September has been a very wet month here in Hawke’s Bay, but the beginning of spring has brought plenty of growth in the garden. Daffodils and tulips have been blooming, pretty blue forget-me-nots have sprung up all over the garden, the lavender and rosemary have been abuzz with bees, and the orange and grapefruit trees are laden with fruit, although not quite ready for picking yet. I planted trays of vegetable and flower seeds in the greenhouse, and we dug compost through the garden beds, ready for planting in a few weeks’ time after danger of late frosts has passed.
Our early spring garden is looking pretty this year. A friend gave me a packet of tulip bulbs for my birthday. I had never grown tulips before, so I was excited to see what they would turn out like. They are a mix of colours and look stunning in our front garden amidst the wallflowers, calendulas, bluebells and purple alyssum. Nick took these lovely photos.
I love the faces on these pretty blue pansies.
I have got some seeds on the go in our little shade house – tomatoes, peas, beetroot, spring onions, zucchinis, lettuces, marigolds, phacelia, echinacea, stevia, and bergamot. Nick has built a fence to stop Finn getting into the vegetable garden, so I’m able to start planting seedlings again. Finn was jumping up into the raised beds, digging and pulling out the plants. He developed quite a liking for broccoli and demolished most of the plants just before they were ready to pick. At the moment I can only garden in short bursts while Finn lies on the other side of the fence, patiently watching through the palings, until he becomes bored and starts barking and whining. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, he’ll get used to being on the other side of the fence as I spend more time in the garden.
November is a lovely time in the garden. Late spring and everything is green. Things are beginning to grow quickly now, including the weeds! The gardens are bursting with colour, and my favourite flower, the foxglove, is blooming beautifully. The sage bush is growing nicely and should have plenty of leaves to pick next month for making sage and apple stuffing balls to have with our Christmas dinner. Our strawberries are prolific this month, giving me an opportunity to make one of my favourite desserts – strawberry shortcake. It is a quick, easy recipe, and very delicious!
1 teaspoon baking powder
125g butter (or dairy-free spread)
2 tablespoons sugar
Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter. Beat egg and sugar until thick, then mix into dry ingredients. Knead into a ball. Press into a greased or paper lined sponge roll tin. Bake for 20 minutes at 190ºC.
Top with strawberries and serve with yoghurt, whipped cream, or ice cream.