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January 20, 2012

Yesterday whilst making my Seville orange marmalade I narrowly missed burning the lot. I was carefully and regularly testing the setting point on an ice cold plate, clocked that it was ready and turned off the heat. But my sturdy preserving pan went on cooking for a good 5 minutes longer and it started to burn. I frantically stirred and just about managed to avoid it catching on the base.  One small tarry blob was edited out and there was no serious damage. This amount was from 1K of Seville oranges plus 1 lemon and 2K of granulated sugar and the flavour is excellent.

I pass this Chaenomeles japonica on my way to the post box, it’s draped over a wall,  and the stunning flowers have been raising my spirits since before Christmas. You can just make out three decaying quinces from November nestling in the branches  providing food for the birds. The deep pineapple yellow of the fruit reflects the colour of the stamens in the centre of the waxy red flowers. Aside from the fruit, which is edible after cooking,  it’s so lovely to have these vibrant flowers in the middle of winter. This particular plant is C. x superba ‘Orange and Red’ and it’s a favourite of mine.  Some books will tell you that it has a height and spread of 2m but although it’s slow growing I’ve seen it  covering very high stone walls.

Week 12 and pickings are thin. I re-cycled a hyacinth from last week and added two white Anemone japonicas which surprisingly continue to produce the odd flower, some prostrate rosemary (Rosemarinus officionalis Prostrate Group) which is in full bloom in a pot at the bottom of the steps, sweet box and leaves from the Arum lily.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2012 5:17 pm

    That’s a very sweet bunch of flowers…(I’m still watching the hellebores- will a watched hellebore, flower any quicker?)
    Glad the marmalade turned out ok!

  2. January 20, 2012 11:27 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling to find something floral! I think the hellebores I found flowering must have a been a fluke! No idea what will be in my week 12 vase, nothing as pretty as your little posy that’s for sure!

    Pleased to hear your marmalade was unscathed … nothing beats a good Seville marmalade 😀

  3. January 21, 2012 11:54 am

    Hi Annie and Naomi

    This morning I cut back the scruffy leaves and found lots of flowering hellebores just beginning to push through the soil. A great relief.


  4. January 21, 2012 10:47 pm

    Chaenomales are beautiful. I am contemplating some more winter plants for my garden and this plant is definitely on my wish list. I can’t believe you are still getting flowers on your anemone japonica. Poor plant will be exhausted!!!

    • January 22, 2012 9:49 am

      The anemones went in late august as four young plants so the poor things seem to be confused (I have just noticed a new flower on each of them again this morning). But to my joy there are emerging hellebores in the bed next to them. Relief.

  5. January 23, 2012 10:49 am

    Wow you still have good looking anemones? They lift you posy so much and it looks so lovely in that little glass.

    I’ve joined in at long last and ventured out into muddy gloom yesterday. I felt rather guilty picking a hellebore but I’m glad I did – it was lovely to see it on the way down the stairs this morning. Thanks so much for inspiring me to do this!

    • January 23, 2012 10:57 am

      Hi Emma

      I find that a concentrated bit of the garden, however small, sitting in a vase indoors really lifts my spirits. Probably it’s because at this time of year I pass through the garden rather than hang out in it. I love your jewellery by the way. Sue

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