Blackberries and greenberries aka Morelle verte (Solanum opacum)
The harvest is so bountiful this year. It’s no surprise really, considering the weather we’ve had. Dry and hot, then wet, followed again by heat. The plants love it. I collected enough herbs from our community garden plot yesterday to cover the kitchen floor. Literally. I then spent hours preparing it all to preserve by varying methods. Let’s just say, we’re not going to be short on herbs this winter.
If you’re looking for a way to use up some of those baseball bat-sized zucchinis, I highly recommend this zucchini bread recipe from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks. It is a revelation. We’ve made it several times, altering the optional ingredients, and it comes out perfect and incredibly delicious every single time. I will never use another zucchini bread recipe again. Go make some now. You will not regret it.
I made this last batch using a giant roll of cinnamon I brought back from Dominica. Look at the size of it against a typical supermarket piece! In fact, the small, locally purchased piece is probably not cinnamon, but cassia, a cinnamon substitute more commonly found in North American supermarkets. Grinding that big piece of cinnamon was very satisfying, the smell so wonderfully sweet and aromatic. I love that every time I use this spice — which judging by the size of it will be for a very long time — I will be taken back to our trip.
What are you making with your bounty?
The blackberry bushes have been incredibly prolific at the Community Garden this year. I’d swear the plants have doubled in size, each vine exploding with fat, juicy fruit. I had thought that perhaps our cold winters curbed their invasiveness but I’m starting to discover that they can take over in this climate too… albeit somewhat less insanely than in temperate climates like San Francisco. I have never and don’t expect to see blackberries like that here in Southern Ontario. Those bushes are the kind of plants that inspire cheesy horror films… gaining ground while suckers like me naively hang about gorging themselves, even pushing further into the bush in a greedy attempt to get at the best, ripest berries before being sucked in alive. Bwahhahaha!
I’m currently in Northern California for the Blogher Conference. I’ve been to these parts once before but the massiveness of the plants, most especially the invasives really stand out this time.
I assumed this patch of renegade nasturtiums was a random fluke. Until I turned the corner. And the next one. And the next. And then I saw the hillside covered in nasturtium flowers of every colour with leaves the size of dinner plates. No one warned me that here in California nasturtiums will have you for breakfast.
This is what happens when radishes roam free — all plant no radish. At least the flowers are tasty.
I will admit that I did notice the fennel last time. It’s hard not to since the stuff is everywhere! First I came upon this fennel forest and then I noticed….
…BLACKBERRIES! I proceeded to gorge myself on the ripest of which there were many. And by many I mean enough to keep the multitudes bloated on blackberry pie. There have been past discussions on the forums describing the impenetrable invasiveness of blackberries in the North West. I want you all to know that I get it now. For real.
You have to see how jade grows in Southern Ontario to understand why this scene is such a marvel. Our sad little plants live in sad little pots on window ledges where they remain sad, and little for decades.
I have to admit that it was a 1997 trip to San Francisco that first inched geraniums off of my hit list. Until that point I was only familar with the pathetic little annuals peddled through school fundraisers and shotgun planted into every maple leaf motifed public garden across Ontario. These twisty, tangled sculptures are a whole lot more interesting.
The first thing I would do with a garden in this climate is grow a HUGE rosemary bush. Even the snails that eat the rosemary bushes are cool.
Aeoniums rate high on my list of favourite succulents so to find one this beautiful and in bloom no-less was a huge thrill.