Six on Saturday: 26 June 2021: Harvests

Well the sunglasses, suncream and flip-flops are all getting decidedly dusty through under-use, as the weather hasn’t been cooperating with the idea of summer and all it brings to mind. It’s been a dank, wet week, that has emboldened the slugs but dampened my spirits. Along with some 3 million Brits who live abroad, we’re heading into summer with the added uncertainty of not knowing when we’ll be allowed to travel freely, sans quarantine, to our own country again, and see our families – too bad I’m not a rich and powerful football magnate, the rules don’t apply to them. But in their wisdom, they’ve put St Helena on the Green List, that remote South Atlantic island, size 162 square miles, population 6,100, final island prison and burial place of Napoleon Bonaparte after his defeat at Waterloo. Perhaps the Emperor’s ghost fancies a trip to Blighty for old times’ sake: he can pop over with no need to quarantine, it’s on the Green List!

Oh I know, I digress, but this sorry state of affairs might explain why I’ve got so much gardening done this week, it’s cathartic. A pond has been dug and planted up, peas have been harvested and dug out, sweetcorn has been planted in its place, the last of the dahlias have been squeezed into gaps, catmint and salvias have been cut back, roses deadheaded, somewhat ruthlessly, and the chickens have even begun laying cute bantam-sized eggs (that last bit is independent of my will). Six on Saturday will restore equilibrium:

1 Harvests. A little collage of harvests this week to soothe the soul. The peas were fantastic, each picture is a separate harvest: we had loads to eat and even some leftover to freeze. The eggs are barely bigger than a 2 euro coin. The wild strawberries are such a treat, and even roses were harvested, saved from the drizzle or imminent collapse.

2 Redcurrants. Another harvest. These drip like little rubies from the branches, so enticing that most of them get eaten by me on the spot. The blackcurrants are not far behind, though I have less of them as my two bushes are still only a couple of years old.

3 Blackberries. This bush is abuzz with bumblebees, honeybees and hoverflies, and the fruit is already beginning to set. My mouth is watering at the thought of blackberry jam. Time to raid the larder, get the empty jars out and start scrubbing the labels off. I’m not sure we’ll get an olive harvest from the little standard olive tree just in front there..

4 Shady border. Or should I now call this the pond border, as the little pond is just along from here. A deviation from my harvest theme, but I like this combo. Miraculously two flowerheads of Hydrangea arborescens ‘Anabelle’ survived a ruthless slug onslaught, along with Astrantia, Astible, and ferns. There’s a rugosa rose trying to push through too. Everything is covered with a confetti of rose petals from the yellow climbing rose above.

5 Tanacetum parthenium, or Feverfew. Now a potential medicinal harvest that could cure headaches brought on by listening to the news. I’m sure one can make tea with these, but I’ve never tried. They are looking so healthy that I might well try. The aphids like to colonise the stems, no harm done. These flowers cheer me up, and hoverflies like them too. If they choose to lay their eggs here, their larvae can enjoy the aphids, another harvest there.

6 Clover. The garden harvests are made possible thanks in no small part to the bees, who pollinate the flowers that then turn to fruit. It seems only right that I should give something back in thanks. So here is a lawn full of clover for them to enjoy. When the sun comes out to shine, this place will be buzzing.

I feel a little bit better now. The expression ‘You reap what you sow’ is often deployed in an admonishing way, but for the gardener, who quite literally reaps what they sow, this has a positive and uplifting resonance. Now matter how small, each harvest, whether of fruits or flowers, brings great pleasure. Head over to the Propagator to marvel at more harvests and other gardening miracles. And have a lovely weekend.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: 26 June 2021: Harvests

  1. I don’t blame you for your mini-rant at all. It must be very frustrating for you. My brother and his family live in The Netherlands and we haven’t seen them since the Christmas before first lockdown. We miss them all, as I am sure you are missed.
    Great harvest, but I couldn’t help but admire your baskets, I do love a good basket! Keep on gardening, it does soothe the soul and, in your case, give wonderful edible rewards. Have a good week, I will keep my fingers crossed for you. x

    1. Thank you, it’s necessary every now and then to have a good rant. It has been far too long now, but I’m hoping they’ll go for the free entry for the fully vaccinated. The irony will be that the European countries may well impose quarantine on those coming from the UK to avoid the spread of the Delta variant which they are quite worried about. So we could get caught out again. Ah well, not much to be done about it, will carry on gardening 😉 Hope you get to see your brother soon too.

  2. What beautiful harvests! Well done !
    I have to go check the red currants which I hope are not already eaten by the birds. Otherwise, blackberry and clover flowers are at the same stage here too. Bees love them (when it’s not raining)

  3. You are ahead of us here in Ireland with your red currants etc Enjoy them! Blackcurrants are showing a little colour here and I look forward to the first ice-cream of the season. Re the feverfew, Mary hates the smell and I adore it so it is planted in an out of the way spot for me to rub as I pass by.

