Rhubarb, ramsons and sexy soil!
Debbie Bourne driver sammen med fem andre firmaet ”Ofbutterfliesandbees”, der designer og anlægger haver i London med fokus på biodiversitet og haveglæde. Debbie og hendes team er alle RHS uddannede gartnere, der brænder for at gøre Londons mange udeområder mere grønne og vilde.
Klummen skrives på engelsk, og da England er ca. en måned foran Danmark klimamæssigt, bringer vi med vilje klummen med forsinkelse. God fornøjelse med læsningen.
High Heeled Horticultural news from London
Hello dear reader! It’s the High-Heeled Gardener talking to you from London.
For this month’s column I would like to start by asking you to repeat after me: “Soil is sexy”. Go on, shout it out loud: Soil is sexy!!
With the start of the busy gardening season almost here, it is important to not only get ourselves healthy and prepared for a fabulous and fun garden season, but that we get our soil into shape. For as our garden’s eco-system thrives, our own personal ecosystem ﬂourishes as well - we are all inter-connected.
So this month go out into the garden and create sexy soil. Add masses of organic matter and peat free compost to your beds and borders, and top dress your plants.
Tiny sunglasses and transparent boots
Talking about dressing, The High-Heeled Gardener believes it is never too early to buy this season’s sunglasses - yes, maybe the sun seems like it will never appear - but it will!
Here in London, this season’s must have garden fashion accessory are tiny sunglasses: skinny shades as seen on all the fashion catwalks are here to stay. Sorry dear reader, but this season you will have to ditch those oversized specs in favour of micro frames.
In terms of this season’s “must have bag,” whilst us High-Heeled Gardeners do admit to still using the occasional “Grow bag” in which to grow vegetables and plants where space is limited, it is another type of bag which is creating a stir here in London.
All the talk is of how transparent handbags are so the vogue. And not only transparent bags, but transparent boots. The fashion label Chanel are making the clear boot a true fashion essential. Wrapping your legs in plastic could also serve as a portable greenhouse. Just don't do anything overly strenuous in them; a steamed-up summer boot just isn’t a good look!
Build a pond
But enough silly fashion talk, dear reader, back to the topic of getting your garden and yourself into shape. A little known English playwright called William Shakespeare once said: “All the world’s a stage and all men and women merely players.”
The passionate wildlife gardeners amongst us will know that a garden without a wildlife pond, is like a theatre without a stage.
The High-Heeled Gardener urges you to get out in your garden and build a pond. No matter how big or small, whether in a tub, a sink, or a fabulous large pond or rill, do incorporate a pond into your garden this season.
All that digging will not only help get you in shape, but will also be really good for the environment. A pond is so simple to create, just don’t forget to add those all important oxygenating and marginal plants.
Talking about pond life, do get the answers ready to those “diﬃcult” conversations you are likely to have with young kids in the spring when frogs start mating in your pond! “What is that frog doing on the other frog’s back, Mummy/Daddy?!!”
Create a border of wildflowers
We all know that a healthy environment is one ﬁlled with an edible landscape and wildﬂowers. Here in the UK, we have lost 95% of our our native wildﬂower meadows since the Second World War.
From creating a small border of wildﬂowers, to planting full wildﬂower meadows, wildﬂower gardening is very on trend this year in the UK. It’s not only for the beauty and colour that native ﬂowers give the UK landscape, but wildﬂowers also provide shelter and food for important pollinators, including bees.
There are over 250 species of bee in the UK and they play a vital part in supporting the ecosystem. When wild ﬂower meadows vanish so do other insects, and animals that eat insects, such as birds, hedgehogs and bats.
The High-Heeled Gardener also loves the silly names of some wildﬂowers: Lady’s bedstraw, melancholy thistle, tufted vetch, nipplewort!
So us High-Heeled Gardeners are busily sowing wildﬂower seeds this month. The perfect mix is a blend of annual and perennial seeds. If you sow the seeds in April, you will get annual wildﬂowers ie poppy, cornﬂower, corncockle this year, whilst the perennial seeds will ﬂower next year.
Rhubard, ramsons and micro leaves
Word has it that ”Well being” is very much going to be a feature in the gardens at the British ﬂower shows this year in May, but what about feeling a sense of well-being this month?
The High-Heeled Gardener’s favourite produce from the garden this month is rhubarb, ramsons, and micro leaves.
Here in top London restaurants, micro leaves are very on trend - and sooo easy to grow! Simply sow a packet of fenugreek, or beet, or chard micro leaves, and they will grow in no time at all. Scatter on top of all meals, to create a stylish and colourful look.
Ramsons are starting to grow now. Chop the leaves into pasta dishes, or blend to create a pesto, or elegant canapé dip.
As for rhubarb, well the High-Heeled Gardener uses it in only one way - and that is not in a crumble for desert! After a long day of working in the garden, a cocktail is the only solution, and in particular a Rhubarb fennel ﬁzz. See recipe below.
This pleasantly pink brew is the perfect accessory for spring. The heady scent of mint coupled with the rhubarb ﬂavour isn’t overly intense but rather lends a ﬂoral sweetness that is too light for summer but perfect for the gentle warmth of spring.
Rhurarb Fennel Fizz
Serves about 4
1 pound rhubarb, rinsed and chopped
12 ounces water
1/4 cup sugar
1 small fennel bulb, coarsely chopped
12 ounces gin
1 lemon, thinly sliced
For each drink:
2 ounces gin
3 ounces rhubarb
2 ounces sparkling water
1 lemon slice
(1 ounce er ca. 0,3 dl og 1 cup er ca. 3 dl)
First, prepare the gin. Add the fennel to a tall, narrow-mouthed glass jar, followed by about half of the gin. Using a muddler or heavy wooden spoon, vigorously muddle the fennel for a good couple of minutes. Add the remaining gin and stir. Let the infusion sit for at least an hour, although longer is better.
While the gin is infusing, prepare the rhubarb. Combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer, and cover, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
Remove from heat, and strain thoroughly, using a spoon to press the juices from the pulp. Next, strain the gin.
For each cocktail, mix three ounces rhubarb syrup with two ounces gin and two ice cubes in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into an old-fashioned glass or small mason jar, add two to three ounces of sparkling water, a few ice cubes, and garnish with lemon.
More from The High-Heeled Gardener next month, but until then, enjoy your garden and your cocktail, (not necessarily in that order!) and as we say in the UK: ”bottoms up.”
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