a beautiful autumn
Time flies by! I was busy all of February preparing for my Open Garden in early March. it was great to do it again and to meet so many fantastic gardeners. I’m sure we will have to get an alternative scheme up and running now the national one has ended. I feel like I only just recovered from the Open Garden and it was time to start the autumn harvest!
The quince tree was bowed over with a very heavy crop. I counted 164 as I picked them!! This year I will bottled poached quince and make jars of quince paste.
A day or two after I picked the fruit, the branches stood up straight again!
This year I used muslin jewellery bags to protect my apples and pears from fruit fly. They are cheaper than the ones sold for fruit fly exclusion but most importantly they are pretty! they seem to have worked quite well, though I put them on too late and had to take quite a lot of already stung fruit off the trees and dispose of it.
- Packham Pride pears
- Gala apples
- Granny Smiths
Jerusalem artichokes are the other great crop this year: very round and white compared to last year. I think I actually harvested them at the right time this year, just after the beautiful yellow daisy flowers finished. I also kept some seed for the first time this year. It will be interesting to see if it will grow. Usually I don’t bother to plant the artichokes again as I never get them all out of the ground and they just regrow themselves!
- Jerusalem artichoke pulled out of the ground
- lots of roasted artichokes & cream of artichoke soup!
For the first time this year the elderberry (Sambucus nigra) actually had berries! Every year I fantasise about making champagne from the flowers; this year I also fantasised about elderberry wine from the berries! I didn’t make either and I had to cut the berries off to prevent them being carried away by birds into the bush. There are many magic traditions associated with the elder http://www.incredible-edible-todmorden.co.uk/apothecary/the-elder-tree. It is said that a witch can turn herself into an elder tree and its wood is used for the making of magic wands. Elder trees were planted by houses to protect them from lightening and evil spirits. In the days when there was no separation between magic and medicine, many charms and amulets were fashioned from elder wood for all sorts of ills and sorrows. Sitting under, or more riskily sleeping under, an Elder at midsummer was said to enable one to see the faeries or even see them going to their midsummer feast. The danger was being transported into the Underworld and not being able to escape. Unfortunately the elderflower suckers badly in my garden so I am constantly keeping it under control.
- elder reaching for the sky
- flowers and berries