It’s been three months since I’ve written to you all. Although I haven’t sent a newsletter out, I have been doing things behind the scenes.
I had young granddaughters staying recently. One of our rituals when they come is to walk around the garden with their flower baskets, picking flowers, and sometimes leaves, of their choice. The comment was made that there would be no point going around the garden at this time of the year as there would be nothing to pick. I guaranteed that their baskets would be full when we finished the walk. And they were. Erlicheer daffodils or Narcissus ‘Erlicheer’ (well named I think), Daphne bholua, rosemary, red and white camellias, Corsican hellebores, hydrangeas, penstemons, rocket flowers, Hebe ‘La Seduisante’, and Leucojum vernum or Spring snowflakes were some of the flowers that we gathered.
When we came inside the girls asked me for vases and they spent the next hour at the dining table chatting and making beautiful arrangements which were then placed throughout the house. Budding gardeners!
Photo 1: The red berries on the four standard Ilex ‘Hendersonii’ are welcoming on the grey winter days at Frensham. J Nicholas.
Photo 2: A rambling collection of winter roses, or hellebores, has seeded in this garden and are offset in winter by the dark wine-red stems of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’. These stems or branches hold less colour throughout the rest of the year. J.Nicholas
Photo 3: The hydrangeas have been pruned on this year’s flowering stems only as they flower on second year wood. The flaky bark of the paper barked maple, Acer griseum, stands out particularly well in winter. J.Nicholas
Photo 4: I do like how the soft wines and greens have blended together in this scene. Clumps of the star jasmine and Michaelmas daisy gone-to-seed in the foreground are backed with buildings where the frames have been painted in very pale green (the summer house, the garage and the house), whilst the winter sun catches the tops of the macrocarpa hedge which protects us from the southerly winds. The colours of the bricks of the buildings blends well. J.Nicholas
As I write, clumps of snowdrops are in flower, trilliums are pushing their noses through the soil, and Hamamelis ‘Diane’, one of the witch-hazels, is starting to flower.
Savoury Spiced Granola: Marilyn McRae
This is easy to make, very versatile and makes a great gift in a glass jar.
It’s delicious served on soups, sprinkled over steamed or stir fried veg; try it sprinkled onto macaroni or cauliflower cheese as you serve it; it’s equally good on a salad or coleslaw. Endless possibilities!
Heat the oven to 160 degrees and have ready a large slice tin.
In a large bowl put 3 cups of jumbo rolled oats, 1 cup of mixed seeds, 1 cup of mixed nuts (NOT roasted), and a 250g can of chickpeas, drained and patted dry (optional).
Add spices to taste… my latest batch I used 2 tsp turmeric, 3 tsps curry powder, 2 tsps ground cumin, 2 tsps Massel chicken stock powder (or use preferred brand and adjust the salt to taste), 1 tsp sea salt.
Toss to combine, pour in 1/3 c oil (rice bran, coconut oil or similar) and mix well. Tip into tray and spread out.
Bake 15 minutes, remove tray from oven and stir contents; bake another 5-10 minutes depending on how toasty you like it. Check seasoning and add more salt if needed.
Spices can be varied e.g.: you could try chilli flakes or smoked paprika instead of curry and so on.
It makes a big batch so if you’re not planning on sharing, you could halve the recipe!
Best wishes to you all
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061