Friday, 11 September 2009

Fiery Crab Apple Jelly

The trees are groaning with fruit right now and we have a mission this weekend to make crab apple jelly....its delicious and such a gorgeous colour when 'John Downie' crab apples are used. I have been growing chillies in hanging baskets, right besides the kitchen door. Some of them will be added to the crab apple mixture, to provide extra fire, and give zingy tang to winter feasts.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Chelsea Chop or Flop

Last May I cut back great swathes of sedum in the garden, a third off every stem. Soon all the stems were re-shooting and now they are coming into flower and the bees are loving them. I shall certainly do it next year...stop the flop, give it the chop!

Which echincea? Cone or not?

We have lots of echinaceas to choose from these days and they all have merits; but if well grown 'White Swan' takes some beating. 'Fatal Attraction' is one I absolutely cherish for its wonderful dark stems and rich deep pink flowers but 'White Swan' has more prominent cones and what is more they hold their form well into the autumn and winter, unlike those of 'Fatal Attraction' which soon disintegrate. 'Green Envy' is certainly a talking point and one which seems to flower very well. As for winter cones, I can't remember!

Friday, 4 September 2009

A busman's holiday in Berlin

In August Simon and I attended a gardening course in Berlin which followed the recent German love affair with herbaceous plants and grasses. But we couldnot go all that way without a visit to the fantastic Garden Park of Sanssouci built for Frederick the Great. The project began on 10 August 1744 and fulfilled his wish to create a series of vine terraces. It is an incredible feat of engineering with convex centres to maximise the sun light .

It is our great luck that the garden has recently been restored with vines growing along the top of each terrace, in low fashion, while tall vines are trained up each tier of the supporting walls,all interplanted with figs.

The Great Fountain was built in 1748 and the marble statues were added soon afterwards.

It looked incredible from the top. It looked incredible as we walked down all the steps (well over 100) and looked even more incredible from down below looking back up the hillside. I loved the curved centres of the terraces, and the curves of the sweeping steps. The yew pyramids acted as great counterpoints.