Thursday, 31 March 2011

Another book review and this one is a GIVEAWAY PRIZE

I received another gorgeous book to review on Monday, I wasn't expecting this one and it's all about Roses.
David Austin Roses to be precise 'English Roses'.
It's a newly published book again by Conran octopus and in fact the information sheet I received says it's due out on 7th April 2011, so it may not be available to buy until then ( I haven't checked)
It's called 'The English Roses' By David Austin, and as it says on the inside of the sleeve - I quote :-

With photographs of superb rose gardens and advice on growing and maintaining his roses, David Austin's 'The English Roses' is an essential reference for every rose lover and gardener.

Having looked through this beautiful book with it's stunning photographs I heartily agree with the quote.
It's a large coffee table book, it's worth £30 publishers price and it's going to be my giveaway to one lucky person out there.  As much as I would like to keep it, I don't grow roses even though I love them. So I would like to share my good fortune of receiving the book with someone who does grow and love roses.
I have never done a giveaway before but have seen them on others blogs and actually won a voucher to spend at 'Lands End' from Damo's blog, so I know how it feels to win.
I will keep the giveaway open from  March 31st until  12th April  and then I will get a friend to pull a name out of the hat.

To enter for a chance to win this great book, just leave a comment telling me your favourite English Rose and with a link so you can be contacted. and then post a mention on your blog about this giveaway and add this link

I am sorry to say that I can only post to the UK as I went to the post office this morning to get it weighed (it's a heavy book) and it's quite a lot just to post in the UK, so I really can't send it overseas. SORRY !

PLEASE  let others know about the giveaway.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A lovely day out

I still haven't put those broad beans in their prepared bed at the allotment ! yesterday was spent weeding the garden at home and generally tidying up and moving a few plants around.

Today we fancied a break from gardening and the allotment, so we took ourselves off for the day the sky was blue when we started off just after lunch

We saw lots of daffodils

And the world was a beautiful place to be.

By the time we got home though it had started to rain and judging by the puddles in our garden we had had quite a downpour whilst we were out. Ah well ! we had a lovely day, tomorrow perhaps the broad beans will get planted !

100 Followers  YAY !!
I can remember the day I got my first follower, I was amazed and delighted and now today the total reached 100 ! amazing ! So very soon I am going to do a giveaway to celebrate the 100 mark. Watch this space as I think you will like it.

Book review - Dan Pearson

I feel very fortunate to have been asked if I would do a book review on Dan Pearson's new book
HOME GROUND : Sanctuary in the City.  Published 21st March 2011  by Conran Octopus

I received my copy on Saturday and it's such a beautiful book.  The cover is dreamy and it has a nice feel about it, I couldn't wait to open it and see what it was like. I wasn't disappointed ! the photography  (by Howard Sooley) is superb and it follows Dan for a year whilst he transforms  his garden in Peckham, South East London,  from an overgrown, bramble covered plot into his own Oasis amidst the hustle and bustle of London.

Dan's book isn't the usual gardening book in that it doesn't tell you how to garden, but leads you through the year in a series of diary like entries which are arranged in seasons. Much can be learned from this book and it certainly gives inspiration and ideas for planting and choosing plants.

It's worth shopping around if you consider buying the book as prices vary.  I think it's worth buying and it's such a pleasure to look through.  It's also the kind of book that you can dip into to read and  it looks good on the coffee table.  Below is a YouTube link that takes you to a short video with Dan Pearson talking about his book. It's really worth watching as his garden is lovely.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Catching up on the Plot

I have been busy on the allotment since last week as I'm sure most of you have too what with this amazing weather we have been having ( well it has been here in Hampshire anyway !) I actually spent from 11.30 am to 4.55 pm on Tuesday up there digging and shifting manure by the barrow loads, and I have finally got the bed ready for the broad beans to go in over the week-end or early next week. See how they have grown it's amazing how sturdy they are and the roots are coming out the bottom of the root trainers.

As they were from a few weeks ago

And here they are today
The bed is all ready and when I get them in I will cover them until all frosts have gone, even though they have been hardened off each day for a couple of weeks . You can see the bed where I added lots of manure. The plot is looking bare now but I have so many seeds on the go that it should look very good in a couple of months. I also planted spinach on Tuesday, so that should be up as it takes no time at all to appear.

The potatoes are chitting and I will also get them in next week as they are first earlies, so maybe should have been in by now. We don't eat a lot of potatoes, so I don't grow that many now.
My garden is looking pretty and there are lots of lovely spring flowers about the place. The Hyacinths are fantastic and fill the air with the most amazing scent, especially in the evening. They are just outside the kitchen door and placed near a seating area so we get a whiff of them every so often, I must grow more next year. They seem a popular cut flower too, even Tesco has started selling them in their flower section, but at £5 a small bunch it's got to be cheaper to grow a bed of them to cut on the allotment.

The heather behind the Buddha is looking great I love the colour, it's a welcome sight and it's been flowering for ages. I am so glad I didn't pull up the Rudbeckia  plants that i grew from seed last year, I thought they were dead but I spotted this one sending up a new shoot this morning.
I hope you all have a great week-end and that you get done all you need to do in the garden or on the allotment.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

CSN Stores UK - Review

I have received the items I chose to review from CSN Stores UK and now I will give you my honest opinion of their online shopping experience.

