Let me start with some recipes I tried out recently. Firstly a soup, an experiment in using beetroot leaves, with the beet bulb, along with red onions (colour themed) and a few available garden greens including coriander. Worked a treat, delicious and almost no cost.
I also discovered baharat, a Middle East Spice mix. I found it in a recipe for green lentils with potatoes and spinach. I followed Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipe, although I used ground spices: 2 teaspoon cumin; 1 teaspoon black pepper, coriander, cardamom; half teaspoon cloves, allspice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Keeps quite well in screw topped jar, probably longer if ground freshly.
Unfortunately, I missed Tayport Open Gardens, but did Scottish Wildlife Trust day at Tentsmuir. I have always loved the place, so it was a good opportunity to learn and see more of what was under my nose, and I did! Among the plants we saw was the Sea Aster and the wonderfully named Restharrow. There was also an orchid – Autumn Ladies’ Tresses – another great name, like lots of wild plants, at least their common names. The picture is of a lone white one but further into the woodland there were lots gleaming in the gloom. There were also striped caterpillars, jet black with yellow and orange stripes, which live on yellow ragwort as do the spectacular Cinnabar Moth they turn into, although none was showing that day. But I did spot a dark bordered Copper Butterfly, it flitted off before I could take a picture of it. Heard grasshoppers and picnicked with one on my knee!
The previous day we were walking near the Lomonds, lots of Campanulas, the Scottish Bluebell, which is such a beautiful blue. I think I was told the large wasp is a Tree Wasp – it had amazing markings. The farmer had planted large areas with Phacelia and other pollinator-friendly plants so there were great numbers of insects including butterflies and bees. I also managed to spot Burnished Brass Moth while my companions were admiring something else, but again I have failed to transfer a reasonable picture from my camera!
A hot sunny period preceded Newport & Wormit in Bloom’s Beautiful Fife judging. We have a red, white and blue planting by the Tay bridges to commemorate 100 years since the founding of the RAF with their Rondel shape. The painted tree branches from Tayfield Estate have been hung with pottery stars made in Newport & Wormit Primary schools. These represent the men and boys killed in the War that ended in 1918, also 100 years ago. A sad reminder of how some things were.
Finally, the Comma Butterfly in my daughter’s garden, I wasn’t too sure but we identified it in a lovely informative old paperback.