Thursday, 6 June 2019

Garlic scapes

Garlic scapes grow on Hardneck Garlic. Most people (at least in the UK), tend to grow Softneck Garlic, which don't produce scapes (unless stressed). If you aren't sure what type of garlic you are growing, you'll know if it starts producing a scape, which is around late May and early June in the UK.

1. A garlic scape just developing.

2. The scape has further developed and is leaning over.

3. The scape has now turned into a hook.

You want to snap off the garlic scape as soon as you notice it. This is because the plant will put all it's energy into developing the scape, at the expense of the bulbs in the ground. The scapes turn into flowers that produce 'bulbils', tiny bulbs, which are interesting per se, but not if you want to actually harvest some garlic bulbs!

4. Snap the scape off at this point.

5. The scape section left of the plant may still grow a little more, but will then stop, viz:

6. Don't waste the garlic scapes, as they can be eaten!

A lot of people make Garlic Scape Pesto (think normal pesto but with garlic scapes included). However, I tend to just chop it up and add it into whatever I'm cooking at the time, such as omelettes or a curry. You can add it into any dish you might add garlic to. The Garlic Farm have a good list of suggestions if you want further inspiration. The scapes have a milder flavour compared to the bulbs.

So, if you notice these developing on your garlic, now you'll know what to do with them.

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If you would like to know more about growing garlic, do check out my Spoonie Veg: Garlic post.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Purple reign

Purple. It's my favourite colour. And I love it's different shades, from lilac to aubergine, blue-purple, pink purple and deep purple. Here are some of the many purples reigning in my garden from Spring to early Summer.

Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation', in the sun.

In a muted light.

Epimedium grandiflorum 'Lilafee'

Lavandula stoechas 'Fathead'

Clematis alpina 'Pamela Jackman'

Pulsatilla vulgaris 'Blaue Glocke'

Ajuga reptans 'atropurpurea'

Tulipa 'Queen of Night'

Geranium nodosum 'Clos du Coudray'

Lavandula 'Regal Splendour'

Lavandula 'Regal Splendour', glowing in the sun. If you look very closely, you can see a bee butt!

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Allium schoenoprasum

A few viola's, starting with my favourite, Viola 'Jean Jeanie'

Viola 'Martin'

Viola 'Elaine Quin'

Viola tricolor

Viola riviniana 'Purpurea'


A self-seeded viola that I love, but for which I have no name. Possibly a sport of Viola tricolor.

Geranium 'Orion'

And the perennial favourite of humans and bees, Digitalis purpurea.

Long may purple reign!


Wednesday, 29 May 2019

#Florespondence: Camassia leichtlinii 'Caerulea'

For years I've been meaning to grow blue Camassia's and finally, voila!

As you can see, it's very attractive to bees and the purple-blue star-shaped flowers are very attractive.

I've planted the Camassia under the Quince tree, along with early flowering Crocus, Narcissus, blue Anemones, Primulas, and also with grass Stipa tenuissima. The idea is a succession of flowering bulbs from early to late Spring, then the grasses, which are evergreen, adding a wind-blown rustle the rest of the year.





The front garden, which is west-facing, means the Camassia capture the afternoon and early evening sun, even on cloudy days, as in the last photo. I'm pleased with the look, which I think should improve further as the Quince tree grows taller.

Friday, 24 May 2019

#Florespondence: Osmunda regalis 'Purpurascens'

It's quite possible that this, Osmunda regalis 'Purpurascens', also known as the 'royal fern', is my favourite fern. It's certainly regal. It's utterly enchanting, from the moment it sends up its fronds and begins to unfurl.









It's in a bed close to the dining room doors, so I have watched it develop morning by morning throughout Spring, whilst eating breakfast. Quite a show.

Yes, this is my favourite fern.


Tuesday, 14 May 2019

#Florespondence: Tulipa 'Ballerina' and 'Havran'

When I first got interested in gardening, about 18 years ago, I was lucky enough to come across the Christopher Lloyd book, Colour for Adventurous Gardeners. It brought together colours that you might not consider go together, and showed you that they could. It inspired me to ignore convention and experiment. When I was designing my current front garden, the theme of which is a 'hot' garden (hot colours), I thought I'd do some more playing around with colours.

One of my favourite tulips is the flaming orange, Tulipa 'Ballerina', which really flowers its socks off for around three weeks. I wanted to choose something to grow with it, and decided upon the beetroot red of Tulipa 'Havran'. This is the result.

With direct sun, and the petals fully out:
Orange Tulipa 'Ballerina' and beetroot red Tulipa 'Havran'

Under clouds, they revert to their fluted glasses look:

I think they look splendid in sunlight, and elegantly beautiful in muted light.
Tulipa 'Havran'

Tulipa 'Ballerina'

The tulips are going over now and are looking a little punch drunk. However, the colours, though fading, continue to make me smile.

I'm so happy with the colour combination, that I'm going to buy more of the same species to plant in this part of the front garden, to really fill it up for next year.