Wednesday, 25 January 2012


January slugs by and the rains continue. Mme Hen Harrier is ensconced in the twisted branches of the liquid amber waiting to pounce on another chicken but fortunately the rest of my brood have beady eyes and no gaudy head-dresses. Brainless, male hunters wander the forests and fields dressed as lollipop ladies, yawping into their mobile phones as they stalk the last deer and boar. Peach trees have buds. The mimosa is ready to bloom. Golden crocus's and narcisse already are.  With no real winter holding it back, I think Spring is already in the air!
Next week I really hope for a few dry days to to begin the winter cleanup of the garden. Right now the soil is rather sodden and liquid-like and even to attempt sticking a fork like tool, 20cm in the soil, would cause havoc. Along with all my stick-like rotting plants that I have been lazy about removing (as winter is about resting tired bones, doing bloody nothing, gathering strength for a new season and reading books and keeping warm), I have a thousand types of weeds which have found a niche in the straw mulch or are happily hiding behind my mustard and phacelia cover crops and due to our mild winter, are growing sturdy and strong.
Apart from rocket and mustard greens which I planted myself and are by this time of the year running thin, buttery lambs lettuce/m√Ęche is everywhere. I grew it about four years ago as a winter cover crop and couldn't eat it all so it seeded and returns for an annual visit when I most need it.

Vitamin flush, chickweed grows freely in mats where there is space and shade and is my favourite of all weeds because its so easy to remove when needs be, in one sharp tug.

Baby borage are still popping up where they can, fuzz free and brimming with oily goodness.

Golden calendula flowers, although never a weed, are surviving where the sun hits a south facing wall and despite being one of the few flowers left in the garden, their petals are being devoured before being visually appreciated.

Peppery persian land cress is not exactly what one would call a  weed but keeps returning no matter how much I cut it back and as my definition of a weed is often a plant I can safely eat without having to care for it, in drowsy january, it falls right into that category. This has to be my favourite of all green things and its all I need to go with a thick slice of Jean-Michel's foie gras and a minerally bottle of Jaquesson champagne to celebrate something rather confidential later this evening.

Cathartic ground ivy seems to be far too content in our garden as it has taken over from grass as our lawn coverage. On sunny days, there is a new growth of small tender leaves that can be offered to the daily green bowl but I just can't eat enough to help the grass to renew itself.

Red arroche has germinated, wildish fennel and spotty lettuce are growing independently,  dandelion leaves and petals are tender, cucumber flavoured salad burnet is in full array, cleavers are holding on...

Of course, there are plenty of other leaves waiting to be eaten but their gustative qualities leave a lot to be desired and I don't really eat things just because they "could be good for me". Food is more than just fuel and theres a lot more than fuel around to appreciate now...


1 comment:

  1. Weeds- such an unfair title for all of these lovely curls of green...
    I love the spirit of this post, conjured through the Victorian eye of the explorer/botanist, classifying and recording all the subtleties of the Natural World in the Garden Empire, and the photograph of the violet colored borage is gorgeous!