|~ Dew be-jewelled grass seedhead ~|
Given the leaden skies and storms we've had over the last week, I'm treasuring every sunny day as it happens. We had a beautiful day yesterday but I was indoors at a workshop all day. Grrrr. Luckily, the sun is also shining today (my one free day this week) and I was determined to go out to find rosehips as I've spied some beauties as I've been walking around the parish - and there's a delicious sounding recipe for Rosehip Jelly in this month's Grow Your Own mag. (And I've run out of home-made rosehip cordial.)
So, off to Parliament Hill Fields on Hampstead Heath first thing this morning, having already gathered a half kilo of hips from bushes overhanging the streets of Kentish Town at dawn. It was still early so I wore wellies as I knew the long grass would still be wet. What I wasn't expecting was how beautiful everything looked in the sun. There were a few runners and dog-walkers about, other than that I felt I had the heath to myself; an extraordinary thing in the middle of London, and very peaceful. I was completely in the moment, camera in hand, focussing on the tiny details and enjoying the warm sun on my back.
With the light bouncing off the camera screen, it was hard to see my photos outdoors; back inside an hour later, I was very pleased with several of my shots, especially the one above. I've been a bit of wreck this last week (strep throat, eye infection, cold - all now nearing the end) and that's affected my photos. They've all been a bit uninspired. Today, though, I feel I've started to get my mojo (whatever that is!) back.
With the dew to inspire me, I photographed glittering grass stalks, thistles that look like sea anemones ...
... and the sun shining through grass seedheads:
Finally, I reached the bank of rose hips and set to work. This is the first year that I've foraged for rose hips and I'm amazed at how many there are! Is this normal, I wonder?
I gathered a kilo of hips by cutting carefully; there were so many, both single hips and in bunches, it hardly looked as though I'd taken any! I took my secateurs to reduce being scratched (mature hips have very effective protection by way of their thorny stems!); they're also handy for reaching branches slightly too high! Even with using these, my fingers smelled of rosehips on the walk home, a reminder of the goodies to come.
I'm saving the task of removing the stems until later in the day as I want to make the most of this lovely sunshine to get into the veg garden. I have to dig up the strawberries on ground level to make room for some rhubarb plants that I've grown from seed. I'll save a few strawberries as I want to give them their own raised bed next year but all the others will be .... ssshhh, say it quietly! .... composted.
I'm a bit off strawberries after this year (who knew that slugs were so fond of them?) but the children enjoy them. I hoping my redcurrant bush will fruit next year (its third year) and I want to get a couple of dwarf apple trees and some blueberries for the veg patch. Some of the herbs will be relocated in this process - something I'm looking forward to as I love to move things around!
Hopefully I'll have time to post the results of my kitchen efforts with the rosehips fairly soon; I'll certainly be posting again later today with my Capel plant ID - I only knew one of the plants this week, the cardoon, so will have to work hard for my full marks this week!