Summer Bulbs

Squeeze a few summer-flowering bulbs into your garden, they take up very little space and reward you with bursts of colour until autumn!

Begin to plant summer flowering bulbs in borders and containers in early spring, just as the weather starts to warm up.

Most bulbs should be planted at 3 times their depth. Space them approximately 2 to 3 bulb widths apart.

The majority of bulbs prefer well-drained soils (as they are susceptible to rotting) and they grow best in soil mixed with compost.

Summer bulbs are usually on sale from early spring. How to choose them? Healthy bulbs will feel firm and show no signs of mould or damage. Choose bigger bulbs, they will produce bigger blooms.

Aim to plant dry bulbs directly after purchase. Summer bulbs generally like a warm, sunny position and are ideal for growing in patio containers. These can then be lifted in winter and stored.

There are plenty of summer bulbs to choose from: Gladioli, Dahlias, Oriental Lily, Peony, Crocosmia, Polianthes, Agapanthus, Begonia, Freesia, Scadoxus, Daylily and Bearded Iris.


How to choose, store & cook asparagus

Choose asparagus:

Look for bright green or violet-tinged spears with firm (not limp) stems.
Make sure the tips are closed and compact.
When the bunch is squeezed, it should squeak.
Also, be sure to avoid stalks that appear woody.

Store asparagus:

Trim the bottoms and wrap the cut ends in a damp paper towel. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three days.

Alternatively treat your spears like fresh flowers: place the cut ends in a bowl or a vase filled with an inch of water and cover the tops with a plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator.

Cook asparagus:

Asparagus are the perfect side to steak or salmon, they can be added to pasta or risotto and paired with poached eggs or dipped in Hollandaise sauce.

  • Jumbo asparagus are ideal to BBQ or roast. Enjoy them with olive oil, garlic, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.
  • Thin asparagus are perfect to pan-fry with butter, salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Asparagus can also be boiled or steamed and enjoyed with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper or roasted wrapped in bacon.

Have fun experimenting with new recipes!


10 Reasons why you should eat asparagus!

Asparagus season just started! Try to eat fresh asparagus keeping in mind they're not only delicious but also super good for you:

  1. Low in fat and calories, asparagus contains lots of fibre making it a good choice if you are trying to lose weight. Your body digests fibre slowly so you'll feel full in between meals!
  2. Asparagus is a natural diuretic. Eating asparagus can help flush excess fluid and salt from your body.
  3. Asparagus is full of antioxidants. Try to not overcook them to avoid their vitamins escaping.
  4. Asparagus is a great source of vitamin E. This vitamin helps strengthen your immune system and protects cells from the effects of free radicals. To absorb the vitamins better, roast your asparagus with some olive oil.
  5. Asparagus is a natural aphrodisiac, thanks to vitamins B6 and Folate.
  6. Minerals and amino acids in asparagus help to ease a hangover.
  7. Asparagus helps promote overall digestive health and thanks to probiotics it beats bloating.
  8. It's a rich source of folic acid, essential for women who are planning on getting pregnant.
  9. It's filled with vitamin K, crucial for coagulation as well as bone health.
  10. It boosts your mood.

Soft feet in 3 easy steps!

Step #1 Soak your feet

You will need:

  • 1 Cup of milk
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

  1. Fill up a container with warm water.
  2. Add the milk and olive oil.
  3. Mix all together.
  4. Relax and soak your feet for about 10 minutes.

 

Step #2 Exfoliation

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Add the ingredients in a jar and mix it all together to form a paste-like consistency.
  2. Focus on the areas where your feet have lots of dead skin.
  3. Massage your feet in circular motions.
  4. Exfoliate for at least 5 minutes (you can use a pumice stone as well) and rinse it all off before moving to the next step.

Step #3 Moisturise

Apply a thin coat of vaseline, olive or coconut oil and put on some cotton socks so your skin will soak up all the moisture.

Repeat this routine as often as you like to get baby soft feet! ;)


DIY Vertical Garden

Not enough space in your place to grow some herbs? Turn an old shoe organiser into a vertical garden!

Here are some easy steps to follow to have a thriving spread of herbs to flavour your favourite dishes.

You will need:

  • An old shoe organiser
  • Small gravel
  • Potting soil
  • Herbs

Step #1

Poke  some little holes at the bottom front of each pocket. You can use a utility knife or a nail.

Step #2

Line the bottom of each pocket with some small gravel stones (to allow the soil to drain water)

Fill the pockets with potting soil, leaving 3 inch from the top. Add your herb plant in each pocket and top up with extra soil to give stability to the plant.

Remember to put tall plants in the top pockets so they have space to grow.
Step #3

Water the plant and have fun decorating some labels to name them. You can use wooden pegs and write on them!

