.

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

Anyway, with the help of my besties Amy and Claire (aka Super + Super), we gathered all our favourite edible flowers from the Garden House garden in advance of the birthday bash.

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

The party was quite splendid, and everyone loved being able to choose from a selection of flower cocktail garnishes and paper straws to create their own cocktail.

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

Everyone should have edible flowers in their drinks at this time of year, so to help you choose some for your own party, here are some tips and ideas for flowers and herbs you can use without poisoning your friends.

What You Sow's tips:

  1. Pick the flowers a few hours in advance of your event with long stems that you can leave in water until people use them. This will keep them looking fresh and save you running around last minute when you should be putting on your makeup/ doing up your bow tie. We cut our flowers at 5pm and they were still looking fresh when we cleaned up at midnight.
  2. More is more. As Rupaul says “Don’t be afraid to use all the colours in the crayon box”. This mantra should be applied to life, love, and edible flowers. Use all the colours at your disposal.
  3. Get yourself some snips. Cutting the stems cleanly with a sharp blade will help the flowers survive a little bit longer during the party and protect the remaining plant from pests and diseases. Snips come in handy for most flowers, for woodier stems (like rosemary) you’ll need secateurs.
  4. Only pick what you need. Your cocktail party will last just 2 terrific hours, so leave enough flowers to enjoy in the garden for the rest of the summer.
  5. Ask a neighbour. If you don’t have your own edible flowers, many of the flowers and herbs on the list below can be found wild or in your neighbours’ front garden. Make sure you ask permission first and you might even make some new friends.
  6. Paper straws make every drink look pretty. You can find pretty paper straws online at What You Sow and Papermash, and on the high street in Tiger. Use paper cups too and pop them onto the compost afterwards.

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

So here are some of my favourite plants to use in your cocktails with links to some ideas of how to use them:

Flowers

  • Borage (perfect in water kefir, a la Silo Brighton)
  • Nasturtium
  • Dianthus
  • Cornflower
  • Honeysuckle (I love how the Midnight Apothecary use them.) 
  • Viola
  • Lavender
  • Geranium leaves
  • Chamomile
  • Feverfew
  • Hibiscus (congratulations if you have managed to grow these in your garden in England)

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

And earlier in the year

  • Dandelion
  • Primrose
  • Elderflower (the stems can be poisonous so just use the flowers)

Petals

  • Rose
  • Fuchsia (the purple petals look amazing on a chocolate cake)
  • Marigold (Calendula)

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

Herbs

  • Rosemary (shake with a whisky sour)
  • Mint (especially in mojitos)
  • Lavender
  • Parsley
  • Basil
  • Lemon Verbena

Soft Fruit

  • Raspberries/ redcurrants/ blueberries/ wild strawberries still on the stem (use cocktail cherries on the end to weigh them down)
  • Strawberry slices

So that's what we're using in our cocktails at the moment. What edible flowers have you been using to make your drinks look pretty?

What You Sow shows you how to use edible flowers in cocktails

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We bid adieu to Wednesday Gardening Group June 03 2015

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

I think there’s such a thing as the ultimate weather for gardening and today I think we found it. It’s been raining the past few days so the ground was lovely and soft, the sun was shining and a soft breeze was blowing, a contrast to the gales of the last few days.

It was the last session of Wednesday gardening club today, next week we’ll round off with a shared lunch together then that’s it! It’s been such a lovely thing to get involved with. A fantastic group of people and a great opportunity to get out in the garden for a few hours each week and learn about what needs doing.

Here we are going for a wander round the garden before we got stuck in to our tasks:

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

This afternoon we split into two groups to focus on two key areas of the garden. The landscaped beds near the garden room and the vegetable patch.

You’ll remember that we removed the Phormium a few weeks ago (the week so aptly described by Kate as snailageddon) leaving a huge space which today was planted up with some beautiful things.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.           Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

The theme was pink and purple, this south facing bed gets a lot of sunlight so will look amazing.

Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Many of the shrubs we planted (*below) can be cut back in spring and will produce really good purple leaves, here’s a list of them:

A few perennials were added too:

And finally some annuals to fill the gaps in between:

It’s going to be a showstopper.

Meanwhile at the other end of the garden we were working hard to get the vegetable patch looking tip top.

Much of the red mustard and some of the brassicas had gone to flower so we cut off the tops of those and tidied them up then staked up the broad beans that had taken a battering from the wind.

Red mustard. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.           Broad beans after being staked and tied. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Staking the broad beans. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

We planted out a crimson variety of broad beans which you can see Kate holding in their former pot

below and some beautiful tree spinach which looked as though it had been sprayed with colour. And finally a couple of the pumpkins went into the bed too.

Crimson variety of broad beans. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

PLanting the tree spinach. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Crimson variety of broad beans. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Tree spinach. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

Green and purple are such a match made in heaven.

We also did a lot of weeding of the vegetable bed which was extremely relaxing (ie. my favourite kind of gardening). It was as though I’d been on a mindfulness course and I felt very zen by the end of it. The ground was so soft that the weeds came out easily by the entire roots and we managed to cover loads of ground.

Vegetable patch. Garden House Brighton by What You Sow.

A wonderful day’s achievements made the perfect end to our course. 

 

 

Read more from the Wednesday Gardening Group and you can see all the pictures we've taken over the past few months in an album by The Garden House on facebook.

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