The Berry Month of August

This week in the garden, gardeners are likely to have enjoyed the weekend’s rain and so has our dedicated team of waterers because it will have given them a bit of a break from watering!  If like us you have been noticing drought stricken trees across London, trees that have been dropping leaves, looking scorched and wilted, you can see too why the plants will have been glad for the rain.

After the strong winds on Saturday we need to repair our runner bean supports in the lower garden. These gracefully collapsed and need careful reinstating. While doing this there are delicious beans to be harvested!

There are a number of other fruit and vegetables that are ready for harvesting including marrows, courgettes, raspberries, blackberries, tomatoes, chard, and salad greens.

This is a month when berry harvesting begins, and for those of you who enjoy foraging and who are off to the countryside for your summer holidays there are a number of berries worth looking out for. Blackberries, Elder berries, Rowan berries, Blackthorn, and possibly even some crab apples. Have a look at this link to the Woodland Trust’s foraging site if you would like to read more and discover a few tasty recipes you could try out using your foraged fruits.

 

Using a forager’s perspective when looking around the BPCG garden you may have noticed the attractive red and orange shades of ripening rose hips. These are fruits for later in the year, ideally after the first frosts. The most striking rose hips, because of their size, are those of Rosa rugosa, which you can see in the hedge near the tool container. This is a remarkable rose which has been widely used as an ornamental plant with its open flowers that are easy for bees to pollinate. The sweetly scented flowers are used to make pot-pourri in Japan and China, where it has been cultivated for about a thousand years and used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat irregular menstruation and gastritis. Rosa rugosa is valued by rose breeders for its considerable resistance to the diseases Rose Rust and Rose Black Spot. It is also extremely tolerant of seaside salt spray and storms, commonly being the first shrub to grow near the coast.  If you are going on holiday by the seaside see if you can spot this rose, and be careful, its stems are extremely prickly! Later in the year we will be harvesting Rosa rugosa hips, ideally after the first frosts have made them sweeter. Rose hips make good jellies, sauces, and syrups, and they are rich in vitamin C so can help prevent colds and flu.

 

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