Saturday, 2 September 2017

My garden right now: Autumn 2017 #mygardenrightnow

This weekend is the Autumn edition of My Garden Right Now. I took part in the early Spring (March) and Chelsea Fringe (June) editions, focusing upon my garden in pots. This time the focus is on resting in the garden.

Due to a variety of reasons, my chronic illness, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), has not improved, and in fact I'm doing less in the garden than in May. This is very frustrating, but this is as things are, so I'm adapting as best I can.

What I am doing regularly in the garden right now, is resting in my comfy chair with a cup of tea and a Tunnock's Teacake, listening to my favourite podcast, The British History Podcast, which is what the picture above represents.

My garden right now is mainly a place of rest. It is a place of quiet enjoyment of two of my favourite things, being in the garden, and learning more about British History. It's a good place to be.

I'd love to see your garden right now. Leave a comment with a link below and I'll come and visit!

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Thanks to Michelle for continuing this project. Visit Michelle's blog for links to other gardens right now, and for information on how you can take part too. And check out the hashtag on Twitter: #mygardenrightnow

Friday, 1 September 2017

Review: Indigo Herbs hemp seeds and tea

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate enough to win an Indigo Herbs Hemp giveaway on Emma Cooper's blog, The Unconventional Garden. The giveaway was a packet of Organic Hulled Hemp Seeds and a packet of Hemp Leaf Tea.

I entered as I'd heard that hemp was good for your immune system. Research suggests that Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is an auto-immune disease, so I thought it would be useful to add hemp to my diet.

Up until now, I've been using Milled Flaxseed to increase the Omega 3 in my diet, via my morning yoghurt, muesli and nuts. For the last week or so I've been adding 2 teaspoons of the hulled hemp seeds to this, and am rather enjoying the taste. Obviously I cannot say if it's helped my immune system yet(!), but as it's tasty, I'm happy to keep including it in my breakfast. Particularly as it's higher in iron, zinc and magnesium than the flaxseed, and has Omega 6 as well. The flaxseed still has more calcium, so I'm going to continue to use both.

I wasn't sure if I would like the Hemp tea. I think in my head it made me think of nettle tea, which I just cannot stand, no matter how much sugar or honey (or both) I've added it it. But it's not like nettle tea at all. I'm not good at describing tastes, but it brings to mind a pleasant herbal tea, similar to peppermint, but with different flavours. Again, I like the taste of this product too.

Will I continue to use these hemp products? Why yes, I will. I'm enjoying the taste and given the high nutritional value of hemp, the hulled hemp seeds are a good way of adding an important collection of vitamins and minerals to my diet. I'll be ordering more from Indigo Herbs in the future.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Gardening with ME: the wonder of Hardy Perennials

In recent months, my ability to garden has reduced further due to my ME symptoms getting worse. I can do small amounts of gardening, potting up the odd alpine or smaller perennial, a bit of deadheading, but have to leave anything else to the fortnightly visit from my gardener Andrea.

However, some plants don't crave much of your time. Even in pots, my hardy perennials have yet again proved their worth. With almost no attention apart from cutting back the old foliage from last year in Spring, and a little watering, they just get on with the job of growing and flowering. If I do manage to do a little deadheading, then some of them will flower for months and months.

Here is what has been flowering and giving me a lot of pleasure over the last couple of months.

Lychnis coronaria

Dianthus cruentus, pretty by the front door

Salvia nemorosa 'Ostfriesland'

Astrantia 'Hapsden Blood'

The colours of Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Irish Dawn' &
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote' looking very good together

Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'

Heuchera 'Paris'

Primula veris, cowslip, flowering out of season.

Knautia macedonica

Erysimum 'Bowles's Mauve'

The young lime-green foliage of Osmunda regalis 'Purpurascens'

Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Splendens'

The underside of Anemone hupehensis var. japonica 'Splendens'

The emerging flowers of Panicum virgatum 'Squaw'.
Looking good despite the cat frequently chewing on the leaves.

Anemone x hybrida 'Honorine Jobert'

Sollya heterophylla (bluebell creeper)

Lewisia 'Brynhyfryd' pink hybrid, fully flowering for a second time this year.
An alpine and a Hardy Perennial.

Rudbeckia 'Takao'

Salvia x jamensis 'Nachtvlinder'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Carmin Brillant'

Flowering for months in the front garden, pink Valerian and
Linaria purpurea (thanks to @cmossperennials for the id on this one)

Although I can do little in the garden at the moment, these plants have been giving me joy daily, even on the days when all I can do is sit and look at them from my bedroom. If you are gardening with ME or another chronic illness, hardy perennials are a wonder and can definitely earn their place in your garden.

If you want to know more about growing hardy perennials, a good place to start is with the Hardy Plant Society.
Despite plenty of 'normal' grass, Freya likes to chew on my ornamental ones. Cats.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments on your growing experiences, so don't be shy!

About Gardening with ME      About Spoonie Veg

Twitter hashtags: #GardeningWithME #SpoonieVeg

Recent Gardening with ME and Spoonie Veg posts...
  Gardening with ME: some beans
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 Spoonie Veg: garlic

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Evening light

The last few evenings have been quite beautiful here in Sheffield; summer at the edge of the Peak District. I've found the way the evening sun lit up some of my plants to have been quite breathtaking. I'm not sure the photographs quite capture the beauty, but I hope you can see through my amateur lens and enjoy some of the colours as I have.

Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau' and Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'

Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'

Acer palmatum 'Sango-kaku'. I love the colour of the new stems.

 Deschampsia cespitosa 'Goldtau'

Lychnis viscaria subsp. atropurpurea

Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata'

Clematis x triternata 'Rubromarginata'

Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora 'Irish Dawn'

Muted colours of the final light.

Centaurea cyanus

New leaf of Osmunda regalis 'Purpurascens'. The stems similar to the Acer.

Helenium 'Sahin's Early Flowerer'