Having enjoyed a rainbow of colours in June and July, the colours are fading and with the unusual hot, dry weather and now the heavy rain, the colourful garden is looking a bit bedraggled. Destructive pests are coming back in force and it is a constant watch to make sure what is left is preserved a little longer.
How nice it was though, to see the long-awaited buds of the Galtonia and white lilies finally burst open.
The lilies smell lovely, not the sickly, sweet smell, although perhaps that’s due to it being outdoors, it doesn’t become so overbearing as being inside. The petals appear to be well-chewed by something, be at least there is enough of it left to enjoy.
I was really struggling to find white flowers but rising majestically and unassuming are the white umbels of the skirret flower. Skirret is an old-fashioned and forgotten vegetable. It may have lost it’s popularity due to the amount of cleaning there is in the long skinny tubers.
The weather this year may have turned the tubers a bit woody or I may not even get a harvest off any of them this year. This is only their second year growth but I can check how they are doing, once the stems die down. They can self-seed, or plantlets taken in the spring to start them off again.
A good scrub is all the roots need and you can cook them almost any way or nibble them raw. All they ask is some fertile soil, water and a feed now and again, no more than any other root plant.
Growing in a pot next to the skirret is the Chilean guava, only a few little white flowers remain after being covered with them. I see no sign of fruits developing though, so again the strange weather we have been having may have also slowed down this little shrub.
I have yet to taste this fruit although I have had a shrub for about three years now. The first plant I had was the same plant, although the leaves were a lovely variegated pink and green. My neighbour’s dog managed to break off the one branch which flowered when I got it and the second year, it gave up the ghost with the severe winter and spring, so I replaced earlier this year. Said to be Queen Victoria’s favourite fruit so she, at least, could get it to grow to fruit production stage.
The last of the Chrysanthemum coronarium, having been given a new name and known now as Glebionis coronaria, is still flowering, it has been quite prolific and has kept the little pollinators busy. Seemingly to have been more popular with the hoverflies, perhaps the little yellow florets at the centre of the flower are just right for such a dainty little insect. It is a leafy herb with many aliases and it’s leaves are used in many cuisines, particularly Asian. I have grown this previously under two of it’s other aliases, chop suey greens and shungiku, not realising all three were the same plant. This is the first time it has grown so profusely so perhaps it is quite fussy about it’s name, and likes being a chrysanthemum rather than a chop suey green.