Sunday, 9 May 2010

Eat your greens, flaunt your reds


The allotment (oh my aching back!) yielded a fresh green soup today. Two kinds of sorrel, spinach (the everlasting sort) and ground elder. I didn't photograph all of it, but there was a generous bagful.

Several of the last remaining leeks were pulled. And another large armful of rhubarb, some of which I donated to two admiring students as I passed them on their doorstep today. One asked eagerly "Oh, where did you get all that rhubarb?" and after a discussion about cooking methods, they were delighted to receive a heap of it.

Meantime, the rhubarb patch continues to produce... and produce... and produce...

I love that rhubarb patch; no matter how neglected the plot, it allows me to pretend I'm a proper gardener, as I totter up the hill with a heavy bag of potential crumbles, jam and ice cream.


I was amused and interested by the comments posted earlier about the poppy, and thought you might like to see more of it and the Horror Patch in which it grows. There's so much variation in when things will grow in this country - usually I'm the one wondering if and when a green shoot will ever appear while some of you (mountainear!) are harvesting the first potatoes.

The North East is cold (just notice and compare the temperatures on the weather forecast maps if you don't believe me!) but being in a city offers some degree of warmth and shelter from the scouring winds off the North Sea. This may be barely noticeable to us, but is obviously of some help to plants. And snails. And greenfly.

My tiny front garden is very sheltered, as is this street - walk round the corner and you are cut in two by an icy wind - and if the soil were deeper and better, I could perform miracles in it, I'm sure (oops, my nose is growing....). As it is, it has an unruly jungly episode around this time, and is mostly dead and dried out by August.




Here lives the Venerable and Indestructible Oriental Poppy, an old trouper that goes on and on, usually until the first frosts get it, but last year, even in a hard winter, managing to produce flowers beyond its season.

This was taken on Nov. 28th 2009 when the last tiny flower appeared:


and this is it today, bursting out of its bodice in the most unseemly manner:


It is propagated by root cuttings, not seeds, and sulks terribly for the first year, but after that, it's a thug. Bumblebees rattle around in its enormous blooms, and nothing seems to prey on it.

Oh, and then there's the path. I've been dying to show you the path. Last month, the front path, weedy, shabby and vandalised by British Gas, looked like this, a visual deterrent to any future viewer of my house:


Although, most peculiarly, many people said they'd never noticed my path, until I had it Improved. Which happened thus:


Mark the Paver and some Indian sandstone. Dust and noise.


Until......

Definitely Improved. Next chapter of Mission Impossible will be to tidy up that jungle a bit, paint the front door, and keep the brasses polished. House valuation day is inching ever closer. The poppy and I will have to be more disciplined in our habits from now on.

16 comments:

Fran said...

Mark the Paver did a good job.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Very elegant . Keep this up and you won't want to move !

mountainear said...

Where to start?

Love the new path - send Mark the paver south asap.
Love the 'greens' picture - feels healthy just looking at it...and you eat ground elder?
Love the audacity of the poppy - brash and beautiful

Don't worry about not having early potatoes - ours are in big tubs in the greenhouse. The outdoor ones are still sulking underground.

Lucille said...

How can you bear to move? I dread to think what prospective purchasers would make of our crazy ( demented more like) paving in the drive. I'm waiting for a pizza leaflet person to sue us for personal injury.

Friko said...

Poppies? Now? And you say you live in a cold and windy corner of the UK?

Enjoy the rhubarb, Beloved is pulling tons of it too. He cooks it himself, and a lot of it goes into the freezer towards next winter's breakfasts.

BumbleVee said...

We have an even shorter growing season than you ....with hardly anything even green yet..never mind actual blooms or blossoms... makes me wonder why we all bother sometimes. But... bother we do.. and by June 3d or so..I will be out there digging and planting in my planters. I'll try to weed, clear off the dead leaves and debris and add some mulch to the gardens before then...but... mmm...not today...it's only +3C ...and drizzling.... oh, good...I don't have to water... geeez...I hope it warms up a bit by Wednesday...the silly old fart golfing buddies want to get out there already!

I'm gonna find me some poppies..... don't have any of those... ...oh, and rhubarb..how I wish I lived nearby.... drool..... I love some in my apple cobbler....

Von said...

Lovely pavers, beautiful poppy, hope it is safe in it's abundance.

Lesley said...

Love poppies but mine are not showing their faces yet! We may be further south than you but obviously our altitude is making all the flowers shy!

Nice pathway Missus...

Lesley x

Rattling On said...

Great job on the path! It's so cold here it's like back end, they atually forecast snow today...

Poshyarns said...

The path is perfect and I think your front garden looks absolutely beautiful, the perfect antidote to the stainless steel planters filled with architectural, spiky sorts of plants and surrounded by chippings which seem to be taking over suburban streets. The poppy is the brave ruler of the garden, championing the call for colour and sprawl. Lovely.

Paul C said...

Wonderful work there on the garden path and the splendour of the poppy.

judy in ky said...

The poppy is pretty, but Hamish is the cutest thing blooming in your garden!
Your walk looks grand. You are really doing some nice things to your home.

judy in ky said...

The poppy is pretty, but Hamish is the cutest thing blooming in your garden!

Sue said...

The path looks good. I love rhubarb especially in a crumble. Don't suppose you fancy sending some this way?

lovethosecupcakes said...

That path is great but I can't help feeling there's something missing. Maybe a cat? Strategically placed? Bit like this:

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/features/mutts/blog/kitty.jpg

Isabelle said...

Very smart path indeed. I hope the furry friends are impressed.

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