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The Goodness of Vegetables



I’ve been busy over the past few months and hadn’t got around to pulling out the old winter vegetables and planting summer vegetables.

This tardiness resulted in some unexpected additions to my garden.

A few winter vegetables began to flower and some very pretty blooms popped up.

The prettiest were the carrots whose flowers resembled the delicate heads of the popular garden plant ‘Queen Anne’s Lace.’

‘Queen Anne’s Lace’ is actually member of the carrot family and is sometimes called ‘Wild Carrot,’ this is why it looks similar to my carrot flower.

This week the winter vegetables have finally been pulled out and summer ones planted.

Before pulling the carrots out I cut their flowers and created a floral arrangement for my dining room.

I couldn’t waste such beautiful blooms, even if they do belong to carrots.

Cut flowers, that’s an unexpected benefit of growing vegetables-they really are plants with prodigious goodness.






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Green Card Dreaming


Do you remember the film Green Card, about a New York horticulturist who marries a Frenchman?

They were virtual strangers and the union was one of convenience. It allowed him to obtain a Green Card and for her to live in a beautiful apartment where the body cooperate demanded residents be married.

Green Card stared Andie MacDowell and Gérard Depardieu.

For me, the real star of the film was the conservatory attached to Andie MacDowell’s apartment.

I can understand why she married a virtual stranger for this apartment and its glorious conservatory.

At the rear of the conservatory was an exquisite Italianate wall fountain.

It was a simple fountain, bordered by an arch of weathered cream bricks and backed with a distressed wall decorated in a checkerboard pattern.

Water fell gently from a modest tap into a shell shaped bowl and then into a small semicircular fishpond. The sound created by its lightly cascading water was tranquil but unobtrusive.

How I covet that fountain, I don’t know how many times I have paused the movie just to have a close look at it.

Sadly, I don’t have a fountain in my garden, but if I did it would be just like the ‘Green Card’ one.

Instead I have made do with a miniature fountain which I have placed in a pot of maidenhair ferns, here is a photo. Look a little similar?

I call it my ‘Green Card Dreaming Garden.’

Maybe one day I will have an Italianate wall fountain but in the mean time I will just have to watch the movie and dream.

I hope the pause button on my remote continues to work.


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Constance Spry

With Christmas coming I need to refer to my copy of ‘Constance Spry’s Cookery Book’-for seasonal recipes such as Christmas cake, plum pudding and ham glaze.

It was first published in 1956 and has since become a cook’s bible.

Constance Spry was an extraordinary woman. Born in 1886, she became a lecturer for the Irish Women’s National Health Association after studying hygiene, physiology and nursing.

At the beginning of WW1 she was secretary of the Dublin Red Cross. Constance then continued her war effort in England becoming head of women’s staff at the Ministry of Aircraft Production.

A period as a leading women’s educator followed when she oversaw the education of factory girls in London’s East End.

In 1929 she opened a florist shop which became fashionable, creating floral arrangements for royal weddings and the Queen’s coronation.

Constance Spry then established a domestic science school in 1946 and wrote her famous cookery book with Rosemary Hume.

One of her many interests was cultivating old varieties of roses. She brought the antique style of roses back into fashion. In 1961, a young rose breeder called David Austin honoured her with his first commercial rose by naming it, Constance Spry.’

The photographs show ‘Constance Spry’ roses rambling up a large Ironbark tree in my garden.

I can’t decide which is more pretty; the extravagant pink blooms or the perfect tight buds which are a deeper shade of pink.

All these years after her death in 1960, the remarkable Constance Spry still enriches our modern gardens and kitchens.

Now let me see, which page has her recipe for brandy butter?