Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Fruits of my Labour

It's June that marks the end of Spring and the beginning of Summer. June is a generous month as there's so much to harvest. A harvest for the eyes, nose, heart and soul, and last but not least the taste buds.

It all started in February when I began the chitting of the potatoes that were put in the ground a few weeks later.

Very soon the first leaves of the Red Duke of York, an early potato, appeared and they were surprisingly pretty.
The potato plants grew very quickly and I had to earth them up several times to make sure that all the new potatoes were completely covered by a good layer of soil. If not, they turn green and are then poisonous, not something you'd want.

Above you see the little hills of earth I made to cover the growing potatoes properly. I planted my potatoes in early March and only 3 months later came the fun bit: the first harvest!
And the potatoes weren't the only ones ready for harvest I'm glad to say. There was much more ready for the picking. Loads of veggies such as oak leaf lettuce, rocket salad, radishes, water cress, spinach and

sugar snaps, one of my favorite vegetables. They are so delicious!
Yummy, my first from plot to plate meal of new potatoes and sugar snaps. It was scrumptious! Of course, no meal is complete without a dessert so let's see what shall we have today? Will it be strawberries or perhaps gooseberries or how about some raspberries? They are all delicious aren't they, so it's difficult to choose.

There's no plethora of raspberries yet as this is the very first year that I grow them, but as far as the strawberries and gooseberries are concerned ........., well, see for yourself.

Are you salivating yet? The strawberries really are delicious, very sweet, with a lovely flavour and juicy, just as they should be. Shop bought strawberries can be so bland, mine have been allowed to grow in their own time just as nature intended which is great if you want a strawberry that actually tastes (and smells) like one. Mmmm!!! And the gooseberries are wonderful too, you can either eat them straight from the bush or use them in pies and stuff. Limburgse vlaai met kruisbessen, a Dutch delicacy with gooseberries is to die for.

In my Victorian greenhouse the tomatoes are growing merrily along accompanied by some basil. To my delight the basil does really great in my greenhouse and has put out so many leaves that I had more than enough for some home made pesto. Home made pesto tastes so great that you'll never be satisfied again with the shop bought stuff. And it's very easy to make too, so why not give it a try? Here's the recipe:
- 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 table spoons of pine nuts
grind them all together with a pestle and mortar. Then add :
- 2 cups of shredded basil leaves
Grind it to a paste with the garlic, sea salt and pine nuts, then mix in:
- 3 table spoons of grated Parmesan cheese
- 5 table spoons of virgin olive oil
Mix well.
And hey presto, your own pesto! Now what could be simpler than that?

The garden in June is generous with gifts for the gardener. One of my favorite flowers is the Sweet Pea, that I grow every year. I love these little flowers; they come in so many wonderful colours, they're very fragrant and the more you pick, the more flowers the plant will put out. Does it get any better than that? Not in my book, it doesn't!

My first bunch of Sweet Peas that very soon perfumed the room with its wonderful scent. I wish there was a perfume made of Sweet Peas because I'd buy a gallon or two of that! I would bathe in it, drink it, drown in it and ... oh hang on, I'm getting a bit carried away here, but you know what I mean, don't you?

Fortunately I do, however, have a perfume with another favorite scent of mine : Lily of the Valley. The perfume is called Diorissimo by Dior, not cheap but utter bliss!

And the Sweet Peas weren't the only flowers ready for cutting, here's a little bouquet I made from some of the flowers and leaves from my garden. Lovely, isn't it, and it smells divine because of the Magenta roses, the Calypso roses and the Peonies and Sweet Peas I put in.

Scratch and sniff, people, to your heart's content. :-)

But the sweetest harvest of all for me is this one: Macavity being very much at ease in the garden having his lunch. Not all that long ago he was afraid of his own shadow, now look at him. Doesn't this scream happy bunny to you? It does to me. :-)

The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest. William Blake


guild_rez said...

Hello Yolanda Elizabeth,
thank you for visiting my blog and leaving messages. Now the harvest starts and you can enjoy the hard work you have put in your garden.
The cats enjoy the garden as well, as I can see..
Your flowers are just wonderful, aren't we blessed that the internet permits us to share our gardens?
Have a wonderful weekend,
enjoy the strawberries, they look delicious,

guild_rez said...

one more comment..
Do you know that Kadootje has a "Doppelgänger" in Canada? Your cat looks like our Maximus.

