Archive for the ‘Cottage Life’ Category

Floral Friday

These Japanese anemonies are elegant and colourful.

Also known as Windflowers they are an herbaceous perennial, a member of the buttercup family, and they prefer partial shade.  Several plants were given me by a friend some years ago, but only one survived, probably because they got too much sun.  This flower is actually a native of Hupeh province in eastern China, but it was grown in Japanese gardens for centuries, hence the confusion.  Robert Fortune (1812-1880) introduced it into Europe in 1844, having discovered it running between the tombstones in a Shanghai graveyard.

“It’s pink or white, but never lemony
the charming Japanese anemone.”


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Heavy rain all day yesterday and last night, but in central Christchurch we escaped the winds that have caused problems elsewhere.  We’d made sure the gutters were clear, and anchored our outdoor furniture.  This morning it’s still raining but only lightly, and that’s draining away easily.   The sun is trying hard to come out from the clouds.

Loving thoughts go to all those who had a much harsher cyclone experience.

“It seems that Gita’s passed us by
we’re lucky here – not much awry.”

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Floral Friday

Alyssum flourishes in many corners of my garden.  I planted it long ago, and since then it’s self-seeded continually.  Originally I had violet as well as white, but the white has taken over.  Alyssum has unparalled drought and heat-resistance properties, which is just as well as the temperature hit 40 degrees on our patio yesterday.  I’ve read that the leaves and flowers of sweet alyssum are edible, and they make a peppery addition to a fresh garden salad. However it’s recommended that you should eat it only if you’ve grown it from seed yourself, as plants bought from nurseries may include chemical fertilisers.

Alyssum was once regarded by Neopolitans as having magical qualities and was suspended in their houses as a charm against the evil eye.  Its name is derived from the Greek lussa meaning madness and it was believed to be a remedy for someone who had been bitten by a mad dog.

“This white sweet-scented little bloom
grows anywhere in sun or gloom.”


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Humid and Hot

This hot humid weather is driving Ziggy up the wall.

I brush him in the hope that might help, but it doesn’t seem to make any difference.   It’s too hot for anyone to feel like doing much.

“My cat is climbing up the wall
but he does not get far at all.”

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Floral Friday

This plant is a phlox.  In the early 19th century phlox spread from England all over the world.  Eventually it became the rage of New England gardeners who thought of it as a fabulous European export until they learned it was a native of the Republic of Texas.  The centre of the flower is said to resemble the Texas star.  While the colour of the flower is attractive to bees they can’t quite get their tongues into the tiny hole to retrieve nectar.

“The bee may give the phlox perusal
but this flower’s likely to bamboozle.”

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Great White Hunter

Ziggy has caught his very first mouse (that we know of).  This morning I thought he was playing with Stephen’s slippers, but a closer inspection revealed a small corpse, beside the toe of the slipper.

It’s nearly two years since he possibly caught a bird, and there’s never been another.   I’m not sure whether the paucity of mouse kills means there are few mice around or whether he’s just too lazy and too well-fed.

“The clever cat caught his first mouse
and kindly brought it in the house.”

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Floral Friday

Courgettes have bright golden flowers.  These are edible, although I’ve never tried.  They should be dipped in a light batter and deep fried.

Courgettes are recommended for people with digestive problems, because they have a high concentration of pectin substances.  This means they absorb everything that is in the digestive tract and gently excrete without straining the digestive system, and it’s believed they can clean the entire body of poisonous products.

Last November a worried German pensioner called the police when he thought he had found a World War II bomb in his garden.  It turned out to be a courgette.

“They may grow as big as a bomb
and you may have a feast therefrom.’

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