Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Waiting Room

O IS FOR?


OVERFLOWING!

As is in my coldframe and I am off to a plant sale at the weekend!

You can ogle more Os over at ABC Wednesday.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

32 Across,39 Down



''In Northern England, a pudding made at this time of year from the young leaves of the bistort plant" (6 - 6)

Easter has passed in a most pleasant mish-mash of gardening, greenhouse time and allotment time. The weather has been warm, almost too warm at times, so in an effort to remain pale and interesting, I have also been indulging in other favourite activities - reading and doing crosswords. My mother and I both try to complete the same weekly general knowledge crossword and compare our respective progress over the phone. Sometimes we provide each other with answers, especially if either of us is being hampered by one stubborn clue, as was the case when she asked yesterday if I could help with the above clue. She had already made more inroads than me but had reached an impasse.

Although I have spent all my adult life in the north of England and have done my fair share of pudding eating the above clue had me foxed. I had an inkling that the first word was probably Easter but it was the second part of the clue that was puzzling. I finally had to concede defeat and resort to the internet to find the answer. In doing so I came across a fascinating website - Historical Foods, which I have bookmarked for some serious browsing in the future. As well as festive recipes there are regional recipes from the U.K. and Eire, North American recipes and recipes from certain historical eras. There is also a fictional feasts section which includes recipes inspired by 'The Hobbit'.

I tend to think of puddings as sweet concoctions but this turned out to be a traditional savoury pudding. It is made in Cumberland and Yorkshire from the young leaves of the bistort plant with the added ingredients of onions, oats, barley, butter and eggs. Bistort or to give it its Latin name persicaria bistorta is a perennial plant, which usually flowers from June to October. It's the younger, tender leaves and shoots which are used in cooking from April onwards. The roots can also be eaten but take much more cooking.  The plant can be found growing wild in moist meadows, by waterways and on damp grassy roadsides as well as in open woodland. Apparently many local villages in northern England hold competitions to find the best tasting pudding - that held at Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire being the most well known.


Now just in case you have not already guessed the answer is Easter - Ledger, although the pudding is also known as Easter Ledge Pudding, Easter Giant Pudding, Dock Pudding, Herb Pudding, Passion Pudding and of course by the more prosaic name of Bistort Pudding. I am not sure about the reference to Ledger/Ledge and would like to know where that comes into the equation. Maybe more research later today but then will I ever finish the crossword? Do please let me know me know if you have tasted this delicacy or have more information about this particular pudding.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Wordless Wednesday

N IS FOR?


NO WORDS NECESSARY!

~ well almost ~ nip over now to ABC Wednesday for much of note on the letter N!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

"If You Go Down To The Woods Today"

Himself and I took to the hills last weekend where we went walking and garden visiting . The weather was simply glorious. We walked part of Wenlock Edge in Shropshire, where we came across various wild flowers including violets, celandines, primroses, cowslips as well as bluebells which were just beginning to open. What took my breath away were the carpets of wood anenomes, which I have never seen in such numbers before ~

'Wood Anemone'
"The wood anemone through dead oak leaves
And in the thickest woods now blooms anew,
And where the green briar and the bramble weaves
Thick clumps o'green, anemones thicker grew,
And weeping flowers in thousands pearled in dew
People the woods and brakes, hid hollows there,
White, yellow and purple - hued the wide wood through.
What pretty drooping weeping flowers they are:
The clipt-frilled leaves, the slender stalk they bear 
On which the drooping flower hangs weeping dew,
How beautiful through April time and May
The woods look, filled with wild anemone;
And every little spinney now looks gay
With flowers mid brushwood and the huge oak tree"
~ John Clare,1793 -1864

More from Shropshire to follow.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Note To Self

M IS FOR?
MORE!
I have decided that I simply must plant more tulip bulbs this autumn. I have never been a great fan of the leaves which I think are most manky, but oh what magnificent flowers. Mine are all planted in containers so that I can hide them away once the flowers are done and dusted. They seem to be a couple of weeks ahead of last year. In the above photo are 'Couleur Cardinale, Havran and 'Prinses Irene'. In other pots I have 'Spring Green', 'Passionale', 'Mount Tacoma' and 'Bruine Wimpel'. Would like to know which tulips other folk are growing this year.

