Morning, noon and night

Three random things I learned, or remembered, today

Archive for Gardening

Blueberries

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MORNING

I have never seen blueberries cultivated in Scotland and wondered why. Maybe the Scots just don’t like them much.

Apparently they need very acid soil. Almost pure peat some say. We have that in the highlands.

There needs to be more than one bush for pollination.

And should never be allowed to dry out.

I’ll bet it’s too cold up here.

GARDEN BANTER ON BLUEBERRIES

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Love-in-a-mist

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MORNING

Most summers I plant seeds of Love-in-a-mist in the garden for their seed pods as much as their delicate flowers and foliage.

Love-in-a-mist or Nigella damascena is a close relative of Nigella savita. Both are members of the buttercup family – (Ranunculaceae). The seeds of Nigella sativa are used as a spice. There seems to be a lot of confusion over the name of this spice. Sometimes, it is loosely called “black cumin” or “black caraway” or “black onion seed” “black sesame seed” but it is none of these. There is no botanical relationship between any of these plants.

In the USA, it is often known as “chernushka” and in Indian recipes, the seeds are referred to as “ajwain” but I don’t think they are that either.

All very confusing.

Kalonji seed may be a more accurate name. Peshawari naan bread is generally topped with these seeds.

Wooden seed trays

NIGHT

For some reason I wanted to find a source of wooden seed trays like the old fish boxes that used to be used for raising plants long ago. For some reason I’m going off plastic.

A google search found a UK supplier. I ordered some and a few other things that took me back over the years. They also have things like hessian sacks, trugs and cotton net bags. I bought some of those – one each of every colour. I wonder if some friends would like some for Christmas. I don’t suppose they would. They would think it an odd present.

The parcel arrived safe and sound today using overnight delivery. Everything was beautifully wrapped.

THE GARDENERS SHOP

How I love internet shopping. This one will definitely remain on my list.

I think I might sow some sweet pea seeds at the weekend. They say that if sown in autumn rather than spring they give stronger plants.

We’ll see.

What’s wrong with wild flowers?

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NOON

I love orchids at my kitchen window. I love wild harebells by the roadside or in my garden.

But the two don’t mix well.

Sometimes I get so, so mad at people!

The Scottish countryside is beautiful. Some of the less invasive native wild flowers are now becoming well established at the side of the country roads again as farming becomes gentler.

But there is a new kind of herbicide. The wealthy townsfolk, the “incomers” who buy up the country cottages and farms and turn them into manicured mansions, take over the roadside also.

I saw this happening this morning. The wild verges up and down the road outside the new ostentatious gate of the cottage-come-mansion had been claimed by the incomer. Not owned by the incomer. Just claimed. “I am a wealthy man, therfore I have a right to claim the roadside too!” The bluebells, the wild roses, the meadowsweet, the thistles were all hacked out. Kerbs were being put in place, grass was being sown, garish plants all in full bloom were being put in by a posse of workmen. No expense was spared.

Many of these plants will not survive the frosts.

No taste, no sensitivity, no knowledge of nature.

The arrogance of the the incomer.

I think I might gather dandelion clocks and thistledown and willow herb seeds and sprinkle them all around this travesty of a roadside in the middle of the night.

Morning, noon and night plant

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MORNING

There is a plant called “Morning, noon and night.” Or sometimes known as “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” Brunfelsia pauciflora

It is a shrub with white and purple flowers that change colour as they age. It has a sweet Jasmine-like perfume. In suitable climates (not the UK) it can be planted as a fragrant hedge.

It needs a warm, sheltered position and rich soil. Once established it will tolerate drought.

Peanut allergy and lupin flour

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NIGHT

As a child, I was always told never, never to eat the seeds from the pods of lupins because although they look like pea-pods they are poisonous.

It came as a surprise, therefore to find that lupin flour was widely used in the continent. Lupin seeds are an excellent source of protein. Lupins don’t seem to be poisonous any more? Or were my parents wrong with their advice.

So, I’ve been looking into this. Apparently the seeds ARE toxic. They contain an alkaloid. They must be soaked thoroughly to get rid of this before making into flour. However lupins are now being bred that are low in alkaloids.

Lupins are the same family as peas and beans – other pod bearing plants – the leguminosae.

What is interesting is that they are also related to peanuts. Peanuts are not nuts at all, but legumes. Individuals who have peanut allergy may also have an allergic reaction if they eat products containing lupin flour because of cross reactivity. The reaction can be very severe and even fatal.

So my parents were correct, although they probably didn’t know the reason. Lupin seed ARE toxic AND can cause severe allergies.

But I still love to have lupins in the garden, and I adore their peppery scent.

ALL ABOUT LUPINS AS FOOD