April is the month of blossoms. All those flowers on the fruit trees and bushes represent “proto-fruits”! The potential is there for a good crop, but I’ve noticed that the fruit trees tend to produce exceptional crops only every other year. Last year was exceptional, so it follows that this year there will be fewer fruits. We’ll have to wait and see… The first to perform was the damson plum.
Next to bloom – about two weeks later – was the morello cherry. By this time, the white petals of the plum blossoms were littering the ground.
Both the currants and the gooseberries are beginning to form budding fruits.
I lost two of the potted blueberry bushes to some unidentified bug/mite or possible virus. It had stunted growth last year and didn’t survive the winter. I’ll be replacing the plant, but will take the precaution of discarding the soil from the pot since I’ve read that diseases can survive there. Also advised is scouring out the pot with disinfectant before refilling it with “clean” ericaceous soil. A lot of work, but necessary.
Just arrived from the nursery are the replacements. A variety called “Bluecrop” is a widely known variety that is said to be disease resistant. Also new in the garden is a blueberry variety called “Ozark Blue” – an impulse purchase because I liked the name. I think I have the perfect spot to plant “Ozark Blue” – not an inconsiderable feat since space is an issue in this relatively small urban garden.
Rhubarb was harvested for the first time this year. I recently added Rhubarbaria by Mary Prior to my kitchen cookbook collection. It’s a small paperback book dedicated to all things Rhubarb and includes many sweet as well as savoury recipes. You can read a bit more about it from my review of the book. From the exchanges with fellow bloggers, I decided to set myself a challange of making rhubarb wine. But, meantime, I couldn’t resist the cake from blogger Seasoned Traveler – Norwegian rhubarb cake with cardamom. Yummy! I also made a savoury rhubarb sauce from Rhubarbaria to go with grilled mackerel. Yes, we finally had a chance to fire up the Weber barbecue!
The herb garden is blossoming as well. The old rosemary shrub had become quite a thug last year, overshadowing a good part of the herb garden. I had to cut away about three-quarters, but couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it altogether – it still puts out a wonderful display of purple flowers every spring. A replacement rosemary is growing in a large pot next to it, also blooming.
And, there is the trailing rosemary with its smaller, deeper purple flowers growing in an old Victorian clay drainage pipe set upright in front of the bay. With all those flowers and inspiration from fellow bloggers, I thought I would try making rosemary sugar – produced the same way as lavender sugar by picking the young purple flowers, adding them to a jar of castor sugar, and letting the sugar infuse the subtle rosemary scent from the flowers. I would think the sugar would be great in a lemon cake.
The wild garlic has spread under the canopy of the bay and I’m harvesting the tender young leaves – perfect for steaming with haddock or shredded in light soups or in risottos. The flower heads are just beginning to come up. Once in bloom, the flowers are a decorative edible addition to a spring salad.
The bay leaves I picked a while ago (see my March garden instalment) are dried and ready to pack away.
Other harbingers of spring are arriving. The Greeks call her paschalitsa meaning “little Easter thing” since she appears with her red coat and black spots in the spring around Easter. Here in Britain, she goes by the name ladybird, but I knew her as ladybug. Definitely a lucky, beneficial creature for the garden.
Tasks to be done:
- Scour out the blueberry pots and replant.
- Continue to train the loganberry and blackberry on their trellises as the new year’s vines grow.
- Test the rosemary sugar by baking with it. Note: After a few days of infusing, it smells heavenly! I have high hopes for this new ingredient.
- Harvest more rhubarb and make that wine!
- Time to go shopping at the garden centres.
|Around My Edible Garden is my monthly diary entry detailing what is happening in my garden this past month, part of the Garden Share Collective (GSC), maintained by Lizzie@strayedtable. A chronological listing of my garden blog posts is listed Diaries in the Menu bar.|