July 19, 2020

Cherry-Rose Jam

One of my fave jams.

It all started many years ago when where I had a cabin up in the mountains the roses were out at the same time as the cherries. 

You know the best way to see if some ingredients fit to be in the same jam? The way I do it is to put all of them with the sugar as well on a plate, smash them in my hands and try the whole thing. This will give you a pretty good idea about how the jam will be like when it will be ready.

Also you will get a good feeling about how much sugar to use. If it all feels too sweet then add less sugar. In general you do not really need to follow a recipe when you make a jam... 

Later though when I was looking into it I realised that Ferber the famous French jam maker has a similar recipe in her book. In her recipe though she chooses the yellow harder cherries. 

It is a bit hard to make as you have to remove the pits of the cherries but I believe it is worth it!! 

 

Published in SWEETSTUFF-EN
July 31, 2019

Garden in July

Here we are in summer. Well into it…July started with a heatwave but also with some rain. It continues and will hopefully finish in a more civilised manner.

I was watching what was happening in France on the weekend and was a little afraid… temperatures above 40 degrees in a country where most people don’t have air-conditioning ..it must have been difficult. It reminded me of the summer of July 87 when more than 1300 people died from the heatwave..do you remember that heatwave? I can’t forget it.

Anyway… I hope that nothing bad happens even though the earthquake that shook us last week reminded us of the past. It’s been a year since the tragic fire at Mati, and something tells me that the end of July is never a good time for us.

Let’s go on to something more pleasant now..let’s see what’s been happening in the garden in July…

Firstly the automatic watering system started working again. It’s needed and often isn’t enough so we have to water the plants a bit more for the plants to survive the intense heat. Especially the lawn. It may not be very large but it needs plenty of water.

As for the rest of the garden..

The weird citrus plants are doing well and if all goes well I will have two “Buddha’s hands” and one Youzou..unfortunately, although a finger lime had some flowers, the plant did not keep them and hopefully next year it will and I will get to have some on my table.

We still have some flowering roses ..which is great..My favourite roses of David Austin are doing well and continue to bloom with smaller and fewer flowers but very beautiful none the less!

Of course some flowers are now at their very best..the Agapanthus

are stunning with their blue flowers but the worst thing is, we planted the variety that has very tall large flowers, which get lost in the shrubbery.

The Salvies are doing very well and make a colourful contribution to the back parterre , they feed the bees and we use them to decorate our dishes as they are edible. :)

I love them a lot and I bought more varieties when I went to Yannis’s nursery last time. The best thing about Salvies is they start to bloom in the spring, carry on through summer and go right up to the beginning of winter!

The pond is looking really good.. the only problem I see is the surrounding trees getting larger and creating more shade which the lilies are not happy about. So I see smaller lilies and not as many as I hoped for. I will need to study the situation to find a solution from now on.

I may need to trim the trees to allow more light through so the lilies can flourish.

Generally the plants are not at their best in summer. Therefore you need to have lots of varieties of greenery of different shapes and sizes

so as to be able to keep the eye interested. As far as that is concerned we are doing well…we have leaves of almost lime green to leaves of red and purple and silver large and small leaves which contrast amongst themselves. This what is important and which I adore in this season…

But the flower that took the first prize this July was a Hydrangea; not a common variety, but one with a deep green velvety leaf and with a perfect blue-mauve flower..I had bought it last year at a nursery in England by post and this year it really paid off.  Now thinking that it could grow to the size of 3m2 I am wondering where it will fit! But with good pruning I will manage. Also one of the best aspects of this particular plant is that it doesn’t need special soil like most hydrangeas and planted in the soil here it’s really beautiful! 

You must see the trees we have planted over the table in the back garden. They are called Schinus terebinthifolius or commonly known as the Brazilian Pepper tree or the Miami Schinus…

They are perfect for the Greek climate enduring both wet and dry climates and poor soil and give a great amount of shade year round. July is the month in which they shed their old leaves and the new growth begins.. by the end of September they should be even more bushy and beautiful. In Spring they blossom with not particularly beautiful but very aromatic flowers  and the bees love them.. more will be revealed next spring with some recipes from the peppers too…

And we should tell you how much Farah the Afghan Hound adores being in the garden! She loves it!

Let’s see what strange things we will have in the month of August in the garden!

Published in GARDEN

With the winter we had this year, with the rain and the cold and with everything growing rapidly and one thing or another, I haven’t done that much in the garden..

I have a lot of pruning to do, a lot of weeding and I should have done that already, but when do you get the time?….

I hope things improve this weekend as I haven’t done a good job so far this year!

At least during the recent busy period there are some plants that have woken from their winter sleep and are showing the way towards spring.

Of the two Japanese Maple Trees one of them has already sprouted the first leaves and it looks wonderful.

It needs to be pruned though, as it is too densely packed in the centre and shouldn’t be left like that.

 

The second Japanese Maple with the red leaves is still asleep but walking past it yesterday I saw little buds starting to appear.. I think it will start to wake up within the week.

The roses I bought from Avrami last year need hard pruning and fertiliser. And a spray with bug spray to avoid the worst. They have some flowers already which are so pretty I will wait for a few days before I prune them.

 

The stars of the garden this year are the Narcissi which I bought from my friend Pavlos Giannaro in Sokratous Street in Athens. I will write a separate article about Narcissi on the site when they all come into flower, but for me they are the best spring flowers of all and I really love them! Until now only two varieties have blossomed but I am expecting the rest within the week to be in bloom.

I would like to say at this point the people I refer to- I am not advertising them or their products or shops… I don’t know who has the Avrami plant nursery and I don’t really care either!

I have known Pavlos for years and I trust him implicitly about plants but generally whenever I mention places, people or products here it’s not to publicise them its because I love them and use them myself.

I hope to update you on the garden soon.

 

Published in GARDEN