Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

Overview of the summer season- How has your's been?

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 20:01

How odd!  I think you're only a few miles away from me, Philippa (I'm in Porlock) and I have had a rubbish season for parsley - the plants have barely managed a new leaf or two.  The tomatoes were fabulous (and I'm still ripening the last ones indoors).  French and runner beans were embarrassingly prolific, as were the redcurrants, blackcurrants and raspberries.  Still picking chillies, and sweet peppers were pretty good - except they got nobbled by a burrowing caterpillar! (Not wanting anything to go to waste, I cut our the nibbled bits and used the rest).


Olive Trees

Posted: 08/10/2015 at 19:56

Thank you for reminding me!!!  I have an olive in a large planter in the garden - somewhat hidden in the middle of an island bed (don't ask!)  We are finally on the move, so all my potted plants/cuttings are in a huddle on the patio - and I had forgotten all about the olive.  Tomorrow I shall retrieve it, check the shape and overall health, and give it a light prune in the spring. 

It was bought some years ago as a tiny plant at the Eden Project, and has done remarkably well since then.


Strictly is back!

Posted: 30/09/2015 at 19:34

I just love Strictly - and I take it for what it is:  an entertainment show for the first few weeks, and a dance competition when it all starts to get a bit more serious later on. 

I love the glitz and glamour.  I laugh with (but not at) the "dad dancers" and the lumpen routines.  I love the fact that people are prepared to get out of their comfort zone and "give it a go".

Usually the best dancers get through to the final.  Whether or not I like a celeb is neither here nor there - I love watching the progress that they all make (yes, even the Widdies of this world!) and enjoy the whole process.  January, always a dull month, is all the worse for the absence of Strictly.

Aah, well - I'm just a simple soul, easily pleased, perhaps. 

No flowers on gladioli

Posted: 25/09/2015 at 19:58

I bought a bumper bargain bundle of glads and acidantheras together with some oxalis and liatris from Poundland.  Three for the price of two, so I couldn't resist!

I planted them all in late June/early July.  Results thus far:  one clump of glads doing well (though they are all one colour -deep red) and only a couple of acidantheras are in flower.  Only one liatris is in flower, but the other plants look healthy.  The oxalis are spectacular - well worth the ground space!

It was a gamble, given how late it was in the season, but at least they haven't totally disappointed me.  (I wouldn't normally bother with glads, but these are giving a late and welcome burst of colour).

Strictly is back!

Posted: 07/09/2015 at 20:43

Good to see back here, Frank.  We value your insight when it comes to all things dancing.   (Now, sequins, glitter and razzmatazz is another matter ).

I thoroughly enjoyed it on Saturday night:  I was surprised at how unco-ordinated Carol was!  But I expect her popularity on the TV will carry her far.  Too early to make a judgement - but Peter Andre looks pretty good (at dancing,  I mean - dancing!!!)

Only three weeks to go before the competition proper gets going. 

Strictly is back!

Posted: 05/09/2015 at 16:16

Love Strictly - it's worth the end of summer to know that every Saturday I'll get my fix of sequins and showtime!  And a bit of dancing, no doubt. And "It takes Two" every weekday.

Carol Kirkwood looks good - can't wait to see how well she can dance.  But her bubbly personality will carry her a long way (I hope).

So that's autumn viewing sewn up until December, then.  Can't wait

SV aka Strictly's Biggest Fan

wild damsons and apples

Posted: 01/09/2015 at 16:32

Well - I've always understood the bullace to be more rounded, and my Kentish Great, great aunt was quite specific!  Doesn't mean she was right, of course!  But there is confusion, I agree, not least because of cross-pollination.  One thing the experts  seem to agree on is that the sloe is smaller and is the fruit of the blackthorn - which has sharp thorns (and I have had many a scratch to prove it) whereas the bullace doesn't, and fruits are more clustered.

Whatever - they both make pretty decent spirit liqueurs - and I have a couple of bottles that I have patiently waited to mature from last autumn!

wild damsons and apples

Posted: 31/08/2015 at 19:10

If the wild fruit are oblong and purple - they are probably sloes which, incidentally, given the wretched weather this "summer" are a month ahead of normal ripening.  So pick soon (next few weeks) freeze, as already advised, and look forward to sloe gin at Christmas.  (There!  I've said the C word already.  Sorry )

If the fruits are more rounded, they are bullaces - and can be treated as damsons.  Damson gin is almost (hic) as good as sloe gin - pick now and do the necessary, and you'll have the lovely deep purple liqueur by ummmm January!

Or make jam.  Trouble is, I have never found enough of the stones float to the top.  So I use a cherry stoner to pop out the stones.  Tedious - but worth it for the lovely, deep flavour.

BBC -entertainment or education?

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 16:22

Those of a certain age may remember the Potter's Wheel

BBC -entertainment or education?

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 14:40

Liriodendron - you mean acetic acid and sodium chloride are chemicals?  Well - who'd a thunk it .  And how right you are - like E numbers in food, people assume that they are all a hairbreadth away from poison - conveniently forgetting that all sorts of foods have E numbers applied to them.

And other thing I could do without (not thus far on GW, but give it time . . . . ) - presenter does piece to camera while all the background shots are speeded up.  Don't know why on earth they've started doing this - it adds nothing to the visual screening of the subject.

(Come to think of it, apart from shots of Nigel, of course, some of the wandering along paths pushing a wheelbarrow on GW could usefully have that treatment applied - more time for proper gardening?) 

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