Thursday, March 26, 2009

Happiness Can Be Bought

in big cardboard boxes stuffed to the gills with garden-y goodness!
They say money can't buy you love, but it certainly can buy happiness and loads of it.
Last Saturday for slightly more than 20 euros I bought these plants for my garden.
Some were put into containers to enhance the enjoyment that is gardening. These plants above not only gladden the eye but the nose as well. I love scented plants and can never ever have enough of them. These little darlings are now comfortably ensconced in my potager on a little table right next to my Victorian greenhouse. So every time I pop in and out of the greenhouse my nose curls with delight and when I sit at the table I'm in danger of getting entirely too frivolous for my own good because the flower-y fragrance goes straight to my head, and in a big way. Who needs cocaine when you can have this? It may be equally addictive, but much better for your health and general well being, wouldn't you agree?
The other plants I popped in my new border to enable the resident gardener to a spot of spirit lifting from practically every room of the house. And some spirit lifting is required today as it's raining. Again!

In other news today: YE is

Sentimental, moi? Pull the other one! I'll have you know that I'm, according to the Jung-Briggs-Meyers typology, a Rationalist Mastermind. There, it's been scientifically proven that I'm a rationalist so it must be true. ;-)
I do hope that you have joined me in the sowing of the seeds of love, and love it is indeed, because what spells love more clearly than making this planet of ours even more beautiful with our environmental friendly gardens and sowing, growing and preparing the food for our loved ones with our own fair(ly mucky) hands?
Sowing the seeds of love is probably the most sensible and loving thing any one of us could ever do.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Monday, March 23, 2009

Have Seed, Will Sow!

For all my visitors who have never done a spot of sowing before, here follows a simple demonstration of how to go about it. Cue my charming assistant:

Tara : Got seed, can I sow now?
YE: Yes Tara, this is the time of year when many seeds can be sown.
Tara: What should I do first?
YE: Prepare the soil by removing all weeds, then lightly rake it and water it.
YE: I said lightly rake it, not make a whopping big hole in it!
Tara: Sorry!
Tara: Is this better?
YE: Much better and if you would stop jumping up and down I might actually be able to focus while I take a pic.
Tara: Sorry! Now what do I do next?
YE: Sprinkle the seeds thinly over the soil.
Tara: OK!
YE: I said the seeds, the seeds, not the &^*%$#* packet!
Tara: So sorry! Is this better?
YE: Yes.
Tara: What should I do next?
YE: Cover the seeds with a thin layer of soil and label it so that you know what you've sown and when.
Tara: I can do that!
YE: Well done, Tara! Now all you have to do is wait.
Tara: I can do that.
Tara: Is it time yet?
YE: No.
Tara: Are they coming up?
YE: No.
Tara: Is it now?
YE: No, not yet.
Tara: I've been waiting an awfully long time, have the seeds come up yet?
YE: Yes, they have.

YE: Well done Tara, you've successfully sown your first batch of seeds. Tara? Tara? Now where did she go?
Tara: Look, I've found another packet of seeds. I want to sow them, can I?

As you can see, dear visitor, sowing seeds is as easy as falling out of the apple tree. If even a little 6 month old puppy can do it, you can do it too. It's easy, cheap, fun and the end result is very rewarding.You can raise practically almost anything from seed: vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers and even trees.
Here's something that I prepared earlier,
and so is this.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

Message for my Dutch visitors:

Ik heb een nieuwe tuinblog in het Nederlands en je vindt hem hier.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Alive and Kicking!

is what my garden is today. Such a relief after weeks of being cooped up inside, desperate for the garden to show us a leaf, give us a bloom, anything, something, if only a smidgen, and now it has, and how!

If you are in need of some uplifting play the vid and don't be ashamed to do the Snoopy Dance of Joy because you are alive and kicking too!

For those of you who are not quite sure what the Snoopy Dance of Joy actually is, watch this tutorial above.

Since last Sunday we have had sunshine every day and that has made such a difference to the garden, suddenly it has woken up and it certainly is alive and kicking.
I was a bit worried about the new border where most new plants had gone in last October and then we had this very cold winter with lots of frost and temperatures around minus 15 C. We haven't had temperatures like that for ages and I could only keep my fingers crossed that my new plants had found enough time to put down some roots before Winter struck with a vengeance.
And while I was weeding the new border yesterday I found that most plants are alive and kicking as they are already pushing up leaves. I think that at least 95 % has survived. Phew! The new border is still a bit bare so that means lots of weeding this year.
But it's fun to see the first spring in my new border with Irises making their debut,
my beautiful Hellebore that was transplanted last Autumn doing quite well,
the new Hellebore that's really showing off its beautiful flowers,
the pretty daffodils that are waving their golden trumpets about with gay abandon,
the grape hyacinths poking their sleepy heads through the sun kissed earth,
and, to my surprise, I found the first tulip showing off its pretty spring frock yesterday.
Close to the birdbath I found this little ornamental grass with its frivolous bottle brushes and on the lawn I caught Mr Toad doing his rounds. Another one that's alive and kicking!
It was very nice and warm outside, around 16 C, and as it was sunny and my back garden is very sheltered I was able to garden wearing only jeans and a t-shirt. In March! Gobsmackingly amazing, wouldn't you say?
Although it was decidedly Spring-y in the garden, in the conservatory Summer reigned with temperatures of 26 C. No wonder all members of the Bliss team were in the conservatory alive and snoozing!
Of course I had to bring a bit of Spring sunshine into the living room. It may not be Spring officially yet, but it certainly feels that way here so I thought I'd share it with the many of my garden blogging friends who are still waiting for Spring to knock at their garden gates. Hope this post and vid has brought a bit of Spring to you today and that you are about to indulge in a spot of Snoopy Dancing. You know you want to!

