Winds In The Park & A Special Birthday

What a windy few days we had this week with storm ‘Imogen’.  Here in the Midlands we weren’t hit as hard as the southern half of the country, however I did see a couple of trees that had lost large branches in our local park which was sad to see.

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The weather really has been strange this winter with more storms than usual and it has been very mild.  I think a lot of plants are quite confused about the time of year, though I’m sure they will adjust.

Whilst walking my dog this week I saw my first daisy….I don’t think I have ever seen one flower this early:

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Also I saw rhododendrons beginning to flower which is also a bit early, but beautiful to see on a cold damp day:

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Another thing I found on one of my walks this week was a Christmas rose (Helleborus).  This is about the right time for it to flower, but I would have missed it if I hadn’t walked through a quiet wooded area in the park for a change:

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This week in my garden at home:

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This week I have noticed that my rhubarb is growing well now (and I still haven’t got around to mulching it all with manure – I better hurry up).

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I transplanted this rhubarb from my allotment last January so this will now be its second year, so I will be able to harvest a small amount this year and I am already looking forward to it!

“If you transplant rhubarb it is best not to harvest any the first year and only a small amount in the second year to avoid weakening the crown”

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I have also noticed that my spring cabbages are beginning to grow a bit and it will soon be time to give them a feed.  I need to lift the net and remove the yellowing leaves first though:

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The garlic that I planted in the autumn in the ground is doing very well.  I planted some ‘back up’ garlic in my cold greenhouse which is also doing well, so will have to find a place in the garden for it soon:

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You can see in the right hand photo above that my broadbeans seeds and leek seeds are now growing well too.

In the garden my chives are poking through now and so too is my comfrey:

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These things show me that Spring is on its way.

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Inside the house the flower seeds that I sowed last week have now all popped their heads up too, which is surprisingly quick (lobelia, dhalias, marigolds, and antirrhiums):

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To speed their germination I decided to give them a bit of ‘bottom’ heat in their propagator by placing it on top of my radiator, with a chair placed against it to stop it falling off….and it worked a treat!

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This week in my garden outside I moved my rosemary and mint forward and sunk them into the holes where my blueberries sat last week before I moved them.  I am keeping the mint in pots to stop the roots from spreading and the rosemary is a young plant.  By sinking the pots in the ground it keeps the roots a bit cooler which means I don’t need to water them so often in the summer.

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I gave the rosemary a bit of a hair cut too:

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I also decided it was time to give my bay tree a hair cut too, so it doesn’t grow too big.  It certainly looks neater now:

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Out in my small front garden I also gave my three spirea plants a good prune.  I find this stops the plants growing too large.  I planted three spirea plants approximately thirteen years ago and all I ever do is prune them in February and they look good every year…they were well worth the £2 each that I paid for them!

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This week in the home:

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This week Mr Thrift had a few days off work and we decided it was high time we sorted our cupboards out as they had become a bit messy.

We found things in them that we didn’t know we still had:

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We found some little plastic things that cover the screws in our plug sockets, that we didn’t know we had and we also found a couple of birthday candles that I must have bought and forgotten about – unfortunately my youngest daughter turned sixteen last November so I will have to pass them on to someone else to use:

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It took a while to sort everything out but it’s nice to have tidy draws and cupboards once again:

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This week there are two birthdays in our family.  The first was my step mothers.  My dad and step mum came round on Saturday (my step mums birthday) to watch Leicester City play on the television….this was a spur of the moment thing so I wasn’t prepared.

While they watched the first half of the match I made my step mum a birthday cake.  I did it as quickly as I could using my favourite ‘throw it all in’ recipe and I whipped up some chocolate butter icing to spread over it and I grated some white chocolate on the top.  I just managed to light the candles as the whistle blew for half time:

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I don’t think I have ever made a cake so fast, but it proves that it can be done quickly (though a little bit of the butter icing did melt on the top as the cake didn’t have time to cool down as much as it should have, but nobody noticed).

And it is my eldest daughter’s 18th birthday….where on earth did that time go?

She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, well manored lady, who we are both so very proud of.

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I spent Wednesday and Thursday making a large cake for a her.  My daughter’s middle name is ‘Rose’ so I decided to have ’18’ roses around it.

I made three sponges and eighteen little mini cakes and decorated it with icing:

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My cake isn’t perfect, but I’m sure it has saved us a lot of money and ‘homemade’ cakes always taste nicer than shop bought cakes….and more importantly, my daughter loved it (thank goodness).

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Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back as usual next Friday.

Have a lovely week!

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20 thoughts on “Winds In The Park & A Special Birthday

  1. What a stunning birthday cake! You are one talented lady.

    I am wondering if you have your radiators turned down low to allow you to germinate the seeds on them? I think our radiators would probably just dry out seedings.

    I had a smile to myself about the “1” and “6” candles….. you could always hang on to them until you or Mr Thrift get to 61! Hee hee hee!!! 🙂

  2. I love both cakes but your daughter’s is absolutely gorgeous!! I now know where we went wrong with our rhubarb last year. We set 3 large rhubarb plants last spring. They produced loads of rhubarb which I stewed, made into crumbles, etc. Then the plants seemed to die!! Nothing left. I didn’t know you weren’t meant to pick in the first year!! Doh!!

    • They may still be ok as they do die back in autumn…if they do come up again then just don’t pick any this year and just a bit next year. Let me know if they do come up again as it will be interesting to know.

  3. Oh my goodness your daughters cake is amazing! I agree, so much better than shop bought. My youngest (son) is 18, where does the time go?x

  4. Rhododendrons blooming! Well, your climate is milder than ours, but –
    After telling you last week that I don’t bother with plants because I don’t want them to interfere with our cats’ enjoyment on the windowsill, I went and bought an organic basil plant on sale. Just one! And they don’t seem to mind it. 🙂
    How nice of you to quickly and quietly make a surprise birthday cake! Happy Birthday to both your stepmother and your daughter!

    • The winter has been so unusally milder here. I think the weather patterns are changing and we have more storms and rain than we used to here in the UK.
      I love basil, it is one of my favourite herbs and I am so glad your cat doesn’t mind it

  5. Your cake looks perfect to me.
    Not wishing to give my age away, those numbers would have been very useful for me last November 😉
    Best wishes
    Angela (Devon)

  6. As always I love reading you posts. The cake is magnificent and the veg updates informative and inspiring. I’m going to go back through your blog over the next few days so you may see some comments popping up on older posts as I learn a thing or two x

  7. Everything is all upside down in the garden I have snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and evenly some roses in bud, never seen this before. Your daughters cake looked wonderful. The garden is coming along you are really well organised, weve been ill this week so not a lot has been done I have been sitting knitting or crocheting keeping in the warm.
    Do have a good week.
    Sue

  8. Oh Wow – I’m behind again. A busy couple of weeks and no days nice enough to get to the allotment. I managed it today and fortunately my rhubarb isn’t as advanced as yours so I got a few handfuls of manure over it and covered it back up with the dried beanstalks from last year’s runners for some frost protection. I’m chitting my spuds and starting my broad beans this weekend. Promise!

    • Lol, last year I was behind with everything and it all caught up. By the way my rhubarb was always ready before everyone else’s on the allotment…I inherited it but I suspect it is a variety called ‘Timperley Early’

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