Friday, December 30, 2011

It's been a rather busy, and sad festive season mountainside and it feels like I've dropped more balls than I've had in the air, if such a thing is possible. New Year's resolutions abound and without going into all the boring details, paying more attention to this blog is one of them. Though I'm not overly interested in the moment the clock strikes twelve, I am very happy to celebrate the fact that I've persisted with Magic Garden, both on the ground and here, in the ether. I'm not going dwell on the disappointments of the last year, suffice to say, there won't be any green tomato chutney at our next Christmas feast... but these are some of the most recent highlights...

This time last year, I was in an extremely reflective mood. Our new baby had just come home from hospital after an ever-so-scary bout of viral meningitis and I was full of gratitude that we were home, that she was on the mend and so conscious of the lovely friends and family who supported us so wonderfully during that time. I love the idea of using plants and gardens to commemorate important events, whether they're joyous or solemn and when I was in hospital with Miss E, it bothered me greatly that I hadn't planted the magnolia I'd bought to mark her birth. Getting that plant in the ground was top of my to-do list, come the New Year. I'm just so pleased to present this image of her Magnolia's first flower! I love how the blossom is sheathed by its petals, how the pollen has fallen, that this plant has thrived in step with our little girl.

Our big girl is not quite as helpful in Magic Garden as I'd like; her weeding skills are yet to come to the fore! But she is very good at picking posies and strawberries...though it was a challenge to get this shot before she ate them all. Planting fruit and veggies that little people can help to harvest is so rewarding and the one of the best ways to get them interested in trying different types of produce. Who cares if they're not good at weeding as long as they eat healthily!

Two new crops I planted this year were garlic and broadbeans. Both required some discipline in the preparation stakes - that is I actually planted them when I was supposed to. I should have double the amount of garlic but I made a slight error in two of the patches, oversowing with a clever clover mix that I chose to let go...and go...until it flowered and I realised that Id created too much competition in the bed for the garlic to really succeed. Companion planting is all very well, but it does pay to actually follow the tried and tested suggestions, I guess, rather than make up your own...

And here are my broad beauties! Miss C and I planted the seeds together on one of the rare occasions that popping in seeds has held her interest. She wasn't blown away by the taste of the fresh beans, straight from the pod but I was and I have been busily cooking with them ever since. I think my fava favourite is to blend them up with lemon juice and a little salt and pepper, then serve as a bruschetta topping. Top with some fetta or goat's cheese marinated in olive oil and share. Bon appetit and happy new year.

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