Friday, June 12, 2020

Have your roses and eat them, too

On my drawing table (where I design gardens), roses have been keeping me company.

It has been a lush three weeks for the Abraham Darby.

I move the vase so I can smell the roses wherever I go. And at night they stay beside the bed.

There have even been enough for me to use their very fragrant petals in the kitchen, fermenting them in two stages: first, until sweetly effervescent - a rose-scented drink in its own right; and then straining and continuing the ferment until it is transformed from sugary to fruitily acidic. The process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of weeks (for instance yesterday I bottled a wisteria vinegar that was ready in two weeks, while I have a couple from late winter that are not quite there, yet). The method is in the Elderflower and Common Milkweed chapters of Forage, Harvest, Feast.

I cook with vinegar a lot - it is very aromatic and not at all mouth puckeringly sour. And of course it is wonderful for quick-pickling everything from cherries to carrots. It is even good as a drink, in a shrub or with a spritz of sparkling water.

And now the windowbox pansies and lettuces are switching out with drought-tolerant portulaca, experimental lavender, tough petunias (but scented) and summer savory.

Summer is on its way.



  1. I thought I'd lost my Abraham Darby when the searing summer did so much damage. But I pruned him, quite hard and would have root-pruned and replanted in fresh compost, but I didn't have the energy. And then it rained.Unseasonally and wonderfully.And Mr Darby drank deep and flowered! Wherever I go, I think I must get another...

    1. That is good news. It is surprising that a rose grows in your tropical climate at all! I am sure one will be happier in NZ.

  2. It's so much fun to get little glimpses of your home. I love your work space! Glad things are prospering on the new balcony,


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