Scent in September
September 21, 2016
Calamintha nepeta has been in flower six weeks or so and should continue until the first frosts. It’s smothered in small, very pale lilac flowers from mid-summer lasting until the temperature drops. It’s useful as an edging plant with a long season of interest. Next Spring I shall lift and divide it to edge the length of the path interspersing it with the neighbouring Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’ which finishes flowering before the calamintha.
Sorry to go on about Cosmos quite as much as I do but in terms of longevity and low maintenance and cheapness and beauty, as a cut flower it’s difficult to beat. All that’s required to achieve a bunch a week from July till October is good ground preparation and a packet of seeds sown in late-May. And although the flowers droop on the way home from the allotment they revive fast in water and last for five or six days and the more you cut the more you get. They have a very gentle scent and the colours are stunning and above all the bees love them as witnessed four days ago.
In the garden the tree Clerodendrum trichotomen is in flower with its intense perfume wafting around in the heatwave last week. It’s available as a shrub but I like the strange form that it now has as a tree and it means we can sit under it to get the benefit of the scent.
In the burst of sunshine last week the Cistus ‘Sunset’ produced two flowers a day. The strong resin-scented leaves transport me back to childhood in my aunt’s cottage garden. That and the fact that it keeps its leaves all Winter and is a manageable size shrub for a town garden is why I love it.
It’s easy to miss runner beans and then to discover dozens hiding among the leaves and by now all as long as your arm. They’ll be stringy when this size but leave them growing till the shells are crisp and papery then pod them. Cook in much the same way as borlotti beans which I find take about 25 minutes simmering but best to test after 10 minutes. Both these beans absorb the flavour of other ingredients and drenched in olive oil and garlic when warm they make a great accompaniment to other dishes.
Some substantial rhubarb stems were discovered hiding under huge leaves on the allotment. Chopped up and sprinkled with dark brown sugar and the grated rind and juice from an orange then roasted gently in the oven it made a lovely pudding with Greek yoghurt.