Kris at Blithewold said...

I wish my computer had a scratch'n'sniff icon I could click and just sit back have all of those fragrances wash over me -- but it might be sensory overload! I'm envious of your gooseberry and love the Cotinus in the arrangement. How long do sweetpeas last for you? Ours get heatstroke and we pull them by the middle of July...

John Curtin said...

My spuds went in late April so it'll be a few weeks before my first harvest - I'm envious. Maybe next year I'll put in few tuber really early and cover them with fleece and see if I can get an earlier crop.

Ki said...

Great looking bouquets and the best part is they came from your own garden.

Amazing that the potatoes grew to eating size so quickly. I've never planted potatoes but had a friend who did and it seemed to take a long time before she harvested any.

Gooseberry pie would be great. And raspberries right off the vine, yum. I've been thinking of growing both but the thought of cutting back the canes every year is off putting. I also heard that gooseberries were susceptible to a lot of diseases (I don't know if it's true or not) so I've held off planting some.

Layanee said...

YE: You are such an inspiration! So much to harvest in so little time! I love that your placemats are the same theme as your flower arrangement and as for sweet peas, I have never smelled anything good but not the same! Enjoy and I'm with Kris on the scratch'n sniff. If anyone can arrange that, you can!

jodi said... Such a feast for the eyes, nose and palate--at least for you, YE; we, your faithful readers and fellow bloggers, will feast vicariously through you.
Now I must tell the tale of my blue potatoes. Last year a lady mailed me a box of Tancook Island blue potatoes to plant. They arrived while I was away in Ottawa for a week, and my longsuffering spouse, thinking they were books...left them in the trunk of the car. In May. During a warm spell. Ick. This year, the lady came to a show where I was speaking and presented me with a bag of seed potatoes. To ensure I'd get to harvest them, I gave them to my spouse's cousin, who grows 8 other cultivars of potatoes. He's planted mine with his, and I'll simply pay him the going rate for a bag when he harvests them, and of course give him seed to continue on with these each year. That's called practical veggie gardening. :-)

Lis said...

Ist es nicht herrlich wenn man nur in den Garten gehen muss und ernten kann? Leider ist unser Garten nicht so groß dass ich dort Kartoffeln pflanzen könnte und auf meine Blumenbeete möcht ich deswegen nicht verzichten.

Julia said...

Dear Yolanda, I think if you charged $1 / entry to view your blog, I would happily pay! Yours is my favorite blog of all time. There is just something *magical* about your garden and your cats.

The little cat checking out the veggies on the chair, is that Kadootje? She is so tiny! I love a tiny lady cat, don't you? So feminine, petite and elegant!

Your first "plot to plate" dinner looks wonderful and healthy, with berries for dessert, how perfect. So healthy. No pesticides, no petrol burned to bring it to you. Wonderful.

Can you believe we are just *now* able to plant annuals due to our June frost risk? My (English) Mother In Law said that she "would die" if she had to wait until June to get into the garden! Your climate looks enviable, perfect for gardening! Gorgeous!

Bert said...

Well, yolanda,
I see you enjoy the fruits of your work in the garden. I think it's time I pay a visit to you and join you with you meals.
It all looks very tasty and delicious. Hope to see you soon.


Ellen said...


as a dutch gal living in the garden-unfriendly Rocky Mountains, your recently discovered blog makes me yearn for the low countries again. Mind you, only yearn for the nice gardens (and maybe the cheese), no yearning for the crowds and wet, cold winters. I live at 7,000 feet (roughly 2300 meters) elevation, and foolish me planted a dutch garden the first year here. Needless to say, everything died rather quickly. After a couple of years of not growing anything except annuals in containers on my deck (and even that can be challenging), my husband finally built me some raised beds last summer. By then, it was too late to plant any vegetables. The last few weekends we have finished the raised beds and fenced them in to protect the veggies from being munched on by my goats, llamas and horses. I also have 4 cats and 3 big dogs who would love to dig in the soil, so they had to be kept out of there as well. Even so, the elements are not playing nice. We had 100 mph (160 km/h) wind gusts last night, and the last dusting of snow was 2 weeks ago. I haven't dared go out yet this morning to see the ravage the wind left, but I'm heading out in a few minuted. Wish me luck :-)
I love living out here, but there are times when I long for my elaborate garden in Broek in Waterland, where I could put a stick in the ground and it would flourish the next day.
I ran across your blog just this past week, but it is my favorite by far. I'll be sure to be living vicariously through your gorgeous pictures and well-told tales in the months to come.

