Saturday, 21 July 2012

Wild food...

Read last year that you can eat amelanchier berries, so thought I would try some before the birds ate them all.  Can report that they are quite tasty, if a little pippy.  Nice to find something else I can scavenge in my garden and it makes my little tree/shrub even more garden worthy.  Not only does it have lovely bronze foliage and white blossom in very early spring when the garden is just starting to wake up, it now provides snacks too!  I had noticed in previous years that the birds love the fruits - well now they have competition...  Might try some in jam along with other berries.

The garden is still looking OK - shame a lot of the annuals have succumbed to slug munching as it isn't quite as floriferous is the main border as I'd like.  Ah well - an excuse to buy more plants!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Hydrangeas: NOT just for grannies!

Say hydrangea and most people envisage scraggy bushes in unloved suburban front gardens.  There are plenty of them around and I always used to dismiss them as granniated flowers.  But that was before I discovered them as cut flowers.  Fantastic from summer to winter, they keep on producing dense heads which change colour throughout the season.  Just look at the ones below - from the same bush, but the paler one, growing in the shady centre and the pinker one growing in a more exposed part.

 They also make an excellent structural framework for short arrangements like this one (in a jam jar) and hold other, less sturdy flowers in position.  I'm converted.

When the weather gets colder, the flowers will darken to a deep red outer ring, with a greenish centre and look stunning in autumn arrangements.

Even the crispy heads look good in their own right when they give up the ghost after the frosts arrive.  These beauties will hold (but eventually lose their pinkish colour) all through the winter 'til you chop them off to welcome the new buds in the following spring.

Have I managed to convince you yet????

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Faffing with currants

Picked all the blackcurrants and goosegogs today - what a palaver to harvest these tiny globs of juice!  Doesn't help that the whole currant patch is being invaded by scratchy cleavers and the outriders for imminent invasion of blackberries as well.  My arms are a mass of scratches and cuts but at least I have some jam to show for my troubles.  Tastes rich and delicious - dark purple rhubarb and blackcurrant, and ruby red raspberry. Yum yum yum.  The children have scoured out the jam pans with slices of bread, so I'll take that as a vote of confidence in my preserves.

I had intended to go down to the allotment on a weeding mission, as this is the only fine day forecast in a while, but instead ended up picking and harvesting.  Time consuming objects all these soft fruits.  Didn't get much done in the way of tidying, so the plot still looks like a gardening disgrace.  Must try to get down there of an evening over the coming week whenever the rain holds off (which will probably put paid to ANY evening weeding looking at the weather forecast).

One day I will get it all under control - but it seems a way off as yet.

Parsnips are starting to look promising but not much else in evidence.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Picture perfect roses

Rosa 'New Dawn' - soft shell pink, blowsy and so.. well.. rosy...

Mixed bunches - includes Rose de Rescht (dark pink, front small bunch), Ferdinand Pichard (stripy), Zepherine Drouhin (dark pink in taller bunch).  The perfect tiny shell pink one in the small bunches is Felicite Parmentier - has loads and loads of flowers on it at the moment.  They all smell gorgeous too.  How can anyone resist?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Where is the summer?

June monsoons and now July pours down.  When will the sun ever come out for more than a couple of hours?

I may not have to worry about drought and a lack of water for plants while I am away from the garden, but I am plagued with slugs and snails who are delighting in the warm, swampy conditions.

Was hoping to use my day off today to go to the allotment and hack at the weeds but it is far too wet to go near the soil.  Am hoping that Sunday will give me chance to wage war on the encroaching forest of creeping buttercup and sprawling grass....

At least things are still flowering and water butts are full but redundant.

Alec's Red - smells like Turkish delight and has converted me to hybrid tea roses (well some of them anyway)

The first ever delphinium in my gardening career to survive slug onslaughts

Rosa 'Pleine de Grace' - hideously spiky and savage, but then it does this and all is forgiven for a short while.