The Last Shall be First

last&firstThe last wet few days have meant I could concentrate on my test paper marking, but still with occasional rambles to restore my soul. I braved the afternoon’s dampness yesterday to venture down to the greenhouse, where I was as snug as the proverbial bug in a rug with the door closed. There I potted on some ‘Gardeners’ Delight’ tomatoes (still relatively small plants despite my starting them off earlier than I usually manage),  pricked out the Tagetes ‘Paprika’ that were so successful last year, and sowed some more salad leaves and rocket with newly purchased packets of seed.

DSCN2082 It was impossible to miss the rhubarb forcing (of course) its way out of the rhubarb forcer as it has confronted me every time I have gone to the greenhouse for the last few weeks, rather defeating the object of forcing it in the first place, so I finally took a knife to it and released it from its prison. Traditionally I believe you are not meant to cut too many stalks at one time, but I wanted to sample the relative tastes of forced and unforced stalks and there is plenty more that wasn’t incarcerated. The bundle is now being dispersed in a range of ways: some to the Golfer’s golfing friend, some (as I write) in the oven within a rhubarb cake recipe from Croft Garden‘s kitchen, some for a crumble and the remainder to accompany my muesli for the next few days.

DSCN2085Whilst taking the less damp foliage route to and from the greenhouse I had to walk through the rose garden and decided that it would be worth the effort to move the step up to the ‘bus shelter’ back so it didn’t project onto the path as much, as it currently does restrict access. The ‘bus shelter’ was in situ when the rose garden was relocated here so the step was an add-on, but I suppose in the midst of all the physical effort at the time I decided to take this easier option. In fact it’s not such a big job at all – and a lump hammer will soon put paid to the raised part where the new step will be inset. Watch this space!

Whilst mentally logging this task I also surveyed the progress of the roses and, already having wondered which would be the first to flower this year, noticed the first bud to show colour – would you believe it?! Not only was ‘Zéphirine Drouhin’ still flowering in December last year (above left) it couldn’t wait any longer to start flowering this year (right).

Half-heartedly searching last night for a solution to the picture editing problem I have been encountering on WordPress I wondered if it really would make a difference if I tried a different internet browser – I downloaded Firefox and used this to access the internet instead of Internet Explorer and – Bingo! Who would have thought it would be so easy – and, more to the point, why cannot WordPress and IE sort this glitch out between them? After all, they are the experts whereas I learn what I need to learn as I go along – but Hurrah, it’s sorted now anyway.

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19 Responses to The Last Shall be First

  1. croftgarden says:

    Impressive rhubarb – hope the cake turned out ok

    • Cathy says:

      Hmm, it needs tweaking for me. I only had an 8″ tin and it was nowhere near cooked after the 50 mins, so put it back for half an hour and it was still a little damp in the middle. Admittedly one of the eggs was HUGE (as our chucks don’t lay standard sizes) so perhaps that didn’t help. Nice taste and interesting texture though. I think I will work out a half-quantity recipe and try again. Thanks for the recipe, Chris – there aren’t enough rhubarb recipes around!

      • croftgarden says:

        This is a moist squiggy cake so don’t worry about a soggy middle. Cooking times are always a nightmare as each oven is different! I’m pleased you tried it as after celeriac soup it is the most popular recipe in the Croft Kitchen

        • Cathy says:

          Squiggy?!! Great word!! The cake has gone down well with the eaters, anyhow, squiggy or squidgy or not. I am pleased you are getting cooking visitors to your blog as well as gardening and wildlife visitors – it’s good to share our favourite recipes.

  2. Pauline says:

    Your rose almost looks frosted or maybe dipped in egg white then sugar! Fantastic rhubarb, won’t you be freezing any for winter crumbles?

    • Cathy says:

      That was the December picture, Pauline, and it certainly did look as if it had been deliberately frosted! I have plenty more rhubarb to freeze, don’t worry!

  3. Annette says:

    Dear Cathy, I’m presently thinking of moving into the greenhouse, nice and warm there (33°C) and I will stay there until spring comes back. What do you think? 😉 I’m mad about rhubarb, just made a cake today, often make crumble too. My plant here is still small though but I picked some in my Swiss garden at the weekend. Delight!

    • Cathy says:

      Do you have another garden, Annette, as you mention your Swiss one? No, I think I would choose our sitooterie in preference to the greenhouse – and several friends have tried to make me an offer for it! Do tell us about your rhubarb recipe.

      • Annette says:

        Presently I’ve still two gardens…until I shall be able to sell the one in Switzerland. What is a “sitooterie”??? Crumble is very easy – just cover the chopped rhubarb with crumble (butter, flour, almonds and cinammon) and bake at 150° for about 30 min. Voilà 🙂 Simple things are the best (mostly that is).

        • Cathy says:

          How far away is your Switzerland garden? Are you able to maintain it in the interim? Did you not mention a rhubarb ‘cake’, rather than crumble?

          • Annette says:

            Sorry, Cathy, did wonder why you asked me for the receipe for crumble ;)… My Swiss garden is almost 1000 km away, quite stressful as you can imagine. Will share the receipe of the cake soon via my blog, promise! Have a lovely day.

          • Cathy says:

            Thanks Annette. Do you miss your other garden , or is your heart where you are now/

          • Annette says:

            Hi Cathy, my heart is definitely here now :), firmly rooted I dare say, I’ve always said I’ve more than one garden in me but I feel this is my best one!

  4. Rhubarb on muesli? Is it stewed first?

    • Cathy says:

      P-lease Jason! Yes, I stew it first, although the Golfer has been known to eat a stick of raw rhubarb, despite having a really sweet tooth. No accounting for taste!

  5. Melissa says:

    WOW those roses look so pretty. I love the light frost on the one from this winter. It is just beautiful.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Melissa – I was so pleased to find the rose when it was frosted like that, as it made such a beautiful photograph.

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