Red Campion (Silene dioica)

This gorgeous little purpley pink flower is in abundance at the moment all along the hedgerows, I snapped these pics when we were out walking the dogs the other night, and today when we were driving up to visit the in-laws my hubby noticed that there is loads of it growing this year and had asked if I knew what it was…

Common Name: Red campion
Genus: Silene
Species: dioica
Skill Level: Beginner
Exposure: Partial shade, Shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Well-drained/lightClay/heavy,Chalky/alkalineDryMoist
Height: 30cm
Spread: 30cm

This little pinky-red meadow flower is often found in the wild growing in woodlands and in the verges of country roads. It’s easy to grow and makes a good addition to a rockery or semi-shaded patch in need of some colour. The clump-forming plant is hardy and will tolerate most soils, although it can struggle to cope with very acid ground. It has rich green leaves that appear in spring, and has a long flowering period right through until the start of autumn. It’s a low-maintenance plant that only needs dividing later in the year if it has become too large. It’s also fairly pest-free, and doesn’t seem to attract much attention from slugs and snails.

This info is courtesy of the bbc website (here)

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Fruit & Nut Loaf

The recipe I used for this loaf was actually titled Sultana Loaf, but I didn’t have enough sultanas in the store cupboard and had to improvise, I used cranberries and chopped nuts to make up the shortage on the sultanas, it turned out ok, but I think I should have added a splash of milk to the mix because it turned out rather dry, still edible tho 🙂

Ingredients :-

  • 170g / 6oz butter
  • 170g / 6oz soft light brown sugar
  • 3 room temperature eggs, beaten
  • 285g / 10oz self raising flour
  • 340g / 12oz sultanas (I only had 170g the rest was made up with cramberries and nuts)
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice

Method :-

  1. Heat the oven to 180 degrees C / 350 Degrees F / Gas Mark 4
  2. Take a 2lb loaf tin and pop in one of those fab loaf liners you get from lakeland
  3. Cream the butter in a large bowl using an electric beater until it is soft.   Add the sugar and beat until pale and fluffy
  4. Add beaten eggs a little at a time, beating well between each addition.   If the mixture starts to curdle, beat a little of the measured flour.
  5. Fold in the flour, sultanas, orange zest, mixed spice and mix well.
  6. Put into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours.   If the cake starts to get too dark, cover it with a sheet of greaseproof paper and turn the oven down to 150 degrees C / 300 Degrees F / gas Mark 2.   Extend the cooking time if necessary.
  7. The cake is ready when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.   Allow the cake to cool for 10 mins before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe Courtesy of Leiths Baking Bible ISBN 0-74765-8189-4

Out Walking the Dog

Just thought I would share some pictures I snapped yesterday whilst out walking the dog over the fields 🙂

This for some reason is my fav tree, I have no idea why, I just love it and it makes me want to hug it 🙂

I snapped this rusty old hinge on a wooden fence post

Chunky managed to throw himself into the burn for a swim

And these gorgeous little flowers were growing everywhere, I later found out that they are called Cuckoo Flowers

I called this next picture Dandelion Hill, seeing as this was the only dandelion growing on the hill

Chunky again, this time with his chops tucked in 🙂 .. he had been swimming again!

More Cuckoo Flowers.. they are beautiful

More swimming…

and a few of last years skeletons

Hope you enjoyed the walk 🙂

Baby Blackbird… (Turdus merula)

I have a blackbird visits my garden on a daily basis, it is lovely to look out of my workshop window and see him gathering worms and bugs … he comes up quite close too, not afraid at all…

Today he brought his newly fledged blackbird baby to visit and I managed to grab my camera and get a couple of shots before they flew off 🙂

He turned around and was watching me take photographs 🙂

A few facts about these gorgeous song birds…

Latin name

Turdus merula

Family

Chats and Thrushes (Turdidae)

Overview

The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. The bright orange-yellow beak and eye-ring make adult male blackbirds one of the most striking garden birds. One of the commonest UK birds, its mellow song is also a favourite.

Where to see them

Found everywhere in gardens and countryside and from coasts to hills, although not on the highest peaks.

When to see them

All year round.

What they eat

Insects, worms and berries.