Tag Archives: red currants

First Days of Summer

The Apothecary’s Rose is supposed to have a strong scent.  For me it has never had more than a mild sweet scent.  Even so, I am completely taken with it’s history as one of the earliest cultivated roses and its well known medicinal uses.  When it comes to getting the best medicine from roses you want to get as close to wild roses as you can.  The absolute best rose variety for use in medicine is the dog rose (Rosa Canina) (but good luck finding a nursery that carries this one and if you do, for god’s sake- tell me where you found it!) but this rose is the next  best thing to species roses.  I am not generally a fan of the single roses but this is one of the exceptions.

Borage is charming.  It has uses.  It’s edible.  It’s medicinal.  I confess I like it because it has starry spikey blue flowers that look like they were designed by a ten year old into science fiction.  I haven’t had any in my garden for a long time.  So many things blooming right now are old friends.

You are dying to ask me if my hands are freakishly small, aren’t you?  (What would you say if I said YES?!)  These strawberry leaves were normal sized when I planted them last year.  My secret fear is that someone (poison-man from next door) dumped some toxic waste on my garden and now these plants have superpowers.  Do other people have such enormous strawberry leaves lurking in your garden?  Please share, cause I’m a little freaked out.

In contrast to the leaves, the berries are normal sized.  There are lots of them!  In a couple of days we’ll be able to pick our first bowlful.  One of the things I love about living in Oregon are all the berries.  I realize that California has them too.  But they’re not as good.  I kid you not.  Especially if you like to grow them yourself.  I could never get any strawberries to thrive in my California garden.  I couldn’t keep the ground moist enough to get anything but tiny little berries.  Here, all I have to do is plant them and wait.  They ripen just as the summer sun comes out (there’s little spring sunshine here) and so I don’t even have to water them to get fruit.  The blueberries here are phenomenal and prolific as well.  So are the blackberries and the -

Speaking of berries coloring up- the red currents are turning too!  I’ll have enough of them to make about a quarter cup of sauce.  Maybe.  I’m so excited about them, even if I just had one bunch to eat raw, I couldn’t be more pleased.  I love tart food!

This is my most beautiful kitchen utensil.  Mitch made it from black walnut wood.  From a walnut tree that grew here in my county.  I never knew a spoon could make me so happy.

Philip has submitted our HAMP loan papers, this time to actually be looked at by an underwriter with the bank.  We should know in a month if we get to stay here.  If we do, we’re going to be really broke again.  I think it will be worth getting to stay right here.  Looking down from my eyrie of an office on my monastery garden full of California poppies, lupines, calendula, columbines, nasturtiums, vegetables, and feverfew.

There is such a chaos of beautiful, edible, and healing things planted all around me here.  I want to be here.

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.