Monday, April 01, 2019

April 1st in the garden.

When you just can't figure out what to do first, leave the house and putter about in the garden, where being disorganised and forgetful isn't really a high-stakes problem.

Re-arranging the terrace garden, to try to give as much coolth and shade to the sweet pea seedlings and pansies as possible...

...and as much sun as the sun-loving snap dragons and aquilegia want.


Sticks in the pots for the morning glories, that I should start seeding around about now.

They do very well as long as there is a deep enough pot.

They don't really have deep roots, and no tap root, but they didn't do well at all in the little hanging planters, so didn't produce the wall o'shade I was hoping for last year.

The little white flower is a wild bulb, called Star of Bethlehem, that grows all over the place, but I have no idea how this one ended up in my terrace sage pot.

Gathering sticks and canes ready for the morning glory trellis. Too hot to do the work on the terrace in the mid-afternoon. You don't live in Italy long before you figure out why everyone does their outdoor work in the late afternoons and early mornings. In the high summer, Annamaria comes over at dawn and is gone by nine am. I'll wait until the sun swings around to the west side of the house to put it up.

The terrace always spends a few weeks in spring being a big higgedly-piggeldy mess, a pile of seed pots, soil bags, starter trays... I notice that Annamaria does her seedlings in the shade so I think I'll move it all down to the garden this afternoon.

Midday is for hiding indoors.

Reading Tolkien...
And maybe doing a little baking.

A good Lent thing for tea: egg and onion tarts. (If you're not Ortho. If you're Ortho, I don't know what I can do for you.)

They're so easy. Take:

1 packet of ready-made puff dough from the supermarket.
1 onion, sliced into thin strips
tablespoon of butter of a bit of olive oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup of milk
dash of balsamic vinegar
handful of chopped herbs
salt n pepper


Caramelise the onions in a pan with butter. This just means letting them cook over a low heat until they start to turn a golden brown. Onions, surprisingly, have quite a lot of sugar in them naturally and they caramelise beautifully. While the onions are cooking, chop very fine a handful each of thyme, marjoram and a little sage, and throw these in with the onions when they're about half done and add a little balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. While the onions and herbs are cooking, cut out circles of dough and put them in your tart tin (like a muffin tin but with not such high sides). Place a little - very little - of the cooked onion mixture in the bottom of each tart. Whisk up two eggs and some milk as if you were making an omelette, and pour only a couple of tablespoons into each tart over the onion mixture. Bake at 200 C. for 15 minutes or until the pastry is turning golden.


Some pics of the garden so far, and works in progress.

The plum. Always the first to get started, it had been flowering for a few weeks when friends came over a week ago, and was getting past its peak. All in leaf now.

Tea in the garden last Sunday, and after tea the last of the rosehip liqueur 

Blue carpenter bee, Xylocopa caerulea, that are the first to wake up in the spring. Saw the first one in early February. 

Added about 30 more daff bulbs this year. 

Annamaria's hyacinths. She cuts them and takes them to her mother's grave. 

Butterflies everywhere now. 

Rosemary flowers mightily early in spring and they are an important early food source for our bees. The rosemary hedge has been doing much better since Anna and I trimmed it way back the first summer. You have to get in there and cut away all the dead and dry stuff. 

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These pics are not by me. Neither I  nor my camera-phone are anything like this good. I'll have to invite Marc and Becky back in each stage of the garden's season to get decent pics of it all. 

Always more work to do. The day will never come when there's nothing to do in the garden.

New onion bed. Onions coming up pretty nicely now, and I think I'll add some sunflowers, because, why not.

Cutting canes. This was in February, so there are quite a few more now, and the ones that were too short are now big enough, so I think we'll go get some this afternoon. A massive issue in Italy is shade. You do everything you can to create as much as possible, so I think more trellises are going up. And besides, it's fun to build them. 

1 comment:

Liz said...

Well this morning I had to scrape ice off the windshield and clean snow off the car (took a full 12 minutes) in order to go to daily Mass. So all your gorgeous plants and sun are simply something to long for later. I will, however, give those tarts a go at some point .You are tempting me to go buy seeds and start some seedlings inside...