Poetry by David

We are delighted to share these beautiful poems created by Men’s Group participant David. Music The beat of the drum matching your heart beatYour body resounding to the beatThe beat uplifting you higherYou feel if the beat is lifting you into the air as the beat gets fasterThen the beat slows and gradually you feel […]

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We are delighted to share these beautiful poems created by Men’s Group participant David.

Music

The beat of the drum matching your heart beat
Your body resounding to the beat
The beat uplifting you higher
You feel if the beat is lifting you into the air as the beat gets faster
Then the beat slows and gradually you feel as if the beat is putting you down
You come back down to earth not with a bang but gently
The feeling of exhileration
The gradual release of the energy
Tired but happy.

New Year

A new year start feels just like the last.
But the new brings with it the promise of change.
Whether good or bad just like weather.
The weather can be heavy snow in some places and none in others.
The other places can have dry sunny days or a downpour of cold rain.
The weather will change from the dismal to the cold but dry to warmer but dry days.
To finally hot sunny days.
These are the promise of the new year things getting better.
Not just in regards the weather but in all things in life.
A new year brings change in all things not just the weather or life but everything that the year will brings.

Check out David’s blog for more thoughts & scribbles

Cultural Cookery recipe book Feb- March 2021

Download our latest Cultural Cookery group recipe book with recipes from; Uruguayan Pumpkin soup and Cuban rice pudding North Africa; Vegetable tagine and Moroccan Couscous with Chickpeas Somalian dishes; Somali Rice Pilaf (Bariis Maraq) and Digaag Qumbe (yogurt- Coconut Chicken) Philippines; Eggplant adobe, mango salad and Ginataang Kalabasa, Sitaw at Hipon (Prawns, Pumpkin and Bean […]

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Download our latest Cultural Cookery group recipe book with recipes from;

Uruguayan Pumpkin soup and Cuban rice pudding

North Africa; Vegetable tagine and Moroccan Couscous with Chickpeas

Somalian dishes; Somali Rice Pilaf (Bariis Maraq) and Digaag Qumbe (yogurt- Coconut Chicken)

Philippines; Eggplant adobe, mango salad and Ginataang Kalabasa, Sitaw at Hipon (Prawns, Pumpkin and Bean stew).

Mezze dishes; baked feta with thyme, crushed potatoes with lemon and garlic, fried aubergine with honey and tahini and mashed courgettes with chilli, yoghurt and mint.

Check out all the Cultural Cookery Show videos on our Facebook page- you dont need a Facebook account to watch

Grow delicious pea shoots on your windowsill

Grow delicious pea shoots on your windowsill to add to your salad and discover how to start off your runner beans indoors. Find out what is blooming in the gardens in March. Big thank you to our funder The Scottish Government!

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Grow delicious pea shoots on your windowsill to add to your salad and discover how to start off your runner beans indoors. Find out what is blooming in the gardens in March.

Big thank you to our funder The Scottish Government!

The Flowery Meadow

Towards the end of winter, one of the many jobs to tackle in the Gardens is cutting down the old foliage and seed heads from the flowery meadow. These have been left over winter to provide food and shelter for wildlife, but also to enjoy and appreciate the turning of the seasons within the gardens, […]

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Towards the end of winter, one of the many jobs to tackle in the Gardens is cutting down the old foliage and seed heads from the flowery meadow. These have been left over winter to provide food and shelter for wildlife, but also to enjoy and appreciate the turning of the seasons within the gardens, the architectural beauty of the seedheads, and the subtle tones of autumnal colour.

Now we want to remove the fallen leaves, mosses and old growth to make way for the new seedlings. Using the green tracking allows us to work through the meadow without compacting the soil or damaging the new growth; old scaffolding boards or planks of wood work just as well.

This is a joyous task, particularly on a day when you begin to feel a hint of warmth in the sun. Spotting tiny seedlings and imagining the flowers to come is magical, and a challenge to identification skills!

