Thursday, 20 April 2017


Good Morning to you,

If you have been reading Ivy, Phyllis and Me! for a little while, then you will know how much I enjoy reading magazines. My love is so great that as much as I try, I find it hard to throw them away. The trouble is, I always feel, sometime in the future, when I get around to re-reading the magazines, I will discover a useful tidbit of information that I had missed first time around.

The reason I mention this, is, the other day it rained non-stop, so I decided to have one of my  half hearted sort outs. When I say half hearted, I mean that I don't approach the task with the same enthusiasm, as I do when I am cooking or gardening. I take it a little slower. So whilst making a 'to keep' pile and a 'to give to friends' pile, I came across a copy of The Lady, dated December 2013.  Should I throw it or keep it.

.... mmm, decisions, decisions.  So I decided to read the magazine before I made my decision, to see if I had highlighted any articles of interest. Your wondering, had I not already read it in 2013? Possibly, who knows, I really don't remember.

Do you know, I may not remember reading the magazine, but I do remember exactly where I was, when I bought this magazine.  Natasha and I were in London, we were visiting  friends when we decided to pop into town to have lunch.

We went to Covent Garden.... I really must sort out those photos for you.  We went to Carluccio's for the most lovely lunch. I even remember what I ate for lunch.... Eggs Benedict, that's a surprise that I remember the food I ate, but not what I have read. We went on to spend a lovely afternoon in the iconic London store, Liberty's.

.... but back to the magazine. One of the articles which caught my eye was a snippet about the suit, worn by Gene Kelly in the film Singing in the Rain. It was on sale for $160,000.  Apparently the grey woollen suit still had the water stains from the wonderful scene, where Gene Kelly is getting thoroughly wet, dancing and splashing about in the rain.

By all accounts the owner bought the suit from an MGM costume sale in the 1970s.... and honestly, you will never guess how much he paid for the suit..... $10, yes $10... what an investment, who would have thought that a 65 year old, water stained, woollen suit, would be sold for so much money.... and as much as I love Gene Kelly's performance, I can't imagine ever buying the suit for $160,000.  Do you know, with my eye for a bargain, I think even I, would pass the suit by, for $10.  So much for my keen eye,  it is obviously not keen enough.

.... and then I was watching a documentary about the life of Marilyn Monroe in which her personal items were being auctioned.  Once again, you will be astounded to hear how much was paid for that iconic beaded dress, which Marilyn wore to sing 'Happy Birthday Mr President' to John F. Kennedy.

Wait for it..... drum roll..... are you ready? $4.8 million.... I was astounded.

.... and then, at the other end of the spectrum, after reading The Lady, I discovered a 1926 Newcastle Daily Journal newspaper, which I had bought a number of years ago. Upon opening this large newspaper, I was informed I could buy a country residence with 9 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, front and back gardens, fruit trees and 2 acres or thereabouts (that is what was written in the advert) of land for £1,500. My word how times have changed. Properties in the area are selling for over £1 million nowadays. Having said that back in 1926 £1,500 was a tremendous amount of money.

.... and today, am I going to share with you something which costs oodles of money.

Oh no, I feel sure you would much prefer something which saves you money. 

I am going to show you something very inexpensive and it is something I do throughout the summer. 

So without further ado,

I am showing you, how to take 3 small cuttings and turn them into 3 large mint plants.

Now I know mint is a rampart plant and it can easily take over a whole patch of ground.  So we have to take care where it is planted. 

I don't plant my mint in the ground, I plant it in large terracotta pots with a water base, so that the roots cannot escape into the ground. This way, the plant is contained.... literally.

.... and why would you want to make 3 plants out of 3 cuttings if it is so rampant.  The reason is, I love mint tea and I love fresh mint tea, which I make from the mint grown in my garden.

I also dry the mint leaves ready for winter use, because the plants die back during the winter and don't return until early Summer when the warmer weather returns. 

So as there is a slight change in the air, I decided to see how my mint plants were growing in the garden. I was a tad disappointed because we have had so much rain during the winter, that I don't think the mint was particularly happy, this year.

So I decided to pay a visit to our local garden centre to buy a new pot of mint and,

when I arrived home I divided the 4 stems.  As you can see the roots are growing, but because the plant was stressed by dividing it, I decided to,

pop the stems into a glass vase.  I placed the vase on my kitchen windowsill for a week and as you can see the roots multiplied tremendously and were ready to be planted.

As the shoots are small and it is still quite cold outside, I chose a bowl which I could leave on my kitchen windowsill, which will encourage the new plants to grow.

I placed a multi purpose soil in the bowl and I planted each stem into the bowl, with enough space around them to grow.

Once I see the plants are growing, I will nip the tips from the plants to encourage new growth lower down the plant. As the plants grow and become a good size, I will place each  plant into a slightly larger pot and place the 3 pots outside, so that they can grow away. As the plants outgrow their pots, I will place them into larger pots until I have the size of plant I want.

When they have become a decent size I will show you the results later in the summer.

Have you by any chance noticed that the bowl in the photograph above, has 4 stems and in the 1st photograph I showed you, it has 3.  Well, I had a slight problem. One of the stems broke in half. I cut the stem back and thought I would pop it into the bowl, and although it looks alright in the photograph above, after half an hour it had  wilted. So out it came and 4 became 3.

I just had a thought, would you like to know how I increase my stock of basil plants? Way back in August 2012.... now that was a while ago, I showed you how I cultivated a bought basil plant. It is such an easy way to increase your plants.

.... and if you want to know how I make Mint tea, press this link to discover how.

The weekend is almost upon us and I am hoping the weather is kind so that I can get out into the garden. Don't you just love this time of year when everything is stirring in the ground.

Take care and I will catch up with you next Thursday.

As Always.

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