“Two bubbles found they had rainbows on their curves.
They flickered out saying:
“It was worth being a bubble, just to have held that rainbow thirty seconds.”
There I stood, mindlessly dead-heading sodden yellow roses, when I saw rainbow spread across my hand.
The rewards of gardening aren’t always what you are expecting or working towards. Other times they are exactly what you are hoping for and that too is pretty wonderful.
It’s hard to beat a plate of tiny new potatoes and broad beans with lashings of butter, a sprinkle of salt flakes and the extra seasoning of the sweat of your own brow.
The blackcurrants are ripe for the picking. They smell better than anything else in the garden; they smell…purple. The fragrance transports me to childhood holidays in Wexford. If you were going to grow just one food I would say to you, let it be blackcurrants.
I made blackcurrant leaf cordial which made the whole house smell divine. I think this beats elderflower cordial hands down. The recipe is another gem from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Foods (my current bible). Basically, it’s young blackcurrant leaves (two handfuls), zest of a lemon (my addition), 225g sugar and one pint of water brought to the boil and allowed to cool. The juice of three lemons can be squeezed in when it’s cool. Dilute with still or fizzy water.
I think these garlic scapes are up next for harvesting. Aren’t they pretty? I almost can’t bear to pull them. I’ve put my hand down to feel one (like a plant obstetrician) and found a smallish head of garlic so I might give them another week.
This scruffy juniper tree-let was languishing on the orphan plant table at the garden centre and cost just 3 euros. I’m very excited at the idea of having my own juniper berries for Husband’s annual birthday treat of venison stew. He has made me very happy even if he is teensy (the tree, not Husband, although he of course has made me very happy too but he is not teensy. Just to clarify.).
You know I like to zoom in on the pretty details but, for once, I will give you a panorama of the garden.Bear in mind, it’s raining. Of course it’s raining. What would you expect in July, in Ireland? The back door faces North and we walk out to this view:
Swing left a bit and you can see behind the treehouse to the berry bushes and the rhubarb.
Facing west you see the newly dug flowerbeds. I’ve been putting the tremndous strength of my Teenage Son to good use. Much like gardening, this business of raising children has unexpected benefits.
You can see that we live at the very edge of the city. Behind me is Suburbia but in front there are patchwork swathes of green fields. Husband and I would prefer to live in the countryside but this is a decent compromise. I drive up that hill every morning to bring my younger children to a small(ish) country school.
If I brave the rain to venture closer to the flowers…
…you can see that the bees are still busy. I could watch them all day.
In Ireland, on a day like this, we jokingly greet each other with the phrase, ‘soft day, thank God’. It’s a phrase that acknowledges the dampness and appreciates the ease of it. A soft day has the hard edges knocked off it. A soft day is quiet and gentle and calming.
With any luck the day will brighten towards evening and the sunset will be warm and golden. Sunny, with a chance of rainbows.