I made my first batch of cherry jam. It was drizzling yesterday and not really fun in the sun weather. So I hauled out the ladder, donned my raincoat and went up a tree. I needed at least two kilos of cherries for my first batch of jam, and didn’t have any trouble finding them. The fruit is all over the trees on the first terrace just below the house. This is the view from my office right now. Trees in fruit. A lovely sight to behold.
And especially as these trees are actually accessible for the forager. The cherries are actually a few days off perfectly ripe. But they were fine for jam. So I collected, then pitted and finally turned them into tasty preserves.
Indoor activities were necessary as it was still raining: it was so bad and unexpected in fact that I had to tidy my office just for something to do. And to avoid tidying the basement which is where I ought to direct my indoor nesting energies. But I love this rain, and a morning of indoor work wasn’t such a bad thing, just unexpected. I don’t have the words ‘mooch indoors’ on my to do list.
As soon as the rain cleared it was out with the camera and snap away at the new arrivals. The lavender is about to burst out in the lilac bed; emulating the mighty deutsia bush in the same area. This is the famous unscented member of the philadelphus family (oh sweet orange blossom where is they scent?) and now that it has been radically pruned I can tolerate it a bit more.
But having seen and smelt the gorgeous shrub at Leslie and Theo’s last week I was envious indeed. In Sydney they use a native version of this wonderfully scented shrub as a hedging plant. I’d love to do the same, but the poor plants would take one look at our long cold winters and turn up their roots.
My own troubled hedge is the verbena bonariensis one I have been trying to establish as a border to the vegetable bed. I lost heaps over the winter and had hurriedly planted out lots of little seedlings last week and hoped they wouldn’t perish and be parched. No such fears. If you squint you can just about make out the little seedlings among the taller plants. And I was pleasantly surprised to discover they are lightly scented. Just. If the wind is in the right direction and you have your scent antenna finely tuned.
The other scent squib is the New Dawn rose collection I have. Growing prettily on the wall behind the herb garden, and I even have roses as cuttings from two years back. They look good, produce heaps of roses, but do not smell at all. Not even in humid weather or early in the morning. Thank goodness my Gertrude Jekylls do so well in the courtyard. Otherwise I would think I was jinxed.
By late afternoon the sun came out and warmed up the garden to such an extent I had to peel layers of fleeces and don a sunhat just to weed the cabbage bed. The area is weed free, and plagued by a slightly reduced population of gendarme bugs which eat my brassica leaves, and mulched. It only slows down the weeds, but is aesthetically pleasing.
And as I had a bit left over, I mulched the coriander and basil thicket that is growing beside the cabbages up in that quarter of the garden. The coriander is dying to bolt. But I am pinching out the flowers daily and hope that I can keep them a bit longer. I do love coriander and cucumbers with chillis, sugar and vinegar. No. Wait a minute, I have no cucumbers. Let them bolt with impunity; they will never be ready at the same time as the now late fruiting cucumbers. I will have to go the Thursday market and cheat.