    1. Thanks Paddy. Ooh ice-cream with currants sounds good! I love them in a coulis poured on a sponge cake. That’s funny re the feverfew, at least you found a compromise.

      1. I have always found eating currants a nuisance and rarely do so. We use them to make jellies and ice-cream each year – and they can be frozen until needed, which is very handy.

  4. Some great photos this week. I love the one of the roses and the peas – so pretty. The shady border is looking lovely. An impressive harvest after all your hard work.
    I hope you are able to travel more freely soon. It must be so difficult for you.

    1. Thank you, it has been hard, we used to pop across about six times a year, it’s only 4.5 hours drive to our relatives in Kent but feels so far now. Still, it might happen this summer fingers crossed.

  5. I hope things improve soon regarding travel. Your harvests (and the vessels in which they were collected) look great and I love the shady bed. I’m new to astilbes but planted a few in the spring. I hope they look as good as yours when they flower.

  6. Sel, I love your writing style! Uplifting, catchy and with just a hint of blackguarding. Write on, a chara!
    The Bachelor’s Buttons is in flower here too, one of my favourites as it grows well in patio cracks. You’ll want to ask Paddy does he like it. 😜

  7. There is a little market in hythe every two weeks so I cycled today and got very similar peas, broadbeans to your lovely harvest I also bought mock orange to remind me of the orange groves in Jordan what to do at least you can smell the blossoms I lv the bantams egg and lovely roses. Hope soon travel will be pos. Happy gardening in the meantime.

  8. What a wonderful harvest already. It rather makes my garlic and spinach look inadequate but there are plenty more to come.I noticed that many of my pea pods look ready and Grannysgardenhimindoors is going to stew the rhubarb this afternoon, so I’m not doing too badly.

  9. Wonderful harvests! Making me wish I had tried growing peas and beans again (my first attempt didn’t work out well). Frustrating about the travel, but hopefully you will be able to pop over soonish – whether you’ll be allowed back into Belgium is another matter entirely!

    1. Haha yes that would be just my luck! Caught between countries! What a ludicrous year it’s been. I find peas easier than beans, no pests, slugs uninterested.

  10. Fresh blackberries, yum! Are those currants destined for preserves, the ones you don’t eat off the bush? We grow wild black currants (R. americanum) but just leave them for the birds. Perhaps they could also put Elba on the green list and organize a Napoleonic Exile Tour?

    1. I don’t know if there will be many currants left after my surreptitious snacking, but if there are, I like to make a coulis with them and pour that onto a sponge cake – delicious. I love blackcurrants even more. Elba sounds like an ideal Green List destination, hee hee, I’ll suggest that to Boris and co.

  11. Looks like you’re doing really well with the peas!

    I love the clover on the lawn. I have a bit, but not quite as much as you. Funnily enough while I was at work yesterday I dug up a few ‘weeds’ out of someone else’s lawn to plant in my own: Red clover, Birdsfoot trefoil and a couple of Daisies. Hopefully they’ll establish and the lawn will be covered in. red, yellow and white flowers in a few year’s time! Much more interesting than plain old grass 🙂

    1. Excellent, those weeds are going to look great – I’d love to find some birdsfoot trefoil, and would be nice to get some red clover in to contrast with the white – might have to do a bit of surreptitious weed transplantation myself.

  12. Yes, this was an uplifting post Sel. So nice to see your pollinator friendly lawn and some delicious harvests. I must go and check on my redcurrants again… nearly ripe but not ripe enough for the birds yet and I have to catch that inbetween moment! LOL! We have had some cucumber and zucchini already though. I am also waiting for the news to be more positive so I can visit my parents. How long is it since you were in the UK Sel?

    1. Haven’t been over since last August. Very weird as we used to go frequently on our Eurotnnel frequent traveller account. How about you? Am getting second vaccine at the end of July so I hope that makes things a bit easier 🤞Good luck beating the birds 😉

      1. I haven’t been since December 2019. My planned visit for March 2020 was cancelled as we entered lockdown and there was so much uncertainty in summer of getting stuck in the UK and not being able to come back. Fingers crossed for July/August…. 🙃

  13. Such a beautiful post, well done for (finally) enjoying everything. Is the rose with the peas in the harvest picture ‘Pilgrim’ ? Such lovely flowers. I share with you Clover and blackberry blossom, blackcurrants are a few weeks away I think and the redcurrants here are a new planting so not crop at all this year. We’ve just had a week in Suffolk which was very good for the soul. Happy second vaccine.

    1. Thank you! It is indeed Pilgrim, my most prolific rose, it’s just amazing. How nice to get away for a bit, it’s been a monotonous year, my OH grew up in Suffolk and has very fond and bucolic memories of it.

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