Monthly Archives: May 2018

Plant for summer colour now – and a special treat for you!

Nasturtiums Running Riot

All the wonderful weather we have experienced recently has meant we have been able to eat out in the garden almost every night – a rarity in England!

My after-dinner ‘treat’ is to look through my gardening books pondering what to plant.

Today, I’m off to a local plant fair to purchase some colourful bedding plants, and one of the definites on my list is nasturtiums – they are the easiest and prettiest little flowers and not only do they bring a riot of colour to the garden, they also brighten up your salad!

In this little project from our book Seasonal Garden Ideas, we show you how to plant herbs with nasturtiums for a mass of colour.

Enjoy the bank holiday everyone!

 


 

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Nasturtiums Running Riot

In this combination a permanent shrubby perennial – catmint – is planted with a foreground of brightly coloured annual nasturtiums. The two together make an interesting summer partnership.

Plant the catmint in autumn or mid spring and the nasturtiums in late spring. Both will flower in summer. The time it takes to plant the nasturtiums depends on the size of bed or border you have got.

 

What you need

Plants
Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’)
Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus varieties).

Equipment
Fork, spade and trowel.

 

Instructions

1 The catmint is a permanent planting, so needs to go in first. Neither it nor the nasturtium require rich soil – but they do both like a sunny site. Dig over the planting area, removing weeds, roots and stones.

2 One catmint can reach a height and spread of 90cm (3ft) or more, so allow it plenty of room. Dig a hole large enough to take the rootball comfortably, set the plant in and firm up. Fill in with more soil and firm in again. Water well.

3 Buy the nasturtiums as bedding strips and plant them as close together as you can for best effect – no more than 15cm (6in) apart. Plant them all around the catmint to form a colourful carpet – they will reach about 30cm (12in) in height. Water in well.

Tip
Nasturtiums flower best on poor sandy soils – if the ground is too rich they will produce leaf at the expense of flowers. Incorporate some sharp sand or grit into the planting area if you think your soil is too rich or heavy.

Notes
Catmint has been given its common name for a good reason – most cats absolutely love it. This affection can take the form of a few surreptitious nibbles from time to time, through pulling or biting away whole stems to full-scale rolling around all over the plant. Keep an eye on your feline if necessary – or take pity on the poor creature and sew it a little sachet stuffed with fresh or dried catmint to play with.

Aftercare
Watch out for and remove any caterpillars you see on the nasturtium leaves – they can eat the leaves down to skeletons if left. Treat blackfly infestation with a systemic insecticide. Cut away any dead or damaged leaves. Water well in dry weather. Clear away the nasturtiums in autumn and dig over the ground ready for spring planting the following year. The catmint looks after itself for most of the year, but benefits from being cut back almost to ground level in spring.

Project is taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas

 

 

 

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#gardening

#competition

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Win £200 to spend in your garden

Win £200 to spend in your garden

WIN a National Garden Centre Voucher worth £200!

It’s May and everything is beginning to bloom. It’s the perfect time to get out in the garden and give it some va va voom! (Apologies for the dubious poetry.)

This week, I have a SUPER
special competition for you.

For a fabulous £200 to spend on plants, tools……. whatever you choose, enter our prize draw to win National Garden Centre Vouchers. Just click below.

Good luck!

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Recipe of the Week: Sardine Spaghetti with Rocket

Sardine Spaghetti with Rocket

Sardine Spaghetti with Rocket

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 499 per portion
Fat 21.8g (3g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti 250-300g (9-110oz)
  • Anchovy fillets in oil 50g can
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Garlic 1- 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Dried chilli flakes a pinch
  • Fresh white breadcrumbs 6 tbsp (about 50g/2oz)
  • Sardines in olive oil 120g can
  • Lemon 1, finely grated zest
  • Rocket 4 good handfuls (75g-110g/3-4oz)

Instructions

  1. Add spaghetti to a large pan of fast-boiling water. Cook according to pack’s instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, tip anchovies with the oil into a large frying pan, then add olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir over gentle heat for 1-2 minutes until mushy. Turn up heat, add breadcrumbs and stir briskly until golden and crunchy. Tip onto kitchen paper.
  3. Flake sardines with a fork straight into pan and add oil.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving some cooking water. Tip it into frying pan, sprinkle in lemon zest, a little pasta water and half the rocket. Use tongs to toss together. Divide between four hot bowls and sprinkle each portion with more rocket and anchovy crumbs.

Cook’s tip
Add some halved black olives and a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like.

Racipe taken from Dairy Diary 2019.

 

#bankholiday

#treat

#tripletested

#delicious

Sneak Preview and Bank Holiday treat!

Dairy Diary photography

Wow, it’s been a really busy couple of weeks but great fun!

We exhibited at the London Stationery Show and then last week we had a very productive couple of days photographing all of our lovely lovely books, which will go on sale this autumn.

Dairy Diary photography

There’s a lot to consider when shooting the images, as the lighting, positioning and propping all need to be just right – but we have a great team, with a brilliant photographer, stylist and art director who ensure everything looks just perfect.

As a VERY special treat we have a sneak preview of one of the brand new recipes from the new Dairy Diary.

Enjoy the bank holiday!

 

 

 

 

Sardine Spaghetti with Rocket

Sardine Spaghetti with Rocket

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Calories 499 per portion
Fat 21.8g (3g sat) per portion

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti 250-300g (9-110oz)
  • Anchovy fillets in oil 50g can
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Garlic 1- 2 cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Dried chilli flakes a pinch
  • Fresh white breadcrumbs 6 tbsp (about 50g/2oz)
  • Sardines in olive oil 120g can
  • Lemon 1, finely grated zest
  • Rocket 4 good handfuls (75g-110g/3-4oz)

Instructions

  1. Add spaghetti to a large pan of fast-boiling water. Cook according to pack’s instructions.
  2. Meanwhile, tip anchovies with the oil into a large frying pan, then add olive oil, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir over gentle heat for 1-2 minutes until mushy. Turn up heat, add breadcrumbs and stir briskly until golden and crunchy. Tip onto kitchen paper.
  3. Flake sardines with a fork straight into pan and add oil.
  4. Drain pasta, reserving some cooking water. Tip it into frying pan, sprinkle in lemon zest, a little pasta water and half the rocket. Use tongs to toss together. Divide between four hot bowls and sprinkle each portion with more rocket and anchovy crumbs.

Cook’s tip
Add some halved black olives and a squeeze of lemon juice, if you like.

Racipe taken from Dairy Diary 2019.

 

#bankholiday

#treat

#tripletested

#delicious

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