Category Archives: roses

Fruitful flaming June #Gdnbloggers

Has flaming June been hot enough for you?

The last week has seen a heatwave move across Blighty. With that, the levels of UV and Pollen have skyrocketed. For me personally, this has meant staying away from the plot as the grass pollen tends to assault my senses and render me sneezy with bogey overload. I can be stood there sneezing and on loop as soon as I get there. At one point, I was dragged away and by my mother whilst trying to find roses.

Today, the weather is distinctly cooler and I can actually stand up straight without having been kiboshed by pollen.

This morning, I have taken a walk down to the plot and tied tomatoes against canes. I have Roma and Marmande varieties sunk into raised beds, and do rather fancy finding some more. If I do manage to successfully cultivate anything on the plot this year, I would like it to be tomatoes; additional plants are on my shopping list for the weekend. A simple as job is and of staking tomatoes, I am glad I did. Over the last few months, going to the plot has been a challenge. For a whole host of different reasons, I  have rather lost my zing, and I could feel it all too much. I pottered on the plot this morning, I wandered around-like the proverbial cloud-and then decided that I wanted to see what fruit was growing. I had forgotten what it was like to wander around, pull out weeds, trample over blackberry bushes and just take in the scent of roses. I stood talking with a ‘lotment neighbour, and a gentle breeze carried the scent of zingy lemons towards as we spoke.

Last weekend, I was able to harvest a handful of raspberries to put into jelly-yes, fruit and jelly-along with some black and redcurrants. There were also some red, yellow and green hinonmaki gooseberries that had appeared.

There are gooseberries and raspberries on my plot and also Mama F’s, so I have picked a few of these to take home. I think I have got most of the gooseberries, having had a fight with the bushes; I had forgotten how vicious the damned things can be. Last year, I had made gooseberry and chilli jam. Prior to that, I had steeped some in Gin-now that was interesting-I have yet to work out what I will do this year. It is currently a toss up, between jam and Indian Amla Pickle.  It has been far too long since I played with my preserving pan; I need to find the moments, my mojo and a bit of fruit to do it with.

Mum has more raspberries than I; the pinks ones on my plot have never actually taken root and flourished, with the yellows being something of a saving grace when they do crop. A small harvest was made of raspberries and currants; mostly red as I am waiting on the black and white ones to ripen.

Seeing red and purple cherries did make me smile. This is by far the largest harvest that we have to date; I’ve picked those eight, with a few still left to ripen on the morello. The varieties that I have are stella and morello, and these were from Victoriana Nursery in Kent. So far, I have been lucky and not lost them the birds on the allotment.

Given how the weather has only just found it’s footing, the three plot grapevines are foliated and the some. Amongst all of the leaves are small clutches of baby grapes. I don’t remember having any grapes last year, so seeing the bunches is heartening. Not sure if they will make it to homebrew, but there is always grape jelly as an alternative.

 

As well as the fruit, there are the plot blooms. Roses are coming up lovely , and filling the floral trug with blooms is always nice. I am waiting for the glads to kick off; right now, they have risen blade-like from the dirt and are very green and leafy.  I cannot even begin to calculate how much the rose blooms might actually cost.  They are by no means perfect; they are au naturale, if you like; but they do smell and look lovely!

Bank holiday blooms #gdnbloggers

I went to the allotment, thinking that I might be able to pull up the dead grass that has been lying around. That after yesterday, I might be able to continue, even if I did feel as though I had allotment ouchies all over the shop. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts and all over. It is however the sort of ouch you get from having exercised, and isn’t the flaming hot, cayenne pepper hot pain that comes from stress and anxiety. Off I went, and then I got distracted by the roses. Standing there and all pretty like.

 

I am very surprised by how strongly the roses have started off this year. In the space of ten days-perhaps less-I have collected three differently sized bouquets. I love my roses; they are low maintenance in my view, and yield a wonderful harvest without my having to fuss over them. I do feed them from time to time-when I remember-but otherwise, I then to coo over them, and enjoy them as cut flowers.

There have been many instances where I have described the beautiful zingy fresh lemon smell that wafts around the top part of the plot. That is probably the closest, human, verbose way of describing it, other than heavenly and ineffable. On the plot, there are thirty something rose bushes, making the one half resemble a rose garden. When the glads get going, there are is a riot of colour across the plot that breaks up the green. I feel that they are pretty, and whilst not edible, they have a wonderful aesthetic value as cut flowers. Each and every time that I take a bouquet home, I do wonder just how much they would have cost had I bought them. These are not diddy bouquets, and the roses are not the perfect Disn*y beauty and the beast sort. Some are dainty,  others are fuzzy, fluffy and sprawl all over.

