Saturday, April 21, 2007

April in the Kitchen Garden

April in the kitchen garden is a wonderful experience of discovery from day to day. Almost every day there's some new development. The strawberries are already setting fruit as you can see on the picture above.

The Thalia daffodils, a firm favorite with many garden bloggers, are growing in a terracotta pot and enhance the kitchen garden with their beauty. I love it when they move about in the breeze, they look like a cloud of elegant white butterflies then.

Beauty can be found in even the most prosaic of things. Here's the humble chard with blue forget-me-not, isn't it just absolutely marvellous, those reds stems combined with blue flowers? And the chard tastes good too!

Of course my garden would not be complete without a cat or two. Here's Dolly Daisy checking out the cold frames. It's amusing to see what my cats find interesting in the garden.

In the cold frames the salad rocket, radishes and lettuces are growing quite quickly and this week I harvested my first salad from the kitchen garden together with the first rhubarb.

I'm very partial to a salad of baby leaves, they are just scrumptious. This salad contains leaves from the salad rocket, the red chard, lollo rosso, oak leaf lettuce, ordinary lettuce and a few sprigs of chives. The salad was delicious of course and so was the rhubarb. Because the rhubarb had been forced, the stems were very tender and tasty. The rhubarb was cooked for 10 to 15 minutes in some orange juice with a stick of cinnamon to add some more flavour. Then I let it cool down and added some sugar. It's very simple to make and it's one of my favorite desserts.

My potatoes are doing fine. I've planted some lettuce in the bed too, because it will take a while for the potatoes to grow into big plants. I was pleasantly surprised when the potatoes pushed their leaves through the earth last week.
I never expected potato leaves to be pretty, but they are, very pretty, don't you think? Above you see the leaves of the Red Duke of York potato.

The raspberries are in flower now. This is the first year that I'm growing them, and it's interesting to see all the various stages the plant goes through, before the fruits are finally ready for harvesting.
The gooseberries are already forming their first fruits. They are still tiny of course, but they are getting there. The mild weather we're having, is really doing wonderful things for my kitchen garden.
In the foreground is the 3 sisters bed that I've planted this week with corn and squash. Next week I'll plant the beans and some sunflowers as well and then they can all grow away to their hearts content.

The kitchen garden is south facing and surrounded on 3 sides by beech hedges (fagus sylvatica) and on 1 side by Cupressocyparis x leylandii. This makes it very secluded and protected from the cold wind, so most plants do well here.

Behind the Victorian greenhouse the Amelanchier lamarckii aka Juneberry or Saskatoon is showing off. Lovely, isn't it, this great white cloud of very dainty flowers?
And it's not the only one in my kitchen garden with beautiful white flowers. My elderberry started flowering at the end of last week, a whole month earlier than expected. It's flowers are so delicate and remind me of very fine lace. Apart from enjoying their beauty, there is so much more that you can do with these flowers. More about that next week.

My Angelique tulips have almost finished flowering now, next week they'll be gone and I'll put something else in this pot to brighten the place up a bit.

I'll leave you with an update about the climbing roses in my front garden. This year the race was won by Moonlight that managed to flower first on 16 April, but a good second is my old and trusted friend Madame Alfred Carriere, as she offered me her first flower on 19 April. Isn't she absolutely gorgeous and her scent is, well, bliss!

We seem to make a more heartfelt response to the coming of spring than to any other season. The first green film on the hawthorns, or a swallow on Easter Day, can lift the spirits far more than is explicable by a simple relief that winter is past. Perhaps our biological roots are deeper than we think, and we recognise these natural tokens as part of an annual renewal in which we share.
Richard Mabey, Country Matters, 2000


Susan said...

Your kitchen garden is lovely. I'm looking forward to more reports on those raspberries. Being able to pick raspberries in my own garden would be heaven.

Susan from South of the River

Robin said...

Yolanda, I try really hard not to envy when I see your garden. It is the most fabulous vegetable garden I've ever seen. I love seeing it!

Sanni said...

I´m happy I found your garden. It`s very beautiful. I came here from Anitas from Germany and hers is amazing too. Now when I know my way here I`m sure I´ll be back.

Petunia's Gardener said...

