Lemon Verbena and a mug of dub

A lovely bit of dub for a hot, hot Monday evening here in London from Bukkha called Ethiopian Dub from Dub-Stuy records out of Brooklyn, New York. A tune to crank up loud while supping a mug of Lemon Verbena tea (big shout to Haji Mike out of Cyprus for originally telling us about Lemon Verbena).

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A note from Nicosia

A very big shout to our dub-wise gardening friend Haji Mike in Cyprus for this piece which we received the other day after enquiring about what gives gardening-wise over there at the moment, interesting stuff.shekkerika

Winter in Cyprus is usually known for citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, grapefruit (a little later). tangerines, pomelo and many more.

Googling the term ‘Shekkerika’ the other day I was stunned to find just four fairly irrelevant search results. Shekkerika (plural) of Shekkeriko is a very small orange that fits in your hand with a powerfully sweet aromatic taste that is unique to Cyprus. We have one in our garden that thanks to my long time friend Aydin and her pruning skills, has developed from a scrawny little thing to a medium sized tree baring lots of fruit.

My philosophy on this, one shekkeriko a day keeps the doctor away, but two or three will significantly increase your sugar levels! Its truly a lovely fruit just bursting with flavour. mespilaMέσπιλα – Mespila does not as far as I know have a translation into English from Greek. Its an aromatic fruit, cooling and juicy which ripens in spring. It may be puzzling why I am talking about it on New Years Day 2017. Mespila have a really unusual flower which you can only see if you get really close up. They flower in clusters and the wasps and bees are busily doing the cross pollination thing today, no rest for the hard working meek. The fruit is also easy to grow from seed. Usually its hard to reach the higher fruits when they ripen, so after the birds have had their feast, seeds drop to the ground, and grow nearby.

The tree is really well suited to the Mediterranean climate, long hot summers and rain in winter (if we are lucky). You could always spot a Cypriot house in the UK with a Mespilo tree in the front garden, although I must confess, I can never remember eating the fruit fresh from the streets of London where I grew up. More power to the workers…big up the bees and wasps…

haji-mike-bandcamp

Thanks to Mike for the piece. He’s got some new music out soon (with Kingdom Signal out of Corsica), available here on the Haji Mike/Kingdom Signal bandcamp (more info here too!) Have a listen as it’s good stuff, we’re loving “Dubbing the Martians” at the moment.

Citrus in Cyprus

A big thanks to Haji Mike from the island of Cyprus for his spring garden update.

Tangerine Haji mike

“The smell of citrus fruits in the garden this time of the year is heavenly and intoxicating. Just sitting in the garden day or night and taking in those aromas is like paradise.

We have three in all, tangerine (above), lemon and orange. They are young trees so for the first few years not much fruit has grown. Things look different this year though.
Lemon Haji mike

The lemon above is one that blooms 3 times in a season.

Orange Haji Mike

And the orange above is known as Shekeriko, a tree common mainly in Cyprus. It yields small oranges packed with the living perfumed flavour. Be warned eat two or more and the acid gets to you…

Deep breaths mean time and meditations…. Haji Mike”

Thanks to Mike for the piece and pics and for choosing this apt tune from Maxi Priest.

Cyprus calling, Cyprus calling…

A big cheers to Haji Mike out of the lovely island of Cyprus for getting in touch and for sending us a pic of his Lemon Verbena bush. He writes “It’s in a shady place so the sun doesn’t get to it much in the summer and in the winter it gets some protection from the cold winds off the mountains” but looking at it now it’s looking great! Mike also mentioned a lot of people locally call it Mexican Oregano. Has anyone heard it called that before?

Anyway it’s a great smelling shrub and makes a refreshing tea, what more do you want out of a plant, get yourself a pot of it! Thanks again for the tip Mike.

Haji Mike's Lemon verbena

Any advice for an Edelweiss?

