By Jerri-Lynn Scofield, who has worked as a securities lawyer and a derivatives trader. She is currently writing a book about textile artisans.
It’s a bright sunny day here in Brooklyn, and our roses are beginning to come into bloom – a welcome sight. Compiling links yesterday and today was an especially depressing experience. Cultivating my garden provides some distraction from the news cycle’s horrors.
I wanted to upload some photos of our roses but I neglected to charge my camera’s battery. Oops! So words must suffice.
In our front yard, a wild rose self-seeded and is flourishing in a difficult spot, under an overhanging holly that we’ve pruned to a toadstool shape. The clouds of tiny white roses resemble strawberry blossoms; later in the season they turn into rose hips. These flowers exude a pleasant, gentle fragrance
Two types of David Austin roses that I planted are now also in bloom – Graham Thomas, a yellow variety, and Abraham Darby, a soft salmon pink with a heavenly fragrance. I once visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s rose garden during the height of the season and Abraham Darby’s fragrance was the one I liked best.
Still other rose bushes are about to bloom, some of which are new to our garden. Last summer, Maria, our housekeeper, rescued two bushes that a neighbor of hers was throwing away. I have no idea what varieties these mystery roses are, or even their color. The bushes are covered with buds and have settled into their new homes: two large terra cotta pots that sit on our stoop, flanking our front door. Two other bushes are lush with vegetation, but buds have yet to appear.
That’s it for the front yard. In the back, a huge Zephirine Drouhin rose is covered with dozens of lipstick pink flowers. I planted this bush when we first moved in and I selected this variety because it tolerates shade. In the intervening years, the two trees that once shaded our garden have died, and the space is now a sunny oasis. This rose bush tolerated shade but it’s now thriving in full sunshine. Great color, nice fragrance, and it’s a thornless bush. This old French variety will continue to flower throughout the summer if I’m vigilant about deadheading the spent blooms. It’s a vigorous plant that can be trained as a climber. I’m hopeless at pruning roses button matter. This bush just blooms and blooms and blooms.
The first flush of blooms is always the most floriferous. Our Zephirine Drouhin bush in full flower makes me want to break out in song.
We also have a couple of Abraham Darby bushes now blooming in the back garden. A thicket of pale pink pompom roses has yet to bloom. Pretty in pink.
The roses in the back garden start to come into their own just as the bluebells fade away. For about two weeks – after the daffodils and tulips bloom – the garden is replete with bluebells. I didn’t plant these; they’e a legacy from one of our house’s previous owners.
Later today or tomorrow, I’ll putter a bit in both the back garden and the front yard. I have some daylillies that need planting. Also, three new roses need to be planted in large terra cotta pots: Margaret Merril, a white rose renowned for its scent, and two striped roses, orange and white Alfred Sisley, and purple and white Variegata di Bologna. As for the front yard, I’m going to sow some morning glory seeds in window boxes my husband made and train the plants to climb up the iron grillwork that protects our windows.
The weather’s perfect for the summer’s first barbecue. I think Yves mentioned that grilled fish was on her Memorial Day menu. We’re having burgers. Just the ticket to kick off the summer. I start with a special mix from my local butcher, Pasisano’s mix. Very flavourful and makes an especially juicy burger. We like our burgers well- seasoned. To the ground beef, I add a wee bit of salt, and a healthy mature of some red pepper – either urfa pepper, or smoked paprika or chipotle powder. I grate in some cheese – whatever I have on hand. I’ve found that the texture is best if you don’t overwork the meat. Just add in the grated cheese and spices, perhaps a beaten egg, shape into patties, and grill on our Big Green Egg, over hardwood charcoal. I like my burgers rare, my husband prefers his medium. I’ll grill some onions and red peppers and serve the burgers with guacamole on the side. It’s far too early to get decent local tomatoes. so we’ll do without. For dessert, I think I’ll bake a blueberry tart. Simple, easy food. Comfort food actually. For not so comfortable times.
Readers? What’s cooking?
Writing this post pushed the horrors of the current news cycle to one side for the moment.
Happy Memorial Day! Wishing readers a pleasant and relaxing holiday.