Saturday, 24 September 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 24th September 2016

The weeks are just flying past with the boys at school full time. Even though in theory I should have more time, the menu plan is still last second as I try to get a delivery slot on the day I need it.

Saturday - Ham, Eggs and Chips

Sunday - Fish in Sauce with rice and roasted veggies. Boys will have chicken, mash and greens

Monday - Fish Tortillas - the fish finger sandwich went down well let's see how these do

Tuesday - Special Fried Rice - with chicken and veggies the boys will eat sweetcorn, green beans, peas etc

Wednesday - Tuna Pasta Bake

Thursday - Mini Meatballs with spaghetti 

Friday - Chicken Goujons with chips and peas 

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Hanging Baskets - lessons to learn

Last week I published a post all about how well the hanging baskets went that I had planted. This week I want to look at what did not go so well and that I will change next time.

As your aware I am new to gardening and plants, so learning through my mistakes. The hanging baskets were overall a huge success and I am thrilled, but let's have a look at what lessons I have learnt.

The Red Basket:

This was made up of, a couple of Upright Geranium Scana Julie Purple Red then below a mix of Aztec Verbena Dark Red and Calibrachoa Calita Deep Red this was a total disaster. The poor basket just did not get enough light, the ivy made sure of that. The plants just died. I cut back the ivy but this was not enough. I need to cut the ivy right back or nothing will survive. This was a real shame as it should have looked lovely but I put the plants in the wrong position. They needed sunshine and for some reason best known only to me, i decided to ignore this. Lesson learnt read the labels and do not make my own rules.

It started so well

Trying to survive

Yellow and whites:

The flowers are Petunia Surfinia in Yellow and snow. These were beautiful but I did not get the mix of the plants right when I planted them. This meant we had a huge cascade of white flowers and the yellow got a little lost. Next time I will really look at how the plants are placed before I do the planting and think about how they will grow. 

Lots of white needed better planting to get mix of the white and yellow

The orange based hanging basket:

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame is the slightly taller plant, the trailing plants are Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire and the white ones are Calibrachoa Calita Double White. 

I adored this basket but the simple mistake was it needed better placement of plants and more of them. The tall Lantana Camara was beautiful but got lost a little in the display, I think two would have been better. The trailing plants needed more volume. I think maybe more of the orange trailing Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire, a couple more of these would have worked much better and would have had a bigger impact without loosing it's reserved beauty.  

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame looks beautiful but lost

Million Bells Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire needed more of these

This was a beautiful display and an excellent mixture of the trailing plants. My problem was not deadheading the Verbena they went over and for a week or so I had no flowers on top. This spoilt the display for a while and I made sure I kept on top of deadheading these.

Who did not deadhead in time?

So pretty when they came back
looks so sad

Purple wall basket - Osteospermum Purple 2012

This basket did not start out well, they were just lots of green leaves with a few flowers. I went through the Plants and made sure I deadheaded everyone and slowly the flower buds came through. Then they flowered not the mass flowers of the other baskets but these are a different type of plant. I had to keep on top of the deadheading and in the end, they looked lovely but I think it needs something extra compliment the beautiful purple flowers, maybe something trailing next time.

Not happy plant at first

Buds starting to form

Beautiful when they came into flower

I can not wait to try some more hanging baskets. I will be out to the garden centre early spring to start again and will keep you all informed.

A Cornish Mum

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Menu Plan - Saturday 17th September 2016

We are all getting back into the school routine. The boys are shattered yet not sleeping at the same time and it's making for short tempers.

Menu planning is hard work as I am having to think about how long meals take to cook, can I prepare them in advance etc

Saturday - Chilli for Mr MC&W and myself the boys will have the ever popular Spag Bol

Sunday - Mr MC&W and I will have a brought in Fish Pie, it's nice to have an evening not having to cook. Boys will have roast chicken breast with roast potatoes and veggies

Monday - Three cheese Tortellini with tomato sauce. I will buy the pasta in and make the sauce

Tuesday - Chicken Curry 

Wednesday - Spaghetti with tomato sauce and ham

Thursday - Baked Potatoes with Beans and Cheese - I will start them in the microwave then pop them in the oven.

Friday - Puff Pastry tarts with salad

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Hanging Basket Review - Success

This year I planted my first ever hanging baskets. We had always brought them but I really wanted to try and plant my own. Having never planted one before it was a real exercise in seeing what would and would not work.

