Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2015

Spring is only now really setting in so there are still not terribly many outside flowers, although more are popping up everyday. Inside, however, quite a few things are blooming:

Creeping bellflower (Campanula sp.)

A wild form of Canna indica

Abutilon megapotamicum 'Variegatum'

The azalea (Rhododendron simsii cv.) that the best of significant others got me is still going strong

Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses'

Outside in the garden, apart from the Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête' that I blogged about a few days ago, these things have sprung up:

Crocus cv. 

Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)

Finally, on the balcony I have two plants that just arrived from Select Seeds opening their first buds:

Parma violet (Viola odorata 'Marie Louise')

Double nasturtium (Tropaeolum 'Darjeeling Gold')

Yesterday I took a break from school work and spent all afternoon pricking out seedlings and repotting things. I am running out of windowsill space:

Just some of the seedlings I have been raising

Now to get ready for a very long day on campus...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Coming Up Roses

Or pelargoniums, rather, but this is actually the historic variety 'Attar of Roses' which, as the name implies, smells strongly of rose water.

Pelargonium 'Attar of Roses'

I have had this plant for about a year and it has been vigorous and largely carefree, apart from being very thirsty. However, unlike for regular pelargoniums or "geraniums", flowering seems to be an intensely seasonal affair for this cultivar. It was in full bloom when I bought it around this time last year but finished flowering by mid-June and did not produce a single new flower bud until a few weeks ago, when it began to sprout lots. Scented pelargoniums like 'Attar of Roses' are quite important in the perfume and cosmetics industry, and apparently in Tunisia they are also used to make a fragrant water used in cooking, similar to rose water and orange blossom water. Yotam Ottolenghi, the London-based Israeli chef whose gorgeously illustrated cook books seem to have been appearing in every fashionable shop for the past couple of years - and the recipes, while sometimes quite intricate, really are very cool - is evidently a fan; in Plenty More he has a recipe for "Grilled Stone Fruits with Lemon Geranium Water" and writes, "so before I am accused of introducing yet another impossible-to-find ingredient, I would like to say that lemon geranium water is a wonderfully exotic scented liquid that is extremely difficult to find anywhere but in Tunisia, where I first came across it" (Ottolenghi 302). So of course now I want to try it.

Sources:

Ottolenghi, Yotam. Plenty More. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2014.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Finally!

Very very slowly spring is finally actually happening. Today, the very first flowers opened in the garden outside, a handful of little Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête'.

 Miniature daffodil (Narcissus 'Tête-à-tête')

I have also planted the first seeds outside, namely poppies and sweet peas and a few other things that are to be sown "as soon as the soil can be worked". Inside, meanwhile, all available window space is quickly filling up with pricked-out seedlings of all sorts. Somehow they, too, seem to be growing more slowly this year, but hopefully they will pick up the pace as the weather gets warmer and sunnier.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

Easter lily (Lilium longiflorum)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Happy Passover!

Here is an interesting piece from The New York Times about how these ludicrous winters we have been having affect the holiday table:

Happy Passover, or Not: Gefilte Fish is Back

Pesach Sameach!