You will find more on the letter M over at ABC Wednesday!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Catch Me If You Can!


It seems that all of a sudden that the traffic lights have turned to green and that everything has accelerated at once. No time to press the pause button now.  At the allotment the newly planted apple trees are settling in - more leaves have unfurled each time I visit. I think that I could see blushes of potential blossom today. The garlic is shooting up and the green tops of shallots have now broken through the soil. The raspberries and white berry are already showing their first sprigs of potential fruit. I have planted the first lot of potatoes - one row of Nicola, whilst the rest of the bed is planted with the most unromantically named BF15, which I am hoping tastes better than its name. The rest of the beds are cleared and are awaiting planting up as spring progresses. In the greenhouse I have pricked out the tomatoes this week. Cucumbers and courgettes are through, whilst beans and basil are sown but have still to show signs of life. Time for a full inventory soon just to remind myself where I am up to. For once I have managed to keep up with labeling until this afternoon, when a rather loud buzzing near my ear distracted me from the task in hand.  Result : I now have two different types of tomatoes suffering from an either or identity crisis. Now that I've gone off the straight and narrow there are bound to be more incidents.

There has been a similar spurt of growth in the garden too at ground level and above as the trees are flushed with that delicate magical growth of early spring. So much happening all at once and this weekend the first plant sale and garden visit of the season. Before I disappear into a veritable all consuming haze of green, I would like to point you all in the direction of Allotment Heaven, where the lovely Maureen has a great giveaway on offer. This would be of particular interest to any rose lovers as it is a copy of David Austins new book 'The English Roses'. Good luck!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

'Most Efficacious In Every Case'


This week I am planting some luscious lily bulbs and looking forward longingly to their lingering fragrance come late summer. I am growing spotty dotty 'Muscadet', watermelon pink 'Robina' which is described as a tree lily, then last but not least tempted by Patient Gardener I am planting the alluring L.A. 'Eyeliner'.

Leap over to ABC Wednesday now for the lowdown on the letter L.

Monday, 4 April 2011

End Of Month View - March 2011


Like last year March entered like a lamb and exited in a somewhat leonine manner. Despite the dry month growth is more advanced than last year and there is more colour in the end of month border. It remains a work in progress with plants being extracted and plants being inserted. Hence various pots are lurking with intent.

At the far end I have a tangle of the thuggish lamium galeobodon to sort out, whist at the near end I will need himself's assistance to remove the fatsia japonica which has simply got too big for its boots.  I have added more of the most cheerful little 'Tete-a-Tete' narcissus which are just going over now.  Brunnera 'Jack Frost' which was planted to near the front of the border has been lifted. I was amazed that it had flourished as well as it did as it was planted in almost rubble like conditions. It thoughtfully fell into two clumps as it was lifted - the smallest of which I have replanted, whilst the bigger division is in a pot waiting for a decision on its future. The two hellebores which I planted last year did not flower but they are looking healthy enough. I was delighted to find a few hellebore seedlings on close inspection - maybe they might be the offspring of the beautiful 'Mrs Betty Ranicar' ~ 


Plants waiting to go into the ground include a white flowering pulmonaria and lathyrus vernus. The white pulmonaria was from the local Country Market but was nameless. The lathyrus a recent purchase to make up for the seedlings that I lost during the winter  ~ 


Meanwhile I am mulling over what to plant for interest during the latter part of the year. Hopefully this issue might be resolved by the end of April. This post was inspired by Helen The Patient Gardener's invitation to share our end of month views.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day ~ April 2011




'I come, I come, ye have called me long
I come o'er the mountains, with light and song.
You may trace my step o'er the wakening earth,
By the winds which tell of the violet's birth,
By the primrose - stars in the shadowy grass
By the green leaves opening as I pass'



~ Felicia Hemans, 1749- 1835,  an extract from 'The Voice of Spring'


More April musing can be perused over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.