Posts Tagged ‘garden’

Floral Friday

Geraniums must be one of the easiest flowers to grow.  Once they’re established they require no attention except perhaps an occasional deadheading.  This one is grows outside the fence, suffers traffic and demolition dust, and flowers all year round.  The only water it gets comes from random rainfall, and a rare dose of worm pee.  It has special significance because it was originally a cutting from my friend Carol’s garden.

There is a legend that the prophet Mohammed came down from the mountain and hung his sweaty shirt on a geranium growing next to his tent.   The geranium held the shirt up to the sun until it was completely dry.   At that time geraniums were considered weeds, but Mohammed was so pleased with the service the geranium had provided he covered it with velvety red blossoms that filled the air with fragrance.

“This plant needs only easy care
there are few others that compare.”


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Floral Friday

The first hollyhocks are flowering in our garden.  Each year I scatter the seeds of the old plants, and each year new ones appear.  Luckily the small plants are easily identifiable so they don’t get mistaken for weeds.  So far this year they are mainly pink, but there is one red one.  You might enjoy this story of hollyhocks in the days of U.S. slavery.

“I like the stately hollyhock
just perfect for a Cottage block.”

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Floral Friday

This group of smiling pansies greets me as I come in the back gate.  This year they are more prolific than ever.

The pansy is the symbol of free thought, because of both its name and appearance.  The name comes from the French word pensée, which means “thought”.  The flower resembles a human face, and it nods forward as if deep in thought.  The French believed that pansies could make your lover think of you.

In ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, the juice of a pansy flower (“before, milk-white, now purple with love’s wound, and maidens call it, Love-in-idleness”) is a love potion: “the juice of it, on sleeping eyelids laid will make or man or woman madly dote upon the next live creature that it sees.” (Act II, Scene I).

“Each pansy has a smiling face
they make our world a happy place.’



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Rioting Rose

Lavender Dream makes a beautiful show in our back garden.

We planted this Cottage Rose in 1995.  It was one of several we bought from Egmont Roses, who I understand have now closed down.  Lavender Dream flowers for months, it’s only assistance a good annual prune.

“This rose is simply just a dream
and one I hold in high esteem.”

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Cherished Cherries

This morning we covered five of the lower branches of the cherry tree with stockinette.  This is to protect them from depredation by birds who would otherwise eat every one before they were fully ripe.

We haven’t usually covered them so early, but one or two were starting to show a slight tinge of colour.  Maybe the harvest will be earlier this year?

Stockinette is the ideal cover as it comes in a round, and allows sun and rain.  We bought some from Save Mart, where it’s $3 for a two metre length.  This is cheaper than Mitre 10 where you pay $10 for five metres.

“Our cherries have their stockings on.
If not concealed they’d soon be gone.”

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Powerful Poppies

The first of the summer’s red poppies has appeared.  These are the ‘soldier’ poppies with the black cross in the centre.

They are a symbolic representation of gratitude to those involved in war.  Homer first linked the poppy with a fallen soldier, around 800BC when he wrote: “And as a poppy, which in the garden is weighed down with fruit and vernal showers, droops its head to one side, so did his head incline aside, depressed by the helmet.”

According to legend, the poppy was created by Somnus, the god of sleep, to help Demeter, the corn goddess, who was so exhausted by the search for her lost daughter Persephone, that she withdrew her energy from the fields.  The poppies soothed her to sleep, and when she was rested the corn grew again, giving rise to the belief that poppies were essential for corn to grow.

This red poppy has no opium, but it does have the alkaloid thebaine which can be converted into codeine.  Thebaine has sometimes been given to infants born of heroin addicts, to help soften the shock of withdrawal that such infants must go through.

“The poppy helped Demeter rest
when she was tired and over-stressed.”

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Champion Chives

Chives are one of my favourite forms of onion.  The garden clumps are flourishing just now, with plenty available for a breakfast omelette.

Omelette with lots of chives

Chives are a nutrient-dense food, low in calories but high in vitamin C and iron.  They are reputed to have number of health benefits, including prevention of cancer and mood enhancement, and must be eaten fresh to receive the maximum benefit.

Chives were originally brought to the West from China by Marco Polo.   They became popular in Europe not only for their subtle onion flavor, but because of the widespread belief that their leaves chase away evil spirits and disease.

“I relish chives at any meal
for me they have immense appeal.”

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