Showing posts from October, 2020

Dumb Supper of Samhain

Hello and Happy Halloween or Samhain to you, As this week's weather has been viler than a witch's wet fart, time has been spent indoors delving into the traditions of Samhain (Summer's End), the precursor to Halloween.  The Druids and Ancient Celts started it. October 31 st sounded the welcoming of the harvest and the dark portion of the year. For three days and three nights, the wall between this world and the next was believed to be at its most permeable.  Shape shifting spirits, be they malevolent or benign, could walk amongst men.   These were the days where fairies were vicious, hunting in groups, stealing souls and kidnapping folk. Celts would dress as beasts, with furs, paints, antlers and tails as a means of protection. Mandatory rituals led by Druid priests included animal and human sacrifice (according to ancient Roman writers) and the lighting of a community fire.  [No gardening going on here today] By Medieval times, the idea of a ‘Dumb Supper’ had developed.

Among My Swan

 Hello from mizzly Long Mizzle, There's been some wonderfully moody hues and inky blues washing through the garden this week. The trees are starting to bear their witchy lacework and soon we'll be able to see glimpses of the old graveyard and creek beyond. In exploding colour pallet contrast, the zinnias, 'vanilla ice' sunflowers, dahlias, californian poppies and  river lilies jump out, even if on limited time now. This may be one of the last tomato and pepper harvests from the greenhouse. A rogue mutant snail seems to be trying to finish our harvest off. This lone 'Apache' chilli is reserved for Monsieur's heat bomb challenge. He likes to give it the large that he is now heat tolerant. Much to the ridicule of my hardcore Manc friends, when I first met him twenty years ago, a mild korma was about as much heat as he could handle.  Eager eyed and with great anticipation, the sprogs and I present the chilli to him on a plate and wait for the culinary drama to u

The curious tale of bulbs on water

Hello, glass of hyacinth anyone? It is a wonderful time of year, where my love of horticulture fuses with my mam's passion for glass collecting. Together we start the process, in a chilly October garage, of forcing hyacinth bulbs in vintage  'Bulb Vases'. Fueled by steaming cups of tea (not hyacinths - they are poisonous!), the vases are pulled out of storage and we carefully wash and dry them all. Matching yellow jumper alert! (If we were off to town together, I'd make mam change!) We then fill them with water, almost to the top, but making sure that the bulb we place on the top does not contact with the water, else it rots. This year's bulbs have been treated to two months, in a paper bag, in the fridge. You can buy pre-treated bulbs, but they are more expensive. Look at this lovely plump bulb eager to send its roots out. (Please note, hyacinth bulbs can be a skin irritant to some. I've got old boot skin, so they don't bother me) The vases and bulbs the