Wednesday, 20 July 2016

July is Green

July is green, officially. And every shade of it - all more than forty of them. The perfect lucent green pearls of peas, the pine forest green of phallic courgette, and all the others - emergent pear green, leek green, fig green, spinach green, cucumber green, tomato green and so and so forth. And then of course the leaf greens: mint, oregano, thyme, chive, blackcurrant...July is indeed awash with green! Add a splash of blackcurrant, an emergent golden sunflower, cornflower and starflower blues, purple beetroot tops and lavender meets oregano flowers. Poppy red and pale pink rose draws the eye in the midst of all these representatives of rainbow. 

Green collection - with splash of strawberry
And we are all the better for it. All that green has now been proven to be beneficial to the viewer. 'Restorative environments' - places with a green space basically - is the phrase that some give it. And aren't we lucky to have it? And not just to look at. Summer's bounty so far has been rewarding - although in truth, I really wouldn't like to be reliant on our garden for complete sustenance. Our limited space - or is it limited experience and know how? - means that we would be pretty hungry if we were hanging on for the modest spud harvest or the odd bit of fruit and veg that we can sustain on our maxed out back garden. The peas are delicious but take a lot of space for the return, the courgettes are ridiculously plenty for a time and the spuds disappear quickly. Tomatoes and cucumbers require sun and heat - and the small greenhouse only fits a few. And five pears? Better than none! Maybe some smart choices in relation to timing and/or a polytunnel and things would be better. 

Or maybe leave it to the experts? Ah, but where would the fun be in that? The picking of peas with the little princess, her wonder as the spuds are unearthed, the joy of a late strawberry after sun has completed its ripening and it is picked at the moment of perfection. And no air miles on those artichokes! Simple pleasures. Sure, we reap what we sow - and one could barely imagine such a rainbow of colour in the deepest dark days of winter. And while the pain in my back makes me wonder sometimes why we bother to do it at all, the bountiful shades of green that restore us each day coupled with the perennial hum of our busiest bees, probably equal in the pleasure. And sure, we're only halfway there - plenty of tastebuds to be tested yet. 

Life with two small humans is busy but I did manage to capture essence of rhubarb today in a form that will surely last beyond and long after Christmas 2016 (dare I mention it!). Rhubarb chutney - a simple but powerful blend of fresh rhubarb, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, oranges and mixed spice. And barely a dent in the wall/glut of summer rhubarb. Jam will make another small hole in the supply, but barely. Apparently it can make
a great wine but I'm not quite ready for that adventure yet. Plenty of time for that. 

Simple pleasures for sure, and plenty of green to frame it. 

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