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Eleni and her trboncinoThis year we gave away Tromboncino courgette seeds as part of our community veg growing project. They’re a big hit.

Now Eleni, above, is no novice grower. She knows her veg. She’s grown this summer squash before. But this year she’s gone wild and let it grow and grow. She’s knocked twice to invite me round to see it.

She knows it’s past eating, but she doesn’t care. She just likes seeing it grow.

Tromboncino courgette

Meanwhile, neighbours next door shared a splendid meal last night with said vegetable. They sliced it with a potato peeler into thin, flat, pasta-like strips and when slightly cooked, mixed it with tomatoes, garlic, spicy mini meatballs made from chorizo sausages and some oricchiette (ear shaped) pasta. It looked amazing and tasted delicious.

There’s nothing like growing your own.

Loquats in London

Loquats ripening on the tree-2In November, I was bowled over by the most delicious scent from the blossom on my loquat (Eriobotyra japonica) tree. And now, as I gaze out of my back door, I’m further delighted by the sight of so much ripe fruit. Did I just not notice this fruit before or is it a combination of a hot summer, followed by a very mild winter that has supplied such an abundant crop?

Never having eaten one of my loquats, I wasn’t sure how to tell if it was ripe or not. The fruit felt softish though, so I gave it a go. Loquats are about the same size as an apricot, but the flesh is more watery, more akin to a pear. The less ripe fruits are quite tangy and sharp, a bit like a grapefruit (in taste but not in texture), and they’re sweeter the riper they get. I am wondering though if our summers here would ever be hot enough for a whole tree of very ripe fruit. It’s an interesting (if not compelling) taste, very juicy, and I’ll continue to nibble a few more fruits to see if they get any sweeter still.

Loquat and almond cakeIn the meantime though, friend Catherine has found another, rather more splendid way to eat them. She recently noticed a very promising  apricot and almond upside-down cake on Diana Henry’s website (such luck!) and has made it her own using some of the remaining loquats (and soft brown sugar instead of caster sugar). What a bloomin’ treat! Slices just melt in your mouth and the slightly tangy taste of the loquats contrasts beautifully with the honey in the recipe, making it difficult not to polish the whole lot off in one sitting. Hurrah for Catherine being on hand to whip up such a fantastic dessert, and I’m now trawling Diana Henry’s website for more sumptuous recipes.

P.s. Previous post about delicious scent of loquat blossom.

 

Geranium psilostemonI’ve always found Geranium psilostemon a vibrant, uplifting plant to have in the garden. Fellow blogger Veronica visited recently, and wrote a lovely post appreciating the combination of this intense pink against the acid yellow of Euphorbia palustris, now happily self-seeded throughout the garden.

Geranium psilostemon sport

Sipping an early morning coffee, I was delighted to see that this Geranium had also started dotting itself around, but although retaining the same colour and dark inner markings, the petals have morphed into an entirely different shape.

I’m completely charmed by this variant. Gaps between the petals, accentuated by the now revealed green sepals, add an even more joyous nature to this already lively bloom. I’m going to see if I can take some cuttings as I love this new form and try to remember to collect seeds for further experimentation.

v-pretty-arbour-in-july-e1396277268540-1

On a rather different, but equally exciting note, The Chelsea Fringe continues this week up until Sunday 8th. There are still plenty of horticultural happenings to go and visit (mostly free!) and I’m particularly looking forward to visiting Wendy Shillam’s rooftop garden which is open Thursday 5th, Friday 6th and Saturday 7th June, 1-6pm. She’s growing oodles of veg right in the heart of London (Great Titchfield Street) and I can’t wait to see it all!

 

 

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