Homemade Maple Toffee Apples

These are the maple toffee apples from my story A Week in Books: Stories to treasure, traditional recipes and seasonal flowers Maple toffee apples are wonderful in autumn, for evenings spent outdoors, wrapped up warm by a fire. Consider also making these with surplus apples in August and enjoying them cool from the fridge on…

An English Summer: The secret life of the evening garden

I grow ever more fond of watching night fall in the garden. After the bustle of the day and distant traffic noises, a quietness descends at around 8 o’ clock as the late summer evening draws in. Although I find the geraniums beautiful in the daytime, they now look so dramatic against a background of…

Springtime at Home: English oaks and white bluebells

My two middle sons run down the hill together, so close in age that they are almost the same height. The trees dwarf them. When I think back to this wood, I never imagine the trees being so tall; it seems such a close, small place in my memory. Spring is still with us and…

Springtime at Home: VE Day, bunting and a street party

It is the 75th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. We wake up to blue skies and sunshine and set to work tidying the front garden, whilst our resident house martins dart around us, swooping down from the eaves. Repurposed paper fans and rugby flags decorate the iron railings. Our son’s homemade Union flag takes…

Springtime at Home: Storm chasing, lichen and muddy boots

I welcome the promise of rain. Our plants desperately need it and I can feel the storm coming. The air feels heavy, the sky seems closer. It is only midday and yet the familiar bright tones of the garden seem washed out in the dim half-light belonging to dusk. As the clouds roll over the…

Close to Home: Autumn colours on a crisp November morning

It had rained for days, weeks, it seemed like endless months and then, one Sunday, it suddenly stopped.  The ground would be water-logged and our boots would likely sink in to the mud to a depth of a foot – but it felt so good to finally get out and hike. It was at this…

The January Garden

There was a countrywide storm on its way to us today, with predictions of driving rain and thirty mile an hour winds, so we had to quickly sneak some garden time before the gales blew in. One pastime I love in the winter months, when flowers are in short supply, is to start looking for…

Rain, hail, snow … sunflowers and our first radish crop

May was a mixed month here in the Midlands of England.  We had weeks of torrential rain, and a lot of gazing out of the window, wondering when we would be able to get out in the garden. Then came the snow, and hail. However, the sun was shining for our village plant sale, where…