I am going to do two posts, one to look at how they were a success and the following to look at what I will change next time.

But let's concentrate on what went right to start with. Please note the following post contains lots of pictures of pretty flowers

Yellow and whites:

For the hanging basket, I chose Petunia Surfinia in Yellow and Snow.

These Petunia were truly majestic. They provided us with all summer with cascading flowers that were a real show piece. I loved the simple and slightly muted white and yellow. But next year I may go rather bolder and choose some really bright colours, bring on the pink and purple theme.

When they were first planted

Full Summer Flower after a month or so of growth

The yellow and the white looking beautiful together

Bacopa Guliver White and Bidens Golden Glory. I loved this wall basket, the stunning bright yellow Bidens flowers were abundant all summer long. Teamed together with the flowing white Bacopa which really complimented the yellow Bidens and added beauty as they trailed down the front of the basket.

When first planted not many flowers to see

Then the blooms came and came and came

Shows the yellow and the white looking stunning together
The orange based hanging basket:

Lantana Camara Lucky Red Flame is the slightly taller plant, the trailing plants are Million Bells this is a Calibrachoa (mini petunia) Cracking Fire and the white ones are Calibrachoa Calita Double White

I adored the Orange, this was a smaller basket not the great swathes of flowers produced by the large petunia or the yellow Bidens. But I loved the bright orange and yet it was somehow restrained and beautiful. 

Looked so empty when first planted

I love the orange and the white together with the mix of flowers

The pinks and purples hanging basket

Two taller Aztec Verbena in Violet, the trailing are Bacopa Topia Blutopia these are the small little soft purple flowers and Calibrachoa Calita Rose the darker pinky trailing flowers

I love the pink and purple combination and it worked really well. They provided a bright and really pretty display all summer. The Verbena stood tall and proud adding the real height to the display. I loved the two cascading flowers mixed together, the small delicate Bacopa Topia Blutopia the smaller flowers combined with the Calibrachoa Calita Rose.

Giving a hint of how lovely the pinks and purples would look

In full bloom they look so pretty together

Purple wall basket

The purple wall basket is made of one plant only Osteospermum Purple 2012 the label said they can deal with shade and they proved that they could. This basket has always caused me problems with its position, its pretty shady so it was great to find a beautiful flower that could tolerate it.

They started very slowly and I thought would never flower. However with some patience, careful deadheading and watering they finally grew into this. They are stunning tall flowers which have done really well in this tricky area.

Did not look happy when first planted

Careful deadheading and watering they came back

Then they came into flower and those flowers were stunning

What simple steps did I follow to make sure they worked

Careful watering, I used a watering can once a day to give a good soak right into the basket, this seemed to do the trick. I tried with the hose but it seemed to damage the flowers and not get the water where is was needed.

Deadheading, this was crucial. The Verbena and Osteospermum I cut to the next leaf growth and they flowered again. All the rest I simply pulled of the deadheads and they re-flowered all the summer. I made sure I did this once a day only for five mins or so and it made a huge difference.

It may seem simple steps but it worked. I am sure the wonderful sunshine we had helped as when it rained they looked very sorry for themselves.

What also was a delight to see was they were alive with insects, an aim of the garden has always been to attract wildlife. To hear the hanging baskets hum with insects was just wonderful and to me made them a even bigger success. 

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A Cornish Mum
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Friday, 9 September 2016

Meal Plan Saturday 10th September 2016

This week has seen both boys at school from 9am and not getting home till around 3.50pm. They are starving, shattered and need dinner by around 4.30. This gives me around half an hour to cook dinner, which has changed the way I have to think about meals. What can I prep, pre cook or slow cook. 

I will write a post shortly on some ideas I have had.

Saturday - The boys will have fish fingers, chips and peas, they love this meal. Mr MC&W and I will have a Charlie Bingham Lasagna 

Sunday - A slow cooked Spanish style Chicken and rice dish for us all

Monday - I love Jo Pratts the Madhouse Cookbook and I am trying chicken, corn Quesadeasies

Tuesday - Mini Tuna Fishcakes with Salad

Wednesday - Cocktail sausages, Yorkshire puddings and green beans

Thursday - Another Jo Pratt Madhouse Cookbook - Gnocchi with broccoli and mushrooms. Though the boys will not be having mushrooms.

