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.