Jen Fu said...

Yolanda, your home-grown meal looks delicious! I would love to grow potatoes but have such a small yard. I want to plant strawberries next year though. What variety are your delicious ones.

I'm so glad Macavity is at ease! I had a scruffy old alley cat for four years who lived in my backyard. He couldn't "move in" with the rest of my six cats because he'd been an unneutered male for so long before I got him and had him fixed, but he was very loving and sweet to people other than cats.

Robin said...

Hey no fair, you're teasing us and trying to make us green with envy. It worked. What lucious bounty from your garden and what a lovely bouquet!

RUTH said...

I know it's an old cliche but everything in the garden looks beautiful. The first year for 15 years I've not grown some potatoes (usually do some in a tub for the fun and the taste)...I can almost taste yours!

marl1 said...

Eehh, hier kan Monty en de rest nog wat van opsteken! En behalve het smakelijk ogende fruit, ruik ik bijna de lathyrus...(het eerste vergietje aardbeien van de buurman laat ik een poosje staan in de keuken vanwege de suikerspinnengeur)En de relaxte poes is natuurlijk de kers op de slagroom... Eet smakelijk!

Connie said...

Your potatoes are indeed beautiful, in the garden as well on on the plate with their lovely pea companions!
And your early bouquets are very sweet! Don't you just LOVE June when the planting work is done and we can switch to waiting, watching, weeding and watering...and of course harvesting!

Andrea's Garden said...

Hello Yolanda, I love the new pictures of your kitties. They are wonderful and I am glad Macavity has found a great home. I used to have red/white cat in the States where I lived for a long time. Macavity reminds me of him. Seeing your potatoes remind me of my youth. My grandparents had vineyards and lots of acreage for growing potatoes. At harvest time my grandfather would burn the shrubs, put the potatoes on a stick for us kids and we would hold them in the fire and eat them. Beautiful memories! I see you have "Kapuzinerkresse" in a pot. Mine was full with lice (Läuse) and I didn't get any this year because of it. How come your gooseberries are ready for harvesting and mine aren't? I have the red ones, too. Just a beautiful post! Thanks, Andrea

M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) said...

I love sweet peas. The old 'Cupani' type do best in our heat but I try different ones every year just because I'm enchanted by the variety. I'd rather have the scented ones than the frilly unscented ones, though.

Carol said...

Sweet peas, potatoes, gooseberries, raspberries, flowers of all kinds. I wish we could smell and taste what is in your garden!

And even though you can't see my fashionable garden hats on my blog, I hope to see a post of your hats soon to compare!

LostRoses said...

Yolanda, now that you have outdone yourself in the garden, I think Carol is right. We must see a post of your garden hats.


karin a said...

It is such a delightness to harvest from your own garden. The vegetables and berries you have grown taste so much better! Up norht we have to wait some weeks but since we grow potatoes in baskets we can already harvest potatoes.

I admire you photos, as always! And the bouquet is just lovely. To make bouquets are also one of the pleasures with gardening...

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Hi all and a warm welcome to Bliss!

Gisele: yes, it is wonderful that we can share our gardens via internet. And what fun that your Maximus and our Kadootje are Doppelgänger!

Kris: sensory overload sounds about right. ;-) The sweet peas usually last here til August/September.

John: sounds like a plan! An excellent plan! ;-)

Ki: I'm amazed as well at how soon I could harvest the first tatties. It's my first year of growing them.

Nowadays there are gooseberries that are resistant to many diseases. Check out the internet about which ones to buy, I did! ;-) My gooseberries and white currants are all standards and are easy to prune and harvest too. The raspberry I got from my father and I'm training it around an arch in my potager. It is so much fun to pick and eat our own fruit, go on and give it a try!

