…nice long warm days, blue skies and fresh air feasts.
June, a month of strawberries and roses abloom! It’s also the month for wearing hats and cool linen in the garden…and a month for enjoying meals outside.
Early summer harvest…what’s in season? Ripe, juicy, sweet, mouth-watering, luscious, deep scarlet strawberries…inextricably linked with the arrival of summer. The best way to enjoy them…just picked with a bit of real cream and perhaps a freshly baked scone.
Fresh air feast…also coming into season! Some early grape or cherry tomatoes are just in and ready to pick for a tomato tart…This is such an easy, simple way to show off those tiny gems of flavor. Use puff pastry to cut rounds for crust…spread some herb goat cheese on the bottom of the crust, place tiny sliced tomatoes as shown in the photo. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle S&P, and top with shredded Parmesan. Bake 375 for 20 minutes or until golden brown and risen. Truly divine enjoyed with a glass of wine while sitting on the patio watching the antics in the garden.
A Haven of Herbs…there are some shade loving herbs that will flourish in the garden. Fragrance and flavor, provide a harmonious mix in the potager…….Mint, parsley, chervil, chives, lemon balm, sorrel and more do well in a morning sun spot followed by great afternoon shade, in fertile, well-drained moist soil. Of course mint and lemon balm can be thugs that will survive and spread no matter what the conditions. Contain both by planting in large pots sunk into the soil. Lift the plants in the fall, divide the rootball and replant a small clump in fresh compost, back in the pot. Chives, parsley and chervil are pretty well-mannered in the garden and will grow and thrive well almost anywhere…although chervil does prefer cool weather.
Joyful benefits of mint…garden mint or spearmint in an infusion or tea was recommended by 17th century herbalist, Culpeper, to calm the stomach and help prevent indigestion. Often, after dinner, I make mint tea from a large handful of mint, steeped in hot water for a bit…You can drink the tea hot or pour over ice for a cooling and refreshing summer drink. Extra flavor can be added with lemon verbena leaves.
Hollyhocks...sometimes called fairy hats…are one of the most popular cottage garden plants. They bring statuesque splendor to any planting bed or border and look especially striking against a wall or fence. Their majestic funnel-shaped flowers are abundant in early summer making them attractive to bees and butterflies. Hollyhocks are biennials and re-seed easily. They grow best in fertile, well-drained soil in a sunny location in most areas of the country. NOTE: I always collect the little seed pods that form from the blooms to help perpetuate the stand of hollyhocks in the flower border.
A time and place to dream and reflect…A pretty patch of woodland garden, a tranquil, lush spot through which to wander…Each evening after dinner, glass of wine in hand, I make a circuit of my garden. It’s the perfect way to wind down after a busy day. I delight in watching how everything is growing and changing…like weaving the tapestry together. And, just before dusk is the perfect time for watching wildlife visitors. To me, these relaxed balmy evenings and often an alfresco meal in the garden are what summer is all about…
OBELISKS, the exclamation point in the garden…Planting on structure offers another dimension in a garden…it adds obvious height and lifts the eye from the ground thus creating a garden that invites and surrounds. Supporting acts such as an obelisk, a rose arch, a trellis, a trio of bamboo poles and woven pole fencing…all give a little vertical assistance to a variety of plants. Pears grown this way thrive and produce abundant clusters of fruit.
Have you heard about watercress, the original “superfood” ?? A great addition to a salad, sandwich or made into a lovely soup. You can easily grow this green magic in your garden or in a container along with other greens that support brain health and much needed iron to our diet.
So much more soon… but for now, while I’m working all day in the garden, Holly keeps watch over her growing flock.
With love and growing good wishes…Patricia & Holly