Shrinking Violet

Latest posts by Shrinking Violet

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?) 

compost heap discoveries

Posted: 30/08/2015 at 12:54

Rats!  Sorted the problem, but have found slow worms nesting (the eggs are fascinating), voles, ants.

Also sympathise re the seedlings:  years and years ago a "friend" gave me some seeds: Nicandra.  At the end of the season, I composted the plants with what I thought were unripe seedheads.  I am still finding the plants popping up, over a decade later!

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