Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘sweet cicely’

A Spring Day in Winter!

In Animals, Gardening on January 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Officially it is still Winter but the weather has it’s own mind. Today was Springlike in the valley. Just beautiful! I spent late morning pruning last years growth, now dead and brown, from the perennials on the bed by the Birch tree. I leave it over Winter so the birds can feast on any seeds. The birds kept me entertained as I worked,  lots of them singing and chirping in the Birch tree. So many Tits and Chaffinches, and a few Goldfinches too. Can you spot the little Blue Tit in the Birch Tree?

It’s amazing how much early growth there’s been this year, 23rd January today and Sweet Cicely is already flowering.

Arum Lily has put on a lot of growth and

Escallonia is looking lush and healthy. Last year it came through the Winter but looked battered and bruised.

In the afternoon Lisa the Equine Dentist came to look at Daphne’s teeth. Donkeys teeth need to be checked anually especially as they get older. Daphne is about 22 now. Far back in the Donkey’s jaw are the molars, these often give trouble because the upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw, the grinding movement is from side to side, so the teeth on the outer edges of the upper jaw and the inner edges of the lower do not get any wear. This in time leads to sharp points developing which will cause discomfort for the animal. The dentist uses a rasp, which is like a giant file, to rectify the problem.

Daphne did’nt need her teeth rasped today but she did have a loose tooth which Lisa extracted very quickly. Loose teeth can be sore and impede grazing so they do need to be checked by an expert.

And there it is, the troublesome tooth, gone! Daphne did’nt seem a bit bothered and returned to grazing as soon as she was back in the field.

Calendula Ointment & other musings from Prospect Cottage.

In Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on July 5, 2011 at 9:26 am

Lychnis coronaria, it’s striking magenta flowers would light up any border. The grey leaves show up the flowers brilliantly. It loves well drained soil and a sunny position. There is also a white version but this is the one for me! I shall  save seeds from this one, I want more!

Thistles are just starting to reveal their beautiful purple flowers. Purple is one of my fave colours.

Seed heads of Sweet Cicely, these have a slight aniseed flavour and can be used in Apple or other fruit pies. According to Lesley Bremness in The Complete Book of Herbs they are used to flavour Chartreuse liqueur and when  crushed make a furniture polish.

Escallonia at the back of the border provides year round greenery. It is covered in tiny flowers right now, their abundance making up for their size. Now is a good time to take cuttings of  Escallonia, they strike easily.

Lots of Calendula at the moment, it self seeds from year to year. An ointment can be made from the flowers which is good for burns, bruises, sores or other skin problems. To make it:  100g Calendula flowers (about 70 heads),   150g emulsifying ointment (from pharmacy), 70ml glycerine(also from pharmacy), 80ml water.

Method:  Chop flowers and put with rest of ingredients into a bain-marie for about 1-3 hours depending on desired strength. Take off heat and add a few drops of lavender oil. Strain into sterilised jars.

Garden progress at Prospect Cottage.

In Bees, Cooking, Gardening, Herbs, sustainable living on April 8, 2011 at 9:02 am

Yesterday was a glorious day, blue sky and too hot to work in the polytunnel by afternoon. I managed to spend the whole day in the garden. Strawberries (Elsanta) and lettuces were planted out in the big polytunnel.

Tomatoes were potted on, these are Mexican Midget, from seed savers in Co Clare. They form a long gangly plant with trusses spaced well apart. Fruits are the size of grapes but so delicious, lovely sweet flavour. They were still producing late in the season last year. We are also growing Moneymaker which gives a nice size Tomato. Many people say they don’t have a good flavour but grown organically I do not find that to be the case.

Sweet Cicely at back, Lady's Mantle and Sedum spectabile in front.

I love how certain plants that complement each other in the kitchen come into season together. Sweet Cicely and Rhubarb typify this. Rhubarb is known to have a lot of acidity and not suitable for people suffering from arthritis. However when Rhubarb is cooked with Sweet Cicely it reduces the acid considerably.Reduction of the acid means less sugar is needed so good for diabetics too. It also looks good, mine is in a flower border. White flowers are produced later in Spring, the bees love them.

Everything here is grown naturally, no boxes with skull and crossbones lurking in our shed! It works, plants want to grow, no mystery.

Meanwhile in New York 60 farmers,seed businesses and agricultural organisations have filed a lawsuit against Monsanto challenging the company’s patents on genitically modified seed. The plaintiffs are suing to prevent themselves being accused of patent infringement should their crops become contaminated by Monsanto’s seed. Monsanto has a history of this, with one Canadian farmer having to pay the company $28,000.