As the days lengthen and the bare soil warms, the plants grow quickly. No two years are ever the same and it’s so exciting to watch and discover which plants have survived, or flourished, or need a bit of intervention later in the year!

There are many descriptions of ‘meadows’ in gardening: wildlife meadows where only native wildflowers are used recreate a particular natural habitat; annual meadows or mixes of arable ‘weeds’ such as poppies, corn marigolds and cornflowers; pictorial meadows of colourful plants taken from all over the world. These all require some work, and have varying maintenance regimes. If you have ever scattering some meadow mix seed or throwing a ‘seed bomb’ and been lucky enough to end up with a flowering meadow year after year, then I’d like to know your secret!

Meadow cranesbill, Ragged Robin and Ox-eye daisy

Our meadow began by clearing the site then sowing a ‘bee and butterfly’ mix from Scotia seeds. This was quickly swamped by vigorous grasses so we found that the most effective method was to supplement this by growing some plug plants, sowing seed in autumn then planting out in Spring, to give us variety. By spending time studying the plant groupings, tinkering and tweaking the plant mixes, taking out some that threaten to dominate the more delicate flowers eg oxeye daisy or greater knapweed, sowing seeds of desirable plants such as Ladys Smock to attract Orange tip butterflies or Birdsfoot trefoil for the Common Blue butterfly, we can continually experiment and learn.

Including a range of flower shapes, colours and sizes makes for a dynamic and interesting patch, but it also caters for the varying needs of the insect populations; long tongued bumblebees can access nectar in vipers bugloss, larger insects such as the garden bumblebee will appreciate the big landing pads of the umbellifers and oxeye daisies. We tend to plant out native Scottish wildlfowers, but we are not too strict about it, and I don’t think the bees, beetles and butterflies mind.

Common Carder bumblebee on Devils-bit Scabious

Paula, Head Gardener

Cultural Cookery Jan- Feb 2021 recipe book

Check out the Cultural Cookery Recipe book with wonderful dishes from; Italy, Turkey and the Middle East, Scotland, Jamaica, and Azerbaijan. Cultural Cookery Recipe Book January – February Featuring recipes from; Italy- vegetarian lasagna and minestrone soup Turkey and the Middle East; Basic Hummus, Baklava, and Turkish Ezogelin soup with red, lentils, bulgar and rice. […]

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Check out the Cultural Cookery Recipe book with wonderful dishes from; Italy, Turkey and the Middle East, Scotland, Jamaica, and Azerbaijan.

Cultural Cookery Recipe Book January – February

Featuring recipes from;

  • Italy- vegetarian lasagna and minestrone soup
  • Turkey and the Middle East; Basic Hummus, Baklava, and Turkish Ezogelin soup with red, lentils, bulgar and rice.
  • Scotland; Cullen Skink soup, Soda farls and Cranachan.
  • Jamaica; jerk chicken, rice and peas and pineapple salsa
  • Azerbaijan; Cabbage Aaash Soup, Halva Zanjabil, Kutab Azerbaijan Flat bread

Watch all the Cultural Cookery Show episodes on our Facebook.

How to sprout beans and sow microgreens

Learn about sprouting beans and sowing microgreens for your window ledge- fenugreek seeds, sprouts, microgreens and green lentils. And seeds you can sow indoors in February/ March like chillis.

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Learn about sprouting beans and sowing microgreens for your window ledge- fenugreek seeds, sprouts, microgreens and green lentils. And seeds you can sow indoors in February/ March like chillis.

Appreciating Gardens in Winter

We are desperately looking forward to Spring, and signs are just around the corner. With snowdrops popping through the ground and buds appearing on bare branches. However February is still a winter month, and it is a good time to spend a few moments appreciating what makes gardens special in winter, and maybe plan a […]

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We are desperately looking forward to Spring, and signs are just around the corner. With snowdrops popping through the ground and buds appearing on bare branches. However February is still a winter month, and it is a good time to spend a few moments appreciating what makes gardens special in winter, and maybe plan a few changes to add interest for next winter.

