Month: October 2015

October in the Garden

The nights are drawing in, and October will see the clocks going back and the first frosts in colder parts of the country. Gardening time might feel curtailed by the shorter sunlight, but the days are often glorious, with the autumn colour a counterpoint to the light tipping away. I still have some colourful roses Climbers And a sneaky goose In My Garden My roses, grown in the terracotta pots from the Yorkshire Flower Pot Company, have not been really happy despite their sunny and sheltered spot. So I am donating them to a forever home, where they can spread their roots to their hearts content. I have recently planted up those pots with small shrubs, some winter colour and spring flowering bulbs. This one is layered with narcissus Minnow, a multi-headed miniature that will flower in March, and dwarf flowering scillia that will also appear in March, topped off with a Mahonia ‘Winter Sun’. Tucked in are white cyclamen and ivy….a good idea from Monty Don!! I layered the second pot again with Minnow …

How to Dry Hydrangeas

Not wanting to appear big-headed or anything but my garden hydrangeas have been pretty special this year and they’re still going strong! I was in Cambridge last weekend and despite it being October there were some white beauties still in full flower with no sign of the usual fade. Let’s be honest though, it’s not going to be long before the winter chill does cause the flower heads to lose their lustre. Here’s my own method for drying hydrangeas so you can appreciate their mop-heads all year round. Cut stems to around 30cm and strip off all the leaves. Pop into a vase of water with around 10cm of water. Try to limit the number you dry in one vase so the air can easily circulate. If you only have one vase then cut the hydrangeas to varying heights to aid circulation. Position your vase in a cool, dry place avoiding direct sunlight or any radiators. Over the next week or so let the water slowly evaporate. Once the water has disappeared the hydrangeas should …

Giddy Goose at the ‘Thack

The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch, South Milford, is a place on my radar PURELY because it’s my local, does the best food on plates…puts drinks in hand and smiles on faces..and has become the hub of my social life in this delightful North Yorkshire village. I go as often as I can, not just because Annie runs the brilliant book club, but Kirsty the chef changes the menu monthly and Adam knows just how to brew a pot of green tea for me, and every Thursday all cocktails are 2 for 1. And how better to catch up with a dear friend on menu changing day and give Kirsty some eagerly awaited feedback. My choice for starter was potted seafood, with spiced butter and farmhouse toast – I hear that the winkles took some patient extracting from their tiny shells, but they were delicious when potted in butter! For mains I had duck breast and nugget, with butternut squash and damson sauce, a really clever and tasty combination. And I did have a sip …

Indian Summer – Coast and City

Goodbye September, and what an Indian summer it has been, and I have been lucky to escape for several weekends to coast and city, and I also had that delightful little trip to Ireland earlier in the month. I think I have my travel wings back at long last!! The Coast With a wonderfully wide and uninhabited beach, smuggly quiet and secluded, Sandsend, just up the coast from Whitby, is my top place to visit on the North Yorkshire coast and was lucky to find this small but perfectly formed hotel. The Woodlands Hotel   It was tucked into a valley, along a narrow lane just off the main road. The Woodlands has just four spacious bedrooms, and a self- catering cottage, plus a super restaurant and bar, the décor being calming and Gustavian. The food is locally sourced and prepared by owner Caroline and I award her a ‘Goose Star’. The weekend just had to include a jaunt on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway – I loved the smell of steam and we soaked up the …