Thursday, March 29, 2012

Summer Harvest ... from cracks in the pavers.

Passionfruit. Glorious purple, spotty orbs of sunshine. Stirred through my yogurt. Churned into sorbet. Spooned straight into my mouth. Its sharp fragrance awakens the senses. 

Guavas, for example are one of those quaint fruit that have a beguiling flavour when eaten or juiced. But ripe guavas sitting in the fruit bowl emits a pretty manky odour. Nasty. No one else seems to like it except me, so often I am left to valiantly battle through a whole bowl of them by myself. They also ripen very quickly so there is no waiting around or savouring. All or nothing, seems to be my battle cry.

Funny little beans. Think snow pea meets zucchini. No idea what they are called or where they are from. Likely from beans smuggled into the country via my Dads shoe. No kidding. 

My Grandfather was a vegetable farmer but my Dad ended up running away to live in the city to work as a bookkeeper when he met and married my Mum.  But there's no denying the green thumb!

There is nothing he can't grow, edible or otherwise. Even when he isn't trying, all manner of flora spring up all over his garden. He has a blueberry bush that bears fruit prolifically - but he doesn't touch the stuff - instead growing it for the grandkids to pick and enjoy. Basil - he manages to get big potfuls thriving all through winter. One plant was so large I mistook it for a bougainvillea. (I know-I clearly did not inherit his knack in the garden!). 

Now, my folks live in the 'burbs, the house probably a little too big and with barely any space for even weeds to spring up, or so most would think. However, I consider my Dad to be the authority on gardening with almost no space. He has something edible growing in every conceivable crack of dirt around the house. 

There are apricot, lychee, guava, persimmon and custard apple trees. In between are tangles of every type of bean and bitter melon, large tufts of lemongrass, shrubs of chillies, ground cover of "Nyoi", a very green chinese herb that tastes not unlike grass clippings -and supposedly very good for cleansing the liver - and masses of galangal. And thats just in the twelve inch crevice that runs alongside the driveway!! 

Out the back there is a huge passionfruit vine that has formed a canopy overhead, just under the clear colour bond roof, a mandarin tree that was salvaged from a neighbour wedged in the corner, amaranth in pots, kaffir lime, spring onions, more bitter melon, mango and papaya trees. Coriander grows in the cracks between the pavers. Really, it is a marvel. Everytime I pop by Mum will heave armfuls of leaves or fruit and waving me off with "aiya! your Daddy grew so much, take it! take it!". It is always gratefully received.

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