Spring colour

The weather is beginning to warm up as the days get longer, a lot is going on in the garden, the Camellias are blooming and  brighten up a shady spot. They love acid soil with plenty of humus, take cuttings after flowering from new semi-ripe growth and place in a designated acid soil bed in dappled shade they will take many months to root.

 This japonica planted next to the Viburnum which is also flowering now, and fills the air with it’s heavy sweet scent. This variety likes acid woodland soil with good drainage, is evergreen, and thrives in deep shade.Another great prolific flowering climber is Clematis armandii, This native of China clambers up over 20 feet and produces a canopy of snow white flowers with a subtle vanilla scent, it’s long glossy leaves also have interest. It loves it’s base in deep shade under this Rhodedendron.

Another Acid loving plant in bud now is the Blueberry. It responds to a good mulch of well rotted manure in autumn.

This well known superfood, has numerous health benefits, very rich in vitamin C and K, important in skin and gum regeneration and blood clotting. High in antioxidants, known in cancer prevention and oxidative stress like exercise, helps to lower cholesterol.

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Horseradish western ‘Wasabi’ superfood.

This spicy member of the Brassica family, Cabbage, radish, broccoli, etc. Is grown for its hot pungent root. It can grow up to 4.5 feet with large wide leaves, and small white flowers on spikes. It is a perennial, and needs winter dormancy. When the leaves die down the root is harvested for culinary uses, the crown can be replanted to grow again, in fact it can be quite invasive, it grows in any type of moist rich soil.

The grated peeled root, should be used immediately or kept refrigerated for a couple of weeks. Make some horseradish cream with creme fresh, lemon, salt and plenty of finely grated root, it goes great with roasts, hams, cooked veg, mash.

Add it to mayo, ketchup or mustard, to give them a kick. It’s great with smoked salmon or trout, and is an essential ingredient in Gravlax curing preserve, with salt, sugar, pepper, lemon peel, dill, grated raw beetroot, juniper berries, or whatever takes your fancy, add it to raw salmon fillet, and press in the refrigerator for a few days till cured

Really we should eat this superfood more often, make tea from the flowers for a cold or the root to loosen a dry cough. Grind up the root to a pulp and apply it sparingly to aching joints, always try a small amount first in case of sensitivity. The raw leaves also have pain relieving properties. Compounds called glucosinolates have been discovered in a much higher concentration (10X) in horseradish than other Brassicas and to have anti cancer and detoxifying properties, against harmful chemicals.

A rub made with olive oil is great for warming up cold hands and feet.