Chocolate zucchini slice

One of my favourite ‘foodie’ websites is Fraiche Nutrition. Tori has some beautiful recipes, and all the ones i have tried so far have turned out brilliantly! http://fraichenutrition.com

I made this loaf a few weeks ago and it was seriously delicious. The added zucchini doesn’t make it feel so unhealthy….at least it has a small vegetable content!

The first time i made this loaf, i was unable to find hemp seeds so i omitted them and it was still great. Second time i cooked i added the hemp seeds….so totally up to you! Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup raw shelled hemp seeds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 packed cups grated zucchini (don’t peel it)
  • 2/3 cup dark mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 180c.
  2. Grease two loaf tins and line with parchment paper. Alternately you can flour them after greasing to prevent the cake from sticking.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flours, hemp seeds, walnuts, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with a fork. Add the oil, vanilla and zucchini. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated: fold in the chocolate chips. Stir just until combined, and divide between the loaf pans.
  5. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the tops are cracked a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Makes 2 loafs.

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Attracting wildlife to your garden

Personally, i love butterflies and birds in my garden. My parents neighbour has a large Bottlebrush in their garden and every year it gets filled with Lorakeets feeding on the flowers. My Mum curses every time they are there because they create such a mess, but i quite like the sound of the chirping. But then again, i am not the one who has to clean up the mess!

If you would like to attract wildlife into your garden, then you need to entice them with some beautiful flowers!! I have included a few options below!

Shrubs

Buddleja davidii- Butterfly Bush 

Buddleja can be evergreen or deciduous shrubs, occasionally trees with simple leaves and panicles of small, tubular fragrant flowers. They like full sun to partial shade and grow 2-4m in height. The colour range is pink, purple, and white.

buddleia_davidii_empire_blue_n

Prunus laurocerasus- Cherry Laurel 

Prunus laurocerasus is a vigorous, large, spreading evergreen shrub with lovely, glossy dark green leaves to 15cm in length. Small white flowers in racemes to 12cm in length are followed by cherry-like glossy red fruits soon turning black.

Easy to grow in any moist but well-drained moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade. Superb hedging shrub but may become chlorotic on poorer, shallow chalky soils. Grows to approximately 4-8m in height and likes full sun to partial shade.

Prunus laurocerasus Rotundifolia

Escallonia hybrids

Escallonia are evergreen shrubs with glossy, leathery, toothed leaves, sometimes sticky, and 5-petalled white, pink or red flowers in terminal racemes or panicles in summer and early autumn. The like well drained soil and will grow to approximately 0.5m-1.5m in height. Grows best in full sun.

1-Escallonia-Pink-Elle-lades-plant-001

Erica spp- Heath

Erica can be prostrate or erect, evergreen shrub with fine, needle-like leaves in whorls, and racemes of small, bell-shaped or tubular flowers. They like full sun to partial shade and can grow between 15cm to 1.5m (depending on which varieties you choose) and moist but well drained soil. They have pink or white coloured flowers.

Erica cinerea

Hebe – Hebe spp. 

There are so many varieties available in the Hebe species. They can grow anywhere from 30cm to 1.5m. There are many colours including pink, purple, white and blue. Most like full sun to part shade with moist and well drained soil. On occasions, Hebes will get a leaf spot or mildew on the leaves. This is treatable by removing the effected leaves as soon as possible and also making sure there is enough air circulation around the plants and to water the plants from below, and not above which is when all the leaves will get wet and the mildew could begin to grow.

Hebe-garden-beauty

Lavandula spp.- Lavender 

I have written about Lavender on many other occasions before. A very hardy growing shrub with purple flowers and grey/silver aromatic foliage. Depending on variety they can grow between 0.5m to 1.5m in height. Prefers a full sun position. If planted in shade it will become straggly and not flower well.

lavenders-on-rooftop2

Spiraea japonica- Japanese Spiraea 

Fertile, moist but well-drained soil in full sun. Most Spiraea species have fine arching stems and simple alternate leaves that are often toothed or lobed. Usually as the new foliage develops, they burst into bloom, bearing masses of tiny 5-petalled white to deep pink flowers. The flowers can occur right along the stems or may be clustered in spikes at the tips. They like full sun and will grow between 2-4m.

Spiraea_japonica_25-06-2010_13-58-09

Annuals and Bienniels 

These are all very small shrubs that will only have a short life. But will add a huge burst of colour to your garden. 