First of all I would like to say that from ordering to delivery was a couple of days. I ordered on the 16th of March and had both of my goods delivered by the 18th March, so very speedy and ordering online was easy and they take all manner of credit/debit cards and even PayPal, so very straight forward.

CSN state that they are the cheapest online, so I shopped around and sure enough they were for the items I chose, even cheaper than Amazon and John Lewis.

Here are the two Items I chose:

A beautiful  'Raymond Blanc' by Anolon, top range,  saute pan and it's just  beautiful and so lovely to use.

The second item I chose is a French ' Emile Henry' Pie dish. I have always meant to buy a proper pie dish and this one is so lovely and will be well used.

I did look at all the Saucepan Sets  in the store, but decided on the saute pan as it's something I probably wouldn't have bought for myself  if I wasn't doing the Review for CSN, so a big thank you to them.

My honest opinion then is that I would shop with them again and would definitely recommend them to family and  friends. They have a vast amount of goods ranging from an egg whisk to large items of furniture not all cheap, but definately competitive on prices and lot's of unusual things.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Sad and Happy ! is that possible ?

I just felt that I needed to post and say how sad I feel with all that is happening recently in the world, and especially in Japan. My younger son came back from Japan just a couple of weeks ago where he and his friends spent two weeks skiing and had a wonderful time, he loved it there.  I feel so happy that he returned before this disaster and is safe.  The dreadful pictures in the paper and on the news each day make me count my blessings and thank God for all the simple pleasures that I have in my life. As I sow my seeds and watch them grow it makes me realise that nature cannot be controlled even if we think it can be. I'm sure everyone feels this sadness too and it's dreadful that we are all unable to help in a big way, but I'm sure all our pennies count. It's a dreadful time for the people of Japan and I'ts going to be a very long time before they get the country back on it's feet again, such great sadness, and all we can do is watch and pray for them.

On a lighter note I have been to the allotment and dug over the beds ready for the planting to begin and the broad beans are growing at a speedy rate and I hope to get them in their bed and covered under a cloche in a couple of weeks. The tomatoes are growing well and I have pricked them out today and potted them on.
I now need to pot on the chillies, peppers, and the flowers seeds that I have all over the house on every windowsill.

CSN Stores UK
I have been looking at a shopping site called  CSN Stores UK, you may have heard of it as I know other bloggers who have reviewed their products. Seeing as I have two wedding to attend this year one being in Italy, YEAH !!  this shopping site is an Aladdin's cave of wonderful gift ideas to suit all pockets and tastes their  cookware and especially the selection of Saucepans are fantastic. So not only have I been looking for wedding presents, but I am going to review something for them from the store, which I will blog about soon.
If your looking to treat yourself or have a special present to buy take a look at their website.

I hope all your seed planting and plant growing is going well.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Oh my how they've grown !!

I planted some seeds on Monday 29th Feb and popped them on the bedroom windowsill covered in plastic bags and to my amazement they are up already. The first to appear were the 'Cosmos' seeds.  I sowed 'Cosmos double click'  Cosmos brights and 'Sonata' and then the Zinnia's 'Faberge' ( fabulous colours)  were up.  Next up were the chillies and the  peppers and coriander are just starting to peep through.

Of course I am delighted, but now starts the job I dread which is pricking out and potting on. It's not so much the job as the question 'Where the heck am I going to put all these plants' ????? it's too early too put them in the cold greenhouse at the allotment, so I will have to keep them in the two mini-greenhouses (plastic covered type) that I have in the garden. These will soon fill up as I already have my broad beans and onion seeds in one of them.  Oh well that will teach me not to be so impatient !


I think it must be as the evidence is all around us. There are beautiful Spring flowers everywhere.  The Pansies in my front garden are so lovely and were planted last Autumn and survived the freezing winter. They really are  amazing plants for value, cheerfulness and colour, I love them.

I hope you all have a lovely week-end and that we all get some sunshine.
M x

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Teasing myself with photo's of what's to come !

We went up to the allotment today to check on the Tayberry which came from Stephen at Victoriana Nursery and I was excited to see that many buds have opened and little curly leaves are unfurling. It looks very healthy

There was gorgeous rhubarb up and lots more peeping out. I have to admit to being over the top with the rhubarb planting and have about 6 plants of different varieties, but my daughter is going to have a couple of plants on her plot as I really don't have the room for them as they get bigger.

The garlic is doing well, still a bit spindly but it was only planted in the autumn so has a while to fatten up yet. I have two varieties in one being 'Cristo' and the other is a french one that I can't remember off hand.

The purple sprouting broccoli is only just beginning to sprout, I do hope I get a good harvest as I love it.

And we still have some parsnips to harvest. I dug up a lot last week which is now in the garage awaiting to be made into curried parsnip soup Mmmmmm. I will need that bed soon so the rest will need to come up in the next week or so.

Here are the photo's  I have been teasing myself with ! I can't imagine the plot looking like this again, but I know it will with a bit of hard graft.  Oh I just can't wait, it look so full and lush.