It is a beautiful spring in Christchurch and such an exciting time when new leaves and flowers are opening as the minutes tick by. There is a shrub which I have always wanted to grow, Garrya elliptica, and I have two which will go into our woodland garden this spring. An evergreen shrub which is not particularly attractive at the end of winter, it will sit well in spaces towards the back of the garden where it can be viewed from afar. It has long grey-green catkins which sway gently in a winter’s breeze. The garrya was named by the Scottish botanist, David Douglas, in honour of Mr Garry of the Hudson Bay Company. Mr Garry gave Douglas a lot of assistance in his plant hunting expeditions.
Garrya elliptica likes a wall for protection, and preferably a south wall as it’s not fussy about sun. It will also do well as a free-standing shrub in a sheltered position, growing to about two metres.
Photo 1: Hellebores in our garden. M.Long
Photo 2: The potager is well under construction for the growing season. The sweet pea stakes will support the variety of sweet pea called ‘Blue Butterflies’, whilst the rusty iron grids are in place for the fast growing delphiniums, which are also sheltered from most winds in this area. To the right of the sweet pea stakes one of our dwarf peach trees is coming into blossom. In the foreground are penstemons which will be cut hard back about the end of September, when the majority of frosts have passed. M.Long
Photo 3: Another view of the potager with broad beans in the foreground and rhubarb pushing through the pea straw to the right. M.Long
Photo 4: Early September reflections at Frensham. J Nicholas.
Smoked Fish and Greens ‘Quiche’: Marilyn McRae
The silver beet and kale are still cropping well, but how to present them anew?!
Try this crustless quiche and serve it for brunch or as a lunch dish; or take it, on a warm spring day, out into the garden and enjoy a picnic with a warm-from-the-oven cake to finish!
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C and line a pie dish with baking paper.
- Use about 1 1/2 cups of silver beet or kale, stalks removed and finely chop. If you’re using kale, rub between your hands for about a minute to break down the fibres and soften it.
- Put the greens in a large bowl and add 1/4 – 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, the zest of a lemon.
- 1-2 tsps of fresh thyme leaves and a clove of garlic finely chopped. You could also add 1 or 2 spring onions, sliced.
- Grate in a cup of Parmesan and add 1/4 cup of ground almonds, buckwheat flour or spelt flour… or regular flour.
- Combine these ingredients then add 100-200g of white smoked fish of choice, flaked or use smoked salmon).
- Lightly whisk 7 eggs with 1/4 cup milk of choice, season well and stir through the bowl of greens etc.
- Tip into the pie dish, level the top and sprinkle with about 3/4 cup of assorted seeds…sunflowers, black or white sesame seeds, ground almonds or slivered almonds, ground hazelnuts or pumpkin seeds.
- Bake for 30 – 35 minutes until the pie is golden and set and then set aside for 20 minutes before serving.
This is equally delicious hot, warm or cold.
If you have left over grains in the fridge (rice, quinoa, buckwheat etc) add them along with the cheese and flour. Try different cheeses… regular cheddar, crumbled feta or ricotta etc.
If liked you could serve the ‘quiche’ with a tomato-based sauce or salsa or perhaps thick yoghurt mixed with horseradish.
Our relaxed country garden started twenty nine years ago. In the early days I had very little gardening experience and no vision for the site, but an interest in plants was quickly developing. Over the years, with much trial and error, a garden has emerged which we and our visitors do enjoy.
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139 Old Tai Tapu Rd, Christchurch 8025, New Zealand
+64 3 3228 061