We certainly have been waiting long enough but summer is finally here. It was gorgeous today, nearing 30C with bright, shining sun. We took advantage of the good weather to go to the garden center and pick up essentials for the front garden. When we first moved in, it was overgrown and dominated by a shrub/plant/monstrosity in the middle of the plot and it was surrounded by paving stones.
Gradually, we’ve been working our way through that mess and when my parents were here last, my dad cleared the last of the paving stones and he and S took turns with the pitchfork and shovel to get under the root mass of the thing in the middle. They finally won – S struck the death blow – and we smoothed everything out and covered the area in wood bark mulch.
Last summer, we planted a bunch of hostas in the uppermost part of the garden and they came back with a vengeance this year. Luckily, since it’s been such weird weather, the slugs haven’t chewed them to pieces. That, and I am vigilant about spraying them with slug killer. Since my parents left, though, there hasn’t been any movement on the garden and it just sits there, looking quite bare. (Although I am sure the neighborhood cats are thrilled we’ve provided them with what looks like the world’s biggest litter box.)
Yesterday, we began to install a simple wooden border and today we added some hydrangeas to the mix. I LOVE hydrangeas – I think the big, fluffy flower heads are gorgeous and they’ll do quite nicely, growing into a secondary border at the front of the garden. When we were finished toiling away – I with the hydrangeas and S with the borders – it looked pretty nice. The plants, which had started to droop a little since I shocked them out of their plastic pots, have bounced back nicely. Here’s a little peek:
Of course, the irony is that they will likely be in full bloom while I’m in the US over the next few weeks. S has promised to feed and water them, and to continue our vigilance against slugs.
Since I am going to be away, I told S last night that I would make for dinner anything he wanted over the remaining days. A big smile spread across his face and he said, “Risotto.” I knew it! Since it was almost as hot yesterday as it was today, I opted for the no-stir version and added some courgettes, tossed in seasoned flour and pan-fried, and crispy, crumbled pancetta to the mix. Voila!
And so yummy. It was even really good, cold out of the fridge this afternoon.
For tonight, S opted for aubergines. A few weeks ago, we went to Yo! Sushi and they have a cold aubergine dish on their menu that really knocked S’s socks off. Add that with a dish cooked up by Simon Hopkinson on his latest series and we had tonight’s winner. It’s an Asian-inspired roasted aubergine dish and it’s simplicity in a bowl. I served it over sushi rice (a new obsession of mine) and called it a day.
We’re not yet sure what’s on tomorrow’s menu. What I am sure of is this: I will be alternately lounging on the couch, watching Wimbledon (go, Andy!) and running around like a chicken with no head as I try to get ready to depart on Tuesday. As of right now, I still have three presentations to prepare for (the annual summer conference), a packing list to make, and a house to clean up (can’t leave S in disarray!). I am confident everything will get done. I’m also confident that it won’t be pretty!