Beautiful June

June in my garden means all of my roses are either blooming or are just about to bloom.  While I was working on the novel the other day my mom surprised me with this vase full of gorgeous “Cottage Rose” roses, a David Austin variety.  I don’t know how this rose behaves in anyone else’s garden but in mine it is towering and reaching and wants to be a climber.  The roses are prolific and gorgeous.  The scent is light but definite.  Roses in my garden either have to have a scent or they have to perform some other purpose (rose hips, for example).

Here’s “Cottage Rose” in its natural environment, the jungle of my yard.

This is my bean bed which is coming along nicely.  I need to buy another bean packet to fill in some holes where beans didn’t pop up or where they were eaten to the ground.  I planted all I had in this bed.

I’ve grown bush beans and they’re good but my favorite is always the pole bean.  I am growing Scarlet podded, Helda, and Lazy Housewife.

I have some wild purple lupines from a wild seed packet but this one my mom bought at the nursery and I can see it from my eyrie of an office.  I’ve been enjoying the almost coral color mixed with the orange calendula and California poppies it shares a bed with.

I have been wanting to grow red currants forever.  I have made several failed attempts.  For the first time I’m getting berries and they’re so pretty!  Gooseberries are another ambition I have and now I’m encouraged to try for them next year.

This week we finally heard from the bank about our house.  Through a gross miscommunication we have been applying for the HAMP loan for a year and the bank was ignoring us because our bankruptcy file never officially closed.  You can read about it on my other blog if you like “If My Bank Was My Boyfriend”.   The upshot is that they aren’t ignoring us anymore and we should find out whether or not we get to keep our home within the next month.  Now I’m looking around feeling both dread and excitement at the same time.  I find myself saying (constantly) “If we get to keep the house we’ll replace those dying diseased peach trees with more “Frost” peaches…” or “If we get to keep the house I’m going to plant a gooseberry…” or “If we get to keep the house we’ll get a tub we can actually soak in…”

The reality is that if we get to keep our house we’ll be so broke we’ll just have to sit tight and buckle down with budgets and make do with what we have and there will be no real improvements for the foreseeable future.  I can live with that.  For the chance to see my sour cherry tree mature and put out a full crop?  For the chance to harvest our first Spitzenberg apple?  Worth the poverty.  Not having to move, not having to leave this house we love, not having to uproot ourselves to God knows where and in what hovel… completely worth being broke as dirt.  All my fingers and toes are crossed.  We think the numbers are in our favor and the bank says the only thing they care about is the numbers.

Whatever the outcome, I’m enjoying my roses and seeing my fruits and vegetables growing and maturing.  June is a lovely month in Oregon.

7 thoughts on “Beautiful June

  1. Kathy

    Wow, your roses are beautiful and the leaves look so healthy. I’m lighting candles for you over here and putting goodness out to the universe in your name my friend……may the planets align and allow you to see the beautiful fruits for many, many years. xo!

  2. Chelsea

    Oh, how I miss your gorgeous roses and their intoxicating scent!

    BTW, check out David Liebovitz’s blog- he has tons of photos detailing a weekend spent canning currant jam in the French countryside…right up your alley!

  3. angelina Post author

    Hi Chelsea! I love David Leibovitz’ blog and read him every week for work. However, I didn’t see the currant jam posts so I’ll look those up.

    The roses are amazing. One of the things that will break my heart the most if I really do have to move. I still miss some of the roses I left behind at the old house on Beaver street that I haven’t replaced yet in this current garden. But what I have now that I didn’t have before are the moss roses and they are definitely strongly scented and gorgeous. We’re bringing vases of them in right now! I’d share if either of you came over right now and send you home with lush bundles.

  4. the wanna be country girl

    I’m so jealous of your red currants! They’re beautiful. Please post pictures of them as they come along. One of my favorite chefs is Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall at “the River Cottage.” He’s in Dorset England and has several tv shows dealing with homesteading and cooking from the garden. He has many recipes using red currants and gooseberries. Please let us know what you decide to make with yours.
    the wanna be country girl – Caroline

  5. angelina Post author

    Carloline- I have been sorely tempted to buy some of his books. He’s pretty meat-centric and I don’t eat meat but it might be worth it just for the rest of it. I’ve heard so many good things about him. Maybe I’ll see if my library has any of his books now (it didn’t before). I’m not surprised he does things with currants and gooseberries- the British use them more than Americans in general. Around here gooseberries and currants grow very well so hopefully I’ll be able to experiment with them. There aren’t a lot of the currants this year but I’ll bet I have enough to eke out a half pint of sauce!

  6. simply.belinda

    Hi Angelina,

    I have to say last year my small haul of red currents made a pretty awesome sweet and sour chilli sauce. I only had enough to drizzle over some drained yoghurt but it certainly was appreciated by all participants in the shared dinner it attended.

    Gooseberries are high on my want list too. We can only ever get “early season” gooseberries here which means they are very, very tart. I’ll have to grow my own to find out exactly what they taste like after the sugars have been allowed to develop on the bush.

    Kind Regards

    **BTW do you have any particular variety of rose you favour for rose hips?

  7. angelina Post author

    Belinda- That sounds really good- it didn’t occur to me to put them in a chili sauce but I can see how that would be good. Gooseberries- I’ve had them fully ripe and sweetened and what I like about them is that they are still tart- but not unpleasantly so. A friend brought them to me and put them on crackers with some spreadable cheese (a farmer’s cheese I think) and drizzled with honey. That’s what made me want to grow them. Maybe you and I both get to plant some this year?!

    Roses for rose hips- that is something I am still experimenting with. I planted a rugosa that’s supposed to produce good hips but didn’t. I also have the Apothecary’s rose which is famous for them but mine were such small plants last year with not many blooms that I didn’t have any- however, this year they’re much bigger and I have quite a few blooms so I’m hoping I’ll get a good number to pick. The very best roses for getting hips from are wild roses- the dog rose (rosa canina) and I have one blooming for the first time that my friend Riana sent me a couple of clippings from. Look for species roses – those are often where the best hips are created. If you can actually get the dog rose- do it! I couldn’t find any rose growers that had any available when I was looking. It will get big (because it’s wild and climbs) so you’ll want to plant it on a fence. Or you can always plant one in the wild to go back to. If the one I have produces good hips then I can give you a cutting from it.

    There are quite a few antique roses that set hips but none of the ones I have have done so yet. Some modern hybrid teas also set some fabulous hips- but again, none that I have. The thing is that you have to not deadhead roses if you want the hips. This is, of course, easy with so many of the antique ones that only bloom once anyway.

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