Friday, 14 June 2013

Garden joys topped with crumble

This week has been rather slow and delicate at times, but a couple of hours without rain this morning meant some time in our garden, ergo moments of happiness. Its amazing how much I have missed the garden this week with all the rain we've been having again. I love our little space, which has been WIP since we moved in five years ago. To be honest we have completely changed the entire garden from what it was when we moved in and have re landscaped both the front and the back, in fact the only plant that remains in our garden from the previous owners is a heavenly scented rose bush which is here to stay.

Its amazing how long these things can take when you are doing it all yourself and as I am the gardener in our house it has meant very slow progress indeed, especially over the last four years. We started at the front by breaking up all their flowerbeds they had built out of rocks and replacing it with turf. We wanted to maximise on getting as much from the front garden as possible as it is basked in beautiful views of surrounding countryside. This was a massive job and I remember working on this being very heavily pregnant at the time with Es. For me gardening is just one of those joys that I simply can't do without, my doh simply doesn't understand this as he loathes it and would rather just tarmac everything (and I am not joking here!). I still recall the days when I was two weeks overdue standing on all fours gardening and not only finding comfort in this position, but also feeling really connected with mother earth! It brings back very fond memories as gardens normally do for me.

We finally got around to excavating more than 80% of our back garden at the end of last year, and offcourse being the control freak that I am I drafted the plans and did the drawings for it all. I wanted to create an outdoor living space, which combined a variety of textures(sleepers, stone, pebbles, rock, etc.) and functions, such as an eating area and also a flat lawn for the kids to play on. Being rather fond of small rockeries in gardens, I incorporated a couple in the back and the first plant that got planted in our smallest little rockery had to be a succulent. Succulents are one of my favourites and it is fair to say I can't get enough of them at the moments. I am constantly trying to multiply them to get more into the garden and fortunately this is so easy to do! I was really keen on the idea of a living wall when I did the design, but unfortunately it just didn't work, maybe I will still create this at a later stage. A garden is WIP right?!

The next key ingredient for me was our veg patch as we have been wanting one ever since we left our last one behind at our previous home. We had to make do with the space and we had quite a few issues with the design as our plot just didn't lend itself to conventional raised veggie beds. We ended up using the veggie bed, as a safety net so to speak, to cover the sheer drop from the shed. Currently our patch is filled with some cabbages, lettuces and rocket, pumpkins, spring onions, onions, carrots, broccoli,  dwarf peas, French beans, spinach, courgette and cucumber and I have to say its so wonderful to be pulling things up to take into the house. I think they are fairly easy to maintain and such fun to do with the kids. We have miraculously also succeeded to grow everything from seed with the exception of the cucumber and courgette.


I had my trusty little helper today who is loving her new gardening gloves (note they are as clean as a whistle and we are almost finished, haha!).


My two other adorable little companions, Bryn and Sinbad.

My cosmos is just coming out, I love them (hence the name for the blog). When I was young and went home for the holidays from Uni my Dad would always fill my room for me with the biggest bunch of Cosmos's that he could find (or Kosmosse as we would say in Afrikaans), I love them! They are so simple, yet so elegant. 
Our apple tree that we planted in March this year, which I espaliered against our side wall. I am so excited to see what happens to this James Grieve tree and how it will transform the outside wall. Offcourse we can't wait to taste the apples either. I found choosing an apple tree pretty hard as I just didn't have much of a clue about English apples. Do any of you grow apples, and what is your preference??
Es picking some flowers for me from our little meadow on our front lawn

This wonderful hammock seat peeping from behind the Irises and Foxgloves was given to me by a very dear friend. We all love it, especially the kids.

The beautiful Lady Grey rose and a part of our herb garden at the front.

Once the rain started we rushed inside and Es wanted a little den, so sheets got pulled out and we created a little den where we enjoyed a snack and spent some quality time reading and chatting. 

 I love 'Doing the Animal Bop' it is such a great book for kids and offcourse there is the added bonus that you get to be silly! Do you have books that you know off by heart? Well this is one of mine.

Some rhubarb from the garden for a pear and rhubarb crumble and

my crumble assistant. I think it is funny how my kids have their little things they love doing and helping with. For Josh it is helping whenever we make crumble. He always wants to do the crumble topping by mixing the flour (GF), butter (or in our case Pure Sunflower spread), sugar and Oats. We generally add oats to our crumbles as we just love the texture and taste.

Then there is the added bonus of licking fingers and a great deal of mess!!


