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Friday, September 11, 2009

Autumn garden -

Life drawing started up again today. So typically Fridays will be Life Drawing posts. Except that I didn't go today (luckily I have a fabulous assistant who ran things in my absence) since I had been up all night keeping my husband company in the ER with his latest kidney-stone attack. It's all over - everything's good, we're just both just suffering the after-effects of multiple hours spent at the hospital (in my case, in a hard folding chair in a chilly room). So, no life drawing. No art of any kind really today since I don't seem to be able to really focus my eyes... :-)

So instead, here's a report of impending ripeness in the yard:

One of my newer bushes, an aronia, or flaming chokeberry (as the autumn foliage gets gorgeously red-magenta), is covered with clusters of near-black, ripe berries. They are fairly bland to eat right off the bush but are supposed to be uber-high in antioxidants. So now to find other ways to use (I hear juice/jellies/breads are good?)

I also have a pretty good crop of Sea Buckthorn berries this year. *Very* tart eaten raw (almost impossible to eat actually), but also supposedly super high in Vitamin C and other nutrients. And sweetened, it tastes somewhat like passion-fruit, which I love. It's just a little precarious to pick because of the woody, thorny branches... Extreme-sport fruit harvesting!

This will also be my first year that my Hardy Kiwi vine will produce. These are 'baby' kiwis, about the size of grapes, thin skinned and sweeter than their larger, more common counterparts.

It is also the first productive year for my tiny dwarf Italian (prune) plums, my favorite plums to eat, dry, roast and turn into tarts. Tasty purple goodness!

And another first with this year's small, but yet substantial columnar apple crop. I'm all about the space efficient trees! I have 5 of these (three different varieties) growing along my deck. They only need to be planted about a foot apart from each other.

And even though I don't eat (or drink) them, the hops are blooming. Beyond their commonly known beer brewing usage, the flowers are also used in a number of herbal applications - the most common ones being related to sleep and their sedative qualities (a fabulous inclusion in a sleep pillow).

Sleep... sleep sounds good. Here's hoping for more luck with getting some tonight...

13 comments:

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wow. What incredible bounty you have!
And yes, sleep does sound good!! I'm off to get some now!

The Garden Ms. S said...

Rest up - almost time to pick some fruit! Those plums look divine.

Hope your husband is feeling better :)

Jennifer Rose said...

enjoy your sleep and glad to read your husband is better, painful thing to deal with.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Best wishes for complete recovery on all fronts. And I am swooning over your harvest, enjoy all those fresh anti-oxidants !

Vickie said...

It all looks so nice. I knew about espalier for trees but not columnar apple trees. How very interesting.

Jessie said...

Sorry to hear about the hospital visits. Your garden looks sumptuous! :)

tlawwife said...

My husband will do almost anything for chokecherry jelly. My favorite time to eat it is when it is fresh and still runny on a hot roll with lots of butter. So nutritious :)

Laume said...

Those less than sweet berries could also be dried and added to tisanes or teas - you'd reap the antioxidant benefits without the sugar or work involved in putting up jellies.

Ash said...

Wow
I am just stunned by all the luscious fruit you grow so well. My feeble efforts are not worth documenting this year - must try harder in 2010...
xxx L

Soozcat said...

Your garden is awesome.

michelleK said...

Yum! Nothing like being able to bring in fresh produce from the garden. My prune should fruit for the first time this year I can't wait.

Rebecca Bush said...

Are you going to make a sleep pillow with the hops?

Anonymous said...

I think I want an italian plum tree. Elena