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Archive for the ‘Tomatoes’ Category

Indigo Rose tomatoesI’ve been watching this tomato for a while now (Indigo Rose seeds available from Plant World Seeds), and many neighbours and passersby have been commenting on these alluring fruits too. They seemed resolutely black and rock ‘ard up until a day or two ago, but now things are changing. Michelle at Veg Plotting luckily wrote about how to tell when this black tomato is ripe, so I’ve been patiently waiting for any sign of red.

Indigo Rose tomatoes closeAnd here it is. The green underside has slowly but surely started to redden up. What a gorgeous thing!

On eating, this, sadly, isn’t the most tasty tomato I’ve ever tried. Rather bland and with a mushy, watery texture. My favourite tomato ever is Ananas Noir (freshly plucked last summer when holidaying in the Loire) and it’s a hard act to follow, but I may well grow this variety again, just for its amazing good looks alone.

yellow tomatotesMeanwhile, I’ve been tucking into these delicious ‘Golden Crown’ cherry tomatoes, supplied by Sea Spring Seeds for lunches and dinners and these fruits have been remarkably sweet and full of flavour. A definite for next year.

Black cherry‘Black Cherry’ (more of a muddy red), also from Sea Spring Seeds has also been a little disappointing in taste, so the search continues for a truly delicious ‘black’ variety that will sweeten-up well when grown outdoors in our northern clime.

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Tomatoes at Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

I love visiting gardens, but it’s not often that a garden completely exceeds all your expectations. However, the field of tomatoes at Château de la Bourdaisière in the Loire really took my breath away and I’m now yearning for a larger, sunnier garden (preferably walled) to try out a fair few of the 630 varieties that were on offer. Yes, six hundred and thirty!

Toamto Beams Yellow Pear

I can’t say that I counted them all, but there were row upon row of beautifully trained (and labelled) fruits in all shapes, sizes and colours and although I try to avoid dumping loads of gratuitous photos, I’m going to have to share a fair few pics of cultivars that caught my eye. Above is the mini light bulb shaped Beam’s Yellow Pear. Not quite as tasty as its natty looks suggest, but I’d be very happy for it to grace my salad bowl any summery day for its form alone.

Toamto Banana LegsYellow tomatoes kept on catching my eye as we gently wandered around the garden. Banana Legs was firm and delicious and available from Nicky’s Seeds, (who stock around 150 varieties of tomatoes). Definitely a good UK seed supplier to start with if you’re looking to try out a few different tomato varieties.

Toamto Black Zebra

Striped Black Zebra was good and tasty, as were many of the larger ‘black’ varieties. Without a greenhouse, it can be a bit of a gamble as to whether the larger black varieties will ripen in the UK, but one of the cooks recommended Ananas Noir, a big meaty brute of a fruit, and of the varieties we tasted, this was the most delicious. Also on next year’s list.

Tomato Veronique

Loved the look of Veronique,

Tomato Grinta at Chateau de la Bourdaisiereand Grinta.

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Sumptuous curves of Amsterdam

Inspired by Wellywoman’s Golden Welly awards, I thought I’d have a look back over the year and round-up some of my favourite horticultural experiences. So in no particular order (other than what first pops into my head)…..

On the third weekend every June, usually hidden Canal Gardens in Amsterdam are open to the public, so I popped over to Holland with fellow blogger Veronica (you can just see her there in the background) to have a look. (In 2013 Open Canal gardens are 14-16 June ).I have to admit, the omnipresent box parterres were slightly overwhelming by the end of the weekend, but I loved the giant curvaceous sculptural box forms in this garden at Kerkstraat 67.

Sumptuously curvy hedging in Amsterdam 2

Impeccably maintained, this garden was the most inspirational by far out of the 25 gardens or so that we packed in over the two days.

pots in Amsterdam 2

I haven’t been to Amsterdam for years, and I’d forgotten what a fantastic place it is just to hang out. And maybe the real horticultural treat for me over the weekend was not so much the canal gardens (although some were stunning), but the great planting that you see in the streets throughout this beautiful city.

pots in Amsterdam_

At every turn, pots were bursting with blooms,

Streets of Amsterdam

and roses adorned all manner of objects, seemingly springing out of deep concrete. Amazing!

De Kas Restaurant in Amsterdam

To complete our horticulturally themed weekend, we dined at De Kas restaurant, a short tram ride just outside the city centre. It’s a fabulous spot. Vegetable beds surround an enormous revamped municipal greenhouse and dining in this open airy structure added to the joy of eating their delicious meals, where fresh produce from the gardens is used as much as possible.

Black Krim tomatoes

Back in Blighty, I know it wasn’t a great year for tomatoes, but Black Krim, a beefsteak variety which I’d tasted the previous summer at Victoriana Nurseries , was another curvaceous delight. It looks wild and tastes great. Really meaty and rich. I’m definitely growing these again next year. (more…)

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