Alas, the bank holiday ends; I got soaked through and need a cuppa. Several, I think. I was glad really, to  have had a good day on the plot yesterday. There is still stuff to do, grass to be cleared and seeds to be sown directly; will get to that all eventually. For now, I am going to get a cuppa, and try to choose which colouring book that I want to play with.

Roses First flush 2017 #gdnbloggers

All is not lost; the roses are coming!

 

I don’t meant the red and white ones on the standards of England, but the ones down the plot. These happen to be pink and red.

The month of May has finally decided to shape up and get warmer, and the blooms on the plot at starting to kick off. Roses and Gladioli are the plot favourites, and this is the first flush of the year. The gladioli are only just starting to peek through, and true to their name they appear blade like protruding through clay and raised beds. By now, I have usually sunk loads, and I might still do so. For now, I am over bowled and with the scent of lemons with a small clutch of roses sat on the kitchen window sill-I do most of my school work sat at the kitchen table so I do get to to enjoy it.

I was perhaps a bit over zealous, and have taken the first roses to come through. I will probably wait and let the next batch bloom and blow on the plot. When it is high summer-yes, I know it doesn’t happen often-there is a lovely, heady scent of zingy lemons that drifts around the plot. The blooms also produce bursts of colour that break up the green.

All really is not lost, and in the coming week I have lots of plot related stuff to do. With the bank holiday, the frost window in Birmingham closes so I will be endeavouring to sink tomatoes and squashes. There is also a shopping list, I really want to find some beans and spinach.

For now, happy Wednesday!

meandroses

 

Don’t buy me roses….#gdnbloggers

Fellow blogger Sara Venn talks about what flowers mean to us in her recent blog on the The Physic Blogger and brings the fore the British Flower Industry.

A week tomorrow, it is the Feast Of Saint Valentine. For some it is  brilliant, a day of unbridled slush where there are hearts, roses and bottles of prosecco all over the shop. For others, it will no doubt be just another Tuesday (Guess which camp I fall into….)

There will be lots of roses. In all sorts of different colours, scents and pretty packaging. It is hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without roses. Though if we are savvy enough; if we try to create social change and move from minority towards majority views, we might be able to change the traditional flower for something else.

How about a dandelion?

The things get everywhere; are fairly robust, hard to get rid of and turn up when you least expect.

Don’t suppose that reminds you of love and romance?

Well, it could, if we changed our thinking patterns.

I joke, and say don’t buy me roses.

Buy me diamonds instead. (Ethical ones, please, thank you.)

And why?

Lemme show you.

 

Those weren’t flown in from the African Continent. Those were plugged into the clay of my allotment over the course of years and have become an established part of my allotment. One half the allotment, has an avenue of roses that are interspersed with fruit trees. In high summer-it does sometimes turn up, yes-that half smells amazing! Then, it comes to dead heading and having cut flowers at home. I have tried-and failed-to tot up how much each bouquet-and it’s usually one every nine days-might cost. It is difficult to put a price on those bouquets, least of all because of the intrinsic value. I love my roses, they make me smile, and remind me that whilst some days can be really quite shoddy, something thorny, can produce something wonderful.

floraltruggladrose2016

IMG_4916
pretty blooms

 

As you can see, I do like my roses. They do mean a lot to me, especially as they are home grow with love and care.

Don’t buy me roses, diamonds are in short supply.

Give me seeds and you might just bowl a maiden over.

Blooms and Buffy: Frocks, fruit and flowers

The last week has seen several episodes of rain and flooding; not very conducive to going to allotment. I finally made it to the plot today to see what the state of play was; there are weeds to  be got rid of but also lot to positive about.

 

The first handful of strawberries have been harvested. A couple of them a little under ripe, but they are bright red and edible. I may have even eaten one to taste check, and I not even a big fan of strawberries. These have arrived a little earlier than usual, with strawberries usually cropping around Wimbledon fortnight. I know that sounds very cliched, but I do have memories of hearing of Andy Murray winning wimbledon and only having one strawberry that year.

The rain has done little to thwart the roses; they are a bit damp and fluffy, but still blooming. There are easily a dozen roses in that bouquet and in an assortment of colours.

