Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hedge Funds

When we bought the house 20 years ago there was no division between our neighbours' backyard and our own, save the obvious changeover where the lawn became field.
He is a bowler and maintains a smooth, if mossy green at all times.
It was very convenient for the kids to play together, and they had a trampoline at that time which was another reason to hop over and hop next door.
Now and again when I forgot to give them breakfast, the boys would begin to eat the crusts that they threw out on the lawn for the birds...oops.

When it got particularly long,  he would come over and mow our grass too on that shared slope and this has engendered a lot of neighbourly goodwill.
However, the wind sweeps across there and in the interests of shelter for both, and privacy at last, for them, we planted a hedge this Sunday.
Now is always a good time to bank a bit of goodwill into our neighbourly account. 
Top Photo: The back of the tunnel house. The borage flowers were the icing on the cake for my entry in the 'Salad Bowl for One' competition at Garden Club this week.
I would have a photo right here of the card and prize I won for Judges Choice if I had thought of it sooner. That's right, Judges  Choice, the best prize of all. But getting back to the hedge...

Here's Bill liftting a double strip of turf. We borrowed another neighbour's spade so we could both dig. I just happen to be taking the photo. I also took the opportunity to lark off and cut the overgrown top hedge back a bit to let in more light for the new hedge.

Here they are laid out. They were each awarded a shovel of compost, just enough to make them welcome, not enough for prolific growth. Some good things can take a very long time.With  20cm of hedge to show after 20 years we are hardly going to rush things now.

We flipped the turf and butted it in snugly. The plan is to mulch them with grass clippings now to suppress the grass beneath. Hopefully that's all that is required for a year or two.

Now inside the glasshouse, looking a bit topsy turvey. The observant eye will note lettuce amongst the red orach explosion, potato in bucket for the vege club 'Potato in Bucket' Competition (grow potato, grow) and lone tomato, Kakanui 2000. In the foreground are my little Capri and a few Blackjack cherry tomato seedlings. Plus emergent pumpkin seedlings  galore from the buried bokashi.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Only the best will do

One of Gore's many charms is the spring show, I mean that in a collective way, I didn't go to 'the show' or anything.  There's all the public beds and the amazing central gardens but the domestic gardens are outstanding.
Not necessarily  in imagination or design (without excluding that possibility), but the volume and colour, bulbs, blossom, WoW.  September is the time to go to Gore and do a drive round; even the cemetery puts on a show so you can't say they're not catering for every body. He heh.
But to the plant in hand, French Tarragon, that's French for anyone who didn't hear me and you know who you are. It's not as hardy as the Russian or nearly as common. The craft shop had a little plant tray outside the main door, main street, Gore. Gosh that place reminds me of Groundhog Day. It's this seemingly insignificant town that is full of treasures like a great fish and chip shop, and a vibrant community no doubt, maybe even animals that hibernate over the winter.
I came away with the best souvenir from that little stall,  some interesting plants out of somebody's interesting garden.
These photos now are a bit old news. I collected all my out of date lettuce seed into one big mesclun mix and planted out a cold frame with it. Only 2 of the seed types seem to be viable at this stage. Good to have a clean out of old seed.
And this one, starting off the tomatoes for another year. This year, a few blackjack and about 10 Capri and that will fill up the space. Lots of little plants to give away. Just remind me.
I went up to feed the chickens early one morning and here they were stretching their legs, despite their new capacious extended run up the back. Thank goodness they haven't reached the silverbeet I thought... but there aren't many in the house who would be thinking that.  
And finally I found this photo on the camera. Seeing as it's school holidays I will include the recipe.
Perhaps someone in the house can make it.
Incidentally don't use Pams cocoa  for this. But standard Cadbury will do.
Cuts into 32 big triangles. That is 16 squares cut in half. 
Caramel square.
  • 200g butter
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1/2 C self raising flour
  • 1/4 C cocoa
Step 1
Cream the butter and sugar and stir in sifted dry ingredients.
Press evenly into a largish tin. Bigger than a 20 x 30 cm sponge roll tin.  
I put a peice of gladwrap on top and flatten it with my hands.
Bake at 175 degrees celcius for about 15 minutes.
Step 2
  • 1 T butter,
  • 2 T golden syrup
  • 1 Can condensed milk.
 Melt the butter and syrup together then stir in the condensed milk.
 Pour this evenly over the par-cooked base.
Step 3
  • 80g butter
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1C flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 T cocoa
Cream the butter and sugar.
Stir in the sifted dry ingredients.
crumble over the caramel layer.
Bake a further 20 minutes until the caramel is brown around the edges of  the tray.
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