Saturday, 27 April 2013

Quote for the week.......

“The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it.” - David Attenborough

Edible flower recipe - Nasturtium & Runner Bean Omelette

Nasturtium and Runner Bean Omelette

• 50g (2oz) young tender runner beans
• 2 eggs
• 30ml (2tbsp) milk
• 2 nasturtium seeds
• 4 nasturtium petals
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 15ml (1tbsp) butter
• Freshly grated parmesan cheese to taste.

Slice the runner beans finely and add to a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 4 minutes, then drain. Beat the eggs with the milk. Crush the seeds with a fork, and then add the seeds, leaves and petals to the egg mixture. Season lightly with salt and some freshly ground black pepper. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a gentle heat. Pour the egg and nasturtium mixture into the pan, add the beans and cook gently until the omelette has just set. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and serve immediately, garnished with extra petals.

More information and recipes can be found at Thompson Morgan 

Some popular edible flowers

Borage - produces star-shaped, sapphire-blue flowers with a fresh, cucumber taste, perfect for adding to salads and summery drinks but just as happy crystallised or sprinkled on to sweet things. It is a hardy annual. Sow under cover in early spring and plant out in early summer in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. After the first year, borage should self-sow freely.

Calendula - is a well know edible flower easy to grow, with bright yellow-orange flowers. They are fast growing and have many culinary uses, including salads, garnishes, cakes, desserts, savoury cooking, food colouring, hot & cold drinks.

Cornflowers - are easy to grow annuals which flower during the summer. They are generally blue in colour. They look fantastic in borders, particularly when planted in drifts, and provide a rich source of nectar for bees and butterflies. Cornflowers add vibrant colour to salads, sweet and savoury dishes.

Dianthus - are popular edible flowers which make lovely additions to salads, and are ideal for sugaring to add to cakes and desserts for unusual and colourful decorations. A compact plant which grows up to 15cm tall; they are perfect for containers and small gardens.

Fennel -The mild anise/liquorice flavour combines well with fish, meat and vegetable dishes.

Lilac - Mix fresh fragrant flowers with a little cream cheese and serve on crackers or stir flowers into yogurt to add a hint of lemon. Also useful as a garnish for cakes, scones or sweets.

Marigold - have a peppery taste and look beautiful sprinkled over food. This is a hardy annual – sow where it is to flower, in early to mid-spring. You will get quicker growth and stronger, earlier-flowering plants if you start them off under cover and plant outdoors once the weather has started to warm. You can use flowers straight away as a garnish on soups and salads or you can grind with a little olive oil to create a "poor man's saffron" for colouring dishes.

Nasturtiums - are a fast growing annual and incredibly easy to grow. They come in a wide variety of colours and types, with some being suited to containers, whilst others are useful for covering walls or trellis, providing ground cover or trailing from hanging baskets. Nasturtiums have a strong, peppery taste, are an easy to use and versatile edible flower with edible leaves, flowers, stems and seeds.

Rose - the petals have a delicate flavour which will improve cool drinks and fruit dishes, or why not try rose petal jam? Rosehips and petals can both be used in jellies. If the flowers are crystallised, they will make attractive cake decorations. It is best to remove the white heel from the base of the petals before eating.

Viola - (tri colour) looks like a miniature pansy with five petals which are generally purple with some white and yellow. Viola is an easy to grow, hardy annual and are a popular edible flower, with a wide range of uses. They are most commonly used to decorate cakes and desserts, are ideal for sugaring and beautiful when scattered over salads or used as a garnish.

You can find more information about edible plants at:
Garden Organic
RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) 
Thompson and Morgan

There is also a large variety of books about edible flowers such as:

The Edible Flower Garden by Kathy Brown
Edible flowers by Kathy Brown
The Edible Flower Garden by Rosalind Creasy
Cooking with Edible Flowers by Miriam Jacobs

Friday, 26 April 2013

A few useful gardening websites

Allotment Gardening - Help and advice for growing fruit vegetables and herbs
Garden Organic - National charity for organic growing
Royal Horticultural Society - grow your own
Thrive - National charity helping people with a disability to start or continue gardening.
Seasonal GardeningMonth by month tasks to be done in the garden with FREE on-line guide

New growth on the wildlife banking area

A splash of colour in the raised planters

Among todays pollinators include.........

Valued volunteers Alex and David mowing our lawns

Thursday, 25 April 2013

And if you just turn around from the garden and look behind you near sunset..........

FREE seeds from The co - operatives Plan Bee campaign

You can apply for a free packet of wild flowers seeds from The Co-operative Plan Bee campaign online, whilst stocks last! 

The co - operative Plan Bee campaign aims “to address the decline in pollinators such as bees, butterflies and moths. Bees don’t just make honey, they pollinate a third of the food we eat! Unfortunately, honeybee numbers have fallen by up to 30% in recent years, which is why we launched Plan Bee in 2009 to help address this alarming decline. In 2011, the campaign was extended to address the decline of other ‘at risk’ pollinators such as bumblebees, solitary bees, butterflies and moths” 

You can request your seeds and do your bit to help bees and other pollinators at:

Todays horticulture training workshop - "how to grow your own herb garden"

“How to grow your own herb garden” as facilitated by Jennifer Lauruol  from Carpe DiemGardens.

Funding for the training workshops has been provided from a generous grant awarded to the project by The People’s Health Trust, using money raised by Healthable Community Interest Company through The Health Lottery.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

FREE gardening workshop Saturday 18 May - "Edible flowers - what to grow and eat'

Although limited, there are still places available on our FREE gardening workshops ... Saturday 18 May. 10 - 12 noon or 1 - 3 pm 'Edible flowers - what to grow and eat'. 

You can book a place at or ring 01229 876546. 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Completing our new raised planters

Our new raised planters have been completed and are ready for planting. The large square planter is to be used as a communal herb garden by members of the community grow your own scheme.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Growing your own fruit and veg all year

The first session from a summer programme of horticulture training workshops - "growing your own fruit and veg all year" -  as facilitated by Jennifer Lauruol  from Carpe Diem Gardens. The morning workshop was attended by staff and pupils from Sacred Heart Junior School, the afternoon workshop attended by local residents.

Funding for the training workshops has been provided from a generous grant awarded to the project by The People’s Health Trust, using money raised by Healthable Community Interest Company through The Health Lottery.

Additional pictures can be found on our Flickr photo gallery here.