Foliage Fountain

A bold and impressive array of plants spills out of this eye-catching terracotta hanger like a fountain in full flow – the striking purple, pink and blue colour scheme is not for the faint-hearted!

Plant in late spring or early summer for a display that will last throughout summer. Planting will take an hour or so.

Foliage Fountain from Seasonal Garden IdeasPlants required
Large black Mondo grass (Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’).
Sedge (Carex hachijoensis ‘Evergold’).
Coral flower (Heuchera ‘Palace Purple’ or ‘Licorice’).
Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’).
Two deep pink busy Lizzies (Impatiens).
Fairy fan flower (Scaevola aemula ‘Blue Wonder’).

Large conical terracotta hanging container (or any other container of your choice), with hanging rods and hook and drainage holes in the bottom.
Broken crocks for drainage.
Potting compost with added sharp sand or grit.

1 Water all plants thoroughly the day before planting. If your pot is cone-shaped like the one shown here, prop it up securely while you plant it.

2 Line the bottom of the cone with broken crocks for drainage. Fill three-quarters full with the compost mixture.

3 Plant the black Mondo grass first, placing it at the back. Firm in well. Place the busy Lizzies next, one each side of the black Mondo grass. Firm in.

4 Adjust the level of compost as needed, then plant the coral flower directly in front of the black Mondo grass.

5 Now deal with the front planting. Adjust the level of the compost again as necessary. Position the fairy fan flower to the left, the sedge in the centre and the morning glory to the right. Firm in, then top up with more compost to within 2.5cm (1in) of the rim of the container. Insert a slow-release fertiliser spike.

6 Hang the container securely in its permanent position, in full sun or light shade. Ensure all hooks and fixings are strong enough to take the full weight of the pot and its plants. Water thoroughly.

A hanging container like this must have good drainage holes. If the pot you have chosen hasn’t got any, use an electric drill to make some in the bottom.

The fairy fan flower (Scaevola), flowering on the extreme left here, is a fairly new plant to become available in garden centres. It hails from Australia and is tender. The morning glory shown here on the right will come in to flower in late summer, bearing deep blue blooms that each last only one day, but are followed by more all the time.

Water well, especially in hot weather. Deadhead the flowers as they fade.

Project taken from Seasonal Garden Ideas now available from the Dairy Diary store.

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Make it a happy Father’s Day!

I’m sure I am among many others who don’t always show their love and gratitude for their fathers.

It’s not that I don’t feel it – every day I am thankful for such a wonderful dad (who is a fantastic grandad too), I just don’t say it very often!

So, if like me, you are lucky enough have a fabulous dad (and/or your other half is a wonderful dad) spoil him rotten on Sunday. Why not begin the day with this All-in-one-Brunch, an easy but scrumptious breakfast? Then take him somewhere special or do something he really loves (for me, this may involve a ride on a Harley Davidson, or scavenging for fossils somewhere!) Every dad certainly is different!

Just One Pot Dairy CookbookJust One Pot, Dairy Cookbook sale
For more one pot recipes, try Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook. It’s now only £2.99, for a limited time only at

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Hearty and delicious, the perfect weekend breakfast.

All-in-one-brunchPreparation time 15 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes
Calories per portion 543 Kcal
Fat per portion 43g
of which saturated 12.4g
Serves 2

Thick pork sausages 3
Vegetable oil 1 tbsp
Smoked back bacon 2 rashers, trimmed and halved
Large flat mushroom 1, peeled, wiped and thickly sliced
Large vine tomato 1, thickly sliced
Eggs 3 large, beaten
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Slice the sausages through the middle lengthways. Heat the oil in a medium-sized frying pan and gently fry the sausages, cut side down, for 5 minutes until lightly browned.

Turn the sausages over, add the bacon and cook for a further 5 minutes, turning the bacon over after 2 minutes. Using cooking tongs or two forks, transfer to a heat-proof plate and set aside.

Add the mushroom and tomato to the same pan and cook in the meat juices, turning occasionally, for about 5 minutes until cooked through and tender.

Return the meat to the pan and arrange the contents evenly over the bottom. Then pour the beaten eggs into the pan, season well and cook gently for 3–4 minutes until the egg just sets.

Serve immediately, straight from the pan with freshly toasted bread.

Cook’s tip
Use a good non-stick frying pan so that the egg doesn’t stick to the bottom of it. Add a little wholegrain mustard to the eggs when beating.

Recipe taken from Just One Pot Dairy Cookbook

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Dorset is beckoning us on our annual family jaunt next week and Springwatch has been getting me particularly excited – its countryside and wildlife look just beautiful.

That was until Simon King mentioned the huge spiders – the size of the palm of his hand!! We might have to rethink our holiday destination quick.

Take a look at the Springwatch website. There are great ideas about what to make and do, and where to go in the great outdoors

Favourite Countryside BirdsOur Favourite Countryside Birds book provides the perfect guide on breeds to look out for. Explore the fascinating facts and charming folklore behind Britain’s best-loved countryside birds, in fields, moorland, woodlands and waterways.

To win a copy visit where we have ten to give away. Don’t worry if you have already joined our mailing list – you can still enter every competition!

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30 minute recipes

This morning, I responded to an email from a customer hoping to buy Quick & Easy Dairy Cookbook.

Sadly I’m afraid this book is now out of print.

Good Food, Fast. Dairy CookbookHowever! Launching in a couple of months’ time is our brand new book Good Food, Fast. It has all the same principles as Quick & Easy: recipes can be prepared in 30 minutes or less; all ingredients are readily available; all are easy, everyday food.

Try this sneak preview recipe Pea & Watercress Soup, which also makes the most of this season’s watercress.

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Pea and watercress soup with crispy pancetta

The peppery, sweet soup contrasts wonderfully with the salty pancetta.

Time 30 minutes
Calories per portion 275 Kcal
Fat per portion 12.1g
of which saturated 3.7g
Serves 6

Pea and watercress soupOlive oil 2 tbsp
Butter 15g (½oz)
Onion 1 large, chopped
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and finely chopped
Floury potato 1 large, cubed
Chicken stock 1.5 litres (2½ pints)
Frozen peas 900g (2lb)
Watercress 100g bag
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pancetta or thin rashers smoked streaky bacon 75g (3oz), chopped

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5 minutes, until beginning to soften.

Add the potato and toss with the onion and garlic, then pour in the chicken stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer the soup for 15 minutes, until the potato is tender.Add the frozen peas and simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the watercress and stir in until wilted.

Remove from the heat, let it cool for a few minutes then purée with a hand-held electric wand or in a food processor or blender, until smooth. Return to the pan, if necessary, season to taste and keep warm over a gentle heat.Meanwhile, preheat the grill to hot.

Grill the pancetta or bacon for 2–3 minutes on each side, until crisp. Remove and drain on kitchen paper and then break up into pieces.Ladle the soup into warm bowls and top each with some of the pancetta pieces.

Cook’s Tip
Pancetta is cured pork and is usually sold ready-chopped near to the bacon in the supermarket..

Recipe taken from Good Food, Fast. Dairy Cookbook.

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