Today’s morning dogwalk encompassed sunshine, blustery winds, fallen trees, a couple of rain showers and a lovely double rainbow. Straddling the seasons as it were.
It was also very warm, 26.5 deg C by lunchtime if my car is to be believed. A good day to get my hair cut!
So my Six on Saturday for Mr Propagator’s entertaining meme are mostly about carrying over reminders of summer for the dark days ahead … maybe even tomorrow
1) Iris foetidissima
First of all the stinking iris (Iris foetidissima) has split open this week. I adore seeing these brilliant orange seeds when the pods burst open. They add eye-catching colour to our front garden which lasts through the winter and they do really well in the driest, darkest corners around. Last year I discovered that they make great cut/dried flowers as I put some in a vase with fluffy grass heads and they didn’t need to be chucked out until spring. Result!
I love this little strawberry. Not sure if it is a named variety or not, but my Mum gave me a couple of runners a few years ago and they now wander freely through the borders, flowering in any odd gaps they find, in cheerful pink shades, from May till frosts. I can’t say that I get much fruit from the plants, but that really wasn’t the point. However, right now there is an active spur running along the age of the path that is producing nice fruit (when I get to it before the slugs).
3) Borage Ice Cubes
Borage is one of those herbs that I never bother to sow nowadays, but is always around as a self-seeder, in the gravel driveway or around the tomatoes in the raised vegetable beds, during the summer. I pick borage flowers to decorate salads, cakes and jugs of drink, both cordials and alcoholic punches, but I tend to take the ease of access to these little treasures for granted until they are gone … which will be anytime now. So I have deliberately picked the flowers this week (plus a number of herbs like mint, basil and parsley) to add to ice cubes. A couple of bags of these stored in the freezer will mean I can add a touch of summer to winter parties!
4) Late Flowering Salvias
I am a big fan of salvias and since seeing the shrubby South American examples in all their glory flowering along one side of the greenhouse at Cambridge Botanics I’ve grown both Salvia Leucantha (Mexican bush sage) and Salvia Involucrata (Roseleaf sage) for their lush and furry flowers. Unfortunately, they flower very late in the year and our garden is not as ideal climate-wise as the Botanics, so it is a race against the frosts. I can almost see the flowers now. Shall we lay bets on whether I get to see them fully out though?
5) Dogwood Fruit (Cornelian Cherries)
I’ve been picking the last of the Cornelian Cherries this week as well. They make the most delicious jelly and it is my son’s favourite. I haven’t had time to make more than one batch so far, so I am freezing the fruit. I hope that they will jam as well as fresh ones (like damsons etc), but I can’t see why they shouldn’t. Does anyone have any experience of this?
6) Drying Flowers – Helichrysum
My final entry for this week’s SOS are those delightful papery helichrysums. The classic dried flower. I think that they are so cheering in little posies around the house. I have started to collect buds from the plants so that I can hang them upside down to dry in the cupboard. This year their colours have been a bit muted compared to normal, but I am enjoying their pastel tones regardless.
Hope you have a great weekend and don’t forget to take a look at other gardeners’ Sixes.