Asian lily, begonia, blackberries, borage, college acceptance, dahlia, English mace, erodium chrysanthemum, fennel, fruit trees, fuchsia, hydrangea, mint, morning glory, peas, rose, runner beans, sempervivum, untidy garden, water lily
We returned on 9th July from our short holiday to find a very over-grown garden. I must admit to loving the green lushness of the garden when it hasn’t been tended lately. There is so much to be seen – wild flowers (or weeds if you prefer), insects, birds and wild animals have had the place to themselves for a while and have made themselves comfortably at home.
As soon as I could, I went out for a quick tour of the garden. There had been a lot of wind and rain so the garden flowers were a little battered. R’s dahlias had grown very tall during our absence and a couple had lost a stem or two. R quickly did some tidying up and we admired the blooms on plants, some of which were already over five foot tall.
The runner beans were doing very well and we were able to start harvesting them a few days later. I read fairly recently that when runner beans were first introduced to this country it was as ornamental plants; no-one thought to eat the beans themselves for some time. Many people say they don’t like runner beans but I am sure this is because they have eaten old and woody beans, and I don’t blame them! Horrible! The beans have to be picked before they get too big and should be eaten straight away. Our first beans were very juicy but didn’t have much flavour, probably because we hadn’t had much sunshine. The ones we have eaten most recently which have had the benefit of a little sunshine have tasted much better.
The peas were ready to pick too and were the best peas we had tasted in a long time. They have all been eaten now!
Because of the rain, the mint had grown very well.
Just before we went away the blackberries had started to ripen. We picked a few and took them away with us and delicious they were too.
Unfortunately, while we were away quite a few were lost to the bad weather, birds, mice, wasps etc. They have only recently started cropping again and they are soooo good!
This is English Mace, achillea ageratum, and as you can see it is a member of the same family as Yarrow. The leaves actually do taste mildly of mace, the outside shell of nutmeg. The leaves can be made into a tea or just added as they are to culinary dishes.
This is feverfew, another one of my herbs. I bought one small plant a number of years ago and its seeds have spread all over the garden. This one I found growing in a crack in the path. The insects love it especially black-fly so it is useful as a companion plant attracting good insects and also keeping black-fly off broad beans etc.
Feverfew is a febrifuge; it induces perspiration which lowers the temperature in fevers. It is a useful herb to use during childbirth as it regulates contractions and recently has been found as an effective remedy for headaches and migraine. A tincture can be made from the leaves and then applied locally to relieve the pain and irritation of insect bites. The tincture can be made into a lotion by adding it to distilled water. This can be applied to the body as protection against attack by flying insects. A wonder-herb! It does smell a bit odd though!
My bronze fennel I have already spoken about in a previous post. I love the aniseed smell which pervades the front of the house on rather damp evenings. It is a useful flavouring herb for use in cooking but also the seeds can be eaten to ease indigestion and disperse wind/gas etc. Usually fennel grows to a height of about 4ft but the one growing at the front of the house is over 6ft tall.
I had such difficulty getting the original seeds to germinate in a heated seed-tray as recommended on the seed packet. If I had known that I would still be benefitting from self-seeded plants seven years later I wouldn’t have worried and just chucked the lot out on the gravel round the garage. The seeds survive through extremely cold winters with rain, ice and snow. Admittedly I planted the first young plants up against the house and in very well-drained soil.
All our fuchsias died in the severe winter of 2012-13. After a year without them I felt the need of another plant. This is one I have had before. It is fairly hardy and it is easy to take cuttings from.
All the fruit trees, the apples, crab-apples, pear, damson and hazelnut were doing very well and the fruits were swelling. We hadn’t lost many in the June drop.
We were all very pleased on our return to get a letter telling E that she had been accepted at City College Norwich and would be starting there in September. She is so relieved and believes she will be getting her life back again now. We sincerely hope and pray she will.