A big shout to our friend and musical collaborator Jazzmin Tutum out of Freiburg, Germany for getting in touch and sending us a photo of her ailing Edelweiss that she’d love to get back to it’s former glory after receiving it off a friend a few weeks ago.

EidelweissLooking online the general consensus is most of the species are short-lived (2-7 years) anyway, they thrive outdoors or in a big container with well-drained/loose soil (neutral to alkaline) rather than indoors, prefer dry than wet conditions but hardy as anything. If anyone out there has any advice to get this one (above) back to this sort of condition (below) please add a comment below.

Nice eidelweiss

Thanks also to Jazzmin for letting us know about her latest musical output called “Ci Ca Run Come” a great tune over the Celebrity Fever rhythm released on the Dub-o-phonic netlabel from Cyprus. The whole EP including Jazzmin’s track is well worth getting and is available free here.

The label has some other great free releases on it including artists who’ve had their gardens/plants mentioned on weeds, notably Med Dred (post here) and Haji Mike who also appears on the EP (post here.) It’s great to have another one of their artist’s up on here!

Any advice on the Edelweiss appreciated!

Jazzmin Tutum – Ci Ca Run Come – Dub-o-phonic Netlabel

Reggae and the cactus

Cactus_3There are many things in life that are eternal…love, family, kids…good friends…songs you write and Jah music. Reggae has and will always be. It has an eternal flame. It is not a fantasy, passing fad or illusion to paraphrase a line from a big tune from MC Charlie Chaplin. Reggae is with you for the long haul because it is a music that can reset the mindset, a sound that can turn your world perspective upside down and bring an inner peace. I feel this happens because Reggae is the heart beat. Its a life line…There are however some other things in my life that are older than my love for Reggae. I have been sharing this life with a cactus from about the age of 8. It has travelled with me through different stages, places and countries.

During childhood, my neighbour in Walthamstow, dear Mr. Golding, introduced me to this cactus with Australian roots. I am not sure how it ended up in East London but the cutting he gave me thrived well in a pot filled with half soil and half sand.  As a student, cactus came with me to Essex University, where my studies in Sociology and Government were also enhanced by a fledgling education in Reggae music selection. Tunes this cactus heard. Wheel and come again selector!

Cactus_2After Essex I moved back to London flat sharing with mates, Alister and Skev in Hackney.  A nice bright spot in the kitchen by the window was it’s home for another 8 years.  I then moved from place to place, East London to Haringey Green Lanes and the prickly friend came with me every time. Ironic during all these decades, its stunted growth, always being in pots, enduring those heavy winters, the cactus never bloomed.

1992-3 was a good time for me musically. I’d set up my own label, Kebab Kulture Music and several 12″ singles of mine became hits in Cyprus. During that time I came and went to the island of Aphrodite 12 times until I finally decided to repatriate, return to the land of my birth and yes you guessed it, the cactus came with me, as a small-ish cutting in my shoulder bag.

The Mediterranean climate is conducive to cactii. We have our own prickly pear, ‘baboutsosiko’ variety, which has an unusual if not acquired taste as a fruit. These grow throughout the island like weeds. When we bought our first house in 1998 I decided it was time for cactus to be planted in the garden, in the earth, to live and be free.  This was also the first time the plant managed those characteristic orange flowers. What a sight!

Cactus_1

Cactus however took over like the Triffids on heat. Within three years half the garden was green and very prickly. What a ting! I had to cut it though, as everything else was suffocating – being taken over.

Something like 27 bin bags were filled with cuttings and disposed of. It felt sad in a way so I kept a large cutting in a big pot. Every year it still blooms and is  so beautiful…I asked one of my kids recently, what came first Reggae or the Cactus. And of course they replied Reggae…and I answered amusingly….Cactus…Well, for me at least….

A big thanks to Haji Mike from the beautiful island of Cyprus for this piece and a shout to Dr Strangedub for starting off this dub gardeners around the world series! Remember you don’t have to like dub to send us your pics. Gardeners around the world with all musical tastes are welcomed!