 Life doesn't  get much better than warm pear and rhubarb crumble topped with some Booja Booja Ice Cream. Now if you have dairy and soy allergies as I do, then Ice cream becomes a bit of a problem as every dairy substitute is soy, see where I am going here. Well this was the case until I discovered this AMAZING, yes I am going to say it again, AMAZING ice cream. It is made with Agave syrup and water and it honestly is delicious. The kids love it too and it was the feisty Ginger that Joshua chose tonight, the boy's got great taste! They do hunky punky chocolate (love the name!!), pecan and maple, vanilla and ginger and they are all delicious, especially the hunky punky (haha!). This is most probably one of the reasons I am never going to be thin! You can buy this wonderful stuff right here.

So for the crumble

7 pears
About 6 big stalks of rhubarb (no exact science here I'm afraid, go with your taste preference).

Crumble topping
75g plain flour (we use doves gluten free plain flour)
75g oats
75g butter (or pure sunflower spread as in our case)
75g light brown sugar

Peel and cut the pears and put straight into the crumble dish.
Cut your rhubarb into medium size pieces and put in a small pan with about 150ml of apple juice and simmer on low heat for about 5-8 minutes. Add a tbsp of sugar to the rhubarb and then gentle stir I'm before adding it to you pears.

Now get your little assistant to mix the crumble ingredients to a crumble consistence. Add it to your fruit and at this point i normally sprinkle a little more oats on top and then pop it in the oven at 180C for about 45mins & voila, enjoy!!


So when I am filled to the brim and tired from a long and pleasant day its great to find comfort in some freshly picked and brewed mint tea.
Plans for our weekend is R&R and R&R, and yes a bit more of the same, but there will definitely be a little bit of wool and hooky going on too. What do you have planned this weekend?

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and very enjoyable weekend.
Warm wishes


  1. What a happy post! Your garden looks A-MAZ-ING!!! You have created a wonderful space. I ended my day with mint tea, too, such a treat picked just outside the kitchen door. May your weekend continue to be as happy and fun! Chrissie x

    1. Thanks Chrissie. I will now be thinking of you when I am making my mint tea xo

  2. Hannapat a fantastic post, I loved it. I am not a gardener myself but always admire people who are. You have created a wondrous space and your crumble looks delicious, would love some!
    Lots of love

    1. Yes, it definitely isn't everyone's cup of tea. Thanks for your kind and lovely comments as usual Dorothy xo

  3. lol id buy that ice cream just for the name!...your garden looks great. you have very cute assistants! xx

    1. Haha!! Im so with you on it. Such a great name! xo

  4. Your garden is just adorable, all that veg, fantastic! I'm with you on how gardening helps you heal and connect with 'something' bigger! Mr Bea too hates gardening almost as passionately as I love it! We've lived here almost 12 years now and didn't change it too much as the children loved the lawn to play on, I just added boarders.
    I'm at a bit of a dilemma with its progress, I had grand plans. I struggle with the garden so it seems ludicrous to add to the workload, so I'm in a quandary. I'll just keep getting the boarders looking more lush, add a little more to the veg patch, and pray for a miracle, Mr Bea to take up gardening!!! :) x

    1. I don't know many men that actually love gardening (apart from my Dad that is!). I think you have done an amazing job with yours and I am always drooling when I look at pictures of your garden! You have some beautifully established plants and flowers and it makes a garden look so lovely, we still have a long way to go and I am super impatient. I completely get the workload issue being the only one who does it and its so important that it stays manageable. I know that I will be getting frustrated in a couple of years, when I have no more space to plant (can't think about that yet, arrrgh!). I know I need more than a miracle to get my doh to love the garden...we can but pray! xoxo

  5. Your garden is lovely, I'm a bit jelly of your beautiful rockery. Do succulents do well in your neck of the woods? I wouldn't expect them to - I thought it would be too chilly...(I love them too, we have heaps in our garden - I'm always pinching cuttings whenever I see a variety we don't have) I would so love an apple tree, but even though nuseries sell them here, I think it would be too warm for them to do well, no chill factor...It's amazing what us heavily pregnant girls can do! I was stripping and sanding skirting boards just before my eldest was born, and a hell-of-a lot of other stuff before her little Sister came into the world. take care x

    1. So far so good for the succulents, they seem to be as happy as pig ..... Not sure what is going to happen in the winter, but they seemed to cope fine during the last one (will let you know!). I need you around to gather some different varieties for me (especially now that I know what you come back with from your neighbourhood collections!! xo

  6. You have such a lovely garden. I think hours can fly by while I'm outside pottering, i forget all about time! Which can be problematic when I have to run to collect the eldest from school. x

    1. Yes, I always loose track of time and there is offcourse the added complication of other responsibilities ;-) xo

  7. That crumble looks delicious! My wee girl used to adore that book, Sharing A Shell and I can still recite it by heart!
    M x

    1. Little Es love it too! Lets hope we can still do it when we are 80! xo