Potager Garden: Umbrella boats, windowsill seeds and chocolate flapjacks

The rain continues. The morning is spent with much-loved grandparents, playing card games at the table together and drinking mugs of tea.

After lunch, I grab my coat, pull up my hood and wander through the little potager garden, finding stillness in the water droplets balanced on petals and leaves.

My daughter is always ready for the outdoors, in any weather, and today she tries out an umbrella for the very first time. She does not quite understand it. She shows me that when she holds it up, she can no longer feel the lovely rain on her nose, surely I have got it wrong? She places it in the stream, with a toy inside. See? It is surely a boat.

Our small cornus plant is sprouting leaves from the tips of its scarlet woody stems … spring is on the way.

As her brothers play on their scooters, my daughter points at the veg plot, and when I open the gate she squeals and runs to grab her tools from the corner. A few weeds are shooting up in the raised beds and we remove them together. My daughter replants them tenderly. She takes some convincing that they really need to be composted. I notice that one is a stray parsley seed that has germinated early, so I let her keep that one in a pot.

The rain is really heavy now. Her hands are freezing cold and she still sobs when I tell her we have to go back inside.

Indoor gardening it is. A happy hour spent filling up plant pots ready for seeds.

As the rain thunderously streams down the windows behind her she is content, learning to use a brush to sweep up spilt soil.

My eldest sons and I have already arranged all of our leftover seeds into the months in which they can be planted. February has a few offerings for us to choose from.

My second son, who loves to draw, creates beautiful labels for our selection. He then carefully plants the seeds, wishing them good luck as he covers them up.

Then the planters are all lined up on the windowsill, safe from the chill of wintry weather.

In the evening, I spend time baking with my third son. He has autism and has recently discovered a love of cookery. Last week his nana brought over a box of chocolates and we are making flapjacks with these sugary treats hidden inside. As we cover the chocolates with a layer of oat and sugar mix, he is convinced I am being sneaky and keeps saying sssssshhhhhh! which makes me smile.

The younger children are tired tonight. Falling air pressure always seems to make their limbs go heavy and their eyes blink sleepily as dusk falls. They tuck in earlier than usual. Time to put the kettle on and write in the quietness. I may have a warm flapjack with my cup of tea.

Update: Here’s my recipe, if you want to try the above treats: English Cherry Flapjacks

44 Comments

    1. My son was so pleased to see your comment about his labels, made his day πŸ™‚ Thank you for the lovely comment on the veg plot too, Becky – we can’t wait to fill it with plants 🌱 🌱🌱

    1. Hello! Thanks for the lovely words.

      Here in England flapjacks are made from oats, golden syrup or honey and sugar …. then baked in a tray – a bit like a muesli or cereal bar but sweeter tasting and simpler? Certainly not a health food πŸ™‚ I bake them once a week and add in anything I have left over – from fruit to grated carrot or, if the children are lucky, chocolates πŸ™‚ I’ll have to post up the recipe x

    1. Hi Buddy πŸ™‚ I am often too busy rescuing my daughter to get the really good pics! In this case I was pulling her out of the steam … I often think a body cam or drone would be useful πŸ˜ƒ

  1. What good helpers you have! I’m also wondering about the flapjacks. To us, those are pancakes but yours look like some kind of cake. Tasty no matter what they are, I’m sure and I bed the children loved them.

    janet

    1. Hello there πŸ™‚ In England flapjacks are oats, golden syrup or honey and sugar, baked in a tray. I always have a home made batch in the fridge – with whatever is leftover in the house. Last week it was frozen berries, the week before was left over coconut from a pineapple cake.

      I didn’t realise it was the US term for pancakes πŸ˜ƒ I’ll have to post up the recipe – they are so easy to make x

    1. My son is really enjoying all the replies about his labels – thanks Derrick πŸ˜ƒ It’s been a lovely surprise how much my daughter loves the garden – even before she could toddle about, she would choose sit by the door looking out 🌞

  2. You have some really stellar helpers!! All mine are grown and gone but my 11 yr old grandson visits a couple of times a year. He was only into gardening if there were no kittens around to chase on our farm – LOL.

    1. Hello there! πŸ™‚ If my children had kittens to play with I don’t think I would have any helpers left either x How lovely it must be for your grandson to be able to visit your farm 🌿

  3. Count me in to wonder about your flapjacks, which in the U.S. are another name for pancakes. The labels are beautiful, and that little girl in the red raincoat is utterly adorable. Wonderful to read how much she likes being outside.

    1. I’ve had lots of comments and emails on this, which made me smile as I had no clue that flapjacks were a British thing. It’s oats, golden syrup or honey and sugar baked in a tray …. like a granola bar … but not healthy … more a little treat πŸ™‚ I shall have to post the recipe, they are so easy to make and they keep really well – plus I have tried adding lots of random fillings and it always still works x

  4. What a lovely afternoon, and the memory of it will get you a second smile on those angel faces when it’s time to transplant and sow seed outside.

  5. Oh wow… Love how you are teaching your children with Nature Mrs TP. such a joy to read, nothing beating getting our hands a little dirty in Mother Earth, and planting seeds…
    Loved your sons artwork on those labels… Such a team effort….
    Snap!! with the flapjack making…
    Being half term, I had my Granddaughter who is nine now have some sleep overs and we baked, she loves baking, and painting, and has a thing about making things in miniature… So out came the clay and she also made donuts decorating them in pastel power she painstakingly ground up and brushed on to give them sprinkled effect… lol.. We were going to bake some chocolate biscuits, but the only egg i had was cracked, so we made flapjacks and coated them in chocolate.
    Her granddad was quite disgruntled to know I had given her most of her flapjacks to take home with her, as he was looking forward to eating more for his supper time snack lol..

    Lovely images…. πŸ™‚

    1. Awwr I loved reading about your granddaughter πŸ™‚ My son was made up that everyone liked his labels – and even happier now that a few of the seeds have already sprouted for him.

      Today’s game for my daughter was rolling a small ball into the garden stream and then getting her brothers to fish it out πŸ™‚

      1. Wonderful your son’s seeds started to sprout, now tell him he has to watch over them, talk to them and not to drown them when watering them.. haha.. πŸ™‚ And big smiles at your daughters ball game.. πŸ™‚

  6. What a wonderful sounding day! Are you a Homeschooler, too? We planted indoor seedlings a few years ago and it was such fun. Maybe that will be our science project next week! πŸ™‚

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