Around My Edible Garden

May 2015

When we returned from our quick trip to Greece, it seemed that the UK garden had burst into bloom and was showing a lot of new growth. We’re definitely entering the new fruiting season. If the blossoms on the cherry tree are anything to go by, I’ll be getting a good crop of Morellos again this year.


A few weeks later, they became proto-fruit. Definitely a good crop this year – if the birds don’t get them first.


The quince is the last fruit tree in the garden to bloom. Beautiful pale pink petals. (Yes, we have had a fair share of rain!)


After last year’s disastrous fig (non)crop – they were all stunted and fell off – I might actually get figs this year. It looks like the tree has settled into its pot and the fledgling ant colony seems to have been flooded out last year with copious applications of water, but I must remain vigilant! It is almost impossible to completely get rid of ants.


The grape vine is recovering nicely from its earlier radical prune. Tiny grape clusters are forming.


Many of the berries are blooming – blackberry (top left in image below), loganberry (right) and blueberry (bottom left).


Some are actually fruiting – red currant (top left in image below), black currant (top right) and gooseberry (bottom).


The raspberries are getting ready for their first, early crop from last year’s canes. New canes are just beginning to come up through the soil for a later autumnal crop.


As always, a few new raspberries have cropped up in the neighbouring bed along side the currants and gooseberries. I call them the raspberry escapees, from spreading roots (rhizomes, I think they are called). I will need to dig them out, and perhaps give them away. I wish I had more space!


The herb garden is flourishing. The three different sages (purple, bicoloured, and normal culinary sage) were clipped and new plants propagated last year.


The chive clumps seem to be growing and covering a large corner of the herb garden. Good thing, too, since I’ve read somewhere that ants do not like chives and I seem to have a perpetual problem with the critters.


Another pest that is a distinct problem in mild wet Britain is the slug and its relation, the snail. For the longest time, I had wondered if my fennel was dead, but then I noticed that there were little green nubs covered in slime at the base of last year’s canes – a sure indicator of slugs and/or snails getting to the new shoots. So, the copper ring went around, but did not do much good. I’m afraid that I eventually had to resort to slug pellets – though the organic, ecologically friendly sort. Finally, the green fronds started appearing.


On the other hand, the mint, being relegated to a large rectangular pot on the edge of the herb garden is slug free and is enjoying fresh healthy growth. Time to start using it in cooking.


While the other herbs are starting, the wild garlic is winding down with a lovely display of its white (edible) flowers. Pretty in salads.


Last, but not least, the rhubarb has become a monster. I’ve been harvesting it and enjoying strawberry-rhubarb gelato and rhubarb crumble. Also, contemplating rhubarb wine, which I chickened out of doing last year. Somehow, I don’t see myself doing it this year, either. Too many other things to do!


All in all, a decided contrast to next year’s garden:


Tasks to be done:

  1. Uproot the raspberry escapees and find new homes for the plants, and …
  2. Research growing conditions of the fruit that best grow in Greece, and …
  3. Continue to maintain the UK garden and to tidy as much away as possible, paring things down to a minimum.
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 (click on the “links in collection” icon below to view all participants). A chronological listing of my garden blog posts is listed Diaries in the Menu bar.


  1. So much promise of things to come! I didn’t realise that ants don’t like chives; this may prove useful knowledge as I have an ongoing ant problem in one bed. Last autumn I divided up my sage and replanted – what a difference it’s made to the rather sad old plants.

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    • I really don’t have any scientific proof that ants don’t like chives, but some websites mention certain strong herbs tend to repel them. Well, anything to try to keep them at bay! They really are a bother. Soft cuttings of sage this time of year tend to root very well. This is how I revived those sad, leggy old plants. I’ve come to realise that perennial does not mean perpetual and sometimes intervention is required!


