Apologies for not supplying you with your weekly dose of all things Rothe House garden related last week but we were just so busy that we figured rather than give you something half hearted we’d hold back and wait until this week. So, here we are! Its the first day of the Kilkenny Arts Week and unfortunately the weather is not exactly summery, but yet, still very Irish; heavy showers with intermediate sunshine! The garden certainly isnt complaining and is certainly enjoying the rainfall and looking all the better of it too.
Mary, whom is always rushed off her feet on a Friday was eager to set aside a little time to provide me with the information that I required for this blog, so, she was to be found in the greenhouse from where she walked me to the garden and scanned the length of the garden wondering where to begin in a garden that you could talk a very long time about!
I was shown first the mulberries; these I had seen in recent weeks, it was hard to miss them with their signal red, alluring looking fruit, plentiful among its branches. Mary had previously warned me, and did again today that, ‘if you ever want to be put off the mulberries for life, try them when they are bright red!’. Apparently the correct time to try them is when they are very dark in color, almost black and fall away when touched, so, as a number of dark ones where spotted that fell away quite easy, why not have a taster?
Mulberries, I can now confirm and attest to, are an acquired taste for sure. Even when ripe and ready, as per the image above, they are still somewhat sour and bitter. You may already now that mulberry wine is indeed made from these very mulberries, so, perhaps if you, the reader, have any particular recipes for such a drink you might share them. As for me, I shan’t be trying this particular fruit again.
Another curious looking fruit that Mary explained was getting a lot of interest from the visitors to the garden is the Medlar. This fruit, which is native to Europe is a very old and somewhat exotic! When fully developed, which should be in November, the medlars will be a russet brown color and approximately the size of a small apple. The fruit will be allowed to decay for up to several weeks and then its soft and sweet interior is eaten out with a spoon. It can also be using for making jelly. Have any of our readers ever tried this fruit? Mary didn’t seem too enthusiastic about its taste that’s for sure!
Another curious looking fruit in the orchard was what I was informed was a ‘Quince’. This fruit which looks almost like a pear and will have a similar size when developed. They are generally too hard and sour to eat fruit and are usually left to bleet (decay) for a number of weeks.
“they are used to make jam, jelly and quince pudding, or they may be peeled, then roasted, baked or stewed. The Pectin level diminishes as they ripen.The flesh of the fruit turns red after a long cooking time. The very strong perfume means they can be added in small quantities to apple pies and jam to enhance the flavour. Adding a diced quince to apple sauce will enhance the taste of the apple sauce with the chunks of relatively firm, tart quince. The term marmalade, originally meaning a quince jam, derives from “Marmelo“, the Portugese word for this fruit.”
The Honesty has gone from our garden we’re afraid; but don’t worry, it’ll be back next year! We are of course referring to the plant named ‘Honesty’. The seeds, pictured below in their very delicate and paper like pods will be collected by Mary very soon and stored to dry before being replanted and grown again next year.
Mary also wants you to know that she has been very busy with all manner of other jobs in the garden! To name but a few; cutting back the border plants to tidy the beds and keep the pathways clear. Tying up the blackberry plants to their hazel stakes, as we seen in out previous blog entry. Dead heading the plants and watering the all important window boxes which keep the outside of Rothe House looking magnificent at this time of year!
Finally, before signing off, an image of our lovely apples! In abundance this year. As I was talking to Mary in preparation for this blog you could hear them dropping from the tree and hitting the ground and, I must admit, as I time this I am munching away on one! They have to be tried to be appreciated!!
Until next time…….