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Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte’

Somehow it’s already the 1st of July and in Tasmania that means DEEP WINTER. The garden is mostly dozing, although some wonderful self-sown things are coming up in masses. Namely, some obscure greens I picked up from the herb lady at Salamanca market last spring. One is called Miner’s Lettuce, which our always helpful friend Wikipedia tells me  is Claytonia perfoliata, also known as winter purslane. It has most delightful round leaves and tastes green and earthy. I let it go to seed, as I do so often, and as autumn fell into winter, a million green dots came through. I left them of course, just in case they were friends and edible friends at that. Sure enough, I can now go with my scissors and snip masses of the wee cotyledon sprouts, like mowing a lawn with snippers. Elsewhere they are growing with more room, and so becoming shapely and wide armed, though tiny arms of course.

Meanwhile across the way in another bed the healthiest crop of corn salad is glowing from the soil, such deep green glossy and perfectly formed beautiful leaves, and next to it, land cress is taking over, no need for flowing streams of water cress, though of course, that would be divine. The rocket is also bursting out of the ground wherever it can, keeping me supplied with peppery sprigs. There are still dandelions to keep me extra healthy, and lo, the nasturtium rounds of course! All these kindly leaves are there for the picking, with no effort from me, just as the parsely, chives and other standbys are really finished. Sometimes it’s worth doing nothing much. Let the seeds fall, and let the seeds grow. Nature understands itself much better than we do.

The garlic is also spearing through the surface, as are old faithful broadbeans. I am having fun with new beds as I have a fab new fence which I neglected to tell you about. It’s amazing construction was one of the things that kept me preoccupied outside and away from this blog. My fab new fence means that I am inspired to keep its lovely boundary lines clear and the best way to do it is with gardens, so in they go. More landscaping is underway, with rocks and sleepers and helpers.

A  little Eucalpytus leuhmanii is planted just above Charlotte. Charlotte’s nest is now underground, she died in April. The tree is a special one, it was a birthday gift, and now it is a memory tree. She grows well, and Charlotte rests well. I posted photos of her on Facebook, so that’s where you’ll see her.

Another tree planted this winter is a fig – took the cutting from the other fig, which has had misfortunes but was also a gift a few years ago. And a new border is at the front of the property, edged with marvellous rustic bits of the old fence. Look out for bits of the old fence everywhere, including in the fire that burns us warm inside these winter days and nights. Will do photos that show these things shortly. The new border was a great effort of mine, a great frenzied effort of dividing and digging and watering the holes and planting the divisions, all the way along the street edge. The name of the plant escapes me, it’s one that always does. Gets a starry blue flower followed by blue berries arranged along an arching and slender stem, it’s a native plant with clumping abundant leaves and it’s name is… tell you next time.

Now it’s me that dozes, have had a long and productive day working up an idea that maybe one day I’ll be able to report to you happily about! It’s a garden thing, and a writing thing, so it’s allowed on this blog.

Subha ratri – that’s Nepali for good night xxx.

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Today's harvest

Down the back I go, bowl in hand, gloved and shod. Down the very back, where the wild things are…

Once upon a time I went into K & D, (anyone in Hobart knows what that means – impulse buying at the hardware store). I went to the plant section, which has a way of drawing me down its aisle on carefree days, although I should know better. On this occasion quite a few years ago, I emerged from the checkout with a collection of fifty cent pot plants – you can understand the temptation. They were a mixture of bramble berries, looking tired of being in a big shop – boysenberries, thornless blackberries, other similar things whose names have faded away. They looked half dead but I knew it was just that they were going dormant, and my investment has certainly paid itself off many times in bowlfuls of luscious fruit.

I recruited help to put in a reasonably respectable trellis – posts and wires in two nice straight lines. The ground was dug, the plants went in and winter came. I resolved to prune and tend them as they deserved, to keep them under control and fed and watered and mulched and in order. And at times I have, at times I have. And at times I haven’t. They grow very well in this climate, bramble berries. They started to take over neighbouring garden beds and the nice straight trellis disappeared under layers of leaves, long-armed vines, many prickles and in summer, hidden bunches of fruit, deepening in colour as the long days go on and on. The nice straight trellis sagged and seemed to give up. Overcome by the power and enthusiasm of the unstoppable growth, it seems to have merged and become one with the plant, renouncing individual identity, living an undercover existence. But I know its structure still matters.

I have long since forgotten which are which as the plants blended like clouds. I am freshly back from today’s picking adventure. It’s a matter of diving the hands in, placing the bowl under the bunch, and lightly caressing the black fruit so that it falls in without splattering. The blood-coloured juice disguises the scratches on my arms. I wish I hadn’t worn a white hat when I shove my head into the depths having sighted some particularly plump ones just a little further in…

The air is warm, the bowl is full, my mouth is red, contentment spreads like the bramble berry vines, sprawling uninvited into any and every corner, crevice, nook or secret inaccessible place within and without. I find an old bird’s nest with a remnant blue egg and leave it there. I thank myself for my winter labours when I did in fact clear, cut and cajole the canes into some sort of helen-style order. I thank the good rains of last year for filling the soil with real water which is now harvested in sweet soft capsules of fruit. I take the bowl and head up the hill. My walk to the house is interrupted by a young nectarine tree proud of its first crop, and by various wildnesses I strive to do something about on my way past, and by hoses that need repositioning. Eventually I make it the computer. I have been blogging in my head the whole time I was picking.

Going into the garden is always fruitful.

Charlotte's nest

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