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A Fabulous Fern for Shady Corners

Seasonal Garden Ideas

Fabulous Fern

Here’s a show that’s strictly for the summer months – a magnificent bird’s-nest fern lighting up a shady corner with its huge, wavy-edged, apple-green fronds.

Warm, moist conditions in shade are a must – plus indoor shelter for the rest of the year.

Grow the fern as an indoor plant until summer temperatures outdoors are warm enough – 16°C (60°F) at the very least. Bring indoors again at the end of summer to a heated greenhouse, conservatory or living room.

Planting the fern should take about a hour or so – it’s quite big so will take some handling.

 


 

What you need

Plants
A specimen-sized bird’s-nest fern (Asplenium nidus).

Equipment

  • Large terracotta, ceramic or plastic container with drainage holes.
  • Humus-rich compost with added grit or sharp sand for drainage.
  • Broken crocks for drainage.
  • Trowel.

 

1 Line the container with broken crocks for drainage. Half-fill with the compost. Check the level of the compost by placing the fern, in its original pot, inside the container – it should be planted at the same level as it was before. Adjust the level of compost as necessary.

2 Plant the fern into the compost, firming in well. Top up the compost to within 5cm (2in) of the rim of the pot. Water thoroughly.

3 Bring the fern outside when the weather is warm and position in a shady, sheltered spot. Keep it moist at all times and feed weekly with a liquid fertiliser during the growing season.

Tip

If the care, attention and exacting conditions required by bird’s-nest fern seem a little daunting, then try its smaller relative, the hart’s-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium, also known as Phyllitis scolopendrium or Scolopendrium vulgare). This fern is frost hardy and reaches about 30cm (12in) tall, with a spread of 45cm (18in). It does well in damp, shady places and likes well-drained, alkaline soil. The variety ‘Marginatum’ has most attractive frilly edged fronds.

Note

If conditions are right, bird’s-nest fern can produce fronds over 90cm (3ft) long and 20cm (8in) wide with their trademark thick black midrib. Bear this size in mind for when you need to move the plant around and when it comes to repotting into a larger container.

Aftercare

Remove old or damaged fronds as they appear.  Keep warm, moist and humid at all times, though you can lessen watering during the winter.

 


 

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Help your New Year’s Eve go with a bang!

Party ideas for New Year's Eve

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Help your New Year’s Eve go with a bang!

Ok, so I may not actually be following my party planning tips – yet!

With three small children and no babysitters, we usually struggle to stay awake to toast in the New Year in our pjs with a glass of lukewarm Prosecco and a few peanuts. However, in a few years’ time I will make up for it with a few fabulous parties! Excuse me if I start to sound like Pippa Middleton, but here are my plans for future New Year’s Eve gatherings, and how I celebrated pre-children.

I always think it is more
appropriate to offer a buffet
rather than a sit-down meal.

Then everyone can circulate and chat easily without having to converse with those sitting next to them. It also means that I can invite more people without worrying about chairs. I set the scene with sparkly silver decorations and lots of candles. I am old-fashioned too and absolutely LOVE party games. Charades and Pictionary or Cranium always evoke plenty of laughs, especially after a glass of champagne!

Lots and lots of delectable nibbles and delicious things to drink. I like to provide a mixture of shop-bought snacks and homemade. This enables me to enjoy the preparation without getting too stressed out. Mulled wine is a wonderful start to the evening but I also provide something non-alcoholic for the drivers and non-drinkers.

One really easy (old Dairy Diary!) drink I have made on numerous occasions is a jug of cranberry juice heated in the microwave with brown sugar, orange peel and freshly squeezed orange juice. Strained into glass mugs and served with a slice of orange. Delicious!

And for the food? A range of cheeses and crackers and grapes is easy and always popular. I offer bowls of crisps and homemade dips, as well as some succulent stuffed olives. I cook a few good quality pizzas and garlic breads and slice thinly.

And for your homemade goodies? They vary from year to year, but here are just a few of the best from Dairy Diary past and present.

Dairy Diary Festive Recipes for party food and drinks

If you’re entertaining on New Year’s Eve you will want to make the preparation as easy and hassle free as possible.

We have put together a super collection of our favourite Dairy Diary and Dairy Cookbooks festive and party recipes so that you can plan ahead to ensure that you enjoy the party too! They include…

Dairy Diary Favourite Festive Recipes has been formatted for mobile devices and PCs, so you can easily read the ingredients when shopping and follow the recipes in the kitchen or print from your computer. Take a look now http://www.dairydiary.co.uk/festive-recipes

 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind…….. Happy New Year all!

 

 

 

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

Plant now for a gorgeous spring display

I would adore to live in a chocolate-box thatched cottage, or an imposing Victorian townhouse, but the reality is actually a 1980s red brick square.

We live in a lovely village and our house is very practical for a busy family, but what it’s not is pretty.

So my mission is to try and soften its
appearance with a gorgeous garden.

As time and money are not in abundance at the moment I need to start small.

Seasonal Garden IdeasWith this project from our
Seasonal Garden Ideas book, the
patch of lifeless soil underneath
the living room window can be
transformed into a fiery riot of
colour (fingers crossed!)

Click here simple step-by-step instructions.

Seasonal Garden Ideas is available for just £3.99 – it is an ideal low-cost Christmas Gift for family and friends.

 

Father’s Day

Father's Day recipes
 

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

So to show him how much you care how about a day of favourite dishes?

Try these classic recipes – they are sure to be appreciated, and won’t break the bank either!

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Eggs FlorentineEggs Florentine
A deliciously healthy variation on simple bacon and eggs.

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Shepherd's PieShepherd’s Pie
A treasured recipe from the Dairy Book of Home Cookery. Wonderful comfort food.

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Blueberry CrumbleBlueberry Crumble
Blueberries given a sharp lemony edge beneath a comforting topping.

Serrve with cream or custard. If you really love him make sure it’s the real thing…

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Real Custard

Nothing comes close to real custard!

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Have a great day.
The Dairy Diary Team

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