Wednesday 28 February 2018

Around the garden on this last day of February in 2018

 During the last few days many parts of this country have received snow carried over by a reverse Jet Stream from Russia, but not as much as predicted by the weathermen.  However, it appears to have totally ignored us - this is the sunny aspect from our front porch today along with lovely blue skies, but in the shadows there is a bitter chill in the air.

Tuesday 20 February 2018

A Spicy Snack

Roasted chickpeas + spices makes a delicious snack. They are also good as a topping on soup or add crunchy flavour to a salad.

 Line a roasting tin with parchment paper then scatter all of the chickpeas in a single layer removing any loose skins
Dry roast for 30 mins at Fan 190℃
 Whilst roasting tip into a bowl a little rapeseed (canola) oil, or whatever you prefer - just enough to coat the chickpeas when they leave the oven.

 Prepare one teaspn each of smoked paprika, ground corriander, ground cummin, and cayenne pepper.
Take the chickpeas from the oven, toss in the oil and then add the spices and mix well.  Return the chickpeas back to the oven raising the temperature to fan 200℃ and cook for a further 10-15 mins until they are golden and crunchie.

Thursday 15 February 2018

'Cotswold Farm' Gardens - visited 5th February 2018

Common Snowdrop Galanthus Nivalis
As Mother Nature lifts her winter veil those much loved harbingers of Spring, the snowdrops, are once again nodding their heads in greeting. In February many gardens open their gates to the public giving anyone who is interested a chance to catch these first signs of spring. 
In this area of the Cotswolds there are five particularly renowned snowdrop gardens. Having shown two of them - Newark Park in 2013 and the Rococo Gardens in 2016 this third one has a completely different ambience. The house and the garden were both designed in the local vernacular 'Cotswold Arts and Crafts' style overlooking a quiet valley. In the 1930s, Norman Jewson, the Arts and Crafts architect/designer used local stone for the garden terraces which gradually descend down the side of the valley.
The house was originally a small Cotswold stone farmhouse with a stone barn and cow byre forming a small farmyard. The original farmhouse dates back over 300 years but the stone barns were added 100 years later. In 1900 the house was doubled in size, and then in 1926 Sydney Barnsley, the eminent Cotswold architect/designer was employed to add two new wings in the 'Arts and Crafts' style. Norman Jewson at that time was his assistant, but eventually became responsible for completing the work following Barnsley's death. 
 Chimonanthus praecox - wintersweet - Japanese allspice - native to China 

The garden holds  62 different varieties of snowdrop - these are Galanthus Hill Poe
It is extremely difficult to photograph the underside of a snowdrop without lying on the cold ground so this snowdrop was brought indoors. 

Galanthus Natalie Garton

The terracing gently leads you down to the foot of the valley and the Bog garden.
I do hope that the blight on this Box topiary has the same strain of disease that my plants suffered from. To my delight, and most curiously, my box balls have now completely recovered and regrown.
dwarf Iris alida
Helleborus argutifolius 
 Leucojum vernum - spring snowflake 

Although this pretty little flower is a member of the same family as a snowdrop and is a similar size it has 6 corolla (petals) all of the same length, whereas the common snowdrop Galanthus nivalis has three main petals and three more tiny inner ones. 
The entrance driveway lined with staddle stones.

Wednesday 14 February 2018

Valentine's Day Greetings

The Kiss - Gustav Klimt
 Love Messenger - Marie Spartali Stillman  
This painting reveals a 'double edged sword' by showing the dependable love and beauty of the goddess Venus in the form of two symbols - a dove and a single red rose. Her love is compared to the unpredictable love of her son Cupid, whose image appears on the embroidery. Cupid holds a bow and arrow, loaded and ready to shoot, but the omens look uncertain as he is blindfolded.
The Kiss - Francesco Hayez 
The Black Brunswicker - John Everett Millais   
It is the eve of the battle at Waterloo, but the soldier's sweetheart, wearing a ball gown, restrains him and tries to push the door closed, whilst he gently but firmly pulls it open.
The Black Brunswickers were a special troop raised by Frederick William Duke of Brunswick (1771-1815) in 1809. The regiment consisted of the best German gentlemen and was known as the ‘Death or Glory’, a name derived from their distinctive death’s head hat badge and their apparent devotion to duty. The troops suffered severe losses at the battle of Quatre Bras, Waterloo in 1815.  Millais used Kate, Charles Dickens daughter, as the model.

The Garden of Love - Peter Paul Rubens 
This painting celebrates Rubens marriage to Helena Fourment, his second wife, who was sixteen years old when they married and Rubens was fiftythree. She was deemed 'the most beautiful women in Antwerp'. In the painting she is shown on the left being nudged along by a cupid.
The scene shows a group of people frolicking around in an idealised garden where cupids carry symbols of marital love including a pair of doves. The fountain
showing Venus nursing a baby and a sculpture of the three Graces all signify fertility and nuptial happiness. The peacock symbolises the goddess Juno, protector of marriage.
Love stamp (1973) designed by Robert Indiana - an American artist associated with the pop art movement
The Kiss - Edvard Munch
April Love - Arthur Hughes
A young woman looks down at fallen rose petals as her hidden suitor bends to kiss her hand. The petals symbolise the fragility of young love. 
This painting was exhibited at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1856, and following the exhibition it was bought by William Morris. He narrowly beat John Ruskin to the purchase who also desired it
paintings via wiki