Archive | September 2015

Sept 17th | Bourne Bridge Nurseries visit


Claire Mucklestone, Manager of Bourne Bridge Garden Centre in Ipswich, made us very welcome on our visit there in September.

As a schoolgirl Claire had dreams of joining the RAF, but with so many family links to horticulture over three generations, and after doing a regular weekend job at Notcutts, she decided that horticulture was definitely in her blood!

Having achieved her Craftsman’s Certificate, she then worked in a nursery in Bagshot, Surrey, where they supplied plants for London landscaping projects.

When a commercial site – opposite Fox’s Marina and next to Bourne Park – came up for sale in 1997, she bought it and established a garden centre there.

Claire enjoys doing creative things, choosing colour schemes and picking out plants that look good together. With the current autumn season upon us, she chose examples of variously coloured flowers and foliage that would look good in a large pot, or in an autumn-themed hanging basket. She also recommended plants for particular aspects and positions in a garden, some suitable for dry soil, some for shade, others for sunny spots. One of our members mentioned that she had used lemonade regularly to give her hanging baskets a boost, which tickled Claire who said she’d never heard THAT one before! However, she did suggest we used a slow-release plant food in the compost to keep the plants at their best.

We had a few laughs during our visit and at the same time got some useful ideas how to brighten up our own gardens. Thanks very much, Claire!

Sept 3rd | ‘Microwave Magic’ with Jane Sago

20150903_202229There was a good attendance for our first meeting of the autumn, and everyone enjoyed Jane Sago’s talk entitled “Microwave Magic”.

During the evening Jane conjured up two savoury and two sweet dishes, all of which we were able to sample, and very tasty they were too! Each dish was prepared in minutes, so it really did seem like magic!

There were savoury main courses made with chicken and salmon, and desserts – one, a fruit salad using dried fruit, fruit juice, cinnamon, and cloves, and the other – instant meringues which were garnished with raspberries or strawberry jam and cream. They were all delicious, but the meringues received the highest acclaim as they really did seem to be a magical creation!

I have enclosed Jane’s recipe below for anyone to try for themselves!

MICROWAVE MERINGUES (makes about 30)

350g/12oz icing sugar (approximately)

1 egg white

  1. Sift icing sugar over lightly beaten egg white. Stir until mixture is a thick, pliable icing, and roll into very small balls (about the size of a walnut). Line a plate with greaseproof paper.
  2. Put 3 – 5 balls at a time on the plate (spaced out) and microwave them on High for approx 1 minute – and watch as the balls puff into meringues.
  3. When they are cool use the meringues in desserts. They’re perfect for sandwiching together with whipped cream and fresh fruit.

(Unused mixture can be kept in the fridge for a few days until required. Meringues can be stored in an airtight box.)