Evergreens are an obvious group of plants to add structure and there are many examples around The Hidden Gardens. The Ballet border is lined by low clipped hedging of Cotoneaster and Gaultheria. Both of which provide winter berries to keep the blackbirds happy.

The red-stemmed Gaultheria compliments the crimson red of the Skimmia buds at this time of year. Before they open up in late spring to give a display of fragrant white flowers loved by bees. Contrasting leaf shape and texture is another way add interest, keep your eyes open for inspiration while on your daily walks.

Rosemary, Euphorbia and Thyme in the patio planters

Many herbs such as rosemary and thyme are evergreen and have the added bonus of a waft of scent as you brush past them. Or pick a few sprigs to give dinnertime a connection with the garden even in winter. These plants are happy to be grown in pots on a windowsill or back court provided you give them good drainage, with holes in the bottom of pots and a gritty compost. Their roots hate being cold and wet over winter.

Spidery Witch hazel flowers against the dark green Pine, P. mugo

Flowers may be less abundant and showy in the winter months but the early blooms are all the more appreciated for their splashes of colour. They are also important stashes of pollen for any early emerging pollinating insects. The spidery yellow witch hazel flowers are beautiful, contrasting with the dark green of the dwarf pines.

Espalier pears and apples along the White Wall Border

The stark tree trunks and branches of the espalier fruit trees add form to the white wall border, and allow a glimpse of the old factory wall, usually obscured by an abundant growth of climbing clematis and vigorous vines.

Beech hedge
White Birch, Betula utilis var jacquemontii

Trees devoid of leaves draw our attention to the patterned bark. While others hold onto their autumnal leaves until spring, giving winter colour in the beech hedge, and somewhere for the robins, tits and dunnocks to shelter.

We don’t cut back our perennials until towards the end of winter, leaving seedheads for birds, and nooks and crannies for overwintering ladybirds and hibernating insects. Plus they look fabulous on a sunny, frosty morning.

And this is the time to begin enjoying bulbs, with the snowdrops appearing through the leaf litter. Crocus and iris will follow shortly, then the daffodils and alliums and tulips. Although it’s not the time to plant bulbs, this is very much the time to make notes of where you have gaps and spaces in your planting and plan bursts of colour for next Spring. The bare borders will soon fill with summer growth and you’ll find it hard to imagine there’s space for more plants. But I see some spaces in the border next to our office entrance and I definitely want to be watching some snowdrops appearing there this time next year!

Paula
Head Gardener

Hidden Haiku

When you take your daily exercise why not include The Hidden Gardens – it’s a quiet, peaceful, inspirational oasis. If you feel inspired, why not have a go at writing a simple Haiku poem when you get home. This activity is suitable for all ages.

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When you take your daily exercise why not include The Hidden Gardens – it’s a quiet, peaceful, inspirational oasis. If you feel inspired, why not have a go at writing a simple Haiku poem when you get home. This activity is suitable for all ages.

Cultural Cookery Recipe Book Nov- Dec 2020

Check out our latest Cultural Cookery Recipe Book with warming winter recipes from all over the world. And they are all vegetarian! You can watch all the Cultural Cookery Show episodes here on Facebook and cook along at home. Learn how to make the recipes and top cooking tips. Recipes; Borscht and Georgian kidney bean […]

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Check out our latest Cultural Cookery Recipe Book with warming winter recipes from all over the world. And they are all vegetarian!

You can watch all the Cultural Cookery Show episodes here on Facebook and cook along at home. Learn how to make the recipes and top cooking tips.

Recipes;

  • Borscht and Georgian kidney bean salad
  • Chinese recipes- Tofu stir fry and vegetarian spring rolls
  • Scottish dishes- warming Scotch Broth, Scottish Rumbledethumps, and volunteer Lesley’s Grans delicious shortbread recipe.
  • Afghan recipes- Afghani pulao and Afghan Borani Banjan (Aubergine & Tomato Bake)
  • Palestinian dishes- Red Lentil and Squash Soup with Za’atar Croutons and Sabanekh Wa Jibneh (Spinach and Cheese Parcels).