I am going to continue with the 'wild Majorca' theme this week, we have wild weather, wild untidy gardens or wild flowers to choose from as well as the lovely DVD produced by the Bristol studios some years ago called 'Wild Majorca'.
You may well be asking at this point what wild Majorca has to do with gardening, well, a regular reader of this newspaper reminded me last week, after I started writing about our lovely wild flowers in the garden, of all the other wild flowers I had forgotten to mention. So to keep this person happy I will continue with this same theme, partly because the weather hasn't exactly been gardening weather this last week and as we are still in lockdown mode then anything that comes to mind i.e. wild flowers. I would like to point out that many of these wild flowers and shrubs would not exactly be encouraged into a garden whether it’s a wild natural garden or not. Wild chicory can cover a field with its pale blue flowers off what look like bare stems and has nothing to do with the salad chicory so don't encourage that into the garden. Borage is another matter with brilliant star shaped blue flowers and rough hairy stems and leaves. It has been used as a border annual because of these pretty almost violet blue flowers and believe it or not is mentioned for both culinary use and medicinal use as far back as Roman times especially in our Mediterranean climate. Soon you will be seeing it covering fields with its lovely blue flowers so plant some up if ever you come across its seeds.
Dill and fennel, what is the difference? They really do look similar with feathery greenery. Dill is used in Dill Pickles, Fennel is used with fish dishes and not to forget Frito Mallorquin that is a must for the outstanding taste of the fresh Fennel. Both grow very well from seed in the garden as well as being able to find it all along our hedgerows and is already a well-advanced plant this season. Here again we can quote the Romans who used it for all sorts of medicinal remedies as well as culinary.
Dill specifically is noted as dating back to the Egyptians of 5000 years ago for its medicinal properties. We are told to plant them well apart because they can cross-pollinate resulting in neither one flavour nor the other, Fennel having a distinct aniseed flavour.
Either, or, are attractive herbs to plant in a herbaceous border or just in any flower border because their feathery greenery is so different to other green leaves.
Wild garlic comes in that annoying little white bell shaped flower that fill the lawn with what looks like long grass but really smells of garlic when pulled up, little bulbs and all or even mown off when cleaning the lawns at this time of year from all the weeds. Not really to be encouraged in the garden and certainly not to be considered as a beneficial weed. The other wild garlic comes later in the year with tall round heads of pink flowers, rarely seen in the garden thank goodness but always masses of them along the roadside.
I can't close today’s page without mentioning yet again rosemary. It grows wild on the rocky mountainsides so obviously doesn’t need regular watering. It is surely one of the easiest shrubs to propagate. I have found nearly every cutting I take and stick into the soil soon makes its own root system and there you have a new little bush on its way. It grows just as well in a pot or directly into the ground, looks just as nice as a single little shrub or a row of them to make a tiny low hedge if kept trimmed. Rosemary is amongst the fragrant plants that are recommended to grow, as a help to keep the mosquitos away so be sure to have a plant near where you may well have an open window. In addition, not to forget to mention the aroma coming from the kitchen when a little sprig of Rosemary is added to the roasting leg of lamb. A must for every terrace in a pot or the garden and as I have just said, so easy to grow.
Although not within the 'wild Majorca' topic, I would like to recommend being sure to get the sweet basil planted up as a deterrent against mosquitos. Little pots of seedlings can be found in some supermarkets for under a €uro in price. These can be transplanted into larger pots and there you have that herb for the whole season to keep near the kitchen for flavouring your favourite foods as well. You don't need a garden, just a windowsill or a corner of the terrace and a plant pot.