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen

A garden is a good place for a person who doesn't like authority, who likes sharing authority, who doesn't like feeling helpless and who doesn't like making others feel helpless. I would even say that the garden is the perfect place for the exercise of democracy.
Jamaica Kincaid

Monday, March 16, 2009

Pea Brained!

is what you are if you don't grow peas in your garden this year. What's that you whine? You don't have a vegetable garden? And what does that have to do with the price of teabags these days? Haven't you heard? There's no law against growing veggies in amongst your flowers. On the contrary, it's often very beneficial to both and the gardener as well. Fresh veggies are tasty and healthy and, if you do it like I do, they can be very pretty too.
These are a few of the peas I'm growing from seed this year;
sugar peas, they are very easy to grow, taste delicious and you can harvest them for months.
They look great in your border or flower bed with their pretty little white flowers. They are climbers so you have to have a frame for them. In my nick of the woods you can sow them directly in the soil (after soaking them in water overnight) in April. The germination rate is very high, always a plus in my gardening book.
This is what they look like when they are ready to harvest and don't they look pretty in their spring green frocks?
Sugar peas are easy to cook; just wash them, put them in a pan, add water until they are barely covered. Bring water to the boil and cook them for 5 to 7 minutes. Serve them with a little knob of butter.
I'm also growing peas and frankly if you have never tasted peas straight from the pod you haven't really lived. Eating them that way is such a delight, like a mini explosion of spring in your mouth, so tender and sweet. There is however one drawback; if you've eaten them like that frozen peas and tinned ones will never satisfy you ever again unless you enjoy the taste of sawdust.

Growing them is as easy as falling off the compost heap; you grow them exactly the same as sugar peas. The only difference is that this time you let the pods swell until they have the desired juicy little peas inside them.
This is what you end up with, a basket full of culinary joy. The purple pods? Well, that brings me to another kind of pea I'm growing this year
capucijners, at least that's what we call them in my country. It's something we eat quite a lot but it is apparently practically unheard of in other countries so it may be unfamiliar to you. Its botanical name is Pisum savitum, which is exactly the same as the pea so that's not helping but, after a prolonged spot of googling, I found out that the Brits call them marrow fat peas.
Not the most appetising of names but believe you me, tasty capucijners most certainly are. Here you can mostly buy them dried, tinned or in glass jars, it's not often that you can buy them fresh and that is exactly why I grow them myself.
And just look at those pretty purple and pink flowers, gorgeous enough to grow in your flower border.
Those purple pods would also look very pretty in your border, wouldn't you say? It's almost a shame to pick them but as soon as they are ready; pick them, shell them, rinse them, put in pan with a bit of water, boil for 10 minutes and serve with a little knob of butter.
My capucijners are already in the ground; I'm growing them, just like the peas and the sugar peas in my new border. The capucijners will look great growing in amongst the purple and pink flowers on the right side of the border. I'm expecting the first harvest to be around half June, can't wait to have them fresh on my plate!
Kadootje is checking out a basket full of happiness: sugar peas, broad beans, savory and sweet peas. Which brings me nicely to another pea I'm growing
the sweet pea. I always buy the scented ones, Lathyrus odoratus and I'm having great expectations about these ones.. ;-) And where will they grow this year? Well, in my veggie garden of course.
You grow sweet peas exactly like peas but this time it's the flowers you're after. The more you pick, the more the plant produces. Be sure to feed your sweet peas well and you will be rewarded with a plethora of flowers.
A tiny bouquet like this is able to perfume a whole room. I have little bunches of them dotted around my whole house, utter Bliss. A word to the wise, be sure to never grow peas on the same spot but choose a different spot each year instead.

After reading all this you may rightly conclude that yours truly has peas on the brain but that's quite a step up from being pea brained, wouldn't you say? Do yourself a big favour and go and buy them, sow them & enjoy them in the garden, on your plate or in a vase. There is only one genuine excuse for not growing peas and that's when your climate is not suitable.

copyright 2009 Y.E.W. Heuzen