Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘blackberries’

As July progresses…

In Garden, sustainable living on July 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

everything is looking lush and green and fresh …a definite benefit of all that rain. The fedge we planted back in April has really taken off. Actually all the trees and shrubs have put on lots of growth this year. The weather has’nt been too bad the last couple of days. Grey and overcast still but not so much rain.

  The Mrs Perry apple tree planted almost 4 years ago has produced fruit for the first time. About 15 apples…looking forward to trying them. They are a dual purpose fruit.

At Mrs Perry’s feet Feverfew is in flower. A few leaves eaten every day is said to give relief from migrane. Thankfully I don’t get migranes… I do like it’s little daisy flowers though. It self seeds like mad. The purple leaved plant is Orach…a stray from the compost I think. It is edible and adds colour, if not much flavour, to salads.

By the garden gate Phygelius is in flower. One of my fave shrubs…commonly called Cape Fuschia…it is easily propogated by rooted suckers.

Here’s another one in the long border. There’s also a creamy coloured one which has just finished flowering. I shall be propogating more of these to spread around.

Fuschia is also in flower at the moment. I just love this little shrub which grows wild around here. It is another plant that is easy to propogate from cuttings.

In the hedgerows the Bramble is showing lots of flowers…a good Blackberry harvest looks likely. I just love Blackberries…combined with Granny Smith Apples to make the most delicious jam…lovely in tarts too. The joys of Autumn yet to come.

Don’t know what Freddie could smell as we came back from our walk. He stood like this for several minutes just sniffing the air…eyes closed. Cute!

The Hedgerow in August.

In Cooking, Foraging., sustainable living on August 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm

The Blackberries have started to swell in the hedgerows. Hopefully we will get some sunny days to help them along. The picking of Blackberries is one of my cherished childhood memories. My Mother would turn them into jam to keep us supplied through the Winter. Today it is a tradition I still follow. Foraging is second nature and something I get deep satisfaction from.

Blackberry and Apple jam is delicious and the apples provide the pectin the Blackberries lack.  Mixed with Elderberry, another free fruit, they make a great chutney. Then of course there’s cordial, great for Winter colds or just as a nice drink, full of vitamin C.

The sloe is also filling out, this bitter fruit is the ancestor of all cultivated and wild plums. So bitter is it that one could possibly wonder what use it would have.  It however, has several uses when ripe. Usually picked after first frosts, which softens the by then black skins, sloes make a lovely claret coloured jelly, a very fine wine and added with sugar to gin or vodka make a very nice liquer.

 The Hogweed, alas, has no value to the forager, being inedible. It is however a useful plant for wildlife. The large heads are made up of hundreds of small flowers which attract Bees, Soldier Beetles and Hoverflies. Spiders spin their webs between the stems hoping to trap a Bluebottle or other insect to dine on.

The variety of wild grasses on the lane never ceases to amaze. They are at their best right now having reached their full height and developed seedheads.

This one lit up by the setting sun is gorgeous and to my eyes fit to grace any garden. I’m sure all these grasses have individual names but I don’t know them. I am happy, on my daily walks, to admire their variety and beauty.

Wild Plants that grow on our Lane.

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, sustainable living on June 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

The Wild Rose is spread throughout the hedgerows. I love how the flowers change colour as they get older. Later on there will be vitaminC filled hips which will be used to make jelly and syrup.

Bramble is flowering too. The early Autumn harvest of Blackberries coincides nicely with the first cooking Apples, they marry together beautifully in tarts. I also make Blackberry and Apple Jam which is always a good seller. They can also be used in chutney and cordial.

Ragworth, a poisonous plant for animals, especially if it ends up in hay. They tend not to eat it fresh. It causes irreversible liver damage. We always pull any that grow in the fields as each plant has about 50,000 seeds. However, here on the lane away from grazing animals we leave them as they are the only food source for the Cinnabar Moth larvae.

So many beautiful grasses that would look beautiful in any garden setting.

The verge beside our driveway is left uncut, filled with Orchids, Plantains, Vetches and grasses to name but a few. If only more people would leave a section of their barren green lawns uncut they would be rewarded with gorgeous native plants and a multitude of insect visitors.

In the kitchen another lot of Elderflower Cordial is infusing. This one has Mint and Lemon Verbena added.