Friday - Chicken Burger with chips and salad. We are going to stick with Friday treats. 
A Cornish Mum

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

LolliPop Trees Elaeagnus ebbingei

The Mud Cake and Wine family went on another adventure this weekend in the search for the right planting solution for the new fence. This time, the boys and I had the pleasure of Mr MC&W keeping us company, we were off to his favourite place to look at plants and I admit one of mine. When we first moved into our house there was a gap in the hedge that needed to be sorted out and that is when we found an amazing nursery called Architectural Plants. They helped two plant novices choose the correct tree, then planted it for us and now five years later we have this stunning Chinese Glossy Privet.

Our Beautiful Glossy Chinese Privet sorry about the bramble growing out of it
So we packed up the car with children, snacks and drinks to last a week as it is a whole hour drive away. We knew this would be the place to see the size of plant that we would need to buy. On arrival we looked in at the plants and yet both felt a sinking feeling. We really did not know what we wanted or how to solve our problem.

Then Cindy came to our rescue, she quickly realised this couple were blankly staring at plants with  a look of total confusion. We showed her a photo and off we went on a wonderland tour of the plants that we could use. We looked at evergreen Magnolias and Maytenus Boaria, stunning plants but somehow they were just not working for us. They did not seem right, both plants grow very large and that was not exactly what we had in our heads for the final look. The bamboo was beautiful but would have to be planted with a barrier to try and stop it spreading and we would loose the fence the one thing we liked.

Phyllostachys Aurea - Golden Bamboo
Magnolia Grandiflora - Evergreen
Maytenus Boaria - Maiten Tree

Then Mr MC&W and I looked at a tree together and asked if these would work. They had long trunks about 6ft then this beautiful round top with stunning silvery green leaves. We have this look when we know instantly that we both like something, it did what we wanted which was provide privacy above but not using huge shrubs and what Mr MC&W likes they are structured, ordered and beautiful.

This is what we found

Elaeagnus Ebbingei

This is Elaeagnus Ebbingei the description is a Frost, salt and wind hardy evergreen with silver leaves and smelly little white flowers.

The Silvery Green Leaves up close

Architectural Plants use a traffic light system to show how easy a plant is to maintain, these trees are green light meaning should be easy to grow.

The more we looked at the tress the more we know this is what we wanted. I find it strange how you just know when something is right and we had to take our time and look carefully and we found it.

They have small white flowers that smell devine. There were even bumble bees on the ones we looked at. In my books at a total win-win to attract wildlife and look amazing.

We asked her about them, they are brought in from Italy and they said these were the best ones they have seen. They allow us the planting underneath we both were looking for and a theme of colours to go in with the white and silvery green.

The next job to clear all plants we have left and get these planted. We are getting them to plant these trees, it a job that needs people who know what they are doing and that's not me and Mr MC&W. Come the spring we can go for stage two. But we have solved the first problem of the privacy from the height perspective and have a real theme moving forward for the garden.

A little bit of an idea what two would look like plus OB was showing me how tall they are

I will post about them being planted and show the before and after. Getting excited now.
A Cornish Mum

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Meal Plan Saturday 3rd September 2016

School starts again this week, OB will be entering year 2 and ATM will be starting reception. So we need some quick meals that are easy to prepare and eat as the boys will be shattered.

Saturday - Mr MC&W and I will be having Fajitas from Jamie Oliver's healthy eating cookbook. The boys will be having Fish and Chips as OB has a party on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday - Mr MC&W are having a favourite treat of ours and that's a Charlie Bingham Meal I went for a chicken meal as its not too high in calories. The boys will have Pasta and Broccoli Bake with a cheese sauce

Monday - The Busy Mums Cookbook has a wonderful meal of sausages roasted with red onions and potatoes in honey and mustard. I am going to change this slightly for the boys and roast chipolata sausages with potatoes and a honey and tiny tiny amount of mustard served with peas and green beans

Tuesday - Tiny Meatballs served in a pitta with salad and natural yogurt dressing. The meatballs will be slightly spicy again this will be delicate.

Wednesday - Cheesy Tomato Puff Potatoes from the Busy Mums Cookbook

Thursday - I have this wonderful Italian cookbook and decided I would have a look through it and found a Bacon and Ricotta Sauce Pasta. As you know our family well by now this will be ham not bacon. Sounds lovey.

Friday - Pizza and chips as a lovely treat for the first week at school. The boys favourite is homemade Pizza so i will make the sauce while they are at school.
Mudpie Fridays
A Cornish Mum

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