Layanee: you have an eye for detail I see. ;-) Like you I adore the scent of sweet peas and wish there was a perfume made of it.

Jodi: leasing your spuds are you? :-) Sounds like a good deal to me! Thanks for the tale of the blue tatties, funny!

Lis: yes it is wonderful to go into your garden and pick your own bouquet and a few lovely berries too. A feast for the eyes, nose and palate! :-)

Julia: your kind words are making me blush and smile at the same time! Yes, that is Kadootje and she is on the small side but oh so cute and one of the sweetest little cats I have ever met. Kadootje is adorable!

Healthy food = yummy!

I feel for you, June is late to finally be able to plant the annuals. But before you start thinking of this *perfect* climate over here, we do get a lot of rain and lots of dull grey days. :-)

Ellen: hallo, wat leuk om een Nederlandse te ontmoeten die in de Rocky Mountains woont. Don't you miss the *drop* too and not only the cheese? :-)

I hope the wind gusts didn't do too much damage to your garden! And what fun that you have so many animals, llamas no less! ;-)

Jen Fu: you can also grow potatoes in a big pot. That's what I'm doing at the moment with my French purple potatoes as I've run out of space too.
Macavity, like your boy, is an unneutered male and I think that he is about 10 years old. I hope to have him neutered this year. I don't think he has it in him to become an indoor kittycat but he's welcome to my garden and sunshed.

Robin: you can do this too! :-)

Ruth: this is my first year of growing tatties. The Red Dukes are ready for the eating but I have another crop of tatties growing merrily away in big pots. I'll post about that soon!

Marl1: echt waar? Ik leer juist zoveel van Monty! :-) De Lathyrus is geweldig, ik kan echt niet zonder. Zo heerlijk om een paar keer per week een bosje te plukken en in vaasjes te doen. Het hele huis ruikt dan zo heerlijk!

Connie: June is a wonderful month, I agree! And I really enjoy picking flowers for the vase, it is so relaxing.

Andrea: glad you like the new pics of my kitties. :-)
What wonderful memories you have of your grandfather and his potatoes.
We had very sunny and warm weather in April and that is probably why my gooseberries are ripe already. Normally I would expect to pick them at least 4 weeks later.

MSS: I agree when it comes to scent or frills, scent always wins!

Carol and LostRoses: you know that I'm always happy to oblige but I'm afraid I can't this time. I wear no hats in the garden. They would ruin my fashionable and expensive hairdo. :-p

Karin: it does taste that much better when you grow your own, doesn't it?
Picking your own flowers is indeed a pleasure!

Green thumb said...

Oh! That's so cruel of you dear yolanda. Such lovely veggies and absolutely heavenly looking strawberries! I wish communism wasn't dead and I could claim a portion out of the 'fruits of your labor'.

marga said...

Lekker eigen aardappels, peultjes en verschillende bessoorten om van te snoepen. Heerlijk als je daar maar voor naar je eigen tuin te gaan. Onze tuin is er niet groot genoeg voor anders had ik ook vanalles te eten en snoepen er in staan. En Lathyrus.........heerlijk die geur. Ik kan ze bijna ruiken.
Fijn weekend, groetjes Marga

Clare said...

Hi, this is my first visit to your blog and I have really enjoyed it. You have a wonderful, bountiful garden - and yes, I was salivating at the strawberries!

You have some lovely cats too! They are a favourite of mine and I wouldn't be without them!

We have a few raspberries coming and our tomatoes in the greenhouse are doing very well. I hope to capture some photos this weekend of the beautiful roses we have growing in our garden.

Thank you again for the lovely photos - and the pesto recipe!

Clare x

Salix Tree said...

A wonderful post!
I am growing gooseberries for the first time this year. I tried one the other day, but was still sour, and I have no idea what they look like when ripe. Well, I will know soon enough!
Love your sweet peas, that is one of my favorite scents of summer.

Tiny said...

Dat ziet er allemaal gezond en lekker uit zeg.
heerlijk als je dat in eiegen tuin hebt, onbespoten.
Geniet ervan, zo ook van het komende weekedn.
groeten Tiny.

LCShores said...

Oh, my mouth is watering at your potato and snap pea dinner and at your pesto as well!

