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Wild Weather and a Crop of Rosellas (native hibiscus)

Cyclone Debbie came and went on Thursday with a month's worth of rain in a day. The patch faired pretty well, although some young tomato bushes curled up in anger and probably won't be revived. Surprisingly, as soon as the wild weather passed which had built into a torrid steam of humid anger, the temperature dropped 5 degrees and it feels like "autumn" has finally arrived.

There's not a lot of action in the garden right now ... a good start to some tatsoi that I planted by seed a few weeks ago, the end of what has been a miserable crop of corn and more rosellas than I know what to do with. These came from two bushes in the vege patch, but I have more planted on the verge to show the neighbourhood, as they are a stunning plant. I've produced a lot more than these ... I've been putting the flower-laden stems in vases over the last few weeks and even gave a bunch to Botanica, the stellar local salad bar.

As a kid, grandma used to grow rosellas and make them into jam. We used to joke and say we were eating parrot jam, after the more commonly known Australian lorikeet - also called a rosella. The plant is a type of wild hibiscus and the beautiful red flowers grow up the stem. They are a subtropical plant and in Brisbane you can find them in plant nurseries around October.

I gave a couple of plants to my friend, neighbour and fellow rooky gardener Fiona (food and travel blogger) who was determined to make hers into jam before she got on a flight to Malaysia. I decided to steep mine in a sugar syrup - and after that you can put them into sparkling wine, mineral water or as a decoration on cheesecakes. Lucky for me, I found the recipe on another friend, Anna's now quiet blog ... maybe if you poke her she'll start writing again ...

The rosellas were less prickly then I remember as a kid, and the leftover from the syrup was perfect on a piece of cheese!

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