Sunday, June 30, 2013

The famous Kew Gardens

A year ago found Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman in the famous London gardens of Kew.  Maybe it is the continuing wet weather which made Ms Tagalong reminisce about the day she and her family spent there.

Stunning Victorian spiral staircase and metalwork taking you up to the gallery above

Giant Lilypads 


Fan formwork! A photographer's dream!

An old man orchid!

In the orchid house

Doesn't everyone picnic in the rain? When in England....!

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 ways to increase your blog readership!

5 ways to increase your blog readership!

  1. Make sure your posts have a number in the title! Short and sharp is probably better. 100 ways might just be overdoing it.
  2. Post the best photos that you can, even if they don't have anything to do with your post.
  3. Be shameless, mention Facebook, Twitter and anything else that is newsworthy on that day. By the way, Nadal was beaten in the first round of Wimbledon today.
  4. Link to other websites or blogs that might be useful.
  5. Blog regularly. Once or twice a week is recommended. But of course you might want to go on holiday or travel or something so don't worry about it then, your readers will find something else to read.
  6. If you have read this far you might be realising that Ms Tagalong's tongue is very firmly wedged against her cheek as she needed to come up with a blog for this week in very few minutes!   
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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hugh comes down under!

Ms Tagalong only has to talk about it and the twittersphere goes viral! Well at least a few people are talking about it. It? The new River Cottage Australia coming soon to our TVs.

Such a great idea, super recipes and of course as sustainable as can be.

Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman were very happy last year whilst residing in Bridport to have visited the Axminster canteen and sample some of the local Devon and Dorset produce.

Last week Ms Tagalong was waxing lyrical about Hugh's Sweet Potato and Peanut Gratin. This week she has been experimenting with some of the recipes from her favourite birthday present.

Never one to miss the opportunity of using bush tucker, this salad of avocado, lettuce, spring onions, cucumbers and lily pillies drizzled with bush lemon juice was just the ticket.

Can't wait to see some of the Aussie chef Paul West's creations at River Cottage.

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Planning an Open Day

'We love our garden and we want everyone else in the community to love it too!' Ms Mova stoutly declared and Ms Tagalong had to agree.

'It can't be a well-kept secret. We need people to come, plant, dig and chat.'

'An Open Day with lots of events!'

'Let's use some skills from Timebanking. I saw an event planner on there. I bet she's got some tricks up her sleeve.'

Ms Mova fell into a reverie. Images of ideas were floating by. This is what she saw.
Cooking demonstration by Jamie Oliver

Some quality time with gardener Jamie Durie

And even a token art installation! 
Would we say no to gnomes?

What would you like to see on an Open Day in Spring?

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sweet, sweet potatoes!

Yes, we had a glut in the garden this year. A somewhat rampant sweet potato plant took over three beds, the raised pyramid and occluded the lemon tree!

It was time for it to go. Ms Mova and Ms Tagalong donned their bibs and overalls, girded their loins or something like that and set to digging and tugging.

Soon all the greenery was in two large mulching piles and the pile of sweet potatoes grew ever-increasingly larger.

'What have you made with sweet potatoes?' queried Ms Mova.

'Soup and curry,' Ms Tagalong replied.

'Mm we need to be a bit more adventurous!'

These are two recipes they would like to pass on to you.

Sweet potato, chilli and coconut soup – perfect for these cool winter days

1 onion - chopped
2 garlic cloves – crushed and chopped
1-3 chillies to taste – chopped finely, remove seeds or not according to heat tolerance!
2 fair sized sweet potatoes
1tsp each of garam masala, coriander, cumin or curry powder
vegetable stock
1 can coconut milk

Fry the onions in some olive oil until translucent
Add the garlic and chillies
After a few minutes add spices and stir in to mix
Add the peeled, diced sweet potatoes
Toss in the onion mixture for a few minutes
Add hot vegetable stock to cover
Bring to boil and simmer until potato is soft
Add can coconut milk and more stock if too thick
Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yoghurt and chopped coriander leaves

And thanks to one of my favourite chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage Cafe
this layering of thinly sliced sweet potatoes laced with lime, chilli and peanut butter is wonderful.

Just love those sweet potatoes!

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When is a garden not a garden?

SOLD - Glovers Lane Reserve
Not when it has been sold so rapidly after council deeming it not to be!

Glovers Lane Reserve is not to provide space for recreation, exercise, therapy and education, or provide a catalyst for neighbourhood and community development, or be a preserver of green space, three of the definitions of community gardens by the American Community Garden association.

Ah, Ms Tagalong thought, perhaps Australians have a different definition. Councillor Steve Edmonds certainly does. He says 'there is no garden in Glovers Lane Reserve.' And to make absolutely sure he went back three times to check!

Ms Tagalong went once. It looked like this.

And this.

Councillor McCloy might have a more liberal view, (good choice of words, Ms Tagalong!) But he said, 'I'm in favour of community gardens but not on certainly incredibly valuable land like in that location.'

There's the rub. The next morning after the vote to sell the reserve, the sold sign was up.

Apparently this is a question which has caused ructions not only in our council but overseas too.

In a landmark case in England in 2008, Lord Justice Moses said, 'The Oxford English dictionary states that a garden is an enclosed piece of ground devoted to the cultivation of flowers, fruit or vegetables.

'That definition is clearly too narrow, as the current fashion for wild gardens and meadows amply demonstrates.

'The reality is that no description will categorically establish whether a piece of land is a garden or not. It is incumbent on the fact finder to determine its use.

'It is important to look at the relationship between the owner and the land, and the history and character of the land and space.'

So, sorry Cooks Hill residents, the fact finders said you cannot have a garden to promote a sense of belonging to a community and a sentiment of wanting to give something back. Oh yes you have given the garden back, it has gone to council and so swiftly to a developer.

Maybe RESERVE has another definition too!

It's great to have some feedback, so please leave me some comments.