First I must show you the photos I took at Petersham Nurseries. It is one of my favourite places for inspiration - whoever runs it has got such a good eye for colour, and puts things together beautifully. I noticed they had a job going and boy am I tempted.....
The displays really make you want to buy something, but the price tags are breathtaking. It makes me wonder whether it would be fun if money really was no object. I think it is more satisfying to get ideas, then try to recreate your own version in a thifty way.
If you look at the objects, there is nothing inherently special about any of them, but the arrangement together just works somehow. Having said that, they just seem to have a knack of picking objects that work together.
There is also a fabulous restaurant there, run by Skye Gyngell and a tea room for those like us on a more limited budget.
There is usually something interesting there in the way of plants too. This time of year, they have gigantic dahlias.
We bought one for Jamie for Father's Day, and brought it back to the plot. I have to say it looks a lot more modest than the one in the shop, but they do flower continuously from June to October, so there is plenty of time!
Last year we made redcurrant cupcakes, and they were a great success, so we decided to use some of our bumper crop of blackcurrants to make some more. The secret was not to add them to the mix, but to press them onto the top just before they go in the oven.
375g Self raising flour
200g caster sugar
2 very large eggs (or 3 medium)
1/4 vanilla pod
1 tsp vanilla extract
Some blackcurrants - a few handfuls
Beat together butter and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Split vanilla pod, scrape out seeds and add to mixture. Fold in the flour, then when mixed, add and mix in the milk. Spoon the mixture into muffin cases, then add blackcurrants to the top as shown below. Then pressed in the blackcurrants into the mixture, but so they were still on top.
Put into a preheated oven at 180degrees C, and leave for 20 mins or until golden on top.
I know it is a cliche, and one I use very often, but the tartness of the blackcurrants against the fluffy sweetness of the vanilla cakes turns a childlike treat into something more interesting for adults.
Finally, one more photo from 8pm this evening - the peas flowering. I picked a handful of yellow podded peas, just in case I can't get back to them for a couple of days. It looks as though there will be a lot more where they came from!