Yolanda, What a joy to visit your garden on this gray morning, here. We had a frost just two nights ago but don't know if it will be our last. I have chard seedlings for the first time so I'm glad to see them growing in your garden. As tiny seedlings, they are already colorful. I hope we'll have our first lettuce & herb salad this weekend or next week! Enjoyed the visit.

Kate said...

Your salad greens look so delicious - I can almost taste them. I loved to hear how you make rhubarb. I want to try using orange juice instead of water. I can't believe how far advanced your garden is ... the Saskatoon bushes here are not even in bud and your gooseberries are already forming. That is incredible.

The Thalia daffodils are special - they look attractive in the pot.Your description of them as white butterflies was so pretty.

What a treat it was to come to your blog after walking with my dog in the park. The grass is just starting to turn green ... still very early spring here! But warmer and sunny ... life is good!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and thanks for your comments.

Susan: there will be more on the raspberries as the season progresses.

Robin: thank you for the compliment!

Sanni: welcome to Bliss and I'm glad you liked it.

Petunia's Garden: the chard on the pic was left over from last year. We had such a mild winter so it survived.What colour of chard have you sown? Enjoy your first salad!

Kate: cooking rhubarb with some freshly squeezed orange juice and a stick of cinnamon is a great way to prepare rhubarb, all the flavours compliment each other.

How nice to read that spring has definately sprung for you! The grass here is green all year round because of all the rain we usually have also all year round.:-)

Libbys Blog said...

As always it is a pleasure to come into your garden! I have started making a list of 'things yolanda does' that I can take away with me and use in mine! In your potato bed you have a small obelisk with a pot of pansies hanging in it but what is planted at the bottom? I to enjoy baby leaf salad and can't wait to get stuck in!!!!!

Green thumb said...

Wow! I wish I could have a bite out of your Kitchen garden.
Strawberries with cream are my weakness, please do post a picture when they show up a bit more.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Libby: a list of 'things Yolanda does'? LOL I hope I'll do the right thing then in my garden all the time. ;-)

At the bottom of the obelisk are some red cabbages. I didn't know where else to put them, so that's where they ended up. You always seem to run out of space don't you, no matter how big your garden is.

Green Thumb: of course I will put some pictures up of some nice, ripe and juicy strawberries when the time comes. I only hope that you won't have to rush out to the shop again to buy some of your own. ;-)

shirl said...

Good morning Yolanda,

Gosh you are a busy bee - where do you get the time? Your kitchen garden is looking great - enough to inspire anyone to give it a try. I look forward to hearing how your crops progress.

Your Red Duke of York pots do look pretty. They have also given me a timely reminder that I have them myself not planted - oops! I bought a couple of bags of organic compost especially for pots to grown in - my daughter liked the idea. Another job for today!

karin a said...

Ohh your Kitchen garden is just lovely! Some things actually reminds me of mine, e.g. the ground and use of the stones. Amelanchier lamarckii is one of my favourites, its really nice both in the spring and later on.

I'm surprised that you already have flowering roses. In Sweden they start flowering in the beginning of June - if we are lucky. And the Madame Alfred Carriere is gorgeous. I've bought one myself this year and now she's waiting in the potatoe land until we finish the new trellis!

marl1 said...

Zo, je moestuin ligt flink op stoom!
Dat worden manden vol kruisbessen :-)
En dat blad van de aardappel- prachtig; zou zo in de siertuin passen....!

Hillside Garden said...

Hallo Jolanda, dein Mangold (Chard) ist aber sicher noch vom letzten Jahr? Leider hat sich meiner nicht ausgesamt, ich habe neuen Samen gekauft.
Gestern habe ich fünf rote Kartoffeln gelegt, für mehr hatte ich leider keinen Platz. Frühling ist die zauberhafteste Gartenzeit, die ich kenne!


Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all,

Shirl: I hope you were able to plant the Red Dukes today.

Karin A: normally the roses flower at the end of May and in June. Only this year they are flowering in April.
I hope your madame Alfred Carriere will do well for you and give you lots of lovely flowers.

Marleen: manden bessen, dat kan ik aan. ;-)Het fraaie blad van de aardappel was een zeer aangename verrassing. Dat is ook het mooie van tuinieren; altijd weer verrassingen!

Sigrun: yes, the Mangold is from last year. I hope your seeds will come up and you will have lots of lovely Mangold! Du hast recht, Frühling ist zauberhaft!

