My Father liked to grow roses.When I was still in my first decade we lived in the county of Surrey in England,there they said the sandy soil was particularly good for roses.
One of his favourites was a rambler that he grew from a cutting taken from a bush belonging to his Mother,there it transformed the small city garden into a mass of mauve.
The cutting grew and after a few years it was covering our high wooden fence.
Everybody commented on the colour.Nobody had seen such a rose bush,full of clusters of small, filled roses, varying in colour from mauve over violet to splatters of deep purple and blue.
We had to move to the west coast,so some of the rose was lifted and it came along too. It flourished there despite the stony soil. My parents moved twice again before they eventually
retired and went back south. With the rose of course.
When I married and settled in Switzerland they brought a piece of the root over for us.
It has been growing in our garden ever since.
I had never seen another one like it.Roses don’t grow well in Switzerland,but last summer we went to a gardeners near the German border, and there I saw it,
“Veilchen Blau” covering an old rusty arch.
It had apparently been bred by a German rose grower in 1909. How it came to be in my Grandmothers garden could possibly be an interesting story.
At Christmas we went over to Canada to visit our eldest daughter and her husband. Yesterday I spoke to them on the phone.
Guess what they had just planted in their garden.
Yesterday I saw a Dandelion in bloom for the first time this year.
What a promise it made of warm weather and blue skies.
It reminded me of my childhood when we played in the fields and got the milk of the plant all over our hands and clothes.
Our Mothers were angry because the stains wouldn’t come out, and we feared that we would really wet the bed-for that’s what they said about picking Dandelions.
We didn’t have Coke in those days,but my Grandmother used to buy something that looked like it from the Lemonade Man who came around twice a week. It was called Dandelion and Burdock and I thought it was horrid.
I knew then that Dandelions were not poisonous,but I certainly didn’t want to swallow them in any form.
Now I know that there is hardly a plant growing in our fields that is more versatile, and like many spring flowers detoxifying.
From the first leaves you can make a delicate salad.Cooked the leaves are a bit like Spinach.
If you have a lot of patience you can even make a type of sparkling wine.
Roast the roots in Autumn and you can use them to replace Coffee grains. You can also make a kind of savoury paste if after grating them you mix them with Olive Oil.
The flowers are also known as “Poor man’s Saffron” and gives a Risotto a new note.
Dandelions are probably the first flower that children learn to love. Not only for their colour in a bunch but as a plaything when they are in seed.
Did you know that the seeds of a “Parachute” if blown into the air can travel up to 10 Kilometers.
Just the things for gardeners.