I’ve mentioned my garden diary over on The Landing Book Shelves but I suppose it should now more properly be called ‘our’ garden diary. Furthermore, the garden diary is into its second volume at this stage (a rather smart Paperblank journal from He Who Put The Shelves Up) so we’re heading towards a trilogy of diaries at least. It’s fascinating to read back over several years worth of gardening activities, some of which was indoor gardening as I lived in a flat for about ten years. The only thing I regret about keeping the diary is that I wasn’t more systematic in maintaining plant and growing records. Some plants or seeds make an appearance and then disappear without trace (slugs, green-fly, who knows?)
The first volume of the diary dates back to 1990 or 1991, with the first definite date being an entry for July – August 1991 on page 33 (yes, I numbered the pages at some stage). I’m no longer sure what I had in mind for the book when, on the first page I wrote down a list of suggestions for plants to grow indoors. Whatever I might have intended, I think the book just evolved into a garden diary cum notebook over time. Anyway, some of my growing indoors ideas were herbs such as coriander, mustard, cress, dill and rosemary. I apparently had a taste for the exotic, having jotted down pineapple sage, dwarf golden sage and lemon thyme.
The page ends with a cryptic exclamation to ’See Pip Book!’ which refers to a book that I bought around that time, all about growing plants from fruit pips and stones. Over the years, I have attempted avocado and peach stones as well as apple and various citrus pips. I have to admit to varying degrees with these, though probably orange and lemon pips have been the most rewarding. I am in no doubt that avocado stones have a mind of their own when it comes to growth patterns. You need a firm hand with them or else all is lost.
Following on from the first page, are several pages devoted to herbs cultivation. Some of my entries are hand written and some are paragraphs cut, I think, from gardening magazines. In browsing through the herbs, I find that the first herb is borage. I never did grow any, though Verity and I have been thinking recently about adding some to our herb collection:
“The leaves of borage, which have a distinct cucumber flavour, can be used in salad when they are young and not coarse. You can boil the leaves, or make fritters from them. The pretty blue flowers can be sprinkled over salads and look good in long summer drinks, especially Pimms, and can be put into ice-making trays and frozen for use in winter.”
A recent Sunday Times magazine feature mentions that borage leaves can be chopped into yoghurt or cream to make a dip, which I assume would be a version of a tzatziki recipe. As there’s about twenty years between both of these borage related cuttings, I feel that the time has come actually to grow the plant. The question that is now distracting me is whether I should stick the more recent borage cutting into the first volume for continuity’s sake or enter it into the newer book for accuracy’s sake. I’ll think about it, but in the meantime I should go hunting for borage seeds amongst the seed catalogues and then optimistically research some borage recipes.
We’d love to hear about your experiences with garden diaries, herb growing, or indeed any sort of growing!
Borage picture credit: Wikipedia, with thanks.