 

Tag us on Instagram to share your vertical herb garden!


Rosemary Roasted Jersey Royal Potatoes

Ingredients
  • 1.2 kg Jersey Royal potatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. Add the potatoes to a medium pan of boiling salted water, reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.
  3. Drain and leave to steam dry. Place in a roasting tray and mash lightly with a potato masher.
  4. Throw in the garlic and rosemary, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Place in the hot oven for around 40 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
  6. Delicious served with lamb and asparagus.

Mint Sauce

Ingredients

  • a large bunch of fresh mint (about 30 g)
  • 240 ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp malt vinegar
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method

  1. Finely chop the mint leaves (discard the stalks). Don't use a blender, you'll end up with a mint mush!
  2. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Steep for a few minutes then drain over a sieve.
  3. Whilst still in the sieve, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  4. Place in a serving bowl, add sugar, vinegar and salt.
  5. Stir together and leave for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Ingredients

  • 1 (5 to 6 pound) trimmed bone-in leg of lamb
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  •  1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line a roasting pan with aluminium foil.
  2. Pat lamb dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, score the top side of the lamb by making shallow cuts all over.
  3. In a small bowl, combine garlic, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, Dijon, salt and pepper.
  4. Place lamb, fat side up, on a rack in the prepared roasting pan. Spread garlic mixture evenly over the lamb, rubbing in thoroughly into the scored cuts.
  5. Place into oven and roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F for medium, about 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 45 minutes, or until desired doneness. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing.
  6. Serve immediately with Jersey Royal potatoes.

Household items to reuse in your garden

Old jars: in the garden, old Four Seasons Jars can hold plants, serve as seed starters or be used to organise smaller tools.

Old cans: you can use your old coffee/tomato cans to grow some of your plants and vegetables in, you can take the label off and decorate the bare can if you like. Just remember to make some holes at the bottom for drainage.

Wooden spoons: you can repurpose the old ones to serve as markers in your garden patch. You can write on  them with paint or markers.

Old/broken chairs: you can turn them into plant shelves or even planters taking out the seat and replacing it with chicken wire to form a basket.

Wheelbarrow: a rusty wheelbarrow can add some character to your garden as a planter or even just a holder for tools, seed or soil.

Old/rusty bird cage: turn an old birdcage into a lovely planter or, into the perfect bird feeder by leaving it open.

Wine crates: if you don’t have much space, old wine crates are perfect for separating different kinds of vegetables that you may be growing.

Cupcake pans: line each cup before adding soil and seeds to use as a seed starter.

Old lamp base: use the base of an old lamp as the base of a birdbath by gluing a large plate or dish on top. You can also use it as a base for displaying and elevating your plant pots.

Old plastic rubbish bin: use it make your own compost or convert it into a rain barrel with a spout attached for use.

Colanders: they are perfect as planters, particularly because of the drainage their holes provide. You can also turn them into flower pots and tie ropes or chains to them for hanging.

Old gardening tools: there’s no need to waste old and rusted gardening tools by throwing them out. Repurpose them instead by turning them into creative decor, such as using a rake to hang planters from or making planters out of old watering cans.

Teapots: repurpose an old teapot by using it as a watering can, turning it into a cute pot or even hanging it on its side as a bird feeder.

Pallets: with their lovely rustic vibe, pallets are one of the easiest items to convert into planters for your flowers. Alternatively you can use them to built garden furniture.

Tires: you can use old tires in your garden as big planters or hang them up from a tree as a swing. You can paint them in bright colours to make them more fun! Another idea is to take two tires, paint them, stuck them up  and put a glass top on to have an original outdoor coffee table.

Shower caddy: when rusted out they can be used as vertical planters!

Old tire rims: pained and hung to the wall can be turned into garden hose holder.

Tree stumps: instead of removing them, a tall stump can be used as a flower pot stand or as a flower pot itself.


Easter table decor

How to create a fresh flower arrangement to display in the house or to decorate the Easter table?

You will need only a few items:

  • A bunch of fresh carrots with top
  • A bunch of your favourite flowers (tulips work great)
  • A clear vase

Here are some simple step to follow:

  1. Select a good bunch/bunches of carrots (depending on the size of the vase you are using). You can use orange carrots or the colourful ones as long as you get a bunch with the feathery green top leaves.
  2. Wash the carrots with a brush and remove any root strings.
  3. Choose a clear vase as toll as the carrots.
  4. Arrange the carrots in the vase and give a trim to the longest leaves.
  5. Fill the vase with fresh water.
  6. Place your flowers right in the middle of the carrot bunch and arrange them to create layers and volume.
  7. Display your beautiful creation on your Easter table!
  8. Tag us on Instagram to share your Easter centrepiece!

*Fresh carrots will last long, just remember to change the water in the vase before it gets cloudy!