There was also some adventuring this week. Adventuring, that I have been looking forward for some time and is completely unrelated to the allotment. I actually went to a convention. Not a conference, a convention; a convention celebrating Joss Whedon’s Buffy:The Vampire Slayer and Angel:The TV series. Two shows, that I have very fond memories of having watched them as a teenager; and two shows that I can watch over and over alongside Star trek and Shakespeare. So I went.

 

And it was rather fun! An amazing opportunity to talk to other whedonites and to meet some of the stars as well. The highlight was meeting Anthony S Head who played Rupert Giles. There were eight guests in total, and it never ceases to amaze me just how iconic Buffy and Angel were. Hearing the guests talk about their jobs was simply mind blowing.

This was the first time that I had ever been to a convention, so I was a little bit worried as to what expect. It was however a really positive experience, and sat there at half ten talking about Buffy episodes at a disco was rather surreal. As you can see, part of it involved dressing up. That is my attempt at Bad willow, though I do look more an extra waiting to keel over in GoT. On the right, that’s a better attempt at dressing up to attend a whedon prom.

I can safely say, that whedonites are by far one of the most amazing groups of people in the world. I flew solo in this adventure, I didn’t take anyone with me. Yet there were couples there-a couple of which had very new babies in tow, I take my hat of to them!-where whedon was a shared passion. So in being by myself, i was adopted and made to feel very welcome at my first convention.There was a huge diversity in age ranges and nationalities, people had travelled in from very far afield. Apparently, there are not many Buffy/Angel conventions, so this was a rare one.

Not just roses: #ethicalroses #gdnbloggers

As well as there being fruit and vegetables on the allotment plot; we also have roses. Roses, gladiolus and sunflowers tend to make the floral triad  on the plot. However, this year, we only have two out of three. The glads are starting to make an appearance, with thin green blades protruding through the soil. For now, the roses are well and truly kicking off.

If anyone tells you that having an allotment plot or gardening in general, isn’t romantic; then they really haven’t ever smelt the roses. Especially roses that are home grown, grown and not flown; roses that  are grown in fairly English soil-I add that caveat as I know that the clay on the plot has been there since the second world war and probably a great deal before that too-and not clocked up air miles from lands afar. Regardless of the variety, these roses are English roses, and just happen to be tended to by a Bollywood Gardener. Both the roses and I, have roots and firmly here on this, this sceptre’d Isle. ( We have William Shakespeare 2000 and Falstaff the fruit tree on the plot, one day there might be Anne Boleyn and others).

I can also say, that should there ever be a partner and significant other turn up; I would rather they worried about diamonds-ethical ones, yes-rather than placating me with roses. I can grow my own, and I like them.

There was a worry that since we have had rain fall in sheets, that the plot was on a serious go slow. It is as far the tomatoes and squashes are, even the runner beans. The roses were still very bare; but then they started to bloom and burst. Plus there are aphids all over the shop, and I rather they weren’t.

In the space of ten days, I have gathered-it feels wrong to say harvested, do you harvest roses?-three bouquets. This for me, is the truest sign that summer has started, and that allotment change is coming. That there will be blossom, buds, and fruit. Two out of three bouquets have been sat in their place upon the sill in the kitchen, with the third being donated to a good home.

It is a shame, that the blog doesn’t have smello-vision, as I cannot write to describe the scent of these fresh blooms. Zingy lemons doesn’t cover it all. And they do smell, they do honk! Very often, you might buy a dozen roses from a posh florist, they don’t whiff. These do, and wonderfully so. I always laugh around St.Valentines day (No, the single cynicism has nothing to do with it) with the flush of roses, and how they look lovely, really pretty, pricey; but that’s it. Nothing else to them; and that for me, says a lot about romance and roses!

At some point, I did actually count how many roses bushes there are on the 200 metre square plot. I just can’t remember the exact figure, but it was around thirty. Ten, are hybrid tea roses; the posh sort; such as lover’s meeting, ruby wedding, the peace rose, Christian dior and silver jubilee to name some of them. There are a couple of poundland roses, pink sprawling bushes with thick stems, vicious thorns but lovely compact blooms that leave carpets of petals. These are a wonderful surprise. Started out as sticks that were no bigger than a foot; but then grew like triffids. Thorny, vicious triffids, that you want to be angry with but when you see them bloom, you stop seething.  Last but not least, the bulk of the plot roses are lost label roses. Roses, that in transport and transfer from their place of birth to their retailer have lost their labels and ended up in a bargain bucket. With these, it is basically pot luck as to what they are and what they do. Some of them, are tall and sprawling-the yellow ones, largely-the others are pink and stay quite close to the ground. When these are in full bloom, the top half of the allotment, is an avenue of roses and just smells amazing. On a nice day-yes, I know, British summer day-with the right wind passing through, the fragrance of roses is out of this world.

