Thursday, July 18, 2013

Summer fruits and flowers.

Because of the lateness of the seasons this year the flowering period of the wild flowers  seems to have been compressed, the Blackthorn didn't flower until May and the Hawthorne didn't flower until June the same with the Elderflower, when they did bloom there seemed to be far more blossom than usual, now it is the turn of the high summer flowers,
Lady's Bedstraw.
I have never seen as much Lady's Bedstraw as there is this year. This is a very pretty plant and has many uses, I'm surprised that it has not been cultivated as a garden plant, the leafs and stems give a yellow dye and the roots red. It can also be used to make cheese and gives a golden yellow to cheese, I used it for this purpose many years ago, it was very successful. It also has herbal uses as well as being a host plant to the Elephant Hawk moth, a very underrated hedgerow plant.
Trefoil or Vetch? Need to look at the leaves.
The hedges are full of vetches and trefoils, purples and yellows seems to be the colour of the month.
 Seedpods of the Yellow Rattle.
  Common Valerian  and also Hemp Agrimony are blooming and the Knapweeds along with Meadow Sweet and Rose Bay Willow herb, but we have not spotted any Loosestrife yet, if it wasn't so hot we would go on a plant hunt, but we have now been without rain for twenty three days and the temperatures have not really dropped in this time, there is no rain predicted until Sept according to an amateur weather forecaster from New Zealand, he has been pretty accurate so far this year, maybe Met Eireann should employ him. However this morning at 5am I awoke to thick fog, I know the plants would have appreciated this hint of dampness.
I always feel like a squirrel at this time of year, there is always something the needs to be frozen, bottled or made into jam.

Todays task was blackcurrant picking and processing, normally we would prune the blackcurrants when cropping but as everything was late getting leaves they are still a little tender and would not benefit from pruning whist so hot, so the currants have just been picked, with pruning to be done later on. In all we had twelve and a half pounds of currants, not bad for two year old bushes which we grew from cuttings. I have made twelve pots of jam so far, with a few more to be made tomorrow, the rest will be bottled. I would normally delay jam making until later in the year when it is cooler but we have very little spare room in our freezers so it all has to be done in a heat wave!
Blackcurrant jam is one of the easiest jams to make, always a brilliant set, as long as you cook the fruit before adding the sugar otherwise you will end up with bullets in your jam.
Bottled Plums and more lemon Curd.
I have also bottled some plums which our local veg shop had on offer, at only ninety nine cents a half kg it was worthwhile buying the fruit.
Real Butter! Yum.
We have now found that we can buy real butter from the farmers market, we made scones today especially to test the butter, it was delicious, with home made strawberry jam, the only thing missing was the clotted cream.
Maybe next year.
We have had a very small handful of gooseberries and I do mean a VERY small handful, still it's a start and hopefully next year we will have a crop worth talking about.

1 comment:

  1. That Lemon Curd...just delicious. We could'nt stop eating it.