  2. I think quince flowers wold be in my top 10 of most pretty. But then so are blueberries! Shame about the snails and slugs, I too had to resort to pellets. Thought I should start a ‘rent a duck’ business. Love seeing the seasons roll around 🙂


    • Quince blossoms are in my top 10, too. I know chickens are good slug catchers, but ducks as pest control is a new concept for me. I’d have chickens, but the garden is too small + I’m not sure what city ordinances say on the subject of fowl in the garden.


    • Gooseberries are something quite alien to me – even now after all these years in the UK. Not something I normally saw growing up in the US. I love them – but mostly cooked and de-seeded (and sugared!). These wee ones are small red goosegogs that make a fabulous curd. Is the horticulture so different between Australia and NZ? Although, come to think of it. I expect NZ would have more temperate climate fruits and veg being further south on the globe.

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      • It’s is quite different depending on where you are, Tasmania and parts of Victoria are more similar to New Zealand, especially the South Island, where I was born. My maternal grandparents had an amazing orchard in a place called Alexandra. A lot of the land there is now vineyards, especially renowned for their Pinot Noir. NSW is a bit hotter and drier. (Or madly wet…) Still, I have rarely seen gooseberries in Australia, they have been popping up in fruit shops recently, every now
        and then. I remember their tart plumpness but that was a a child. Goosegogs, the name cracks me up!

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    • Why is it that the garden is easy to photograph and indoor shots of food is more difficult? Lighting, I expect, but also prettier settings. I like close-up shots now that have finally figured out the focus element on the camera. Next on the list is to get the indoor staging right!


  3. I love these posts so much. The figs look great! Your garden looks amazing. Look at that fennel and mint! Well done with the snail issue. That rhubarb really is out of control. What a great problem to have. Wine sounds good to me!


    • Thanks, Amanda! I certainly love this time of year in the garden – so much promise in the new growth. Later on, the pests and weeds begin to become a nuisance… I doubt if I will attempt that rhubarb wine. Too many other things to do, so little time. Maybe one day. It’s on the list!


  4. I enjoy watching your plants wake up as ours are settling down for the winter, the lovely rain on the red currants especially. I can feel the moisture of Spring and the new energy in your garden.
    Looks like you are ready to leave them to their own devices for a while.


  5. I too am going to get some figs this year, joyous celebrations all round. I love the photos of the flowers it is a nice reminder of the special time before the fruit comes. Plus look at all those cherry flowers mmmm. Have a great month.

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    • Yeah figs! What kind do you have? Mine are “Brown Turkey” or so the label said. Hope those ants can be kept away from the pot! They are very much a problem in my garden – particularly areas bordering the patio. Am enjoying all the new growth in the garden, but can’t wait until I can harvest those first gooseberries.


  6. Stunning photos! You have an abundance of gorgeous produce developing. I love the sound of the rhubarb and strawberry gelato. Have a wonderful month in the garden.


  7. Your spring garden is just so pretty, and a pleasant change from our wintry gardens over here in Australia.

    How do you get your rhubarb to thrive like that? I’ve had so much trouble growing rhubarb since I moved to Adelaide. I think it may need more summer rain than we can give it.


    • This is a great time in the garden here in the UK. Rhubarb…well, from what I understand, they are finicky about initially settling in, but once established, they can be left alone. So, great care should be taken in siting it in a sunny location and adding plenty of compost and water until it begins to take off. Many people here plant theirs near their compost heaps as the plant really loves the nutrients and that way you don’t have to keep feeding every year. As far as watering goes, I think it is most crucial in the beginning, but established plants grew very well in the hot (dry) summers in the US. A few things to keep in mind – they do not like to be transplanted and autumn is the best time to plant new plants. All in all, a good plant to have in any garden.


  8. I’m finally getting my edible garden in, so it’s very exciting to look at my little brown sticks and imagine that I might (hopefully) get a few flowers like yours in September 🙂 I haven’t done berries yet, but love the idea of having a range of berries and currants – amazing that they fruit so early too…
    So far I’ve planted pomegranate, quince, persimmon, plum, fig and sloe, so should be wonderful when they start fruiting, but a few years off I’m afraid…


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