London (change)
Today 10°C / 1°C
Tomorrow 4°C / 1°C


Latest posts by obelixx


Posted: 25/11/2013 at 16:14

Bulb fennel is best eaten when the white, fleshy part gets about as wide as a tennis ball and no wider than 4"/10cms.   Dig it up with a fork then trim off the roots at the base.   The white part is cooked and the green frothy frondy bits can be used as a garnish or in salads but the green stems are best composted.

Baked Fennel with Goat's Cheese 4 or more, depending

 This quantity is for 4 as a vegetarian meal. It's also good with simply grilled pork, chicken or fish and will then feed 6 to 8. 

4              bulbs of fennel
30g          butter
1              lemon, juice only
4 tbs        water
6              sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
30g          pine nuts
150g         goats' cheese log

Heat the oven to 200C.   Trim the fennel and cut through the middle into 2 and then cut each half again 2 or 3 times to make wedges.   Place these in a shallow oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle on the lemon juice and water and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes.   Drain.

 Slice the tomatoes and sprinkle over the fennel, followed by the pine nuts and crumbled goats' cheese.   Drizzle with olive oil (from the tomatoes if you have some) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes till the cheese is browned.

It's also good raw, sliced thinly in salads and there are plenty more recipes here - 


Who lives in a microclimate?

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 14:37

My garden is in open countryside with no shelter except what I've planted.  The land rises a few metres behind us to the north side so frost rolls down from the fields against the back of the house.  I once had -32C in this frost pocket and - 25C on the warmer south facing front of the house.  That's colder than the Ardennes and a good 5 or 6 degrees colder than the town just 3kms to the west.

Definitely a micro climate with its own wee pockets of extremes.

Weather Forecasting? Don't get me started

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 13:18

My kitchen ahs windows at either end and sometiles teh wetaher to th enorth is very different from that to the south and sometimes we have clear blue above the house while there are big clouds on both horizons.   I can see weather fronts approaching and passing by and sometils have rai at the back but not at the front.

Like Dove, I have a local micro climate so it can hotter or colder here than just 2 or 3 kms up the road and very different from Brussels just 30 miles away.   Like Berghill, I watch the BBC satellite photos and wonder when they were taken as they don't rfelect reality.   The main Belgian service is no better.   Looking out to the west is usually a good way of forecasting what's coming.

Christmas trees...

Posted: 25/11/2013 at 09:08

We always used to buy rooted trees of the non needle shedding variety but only one ever survived once planted out and it's now about 20' tall.   For the last couple of years we've bought cut trees of the non shedding variety - less expensive but still pricey as we like a good 6' or 7' tree.    I have an old galvanised laundry tub that I've painted red and stencilled with gold snow flakes and Xmas trees which means we can give a good water supply and a couple of stones for stability.

Moles AND Crane flies

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 22:45

Here in Belgium we can buy a device called a Détaupeur which translates as de-moler.   It is a battery powered machine which ignites a small explosive charge laid in the tunnel when moley comes along and makes the connection.    You can't buy them in the UK but they're available in France and Belgium if any of you is planning a holiday and wants to google for suppliers.

We used ours successfully for several years but now we have two dogs and don't want to risk one of them setting one off by mistake so we put up with moles and mole hills and the terrier cross occasioanlly digging for China when she hears a mole on the move.   The worst periods are spring when they're tunnelling to find a mate and then mid to late summer when the babies leave the nest and head off to find their own territories.

However, like Berghill, we've had our share of expensive plants lost and veggie crops ruined because their roots have been tunneled as well as people injured because they've walked on a collapsing tunnel in the lawn and dreadful spinal pain for me when walking on ground made uneven didn't help with my slippe ddiscs and trapped nerves.  Makes mowing the grass a bit bumpy too.

Problem Pelargoniums

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 22:31

Too sudden a heat change?  Maybe you broke up the roots too much when you potted them and they couldn't recover? 

weeping willow

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 17:00

It might be a Kilmarnock willow and they do look pretty awful through summer.  Theyr'e grafted onto a root stock so don't get any higher but do get wider and the branches are often too long for their height.  Deeply unattractive IMHO.

Bug Hotel

Posted: 22/11/2013 at 14:58

Different sizes for different insects.   Use dry hollow stems such as bamboo canes tied in bundles and stuffed in some old pipe or a bird's nest box with the front taken off.  If drilling in a block of wood use a 6, 8 and 10 bit for diffrent size holes.

planting Hawthorh from cuttings

Posted: 21/11/2013 at 13:36

We have a very good stretch of hawthorn hedge planted as a single row of whips 10 years ago.  We prepared the ground well and trimmed them back to 9" after planting in late November.   They grew 6' in their first year.   We pruned them back again to about 3' to thicken them up and now keep the whole hedge about 6' high.   It makes an excellent wind break for that part of the garden and provides food and shelter for birds and insects.

You'd get a similar effect form sowing seeds but it would take just a bit longer and you'd have to weigh up the cost of seed trays and pots and compost against the cost of the whips.

Jet Washers

Posted: 21/11/2013 at 12:31

OH bought one of those attachments for us too.  Very pleased with himself for getting it a good reduced price - except our terrace and front paths are old granite setts so not flat enough.   Doh!

Discussions started by obelixx

Chelsea photos

Replies: 36    Views: 1385
Last Post: 02/06/2014 at 09:30

Hello Jro - and any other old friends

Catch up chat 
Replies: 3    Views: 642
Last Post: 27/05/2013 at 09:18

Mare's tail

Replies: 3    Views: 837
Last Post: 01/08/2013 at 17:01

Encouraging bats in our gardens

Replies: 23    Views: 1212
Last Post: 26/04/2013 at 21:35

Beechgrove this weekend

Replies: 6    Views: 668
Last Post: 12/04/2013 at 11:05

Weekend 22 March

Chat about plans for the weekend 
Replies: 108    Views: 3698
Last Post: 24/03/2013 at 18:19

Good Morning - 21 March

Replies: 33    Views: 1718
Last Post: 22/03/2013 at 09:57

Choosing chillies

Replies: 3    Views: 972
Last Post: 23/02/2013 at 18:47

Hanging baskets and window boxes

Replies: 32    Views: 2418
Last Post: 03/03/2013 at 18:12

New shed - any tips?

Replies: 18    Views: 8180
Last Post: 12/01/2013 at 08:55
10 threads returned