A Winter trip to Wisley

I went to RHS Wisley yesterday. Needed an excuse to try out my new camera. A trip to the model vegetable garden is always on the itinerary, I always pick up new ideas and tips.
Some of these pumpkins and squashes are stored in the shed on site, very decorative!
The broad beans are looking amazing. This variety Aquadulce is one of my favourites and here they are in the greenhouse. Haven't planted mine yet, must get a move on.
One of the lesser known veggies here is Salsify. I have grown salsify a few years ago but with many root vegetables, my soil is too stoney and roots always fork. If you do get a chance to grow them, certainly give them a go. The taste is a wonderful cross between a parsnip and a Jerusalem artichoke.
In the greenhouse at Wisley there is a stunning display of Winter flowers. This orange tree caught my attention.
In the steamy tropical zone this cocoa pod was just amazing. Sadly my new super dooper, all singing and dancing new camera doesn't have an 'anti steaming up the lens function' now that would be really useful.
I was so excited to see Japanese horseradish 'Wasabi' growing in a pot in the model vegetable garden. I have never seen this growing before, I would just love to get my hands on some. Has anyone seen it growing? Does anyone know where I can get some?
December? snowdrops? is it Spring yet?

Matron's New Camera

I can see more clearly now!
Father Christmas gave Matron a new Sony HX7V 16.2 mp camera. It will take me a year to find out all the gadgets and gizmos therein. All I want really is to point and squirt.. it even has a GPS tracking device!! what on earth.....?
Anyway, the close up macro focus is excellent. What a marvel of nature is this Cavalo Nero leaf!
I like to leave flowers to go to seed during Winter. These are my garlic chives. Beautiful white flower heads that the bees adore. Perhaps the birds will enjoy these seeds too.
Crab apples are hanging on in there! I resisted the temptation to pick them, they brighten up the garden and the birds may need them more than I do!
Still a few Brussels Sprouts left over, I hasten to add that I didn't grow these! These are from a farm shop near Biggleswade in Bedfordshire - the heart of Brussels Sprout country! I just love them so much I just enjoy eating them with nothing on!!... oooh Matron!

More Christmas Veggies

This Cavalo Nero or Tuscan Black Kale was donated as part of my Buddy Morris memorial vegetable garden this year. Though all the black tomatoes,black beans and black potatoes are now gone, this sturdy stalwart remains.
Leeks are my one faithful friend on the Allotment during a long, hard Winter. Always ready for action at any time! These are Musselburgh leeks, I've tried others but keep coming back. Simply the best!

Matron's Christmas Veggie Blog

Welcome to Matron's Christmas Veggie blog. It is quite a challenge to grow anything at this time of year, so thank you to everyone who sent a photo. Here's what's on the menu in your neck of the Christmas woods! Well this lovely plate of citrus fruits was sent in from the Estudio Campana in sunny Almeria, Spain.
Many thanks to Stacy at Plot number 58 for this lovely Cavalo Nero. This is a wonderful Winter crop, just perfect for the Christmas Dinner plate.
Jane sent in this beautiful Swiss Chard. This is one of my favourite Winter veg, it brightens up any plot right the way through to Spring.
And what a feast from Scarecrows Garden down in the Southern hemisphere. Christmas dinner in Australia must be a very colourful event.
And here is Matron's own offering, these Jerusalem artichokes are a bit smaller this year. They are such an invasive pest if you don't keep them under control. I have been picking stems and stalks all year to try to keep them under control. That said, I just adore the flavour - and now that I work from home I don't have to worry about the antisocial consequences from eating bowls full of these... fartichokes!
Rob from Birmingham sent in these lovely brassicas, Gloire de Portugal. Really fresh green leaves are a real delicacy on the Christmas table, freshly picked and steamed. Bon appetite.
Jeffrey from the Eagle Close allotments sent this lovely selection of squashes and pumpkins. I keep meaning to try growing spaghetti squash (left) I must put it on my list for next year.
Serious congratulations to Jennifer for her first ever attempt at growing potatoes!! Once tasted you are hooked on growing your own .. forever. This variety California White.
What a wonderful trugful of veggies. Thanks to Kay at Gardening Tools.
Beautiful photos of beautiful veg on the Christmas Table at Kelli Boyles Garden.
What Christmas dinner would be complete without fantastic home grown parsnips. Bon Appetite goes to Nome at the Nome Grown blog.
A fresh crop of Oca from the Oca testbed blog. Fresh and in season right now! Thank you Ian for adding wonderful variety to my Christmas Veggie blog.
Jeffrey at the Eagle Close allotments has inspired me to attempt more green salad in Winter. These pea shoots are decorating the best plates in the best restaurants at the moment!
What a beautiful still life painting this would make! Thanks to Peggy from her Organic Growing Pains blog in Cork, Ireland for this festive fare. I just adore brussels sprouts!
Beautiful red Cabbage from Orlaith. This is an essential ingredient in Matron's Christmas Dinner, just steamed with apple, onion, vinegar, cloves and seasoning. Brilliant!
And my lovely blog-mentor Stan for starting me off on this blog-quest all those years ago. Inspired! Wishing you all a Veggie Christmas!

Santa and Rudolph

Santa Leo
Rudolph Leo (with teddy!)

Shetland Black Potatoes

I went to dig up some potatoes today. Nearly all the Shetland Black potatoes had started to grow roots and shoots. I wonder if the spell of really warm weather in the past few weeks has tricked them into thinking it was Spring?

Matron's Camera has Died!

RIP Matron's Camera. It went to camera heaven after photographing some macademia nuts in the Jardim Botanic on the sunny island of Madeira. I will have to make do with my mobile phone camera until Santa brings me a lovely new one! Many thanks for Matron's Veggie blog photos which have been coming in so far. Keep them coming. Will create the final post on Sunday!

Matron's Tropical Treats

While you are all contemplating on which veggie photos to send for my Christmas Veggie Blog, Matron had a short trip away on the island of Madeira. Have you ever wondered how 'Dragon Fruit' grow? I had seen them in supermarkets but had no idea they grew on the side of a cactus!
I remember Prickly Pears from holidays in Portugal as a child. These lovely fruit are sweet and tasty once you have handled them with kid gloves!
Coffee Beans? I have a few small coffee plants on windowsills at home, I doubt they will produce fruit but I will give it a go.
The capital of Madeira is Funchal - which is named from the word 'Funcho' which is the Portugese name for Fennel. This grows everywhere on the island.
I was interested to see that these Tromba D'Albegna Squash are cut and eaten like courgettes, very small. Last year I grew these Trombone squash and left them till they were 2 or 3 feet long like butternut squash. Versatile.
Pomegranate bushes are nothing special to look like, but the red flowers and fruit are spectacular to look at.
Did you know that Avocados also come in pink? I didn't!
And while in the tropical gardens in Funchal, I came across a Macademia Nut Tree! An enormous evergreen tree like a laurel. I had no idea how they grew. Now I know!

Join in with Matron's Christmas Veggie Blog

So now is your chance to show us what you've got! Send me a photo of something edible that you have grown on your plot that will be ready to eat on Christmas Day. Whether you have grown your full Christmas dinner, or whether you have some mushrooms in your airing cupboard or even some alfalfa sprouts in a jar on your windowsill - don't be shy! Share with us what you have grown and email me a picture, email address is on my profile page. I will be posting this special blog on Sunday 20th December so you have a couple of weeks to go take a picture.