Tagetes erecta- African Marigold

Ageratum houstonianum- Ageratum

Lobularia maritima- Alyssum

Centaurea cyanus- Cornflower

Tagetes patula- French Marigold

Heliotropium cultivars- Heliotrope

Calendula officinalis- Marigold

Matthiola incana and hybrids- Stock

Dianthus barbatus- Sweet William

Verbena rigida- Verbena

Erysimum cheiri- Wallflower

Zinnia elegans- Zinnia



A cottage garden

One of my favourite type of gardens is a cottage style garden. I’m not one for formal gardens or native gardens…..i like the idea of having a messy  and unstructured cottage garden, and all those beautiful blooms! I dream of one day having a little country house where i can grow my own vege garden and a lovely cottage garden. Cottage gardens don’t look designed. In fact, they’re usually exuberant, free-flowering, and sometimes even unrestrained. To get the informal look, avoid planting in straight lines or defined patterns. Let plants cascade over paths and weave through each other. It adds to their charm. And grow self-seeding plants that pop up in unexpected places. Some of my favourite cottage garden plants are below. Foxgloves

Digitalis purpurea is a biennial, seeding freely when happy. Since it does not produce flowers (nor, therefore, seeds) until its second year, you must plant them two years running to have foxgloves every summer.
Seeds can lie dormant for years if conditions are unfavourable – if there is inadequate light or moisture. Typically, foxgloves are purpley pink and spotted inside their flower bells. Their colour varies subtly and colonies of pure white plants can occasionally be found in the wild. Most foxgloves thrive in light shade. Digitalis purpurea loves to be cool. Although foxgloves prefer lighter soils, they can survive on heavy clay with the addition of good compost to the top few inches of soil. The fibrous roots spread out vertically making vast mats to support the flower spikes, so mulch well to retain moisture. b155c2a6db0fd0fbf1cdfb7546c4d818

Wisteria Wisteria  are vigorous woody climbers with twining stems bearing pinnate leaves and long pendulous racemes of fragrant pea-like flowers in spring and early summer. Wisteria sinensis is a large deciduous climber with twining stems, dark green, pinnate leaves and drooping racemes to 30cm in length, of fragrant, mauve or lilac-coloured flowers opening before the leaves. It likes full sun to partial shade, sheltered position. They like moist and well drained soil. It can grow to a big as 12m high and 8m across. Wisteria does have quite a large and vigorous root system, so be sure not to plant to close to any pipes or pools. Can be grown informally through large tree or more formally against a house wall or trained as a free-standing half standard in a container.  Will grow in most soils that are moist but well-drained. PL2000005198_card2_lg Roses There are thousands of rose varieties out there, which can be quite confusing. My favourite is the Rosa floribunda ‘Iceberg’ and is definitely the easiest to grow. If you start looking at the hybrid tea roses, then yes you will have the larger more fragrant blooms but you will also end up with many more pests and diseases. The floribunda roses have smaller blooms and less fragrance but are a lot less maintenance than the hybrid tea roses. So i would choose a Rosa floribunda every time! Floribunda roses offer a bouquet on every branch. The small flowers look like elegant hybrid tea blooms but appear in clusters instead of one flower per stem. Floribundas combine hardiness, free flowering, and showy, usually fragrant blooms. Sizes of these hardy roses vary from compact and low-growing to a more open habit and heights of 1-2m, ideal for tall hedges. The foliage on floribunda roses tends to shrug off diseases, making for a low-maintenance plant that delivers maximum impact with its continuous bloom cycles. Most floribundas require very little spring pruning — just removal of dead or damaged wood. Nature-Flowers-Beautiful-Rose-Bush-In-The-Garden-067027- Lavender  Lavandula species are small aromatic evergreen shrubs with usually narrow, simple, entire, toothed or lobed leaves and small tubular flowers in dense spikes in summer. It likes full sun and well drained soil. Lavender can happily go with long periods of dry weather. Prefers a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil but tolerates acidic conditions. In heavy soil improve drainage as lavender does not tolerate waterlogging. Potash will encourage flowering but high nitrogen fertilisers and manure will result in ‘floppy’ plants. lavenders-on-rooftop2 Daisies  Argyranthemum are evergreen woody-based perennials or sub-shrubs, with simple or pinnately dissected leaves and white, yellow or pink, daisy-like flower-heads from late spring to autumn. They like full sun with a moist, well drained soil. Grow in moderately fertile, well-drained soil in full sun. Deadhead regularly to prolong flowering and pinch growing tips to keep compact. Best used as a summer bedding plant. Mulching helps to conserve water. Water in prolonged dry spells. Deadhead regularly as well. SONY DSC Delphiniums  Grow in a fertile, well-drained soil in full sun; shelter from strong winds and stake well. Apply a balanced liquid every couple of weeks in the growing season. For best flower spikes thin shoots when 7cm high to leave a minimum of 2-3 shoots on young plants and 5-7 shoots on established plants. Pruning- Deadhead by cutting spent flower spikes back to small flowering side shoots. Cut down all growth to ground level after it has withered in autumn. Pests- Prone to slugs, snails, leaf miners and caterpillars delphiniums-at-wisley