Thursday, 20 August 2009

the strawberry patch

the strawberry patch

Remembering back to our garden as a child, brings smells and sounds flooding back into my memory. An odd sweet scent that emanated from the laurel bushes in our next door neighbours garden and the tickly sneezy conifers in between. We used to play tennis half way up the garden, and ran a string from side to side instead of a net. The ball spent more time in those bushes than anywhere else, but occasionally it would hit a little wall and bounce into the herb garden.
It might seem a little bit ostentatious to designate areas in such a suburban garden, but this is just what is was. A walled garden in miniature with roses and herbs, a sun trap for a home made cold frame where tomatoes and beans were hardened off before burying their roots in the chilly spring soil.
We grew everyday herbs near the back door - parsley, rosemary, thyme, garlic chives (a great favourite of my dad's, so eaten with everything!), chives and lavender. But further up in the herb garden were more exotic varieties: rocket,
marjoram, oregano, fennel, borage, more thymes and mint in various guises.
Later on in time, the roses in the herb garden gave way to strawberries and loosing the tennis ball became a pleasure not a chore. I often wonder whether Mum & Dad questioned the productivity of our strawberry plants. Maybe they agreed that we had a terrible slug problem. I guess that they knew if they sent us to pick the ripe fruit we would arrive back with sticky fingers, reddened lips and maybe half as many fruit as they had seen earlier in the day.
Come autumn time, the cupboards under the stairs would be filled with jars of jams and pickles, all shapes and sizes, all varieties. Except one - we never managed to make more than 2 or 3 jars of strawberry jam, regardless of how good the crop had been!

I'm dreaming of eating ... home made gluten free pizza, just fresh tomatoes, mozarella and a sprig of basil. (If I am really organised, this will make my first recipe post with photos).

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