Red Darter

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A Hackney garden in summer – part four

A closer look at the garden in July and August.
First year Hollyhock plants grown from seeds, on a fresh summer morning. These plants only flower starting in their second year. 


Pink and White Dwarf Godetia:

Dwarf Godetia

Pink and White Dwarf Godetia

A wild star-shaped flower:



Floor covering Five Spot Nemophila:Five Spot Nemophila

Five Spot Nemophila

Plants in our staircase garden:


Delicate, silky Ipomoea flowers growing through our Star Jasmine terrace railing:





Double African Marigold:

Double African Marigold

Double African Marigold

Double African Marigold

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A Hackney garden in summer – part three

Mornings in our garden in June and July are wonderful.
At the back you can see that the runner beans grew a meter tall and started to flower.



 Runner bean blossoms:




 A few wild flowers blossomed in the ‘meadow’ section of our flower bed: 


 A detail from our staircase garden:


Another wild flower, Borage:






Hosta flower:



Hosta flower

 Star Jasmine:


 And our friendly visitor, the neighbours’ cat Stanley, who comes round every morning



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A Hackney garden in summer – part two

My second update on gardening progress this summer.
I finally found the best suited space for an ivy plant I had for the last four years – it is now on the terrace, facing North-East and finally doing very well:


 I love spring and summer in London



In June it was time to come up with some new decoration outside the front door:





And see the runner beans grow taller


Runner beans

Runner beans

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A Hackney garden in summer – part one

It has been a long time since I last updated you on my garden here in Hackney in London. The last you probably know, is that in April I decided to take part in the National Gardening Week. I cleared out the entire shared garden and started to plant seeds.
I can now tell you that the whole project was a success! Over the course of the summer the garden has gone through several stages , which I have recorded whenever I had a moment to take a picture. Observing the different plants develop was very fulfilling. Here is the first of a few updates : )

Step one, seedlings growing in a propagator:




My home-grown runner bean seedlings ready to be planted outside:

Runner bean seedlings


Runner Bean


Runner bean

Runner bean


Runner Bean

Three rows of freshly planted sunflower seedlings:

Sunflower seedlings

Sunflower seedlings

At the back, runner beans and marigold; at the front, dwarf godetia and five spot nemophila;
at the centre, 
nectar rich wild flowers to attract butterflies:


  A few weeks later: 





 Lavender, herbs and the flowerbed in the background:

Lavender and herbs




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Who says you can’t have a garden on a boat?

Exactly. That’s what the owners of the canal boats in London must have thought.
Along the Regents Canal in Hackney many houseboats feature small gardens on their roofs, bows and sterns. It is a delight to watch them. Some I photographed today, grow tomatoes and even sweetcorn and strawberries! I also spotted a miniature poly tunnel and a hydroponic system.
So well done to London’s urban gardeners on their boats!

Here below, you can see a small vegetable garden on a boat roof with tomatoes and squash

Garden on Canal Boat, London

Garden on Canal Boat, Regents Canal, London

The owner of the garden is growing sweetcorn, tomatoes and strawberries. There’s also the small poly tunnel I mentioned

Garden on Regents Canal Boat, London

Garden on roof of Canal Boat, Regents Canal London

 Container gardening on two other canal boats

Conatiner Gardening, Regents Canal Boat, London

The owners of this boat are even growing a sunflower on the boat! And you can see their hydroponic system on the roof

Garden on roof of canal Boat, regents Canal Hackney, London

 Some succulent plants in pots grow next to salad in a hydroponic system 

Garden on roof of Canal Boat, regents Canal, Hackney, London

Two other boats feature water butts, a selection of herbs in pots and what looks like an olive tree

Garden on Canal boat, Hackney, london

 Tree reflections in the canal

Canal boats, Regents Canal, Hackney, London

And last but definitely not least, a green canal oasis in the middle of London on the same canal (Hackney, Regents Canal)

Regents Canal, Hackney, London

 I hope you enjoyed the glimpse onto what life is like on Hackney’s Regents Canal

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Urban Gardening: London (Holloway)

My friend C. has a lovely garden in Holloway. Well by now I should say she had this garden, as she’s moved out to a new house. In any case, I wanted to share a few pictures of her Holloway garden with you. I believe one can see the Scandinavian influence in the fabrics used. C, if you read this, where can we buy the cushions? For now dear friends, enjoy the view Garden in Highbury, London

 Luscious white climbing roses

White climbing roses


White climbing roses

Pear tree

Apple tree, London

 Ivy climbing on the house and London’s mild summer evenings

Garden in Holloway, London

 If you know of a nice garden you’d like to share, send me some pictures and they may feature on this blog very soon!

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Italian Lemon Polenta Cake Recipe

The recipe for this fluffy, incredibly yellow cake is part of my go-to recipes and I hope you try it out.  

Lemon Polenta Cake

The vibrant colour comes from the polenta and eggs and the cake is ideal for summer as it’s fresh and light.
If you prefer, you can use oranges instead of lemons.


• 125g unsalted butter
• 125g caster sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 70g polenta bramata
• 100g plain flour
• 1tsp baking powder
• the zest and juice of two lemons (or two oranges)


Heat the oven to 160C.
Grease a loaf shaped baking tin with butter, then coat it with plain flour.
Mix the butter and sugar with an electric whisk, then add the eggs one at a time and amalgamate well.
Now add all the remaining ingredients.

Lemon Polenta Cake
Pour the mixture into the baking tray and cook for ca 45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out clean.

Buon appetito!

Lemon Polenta Cake



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