Welcome to English-Cottage-Lifestyle.com monthly E-zine…Inspiration and ideas to help you discover and enjoy the English Cottage Lifestyle.

Quote of the month:

“The meanest cottage is not without an orchard”

Quote from a local in 1799: The Somerset Museum



In This Issue:
  • Wildlife Garden
  • Cottage Garden In February
  • Somerset
  • Recipe Of The Month: "Somerset Pancakes"





Cottage Chat: Notes From The Cottager.

My cottage garden has become a little wildlife haven and I could spend hours just watching the birds and other creatures pottering about. With this in mind I thought I would dedicate this issue to attracting wildlife to your cottage garden.

The English cottage garden is traditionally a natural habitat for many bees, butterfly’s and birds and other species. Organic gardening is practised, wildflowers and a mix of hardy native plants are welcomed and the cottager works in harmony with mother nature.

Native wildlife and wild flowers are becoming harder to find due to the use of pesticides and chemicals used in industrial farming and a loss of habitat is combining to a decline of many species. The gardener can do so much to help bring back wildlife and create a natural haven for them. In return the wildlife has a positive effect on our gardens and food we eat.

This is the time of year when we plan our gardens so why not add a few plants to create a wildlife garden. It all starts with a little know-how…

Wildlife Garden

When you plan and design your cottage garden you may want to encourage local wildlife to enjoy an area of your garden or possibly create a large natural habitat. The cottage garden naturally allows for this as it’s traditionally a little wild and the cottager of yesterday used to keep bees for honey, not so much anymore but the plants are still in the cottage garden and the bees still visit to pollinate the plants.

You can create a wildlife garden by using a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs, hedges, trees, climbers and pond and bog plants. If you have a mix of all these plants then you will have a wonderful diversity of nature which will create a beautiful and healthy cottage garden.

Before you plant try to get to know your garden. What type of soil do you have? Where are the sunny and shady spots? Do you have a natural stream or pond? What type of wildlife are you hoping to attract? Do you have children who need protection from any water features? Do you have pets that may eat a plant that may make them ill? What wildlife is local to your area that needs a helping hand?

Plan your wildlife garden out before you plant anything, it can always be changed if plants do not do well in a certain area, but to try to force a plant to grow where it does not want to be will become disheartening. With each season make notes as to what is thriving and which plants are favoured by wildlife and go on from there.

Wildlife gardening has become popular over the last few years, but the cottage garden has always been a haven for wildlife and wildflowers. Modern conventional gardening techniques have lead to a decline in the numbers of species.

Traditional cottage gardening is also organic gardening the cottager works in harmony with mother nature and knows the benefits of wildlife gardening and does not practise monoculture; the growing of only one crop in a large area.

All the diversity and variety of flowers and plants create a ‘wildlife buffet’ which the creatures need to be healthy just in the same way that we need a variety of food to be at our best.

With the introduction of modern industrial-scale farming many areas have lost trees, hedges and wildflowers, which have been removed to make way for giant fields of one crop, large industrial farming equipment and the use of pesticides and chemicals have made the area inhabitable for many species of wildlife which has lead to a decline in many species.

Why Create A Wildlife Garden?

Imagine a world without fruit, herbs and vegetables. We would all be living on a diet of grain and crops that do not need pollinating, unless of course we pollinated the plants ourselves, gently shaking out the pollen of each flower…Can you imagine how long that would take?

Creating a wildlife garden is good for our health, good for the wildlife, good for the garden and good for the planet and the next generation, besides imagine living in a world without cherries, apples or cider for that matter! It hardly bares thinking about. Not to worry, this is when the cottage gardener comes to the rescue ;)

How To Create A Wildlife Garden.

Creating a wildlife garden can be as simple as just adding a few plants in a small area or even in a container or window box or going all out and creating a nature reserve. If you want to do the latter try not to remove everything and change it all at once. You properly have some wildlife there already and you may disturb it. Do it in small areas and over a few seasons, and don’t over prune, take a few winter seasons to do this; that will allow the wildlife to get used to their new home.