SchneiderHein said...

Hallo Yolanda, na dann guten Appetit! Aber auch Deine Sträuße sehen köstlich aus und der Duft muß wirklich betörend sein.
Bei uns sind es im Moment so wenig blühende Pflanzen, die mir die Wege versperren, dass es bei uns noch keine Sträuße in Haus & Garten gibt. Lediglich ein paar versteckt stehende Rosenblüten wandern ab und zu ins Glas.
Happy birthday nachträglich für Pippa. Ich freue mich immer wieder über Deine neu eingestellten Bilder des Bliss-Teams und ihre Geschichten. Bei Dir auf dem Blog kann ich wirklich viel Zeit verbringen, die ich doch eigentlich für unseren Garten nutzen wollte...
Schönes Wochenende und Liebe Grüße

Tina T-P said...

Oh my, you have a veritable Garden of Eden! The basket of blooms is so pretty and who wouldn't be envious of that plate of peas & potatoes - My grandma used to make a white sauce for the first little potatoes and shell the peas and put them in - yum - haven't thought about that in a long while.

We've have had to be content with California strawberries, but there were local berries in the store tonight - to the tune of $7 for a one quart basket! I think I'll wait a few more weeks

Thank you for the beautiful visit to your garden. T.

Libbys Blog said...

I cannot believe how quickly your garden has gone from snow to harvest!!!! Mine is trailing along behind but its fun to watch it blossom!

Colleen said...


I am left both green with envy and utterly inspired every time I visit Bliss :-) I'm with you on sweet peas...there is nothing like that scent. I haven't had much luck growing them here thanks to my terrible clay soil, but as I amend the soil more, hopefully I'll have luck with them eventually.

Your berries do look luscious. I'm growing strawberries and raspberries this year, and I can't wait for the harvest. I may have to try growing potatoes...

Great post, as always!

Jalos said...

Die aardbeitjes zien er echt overheerlijk uit!
Net zoals de rest overigens, uit eigen tuin is toch altijd het lekkerste!

chicken enchiladas said...

Great blog love the arrangement of everything

Kate said...

Your basket of gooseberries and strawberries is beautiful. It is wonderful to see the fruits of your labours and your veggie harvest beginning. The potatoes and snap peas look utterly divine.

And sweet peas with roses - I would love to bury my nose in them and enjoy the scent.

Happy Sunday to you Yolanda - I didn't realise thaty your name means violet!

lenie said...

*proeft en ruikt overal eens van *
hmmmmmmmmmmmm is lekker en zeer vers , mag je vaker doen hoor , al die goodies op je site !!
ziet er héérlijk uit , als je me kwijt bent ....zit ik bij de bessen ;)))

Tracy said...

I'm in awe of all your early harvet goodies!! Can I come over and play? LOL! We were a bit late planting some things, as we went on holiday, but we have sugar snap peas coming along nicely, salad leaves of various sorts, herbs, tomato plants...Can't wait for the first pickings! Wish we had space for potatoes. I've heard about planting them in a bucket--might have to give that a try on the terrace. Happy Days! :o)

rusty in miami said...

I am jealous your strawberries look delicious, my didn’t do so well this year

Anita said...

Me too, I always adore your cats on your photos! ;-

Yes, fruits harvested at the own garden are the best!

Have a wonderful new week!


sisah said...

Wonderful,you are lucky to have such productive vegetable garden, I envy you for that delicious looking meal of young potatoes and peas!
Guten Appetit!
I am interesting in the way you are cultivating your raspberries, could you show the way you are supporting them ? It looks like wired fence. I got some plants with berries in autumn (the advantage is, they never have any pests/worms at that time of the vegetation period).
Liebe Grüße

Hillside Garden said...

Hallo Yolanda, die Kartoffeln interessieren mich sehr. Ich habe mir aus England auch rote mitgebracht, sie sind aber länglich. Bin sehr gespannt, ob es etwas wird.


beadexplorer said...

Mmmh, potatoes and berries! Very yummy! :)

Carol said...

Hm Yolanda and how rewarding your labor was! All looks delicious! Also I love all the pictures with the basket that looks like a Sussex trug! I have two faux Sussex trugs as well and so hope to own a real one someday soon!