Category: Shrubs/Bush

Rosehip Syrup

Rose hips

I noticed the abundance of rosehip from my garden and I got to thinking if I could do something with them. My husband suggested a rosehip syrup that he remembers fondly from his childhood. The syrup was sweet-tasting and bursting with goodness of Vitamin C, just the drink, hot or cold, during the autumn season.

Anyway here is a recipe from Hugh Feanley-Whittingstall

Rosehip syrup

 

Rosehip syrup is dripping with vitamin C and has long had a reputation for keeping colds at bay all winter. Far from being austere, though, it has a surprisingly tropical tang, with notes of lychee and mango. Diluted with about five parts cold water, it makes a delicious cordial drink, which kids will love, and a fantastic autumn cocktail for grown-ups. It’s also an indulgent alternative to maple syrup on ice cream, waffles and pancakes.

 

  • You will also need a jelly bag (or a clean cotton cloth and a big sieve)
  • Put two litres of water in a large pan and bring to the boil. Throw in the chopped rosehips, bring back to the boil, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for half an hour, stirring from time to time.
  • Strain the mixture through a jelly bag. (Alternatively, line a colander with a couple of layers of muslin and place over a large bowl. Tip in the rosehip mixture, and leave suspended over the bowl.)
  • Set the strained juice aside and transfer the rosehip pulp back to the saucepan, along with another litre of boiling water. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat, infuse for another half an hour and strain as before. Discard the pulp and combine the two lots of strained juice in a clean pan. Bring to the boil, and boil until the volume has decreased by half. Remove from the heat.
  • Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Return to the stove, bring to the boil and boil hard for five minutes. Pour into warmed, sterilised jars or bottles and seal.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1kg rosehips, washed and chopped
  • 1kg caster sugar

Bamboo Shoots


Bamboo Shoots

Photo by Haragayato of Tokyo, Japan

If you are rather partial to Chinese food, you are probably familiar with bamboo shoots.

And if you have been to the Philippines, it is possible that you have come across bamboo shoots in menus.  Probably they would have been called labong in the Tagalog regions or rabong in the Ilocos region.  They are also often called ubod.

Outside of Asia, bamboo shoots would most probably come in cans/tins or jars.

Bamboo shoots are usually harvested during the rainy season when they shoots grow profusely.  As per above photo, the shoots are like cones covered in papery, a la papyrus, brownish and greenish leaves.  The outer shell of leaves are then trimmed off leaving a yellowish tuber.

They can be cooked in variety of ways and can then be also made into a delicious if rather spicy and piquant salad.

 

Croton Punctatum

Punctatum, photo by JMorton

Croton Punctatum

The above plant grows profusely in the Philippines, where the photo was taken.  It is apparently called punctatum of the croton family.

As a young girl, still living in Marag my sister and I would go to our neighbours, who grew the plants in their garden to give us cuttings.  The neighbours were so good to us that they would allow us to turn their once beautiful shrubs hedging their yards into stringy sorry sight of bald shrubs as if a ravenous swarm of locusts had been.  🙂 🙂 🙂

With our treasure of twigs of beautiful narrow verdant green leaves speckled with golden dust, we would dash home and plant these twigs in our front yard.  We would religiously water our new plant for at least a few days and then we forget as by then we moved on to another hobby.  Some of the twigs would live and some dries up and shrivelled under the punishing sun.

I must say that they do make a lovely hedge.  Their bright leaves have golden dusting and they are just beautiful under the sun.

 

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

Malunggay, photo by JMorton

Malunggay, Leafy Superfood

There have been a lot of studies and testimonials regarding the health benefit of Malunggay or its scientific name of Moringa Oleifera.

Studies have found that malunggay (Filipino/Tagalog name) has a very high nutritional value.  This may be true as a young child in Marag, our diet often included marunggay (Ilocano name for the malunngay).  The tree grow almost everywhere in Marag, thus providing us a microbiotic diet which complements most soupy viands in an almost vegetarian existence.  I supposed as children, we did not get sick, except for malaria, brought about by mosquitoes, which is another story. 🙂

Malunggay is a superfood as well as super-herbal-medicine.

Lactating women are advised to make malunggay soup as part of their diet to produce more milk.

Apparently 1 cup of mallunggay, in terms of nutrients, is equivalent to 10 cups of broccoli.

 

Desert Rose Plant

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Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton

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Desert Rose Plant, Photo by JMorton

Desert Rose Plant

I saw this plant in the Philippines and I’ve fallen in love with the flowers.  They were very eye-catching.

This plant is called Adenium Obesum or more commonly known as desert rose.  It is a tropical flowering plant.  It is a succulent, which requires copious amount of watering but it must not be allowed to stand on water, thus a free-draining soil is advised.

It likes hot climate or temperature, although with proper care, it can be grown anywhere.  It is a beautiful house plant in colder countries.  It should be placed by the window sill, where it can catch a daily dose of sunlight.

Pruning in the spring will prevent the plant from going too leggy.

Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii)

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Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii) , photo by PH Morton

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Beefsteak Plant (Iresine herbstii) , photo by PH Morton

This succulent looking plant is perennial.  Beefsteak Plant, also known bloodleaf plant, Latin name: Iresine herbstii, has beautiful glossy deep red leaves,  They are truly eye-catching and will certainly enhance the colour of the garden.

They can be grown as indoor plants which is a bonus as beefsteak plants cannot tolerate frosty condition.  So at the end of the season, in autumn, border plants can be potted and brought inside the house and planted out again when the weather turns warmer.

The leaves are variegated with red and green markings all over.

Beefsteak Plant loves the sun and high humidity.  The sunnier location it is planted the redder the leaves will turn out to be.  As an indoor plant it should be placed near a south facing window where it can get the sun.  Placing it in a gloomy area will result in the plant becoming leggy.

To keep the plant bushy, it requires a regular trimming.  Keep it well water but with good drainage.  It does not like being waterlogged.

Beefsteak Plant is worth the extra care as it is a stunning addition to the garden and as an indoor plant.

 

 

Blueberries

Blueberries, photo by Jmorton

Blueberries, photo by Jmorton

Blueberries

These berries are naturally sweet.  It can be easily eaten raw without adding any sugar and therefore carries all its natural goodness of vitamin C.

Blueberries, photo by JMorton

Blueberries, photo by JMorton

Blueberries are superfood.  They promote healthy collagen, which minimises the appearance of wrinkles.

Blueberries are also good for declogging the veins, thus, creates less restrictions to the flow of blood.

They can also aid in combatting cystitis as they carry anti-bacterial property.

Leycesteria Formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

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Leycesteria Formosa (Himalayan Honeysuckle)

Leycesteria formosa is also known as Himalayan Honeysuckle, nutmeg bush, Himalayan nutmeg or even pheasant berry.  It is a beautiful leafy shrub, which is deciduous.  It belongs to the family Caprifoliaceae, native to the Himalaya and southwestern China.

Though they are beautiful with their very striking berries laden crimson flowers, these plants are becoming a nuisance to some countries.  They can be rather invasive.

They can pop up anywhere very unexpectedly.  They grow where their berries fall.  The main culprits of the rather ‘locomotive’ property of this shrub are birds who are attracted by the deep purple berries hanging attractively in clusters.

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