Monday, 7 July 2014

This is a Courgette

I love courgettes, and in the garden, especially at this time of year, they are both colourful and plentiful. The large, bright orange flowers open widely in the sunshine, with the plump fruits forming just behind them. Of course, the flowers aren't just something to look at, you can eat them too, lightly battered and fried, they are quite sublime.

The courgette was actually discovered by Columbus on his voyages to the Americas. Courgettes are native to central and South America, where it has been eaten for thousands of years. It was brought to the Mediterranean by Columbus around 500 years ago, with the modern variety that we all know and love being developed in Italy, where it is known as 'Zucchino' meaning a small squash. This led to the term, zucchini, as used in the US. Courgette is the French word for vegetable, even though it's actually a fruit. 

Fully open flower of the courgette.
The male flowers, which grow on the long stems are slightly smaller 

The courgette forming just behind the flower bud.
This would make a lovely subject to paint,
but the flowers open quickly, and fade fast. 
The leaves and stems are actually quite prickly.
But they look like a fun and challenging subject to paint.

So easy to grow, courgettes were one of our first attempts at garden produce. Like many fruits, courgettes require adequate pollination for a successful harvest and whilst we have had bees in the garden, some hand-pollination has been needed to help out a bit. Going around with a dry paintbrush, picking up the pollen and transferring it around is quite telling on the bee population, but also quite therapeutic, in it's way.

Sometimes they need a little help.
A paintbrush can collect the pollen from the centre of the flowers

I had hoped to plant out some of the striped variety of courgette, as these would have made a much more interesting subject for a painting, but alas this year, I could only get regular variety seed, so no stripes. Still, all is not lost, as the flowers have been quite spectacular. In fact, before I had even thought to take up botanical painting, I had a go at capturing our first successful flower. Wrong paper as usual, and certainly not very accomplished, but like I always say to those with a passion, go for it a go anyway. If I can bear to sacrifice one, I'll have another go.

My first attempt.
A bit dull and on the wrong paper,
but a fair attempt, even if I do say so myself

Elsewhere, some of the furniture is heading across the garden into their new home. Of course, we still need to do some clearing, there is still painting to do and it would be nice to have some proper flooring. But I couldn't resist just having a look to see how things will fit in.

Half a plan chest.

This one is a neat A1 size, unusually with legs.
Raising the drawers up to a more user-friendly height.

And all of the desk,
complete with Scottish pebble paperweight.

Oh, and 'Patriotic Pooch' has got a new post.



Sharon Williamson said...

Great post - I'm jealous of both your courgettes and your plan chest! Too late for this year I guess, but have you tried - she has loads of varieties, and sells seed in sensible small quantities so you can try lots of different things...

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Thanks Sharon.I'll be investing in some different varieties, ready for next year.