Warm sunshine, pouring rain, warm sunshine again – it’s party time for the weeds in my garden and allotment. This morning I tackled the weeds in the front garden, which if you’ve been paying attention, is a former paved over car parking space, converted to what can only be described as a ‘cottage garden’. In other words it is full of herbs, lovely flowers, interesting wildlife and a lot of weeds. The weeds creep under the paving and up through the bricks unnoticed until I go out and get down on my hands and knees and haul them out. While down there I get to notice all the other fascinating things going on:
that the Canterbury bells are flowering and so are the chives. The Canterbury bells are amongst the most prolific weedy things but they are beautiful. The chives are more deliberate and their flowers will adorn a few salads. I’ve just noticed the jolly snail underneath the chives.
The cherry tree is covered in fruit – I’ll wait and see if any of the cherries get to ripen before the birds snaffle them.
The ladybirds have been very busy all month and have now started producing babies, which, I hope, will eat even more of the aphids which are afflicting the roses. The roses are beginning to flower though – first of all the wild rose:
and then the Gertrude Jekyll
The Benjamin Britten will be next, with lots of buds about to open. Underneath the rose bush and lurking behind the water butt, I found the other essential of the cottage garden:
Bella is losing the territory battle with the invasive Chelsea at the moment and so has taken to hiding behind water butts in the front garden in the hope that no one will notice her there.
Yesterday, while the weeds enjoyed the downpours, I didn’t do any gardening but we had a visitor, an old family friend from Denmark . I had made a big pot of green soup from the rainbow chard, a garden salad and a rhubarb cake,
hoping she was the kind of person who would appreciate garden produce. It turns out she was a vegetable gardener herself. She loved the soup and the cake and went away with the remains of my rainbow chard seeds to grow herself. The rhubarb cake is rather good, based on a tried and tested recipe for apple gingerbread but using rhubarb instead.
Rhubarb gingerbread *
(makes one loaf sized cake. Double quantities for a square cake)
- 75g butter
- 75g sugar
- 75g golden syrup
- 1 tblsp black treacle
- 175g self raising flour
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 1tsp ground ginger (or grated fresh ginger)
- about 250g of rhubarb puree
- 1 egg
- Grease and line a loaf tin (or use double quantities to make two small cakes or one large square cake)
- Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and treacle in a pan
- Sieve the flour and spices into a large bowl
- Beat in the syrup mixture, the apple puree and the beaten egg
- Pour into the cake tin and bake for about 50 mins at 180C /Gas Mark 4
*Recipe based on ‘The Apple Book’ by Jane Simpson and Gill MacLennan. Just as good with apples instead of rhubarb!