Digging for Victory

Chilly nights and frosty mornings are still adorning my part of the world.

Horticulture-wise it’s hard to get much done, but we do little jobs here and there, where the soil isn’t too hard, or too water logged to work. And there are some benefits to these clear and cold days…

like the hundreds and thousands of tiny white jewels dressing the seedheads…

…and the warming sun glares beaming through my work room.

By the way, the outcome of my birthday, which was spent with near and dear, was lovely and sweet (in many a sense) and included several exciting little explorations to the near countryside as well as a quicky to the centre of London. And thank-yous to my sweet fella for all his efforts to make it such a special day!


I hope your weekend treated you alright. I spent some of my weekend sowing seeds for the coming season, but we are still in below average temperatures here in London so we will see if I shall ever be able to plant them out.

That crazy little bunny staring rather mischieviously through the seed window actually lured himself into this photo all by himself! He is the shell of a pencil sharpener from the 1940’s and he keeps me company in my work room looking terribly dashing sitting in his vegetable armchair.

My birthday is coming up and I have plenty of sweet things to prepare and several little excursions to look forward to so I am taking a couple of days off from online life to concentrate on the one here…or should I say there? Have a lovely few days!


I am still here you lovelies. It is just that I have had another sickling to take care of and not much time to spare for those leisurely activities such as blogging. This time it was Harriet, our smallest, who caught the bug, but thankfully she seems to have pulled through, after visits to the vet, twice-a-day medications, a week of sleeping indoors and lots of love and fuss. Here are some other recent mementos:


Autumn is here with all its seeds. We have been seed saving, both for sowing next year and for using in eventual spontaneous crafty projects.


I’ve been baking/eating cinnamon buns sprinkled with nuts and sugar. Have a fancy rest of Wednesday!


When it comes to veg I can be rediculously particular about which varieties I grow. I can be fussy like that, but I actually think it’s important! In the squash patch there must be some “Tromboncinos“, when it comes to lettuce I could not live without “Black Seeded Simpson” and as for tomatoes the “Hillbilly”  just has to be there. The same goes for beans, where there is one that just outshines the other ones for me and that is the implausibly good looking, multipurpose and also forgiving “Borlotti”.


First we harvest it as a french bean, last we harvest it as a dried bean to soak and use in soups and stews during the winter months and inbetween we harvest it as a fresh, delicious and really substantial bean that we use in rich garlicky tomato sauces that we serve with lots of basil.


I’m getting awfully hungry out of all this writing about food, I better get started with dinner. It’s pancakes today. This time with the, for us, unusual ingredient of egg, as Valentine just laid one right on the paving under our little mini plant conservatory!


Our horticultural sensibilities have risen with the season.


Despite the habitual tool stealing and general plunderings (not by us!) our vegetable plots are once again bountiful.1

Recently we took an inspirational trip to Petersham Nurseries, that involved a hefty promenade in the pouring rain, including a walk through a cow’s pasture (sometimes I do love London!) and it was all worth it.


I couldn’t think of a better place for watching the rain, than in the hot, damp, red soiled interiors of Petersham Nurseries, by a woobly old garden table with a cup of Ethiopian coffee in one hand.


This was our first load of purple globe artichokes for the season ready to be boiled in salted water and then eaten with an olive oil and caper “butter”. We’ve had this at least once a week since, with various dressings. So simple and still my favourite way of eating artichokes!


This was my breakfast a couple of days back when we had an amazinly summery day.


Later we went down to the allotments accompanied by a picnic:

ciabatta including ciabatta sandwiches

litchisand litchis


This gentle giant was to become the last of the leeks for the season; except for the ones we’ll leave to flower because I think they’re just so absurdly nice in bloom and we’ll get to look forward to the extra treat of lovely baby leek clusters next winter/spring. I don’t know why not more growers practise this little “perennialising” trick, but I guess I might have other priorities since I’m a bit spoilt for space.


When we went home the ground was covered with these “seed tassels” looking (in my mind) very much like the hand of an eight fingered giant.


They had coloured the whole path was white.

I’m sorry for being so quiet recently. Don’t really know why. Will be back with more soon! xo Bella


I greet you again with a view from the day when I left for my trip. I am so grateful to be back in my quarters with my three lovelies. Ever since I came back I seem to constantly have a cat in my lap.. non stop and who am I to complain?


Apart from the boat trip to Riga (which I shall make a separate post about) I spent some time at my mom’s little cottage sorting out her vegetable bed. Excuse the cheesy “before-and-after” pictures but I couldn’t resist! The photo above is before I had started. It was filled with tree roots so I did a lot of digging and this is how it ended up:


I split the whole bed into four sections (for easy crop rotation) using old planks. At the end (where you see the white labels sticking up) I sowed Red Frills mustard and Yugoslavian Red lettuce saved from my own garden + some carrots and radishes.


It is in a lovely place my mom’s cottage. The nature around it has such a forest like appeal, typical for a lot of Scandinavia, but still it is just by the sea.


I’ll be back again very soon!

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