Julia said...

Hi Yolanda! Thanks for stopping by my blog when it was cold and snowing in Canada. Your garden is gorgeous. I love it when you post pictures of cats in the garden! Cats and Gardens just belong together, don't they? I am jealous of your European gardens. We may move to Britain in a few years and hopefully have a beautiful garden there.

LostRoses said...

Yolanda, your garden is eye candy for me. I love the green arch trellises, and obelisks always add interest but your garden very special!

SchneiderHein said...

Hallo Yolanda mit 3 verschiedenen E-Mail Adressen haben wir Dich nun bei Mouse Trowel gewählt. Dein Blog ist wirklich in der Kategorie der Schönste!
Auch weil immer mal wieder die eine oder andere Katze dort zufällig auftaucht. Irgendwo hatte ich hier gelesen Du lebst mit 9 Stuben- & Draußentigern zusammen? Gibst Du uns irgendwann mal einen Überblick - und auch wieviel richtig Graue dabei sind?
Liebe Grüße
Silke & Wolfgang

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss,

Julia: I hope the weather is much better now in Canada. I couldn't imagine my garden without at least a cat or two in it. They are the jewel in the crown for me.

Lostroses: the green arches are both pretty and practical. I'm hoping to grow raspberries, apples, mini pumpkins, sweetpeas, japanese berries and clematis up them.

Silke und Wolfgang: you are very kind to take all that trouble to vote for me. I appreciate it. Did you like the other finalist blogs too?
Yes, we live with 9 cats at Bliss and I hope to introduce them all at some point.

Lis said...

Bei euch ist aber alles schon sehr weit, aber mit einem Gewächshaus kann mal halt schon viel früher ernten. Ich habe immer noch nichts ausgesät, der Boden ist so hart und trocken und ich warte dringend auf Regen.
Deine Tulpen und Narzissen im Topf gefallen mir sehr gut. Ich glaube ich muss das auch mal machen, dann kann man die Töpfe da hinstellen wo gerade nichts blüht.
LG Lis

A wildlife gardener said...

All that wonderful description and the beautiful photos of your salad crops has left me slobbering like a hungry dog now! And I can almost smell your fragrant Madame Carriere...a sensory experience today, Yolande.

Bert said...

Springtime is there!! Yeah!!
Your wonderfoul pictures shows what spring is about. New growth and a green, greener, greenist world!!

ginger said...

What a beautiful garden! Thanks for inviting us all in--I think that sharing one's garden with others is a true gift. I'll bet you rarely sit in that chair overlooking the two garden beds though! Lovely!

Der Garten said...

Hallo Yolanda,
ich hatte sie mir heute Morgen kurz angesehen. Ein paar davon haben wir ja eh' auf unserer Link-Liste, da sie uns gefallen. Aber bei einigen bin ich auch echt erstaunt, dass es solche Blogs ins Finale schaffen. Aber ich glaube auch, dass sich amerikanische und europäische Blogs voneinander unterscheiden und wohl auch unterschiedliche Ansprüche befriedigen. Es sind jedenfalls nur recht wenige Blogs und Internetseiten, die meiner Meinung nach, in dieser Auswahl eine Konkurrenz für Dich sein würden, wenn es keine Kategorien gäbe!

OldRoses said...

I love how fragrant Thalia daffodils are, don't you? Your garden is so beautiful. I would never have imagined that a veggie garden could be so attractive!

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and welcome to Bliss.

Lis: we need rain too, the earth is very dry. I always put some bulbs in pots so that I can put it somewhere where nothing is flowering at that moment, a sort of instant gardening.

WG: slobbering no less? ;-)

Bert: all though it looks still very green at the moment, we could do with rain, lots of it.

Ginger: I do take a moment or two to sit down, have a cup of tea or a glass of home made champagne and enjoy my garden. And then I'm off again!

Silke: some blogs appeal more to us than others, of course. We all have our own personal tastes and preferences. I'm glad you like my blog!!!!

Old Roses: the scent of Thalia dafs is wonderful. Veggies, fruits and flowers go very well together and make a garden that is delightful to all our senses.

Thalia said...

Dear Yolanda, that was a lovely treat! I loved all the flowers, especially the Angelique tulips, they look so dainty and pretty! What a blissful haven your garden is!