episode 2 | show notes & advice
The classic late-winter ornamental crops such as snowdrops and rosemary are beautiful additions to any garden, and also provide a vital source of nectar for bumblebees coming out of hibernation in February.
In this second episode of the grow, cook, eat, arrange podcast, Sarah Raven and Arthur Parkinson discuss their favourite types of snowdrops, the best time to propagate a new rosemary bush and Sarah even reveals her unique technique for arranging snowdrops for maximum impact on display.
in this episode, discover...
• How to transplant snowdrops happily
• Techniques for picking snowdrops
• The ideal location for rosemary to flourish
• When to cut a rosemary bush
• Sarah’s favourite use of rosemary within the kitchen
links and references
Snowdrops and rosemary
Galanthus ‘Flore Pleno’. This is the double one, like a ballerina’s tutu.
Transplanting in the green
This means digging up bulbs – such as snowdrops, bluebells and aconites after flowering but with their leaves still above ground. Transplanted like this, still in active growth, their roots settle in quickly to their new home.
• Dig up a clump with a spade, making sure you dig good and deep, so you don’t slice into any bulbs.
• Divide them into small clumps (leaves on) and
• Replant at the same depth.
• Cut off the flowers – you don’t want the bulbs having to put energy into making seed. They need to concentrate on roots rather than seed formation.
Go out into the garden and pick a selection of small posies of snowdrops, aconites, polyanthus, primroses and violets. You may think these are all too tiny to pick, but not if little bunches are held together with rubber bands and slotted through a wooden grid (shaped like a game of Noughts and Crosses), laid flat over a small cereal bowl. Add a sprig or two of a daphne and viburnum for extra scent.
• Lay out four canes or straight lengths of willow or dogwood picked in the garden, with another four at right angles
• Tie them at all the crossovers with knots all in the same direction. With the knots all facing the same way, you can fold the grid away like a wine rack and put it away in a draw when not in use.
• We Use Flexi-tie. Tied very tightly, the slightly elastic Flexi-tie, holds the stems fast, which shrink as they dry.
The varieties we grow at Perch Hill
- ‘Miss Jessopp’s Upright’ has tall, straight stems, brilliant for making a hedge in a sunny corner.
- ‘Prostratus’ cascades, looks beautiful softening the straight edge of the red brick and stone paving. Also ideal for a decent sized pot from which it tumbles in relaxed and elegant green and blue folds. I can nip out and harvest from this plant all year.
- I love ‘Foxtail’ with a perky silver underside to its rich dark green leaf and again an upright habit which gives it great presence.
- ‘Green Ginger’ smells and tastes of ginger beer. Added into a sugar syrup, it’s brilliant for drinks, puddings and cakes and will transform a cocktail.
- ‘Tuscan Blue’. This is my all-round favourite rosemary with its glamorous deep blue flowers. We have two of these plants romping up through the base and back of an openslotted wooden bench on the south side of our barn. In March, it’s one of the best things in the garden and surprisingly, like thyme, doesn’t seem to mind being sat on, or squashed, when people use the bench. We pick it lightly so it doesn’t drown the seat completely, (it’s a vigorous grower) but otherwise, it’s left to its own devices.
Rosemary, olive and lemon chicken recipe
This is a simple meal-in-one-pot. It’s a classic Greek dish, often made with oregano rather than rosemary, and it’s also lovely with bay. Eat this with a mound of spinach or Chard. You can also use this recipe to roast a whole chicken.
- 1 chicken, cut into 8 portions
- Juice of 3 lemons
- Leaves of 4 sprigs of rosemary (or 1 heaped tablespoon), coarsely chopped, plus a sprig or two for adding whole • Salt and black pepper
- 1kg waxy potatoes, such as Ratte, Belle de Fontenay or Charlotte, peeled and quartered longways
- 15 Kalamata black olives
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Preheat a medium (180°C/gas mark 4) oven.
Rinse the chicken pieces and pat them dry. Lay them out in a baking tray. Pour half the lemon juice over the chicken. Sprinkle with some of the chopped rosemary, salt and pepper.
Cut the potatoes like segments of a chocolate orange and arrange around the chicken. Add the olives, pour on the rest of the lemon juice and then sprinkle more rosemary over the potatoes. Using your hands, turn the potatoes to make sure they’re coated well in the herbs and lemon juice.
Pour over the olive oil and add the sprigs of rosemary, plus a cup of water, and cook for 1½ hours in the preheated oven.
When the chicken is cooked, remove it and allow it to rest while you turn up the heat to crisp up the potatoes in a very hot (220°C/gas mark 7) oven for 15 minutes