Autumn days

The misty morning convinced me that autumn had finally arrived. The rain too has started but more in a drizzlying sort of half-hearted, mean-spirited, grudging manner.

In anticipation of a better rainfall I decided to sort out my pots of bulbs.

In Autumn 2020 I tried planting a layered pot with bulbs to come through in succession in the spring of 2021. I was very pleased with the effect and left the bulbs in place to see if they would reappear this year. They did, but the Muscari was over successful and I preferred the more orderly first year appearance.

The crocus and tulips have more than doubled and the muscari were so numerous that they were transferred straight away to the bottom of the garden which is very inhospitable in the summer but hopefully the muscari will invade and thrive in the spring.

I have no sunny borders left to plant these bulbs so they have been deposited at random in a hole in the grass near our old plum tree. The theory is that they will flower in spring and then be cut down by the lawnmower once the leaves die back. Time will tell if this will work.

In the meantime, I have ordered a new set of bulbs for my now vacated tub and I look forward to planting those.

On a mission to sort things out, I decided to find a better place for my “Poire de Terre” (Smallanthus sonchifolius) that had been languishing for a couple of years.

Indeed, it did look quite like potato (pomme de terre, in French) except that the roots were more pear shaped rather than apple shaped. I saved a couple to cook before I planted the rest in a better position. Perhaps, I should have waited until I tasted them before replanting them as I cannot recommend them as a culinary plant. Has anyone else tried them?

I was on a roll here and my next victim was my liquorice that had been growing peacefully, untouched for a few years but was now throwing up new stems that I wanted to transplant and taste!

This was all I felt I could spare to put under my teeth. I think it has had a difficult life in my dry sandy soil. As I chewed the root hopefully, I could detect the same flavour that drifted up through the misty past from my childhood when we bought the roots from the chemist shop (pharmacy in the U.S.). The roots I had chewed as a child were thicker and more yellow inside, still with more water the plant may improve.

Overall I think I am better sticking to growing tomatoes and broad beans.

16 thoughts on “Autumn days

  1. Janine

    Hi Both,
    We have experienced an extended summer here just south of Vancouver BC. I am still picking tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, aubergine and cucumbers.
    The bees are bringing in pollen but have definitely slowed in raising brood. The length of day more of a factor than temperature no doubt.
    Hope you had a good season with your bees. Always enjoy your posts.
    Take care,
    Regards Janine

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are also having a strange extended summer with some days going up to the high 20 degrees. The lack of rain meant we had a poor return in the vegetable garden. Our honey harvest was low but the bees themselves are doing well and do not seem to have suffered from the high summer temperatures. So far the dry weather has meant less Asian hornets which has helped the bees. However, it has not been cold enough to destroy the nests, so they have time to make a come back attack. Amelia


  2. Licorice has been elusive! Not only have I not been able to grow it from seed, but I have never seen it growing anywhere here. I should try it again. It is frustrating that something that is so familiar elsewhere is completely lacking here.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I suspect that if it performed reliably here, it might not be so absent. I mean, if it could be grown here, someone else would have tried it by now. However, it is one of those species that is familiar and appreciated in other regions. I want to see what all the fuss is about. Anise used to be naturalized here. That is what we knew as licorice.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Anise, fennel and dill used to grow in similar areas. If I followed the aroma of the anise, I would likely find fennel as well, and perhaps dill. It seems that dill became rare a long time ago. Fennel still grew in roadside ditches in the 1990s, but seemed to be rare shortly afterward. Anise is now rare as well, although I did see quite a bit of it along the Guadalupe River in San Jose just last spring. I do miss them. I would like to grow fennel in the garden, but will not likely grow anise.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s an enchanting photo of your misty garden! So pretty. Your post is reminding me to tend to my bulbs–another thing going on the to-do list. … I’ve heard the Yacón (you call it poire de terre) tastes better if left on a windowsill for a few days to cure. It gets sweeter. Not sure it will ever compete with the flavor of a good potato, but I always like growing novelty starches. How neat that you are growing licorice! I’ve never tried that. Hope we both get some good rainfall soon! 🙂 -lisa

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Poire de terre is new to me but I have found I prefer the good old potato to any experiments after trying the Jerusalem artichokes! Licorice roots are also not very enticing to me, but I AM intending to try some horseradish roots next spring if my plant looks big enough!

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