Summer is coming…One hopes

mooli

I cannot sow and grow mooli-japanese radish-to save my life. Each and every time that I do, the crop bolts; we end up with mooli pods. I have long since given up, but Mama F has taken this challenge head on. What you see above, is the result of her handiwork. They look like a mooli, but I think they are probably icicle radishes; there are probably mooli on the plot somewhere, and she will no doubt tell me. But as you can see, they are straight, day glow white, and they were, edible. They ended up in a salad, rather than meeting their fate in a paratha, which is normally the done thing. I have however, been charged with getting more seeds to so that they do end up in a paratha. The key is though, that we have had a mooli-of a sort- from the plot, and it is home grown.

The chillies are coming, the purple ones at least. Imperial purple flowers have formed on the purple haze plants and fruit is forming. The other plants are not to far behind with smaller and white flowers becoming visible. Hopefully we will have some chillies before long.

Roses! For me, these are a true indicator that there is change on the way. The roses in Dad’s back garden have already started to bloom and blossom, mine are usually not far behind. There are easily two doze or so bushes on the plot. These range from rather posh roses, through to the lost label roses that you see above, to a couple of poundland roses. These form a triad of flowers; with glads and sunflowers usually being on the plot. The glads are on their way, but there are no sunflowers this year.

I like my roses, with the wonderful smell of zingy lemons that hangs in the air as you poke your nose in to take a waft.I am rather looking forward to home made bouquets as we have seen in the past. To be honest, I don’t tend them as pedantically as I could, beyond the removal of dead heads and stems for the kitchen vase.

gooseberry

Raspberrries and strawberries are in full flower and ready to fruit. Some of the goosberries are already laden. There does appear to be more than last year, which is a good thing. Maybe more pickle, and the odd jam to make.

#NABLOPOMO: Colour burst

It’s miserable outside, and there is a distinct absence of colour. Over the summer and indeed the last few years, the plot roses have come into their own. The bushes are becoming more established, and this has meant that we’ve had an abundance of blooms to sit upon the kitchen window sill.

I have a combination of posh roses, roses that I know the name of; as well as lost label roses that are nameless. In the middle of the plot, I have William Shakespeare 2000. A beautiful bloom that I got for birthday eighteen months ago. At some stage I will add Anne Boleyn to the plot. There is just something about having roses on the plot. The colour and the scent add a great deal of character to the plot that is otherwise used mainly to grow fruit and vegetables.

Pickles, peppers and petals

Had to do an experiment today. THE experiment, the one that was the only reason for growing gooseberries on the plot. The experiment, that is gooseberry pickle. Amlar Achar, as it is know. Now, whilst I have a bollywood ma and pops, that doesn’t mean I know anything about Indian food and preserving. Ordinarily, I grow the produce, Ma then makes it all Indian. Today, I made the produce Indian. Searched a relatively easy to follow recipe, raided her pantry. Mustard oil, onion seeds, even the asafoteda, and that stuff honks half way to hell; it is that potent.

I have never made an indian pickle. I once asked my granny-Mum’s mum- and she gave me a recipe, taught me how to do it, but this was the first time flying solo.

The whole thing was concocted. I have learned to do chutney, and practice for that is straight forward.

I walked away from the saucepan, in something of a strop. I didn’t recognise the substance, it didn’t look like a pickle to me. But I wasn’t looking at it from the Indian perspective.

Still made Dad taste a teaspoon. And Mum tasted it with her dinner.

They are both okay. The Jar is still there.

Having left the jar, and trying to get rid of the sulk; I went to water the plot. It’s a bit hot outside, so  bit necessary. Then there is the poly tunnel; the contents need regular watering. Spotted, was a bright red cayenne. I have struggled to get chillies red in the poly. This is only the second time that this has happened. There are also the tiniest of yellow courgettes, which is nice to see.

The next nice part, was the roses.

Slap bang in the middle, is a rose called Blue moon.

Yes, it’s pink.