Posts tagged ‘white’

June 3, 2011


by Ciaran Burke

Silver Medal for The Garden School stand at Bloom 2011

Our day started early. With a raucous choir of bird song under a low grey sky, I watered the plants in the tunnels at home. We fed the cats, drank some coffee and loaded the last few items into the car. We closed the garden gate in Mayo at 6 am and hit the road for Dublin. Just after 8.30 am we entered the Phoenix Park. Last minute preparations continued for about 90 minutes until the doors opened on the garden festival, Bloom 2011 commenced. The judges gave us a silver medal for our interactive educational stand in the floral pavilion, which is a nice recognition of the preparation and work which we had carried out. It was a good start for what proved to be a very busy day, As the morning progressed the low grey cloud which had stretched all the way from Mayo to Dublin blew away in the breeze. The temperature soared and happy faces were everywhere, a blue sky stayed until the sun went down.

We did not get  a chance to see any of the show apart from our own stand and a quick glance at some of our heighbours in the floral pavilion. Kilmurry Nursery, run by the energetic Orla and Paul Woods, based in Co. Wexford won a gold medal and best in show award for nursery display. Packed with colour and floriferously desireable herbaceous perennials, a central mirror multiplies the colour display. A rich blue Delphinium hansenii ‘Independence’ caught my eye, The more demure Lychnis flos-cuculi ‘White robin’ is a supernb plant gracing their stand. We bought it from them a good few years ago and it flowers for months on end in our garden where it self sows in a polite manner. Our own stand is enhanced with Kilmurry Nursery plants. Needing height in a corner, we went searching for some interesting plant. Orla gave us three plants of Iris ‘Tol Long’. A blue flowered iris with dark desirable flower stems. One which she recommends for any reasonable garden soil, they grow it in their garden and we will soon grow it in ours.





From our stand we could admire the beautifully blousey blooms of herbaceous peony roses on Leamore Nursery’s display. Paeonia ‘White Wings’ is a cool single white while Paeonia ‘Coral Sunset’ is a sumptuous frilly peachy pink. The floral pavilion always ahs so many plants to tempt and beautiful displays to admire. We will be up early tomorrow morning, aiming to get to Bloom early and view more of the displays and show gardens before the show opens at 10 am.





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April 18, 2011

Autumn Pudding with White Chocolate Sauce

by Ciaran Burke

It all started with a trip to a nursery. We went to purchase named female cultivars of our favourite berry plant, sea buckthorn, Hippophae rhamnoides. The nursery is Fruit and Nut, part of the Sustainability Institute in Westport, Co. Mayo.

We had selected three different cultivars, we already have a female plant and one male plant in our garden. We also had picked out a Jostaberry, a hybrid between a blackcurrant and a Gooseberry and two cultivars of Cornelian cherry, Cornus mas. We were chatting with Andy, the mind and the energy behind the nursery, sharing our enthusiasm for berry growing and the concept of woodland gardens when he asked us where we lived. As I described how to get to our garden he stopped me, and asked in disbelief if we knew his friends, they lived very close to us. Apparently they also shared a common interest in woodland gardening, we did not know them yet. he gave us their contact details and directions to their house, he was sure that they would want to meet us.

On our way home we decided to call in and meet our neighbours, people that lived so close to us with a common interest in gardening and woodland gardening in particular, yet we had not ever met them. We drove up their lane and parked outside their house. They were surprised to see a caller, we introduced ourselves, explained what had happened at the nursery. They asked us in. Cy and Cleo invited us to a “pudding evening” the following Thursday. “Pudding” is a term that English people use to mean dessert, not literally a pudding. We could make and bring anything as long it went along with the theme of Italian or Chocolate. We accepted.

What to make was the question. I decided to make an autumn pudding, from the freezer I could use elderberries, blackberries and sloes, all picked from the hedgerows in our locality last autumn. I had a cooking apple there too, and Hanna had been baking lots of spelt bread. We had all the ingredients, but to fit in with the theme of the evening gathering I would have to make an amendment; cover the finished autumn pudding with white chocolate! The tanginess of the fruit and dark colour of the pudding would both contrast with the sweet white chocolate, Green & Blacks would be perfect, not only organic but also they have a generous amount of vanilla pod in their white chocolate.

We made the pie the night before. Cooked up the fruit, sweeten with honey and fruit juice concentrate. took the crust off a number of slices of the homemade spelt bread and soaked them shortly in some apple juice. In a bowl we poured the cooked fruit and then pressed in the bread torn into pieces. Covered it and placed it in the fridge overnight. The following morning we made the white chocolate sauce.

One bar of chocolate was finely chopped. In a saucepan we melted a knob of butter, added 200ml of cream and heated to near boiling. This we then poured over the chopped chocolate and after letting it sit for a couple of minutes we stirred the mixture to fully melt in the chocolate pieces. After allowing to cool a bit, we spooned the chocolate sauce over the pudding. It looked fantastic, the creamy sauces dripping over the dark pudding, collecting in a pool around the base.With strong resolve we resisted having a taste and returned the dessert to the fridge.

We had a lovely evening with our new friends, and met more of theirs. Everyone had brought a dessert “pudding”. We tasted each others creations, sipped elderflower champagne, drank coffee and chatter. A lovely evening, four desserts and good company, does not get much better than that!

Autumn pudding with white chocolate sauce

Autumn Pudding Recipe

This recipe I had originally included on my other blog LINK


  • half cup of Stoned sloes
  • half cup of elder berries
  • 1 cup of blackberries
  • half cup of apples, peeled and cored
  • 150 ml of apple juice concentrate or 7 heaped teaspoons of honey
  • whole grain spelt bread, crust removed and cut into pieces

After the fruit has been cooked for about ten minutes transfer to a bowl and press the bread pieces into the mixture until the fruit is pulp is absorbed. Cover the bowl with a plate and place in the refrigerator over night.

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