Where is the best place to start? Why not begin helping butterfly’s and bees. Find an area in your garden where you want them to be. Butterfly’s may be more welcome where you can see them and bee’s in an area away from an eating area, this is up to you. You could plant in a way that diverts bees to a different part of your garden so they leave you alone if you are dining alfresco.

After attracting beautiful butterfly’s and bees to your cottage garden you may now wish to attract hedgehogs or birds. Birds are quite easy to attract with bird feed, but they also love many types of berries. Wildflowers also need a new habitat so why not your cottage garden, they will in turn attract all kinds of nature.

Your wildlife garden should be an organic, self-balancing and regulating system that encourages nature to thrive. With a little knowledge the gardener can help native species survive. Wildlife habitats can be found just about anywhere in your garden; trees, shrubs, herbs, hedges, flowerbeds and even pathways and outbuildings.

There are something’s that you should include in your wildlife garden as creatures will need…

  • Shelter for the elements
  • Food
  • Water
  • Protection From Predators
  • Materials For Nests
  • Safe Environment For Living (mating and raising young)


Cottage Garden Fabruary Calendar.

February is time to get the garden prepared for the gardening season, order plants and plan for the year ahead. If you have any equipment or tools that need fixing it is a good idea to repair it now or have it repaired by someone else before they get busy at the start of the season.

So grab your diary and organise your gardening to do list with ECL’s February calendar



Cottage Tour Of England:

Somerset

Somerset in the South West of England is a beautiful county famous for its countryside, cider, cheddar cheese , good food and holidays. Somerset means ‘Land of the summer people’ it’s a gentle place with rolling hills, the Cheddar Gorge (known as the Grand Canyon of England) fascinating caves, the city of Bath and Wells and the Glastonbury festival.

Sometimes Somerset is over looked by travellers on their way to Devon and Cornwall but it is well worth a visit and is one of my favourite counties in England

…So get cosy with a cup of tea and travel to the county of Somerset



Recipe Of The Month.

"Somerset Pancakes"

Ingredients:

  • 175g/6oz Plain (organic if you have it) flour.
  • Pinch of salt.
  • 3 Organic eggs.
  • 450 ml of full fat milk (Jersey and Guernsey milk is perfect)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons butter.
  • 1 Apple sliced (for cooking the filling)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (for cooking with the apples)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter (for cooking with the apples)
  • Grated Somerset ‘Cave Matured’ Cheddar (optional for the topping)

Method:

1) Gently melt the butter

2)Lightly beat the eggs

3)Sift the salt and flour into a mixing bowl make a well in the centre and slowly add the beaten eggs.

4)Whisk gradually together bringing in the flour from the sides.

5) When mixed together whisk or beat until bubbles form. Cover and leave in a cool place for an hour.

6) Before you use the batter melt the butter and add it to the mix while stirring.

7) Put sugar and butter into the pan for the filling when melted add the apple slices and cook to desired taste.

8) In a hot pan add the batter mix and make very thin pancakes, like crapes. 9) When they are ready they should be crispy . Place one on a plate and add the apple filling and then place another pancake over the top, sprinkle with sugar and/or cheddar cheese.

10)Enjoy.

Postcards From Dartmouth...

Sugary Cove in February. What a beautiful day.

Comming Soon...

Get your cameras ready….Do you have photos of beautiful English cottages and English cottage gardens? Have you decorated your cottage English cottage style?

Coming Soon to ECL… A new look website and E-zine, loads more photos, travel destinations, cottage gardening and decorating advice and an interactive place for you dear reader to meet other cottagers. Its all coming in 2012. Stay tuned to ECL for more ;)

Please Note...

SBI! The company who I build my website and e-zine with (see add below) is bringing out a brand new set of tools hopefully by the end of January. I may well be having a play around and change the look of this website, it really depends what I get to choose from.

So if you visit one day and ECL looks different, don't worry, it's still www.english-cottage-lifestyle.com (if this is the address in your browser) The old look is a bit 'clunky' so they are bringing it up to date. It's all very exciting, well for me anyway! I will proberly be having a bit of fun changing things around. stay tuned...

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Yours Sincerly,

Helen Green.
English Cottage Lifestyle