Tag Archives: Berries

Ten Illustrations of Autumn Flora

We’ve had a beautiful warm autumn, full of sunshine and blue skies, and a little rain…
So I’m sharing my favourite ten plants of the late season,
not all flowers, but still nature and its beauty!
ten-illustrations-of autumns-flora-the-last-krystallos-title

sunflower, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Sunflowers: helianthus are a favourite in the family garden, and though they flower in August, you can still find them blooming well into autumn. I loved watching the children plant sunflower seeds and then plant them out in the garden and watch as they grow tall and bow their huge faces as they open. The colour of late September sunshine!

japanese anemone, pamina, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Japanese Anemone: another late flowering beauty. I love the delicate petals and lime green centre, and doubles like Japonica Pamina look stunning waving about on top of wiry stems in the autumn breeze. Pure magic…

meadow flowers, poppies and cornflowers, poppies, fields of flowers, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Poppies and Cornflowers: wild poppies are autumn’s way of remembering. ‘In Flanders Fields the poppies blow…’ a symbol to help us recall and honour the sacrifice of war – lest we forget. A scarlet field of poppies is still a breathtaking sight.
Meadows abounding in flowers, crimson poppies, sky-blue cornflowers and many more, just add to the delight of wandering in the warmth of late sun.

acer, acer palmatum, ornamental maple, red leaves, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Acer Palmatum: the ornamental Japanese maple turns into a tree of red flame in the autumn and its lime green leaves turn red and burn with beauty. I have a small tree in the garden which delights me with its leaves every year. One of my favourite things in autumn is the turning of leaves from green to yellow, gold, bronze, brown, red and crimson. The flames of autumn brighten the darker days and match the blush that brushes our cheeks on a cold day.

acorns and oak tree, acorns, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Acorns and Oak Trees: what can I say about oaks and acorns? A huge old oak provides the backbone of one of my books Beneath the Old Oak, inspired by a poem written by my mother-in-law. Oaks inspire me, I’ve written blog posts about the mysterious oak in Green Castle Woods and will write more about others. The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest is just stunning in size and age, and my town Carmarthen has its own legendary oak.
A tree of strength and beauty and acorns…I appear to be a squirrel, as I collect acorns, acorn cups, and conkers…yep, just can’t resist them!

mushrooms and toadstools, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Mushrooms: wild mushrooms growing in woodlands…fantastic photo opportunities…these are in Gelli Aur near Llandeilo.

mushrooms and toadstools, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Toadstools: these are growing in Brechfa Forest, just outside Carmarthen. I was astounded at how many varieties we found…though I couldn’t tell you what any of them are! Fungi just has a magical mysterious quality…and are probably the gateways to fairy groves…

pulsatilla, pasque flower, easter flower, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Pulsatilla: the Pasque flower blooms around Easter, hence the name pasque meaning ‘like paschal’ of Easter…but the bearded seedheads that appear in autumn are another thing altogether. Gorgeous glossy beards similar to clematis seedheads. Just imagine them blowing in the wind… Another legend has it that these flowers spring from the blood of Viking Warriors and grows upon their graves. Just think – Viking beards!

teasel, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Teasel: wildflowers and seedheads…more magical purple thistle-like flowers with seedheads that show great architecture in the autumn! Tall, and thorny, and great for bees.

red berries, wild shrubs, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Berries: berries begin to appear everywhere in the autumn, in prelude to winter. Blood red berries on wild shrubs, Cotoneaster, fiery Pyracanther, purple berries adorning the Callicarpa and I have a pretty Pernettya shrub with white, red or pink berries.
The berries feed the birds, look pretty, and tell us that winter is on its way…

What autumn flowers do you love?  

Roses and Berries…

I knew what I wanted to make, when I thought about my anniversary cake…it was just putting it into practice that concerned me!
Don’t know why I constantly worry about my own ability…it turned out beautifully!

It was always going to be chocolate cake, I wanted to use berries…and when we tried Morrisons’ Strawberry frosting, that was decided too! It was about how to ice the cake…
I searched Google images trying to find what I was looking for, after all it always helps to have something to refer to!

I found lovely pics of all sorts of cakes, but this one stood out…here…

This linked to another blog which offered step-by-step instructions here…

So it was decided, all our dresses had roses on them so roses were perfect…I would have a go at piping frosting and see how it went.
The cake (devils food chocolate cake, you can find recipes anywhere or cheat and buy ‘Betty Crocker’s’) was easy, I made two and placed them side-by-side…then began frosting. Morrisons Frosting comes in 400g tubs…I bought six. I had taken on board that I needed lots! I didn’t realise how much though…covering the cake for a basic coating took two tubs, then when I reached this far…
…I realised that my remaining tubs may not be enough! So there was a quick trip to the supermarket to grab more. I bought the last strawberry tub, was apologised to by staff that they had no more, and bought a few vanilla just in case I’d need to improvise! 
Back home It took all seven tubs, 2800g, to complete the frosting…and allow me to place a few extra roses on top! 
Then I added my berries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and redcurrants…
I was worried the juices would leach out and ruin the icing, the main reason I did not choose strawberries, (I’d used strawberries before on a chocolate frosted cake, put it in the fridge overnight and the next day strawberry juice glistened across the top of the cake and melted the icing in places). However the fruits I chose were dry and none of them leaked juice!
The only problem with this cake was leaving it in the fridge, everytime I opened the fridge the fragrance of strawberry was so lovely, I was hard pressed not to plunge my finger straight into it! Leaving it in the fridge also meant the icing hardened a little, which stabilised the design.
In the end the whole thing turned out better than I could have imagined!
On the night, it was gorgeous and tasted divine…the sour redcurrants and sweet berries worked wonderfully with the frosting and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate cake…mission accomplished!