Saturday, 6 September 2008

Wild Things

Dotted around the housing estate where we live are hedgerow plants. Those of us in the know make use of that. Directly opposite the house is a little thicket that includes a Cherry Plum tree. Earlier this "Summer" I picked a couple of ripe fruits from it. Very nice - sweet and juicy. On the path that leads down to the brook and the lake there is a blackthorn (sloe) bush. It seems that this year has been a bed one for Sloe berries, and the shrub on the path only has a couple of berries on it. Barely enough for a miniature sized bottle of sloe gin. Still, better than nothing.

The garden maintenance guys have done for the brambles in the visible parts of the estate, but thankfully we have an unmanicured area near the house and I've gathered a few snack sized portions in the past couple of weeks. I've also spotted some good clumps of elderberries destined for the preserving pan.

But my favourite wild fruit is only just starting to ripen - the rose hip. There are only a couple of Dog Roses nearby, but much of the estate is hedged with the more luscious Rosa rugosa. If I can bag enough before the maintenance men hack things down for the winter, I hope to make a few jars of Rose Hip jelly.

The estate roads are also lined with hazel bushes. But the squirrels always beat us to the nuts. Earlier today, however, I was able to take advantage of the hazel. Someone was cutting back the shrubbery near their house, and I spoke to them and bagged some decent hazel poles for the allotment. There were some smaller branches too, some destined to be pea sticks, other to make a rustic trellis.

Hope no-one has been hit by the floods. Some of the roads in Enfield have been hit by flash floods this past week, but so far we've bee unaffected. My little rainfall gauge in the garden has recorded well over 2 inches of rain in the past week. I'm starting to worry that the weather will turn the soil at the allotment against us and we'll struggle to complete the raised beds in time for next spring.

Providing you're not under water, The Wartime Weekend Gardener this week instructs you to:

Thin tomato trusses to give the fruits the best chance of ripening. I seriously doubt any of mine will ripen now. I forsee a green tomato chutney making session of the horizon.

Oh well, I bought some tulip bulbs and the first batch of over wintering onion sets today. I can get started on planting for next year's harvest.


Greentwinsmummy said...

I saw lots of rose hips today BS & was thinking now there must be somehting you can do with those lovely things :o)

Eco-Gites of Lenault said...

I fancy making rose hip syrup this year (as I have lots if other jams/jellies) - have you ever tried that? I also hope your tomatoes ripen - even my polytunnel ones are succumbing to blight so I'll be picking those tomorrow and making lots of green tomato chutney!

Rosie x