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Diggers Rest – Springdrops; Eco gardening tips; Honey Roasted Strawberry Cream & Basil
January 27, 2022

January 2022 Issue #197


What fun that we both love gardening. Thanks for joining me.

1) Springdrops
2) Eco gardening tips
3) Honey Roasted Strawberry Cream & Basil

snowdrops in spring

Winter and Summer
Come Winter, merry Winter
Rejoice while yet you may
For nearer, ever nearer
Fair Summer draws each day
And soon the tiny snowdrops
Shall waken from their sleep
And, mossy banks from under,
The modest violets peep.
~ Arthur Weir

Eco gardening tips

  • Cluster seeds
    Some seeds come in clusters, such as beetroot and silverbeet or chard. Often there are 2-4 seeds all fused into one cluster. When sowing these cluster seeds, it's best to space them well apart so they have room to spread. Leafy chard will be best thinned out to one plant, but for the likes of beetroot, they will grow well in a cluster as long as they can expand outwards into the soil. Otherwise cut off spare seedlings or carefully pull them out.

  • Weedfree
    Ha, not so fast… there will always be weeds, even with a no-dig garden. Blame it on the birds and sometimes the wind. A good layer of mulch, say 2-6 inches (5-15cm) will usually deter most new weeds and any that do grow will be weak and spindly so they're easier to pull out.

  • Mulch munchers
    What you ask are mulch munchers? Well, they are weeds that grow stronger with mulch on them. These are the nasty grasses like buffalo grass, couch or twitch, and the hardy creepers such as convolvulus and climbing dock. Then there's ivy and…. you get the picture. When you heap up the mulch on these plants, they love it and grow like mad, so don't mulch these weeds without putting a barrier down first. Use at least 10-20 layers of wet newspaper, or heavy cardboard. See this page for ideas.

soil tester The tool plant owners, gardeners can't live without!!

A soil tester takes the guesswork out of wondering and worrying whether your soil is too acid, too alkaline, to wet or dry and even if your plants are growing in the best light conditions.

Scientifically accurate, just poke into the soil and read.

Click to find out more and purchase here.

Honey Roasted Strawberry Cream & Basil

Daringly different and decadent.


  • 5-6 cups strawberries, sliced in half
  • 6 Tblsp liquid honey (adjust for your sweetness level)
  • 2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 Tblsp lemon juice
  • 250g Mascarpone (approx 1 cup)
  • 250g Crème fraiche (approx 1 cup)
  • ½ cup purple or green basil leaves.


  1. Preheat oven to 160˚C (360˚F).
  2. Put sliced strawberries into flat oven-proof dish and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of runny honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the lemon juice. Mix to combine.
  3. Bake for 30 minutes.
  4. Make cream by mixing mascarpone, crème fraîche, 4 tablespoons runny honey and 1 teaspoon vanilla essence.
  5. Serve strawberries hot on the cream, sprinkled with basil leaves.

Preparation time: Approximately 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 4 people
Credit: NZ House & Garden

Many thanks for all the wonderful seasons wishes I received, and the compliments for this newsletter. I'm immensely pleased that I touch the hearts (and gardens) of so many of you around the world. Take care.

Live, love and garden

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