Make Hay While The Sun Shines

Well not literally hay but as close as you might get to making things from nature in an urban environment.  The sun shone and it was hot and sunny for the first time in a long time this summer. No better time, I thought,  than to make a refreshing elderflower drink from the trees that have been blooming away at the end of my garden and has upon it some elderflowers at their optimum – heady, perfumy in the peak of their blooming life- giving joy from above before the tiny flowers begin to fall to the ground below creating a summer “snow effect”

Heady and perfumy the elderflowers are ready to be picked usually towards the end of June
Summers arrived

I have been waiting since the beginning of summer when they first started to bloom and when the time feels just right and the air is filled with their perfume on a sunny day I know it is time to swing into action and begin the process to make a very tasty and most refreshing summer drink.  Drunk in your garden on a hot summers day it is only what I can imagine it is like being in paradise.

Chill with a glass of sparkly elderflower

I got this recipe from a friend who is a natural master chef extrodinaire and her daughter, Alexandra, drew me up this pretty diagram to help me on my merry way to making the delicious summer drink, I find it a  very useful reference picture in the potion making process.

All you you will need is

250 grams of sugar

6 heads of elderflower at their optimum blooming point

yeast

two to three non waxed  lemons

2.5 litres of water

Here’s what to do

Put the sugar in a jar and add some warm water to melt the sugar

cut the lemons into chunks and squeeze the juice into the sugar and water

throw the remaining bits of lemon into the syrup mix

add the elderflowers and mix

add the yeast

fill the jar with 2.5 litres of water

cover the jar with a lid if it has one or just use a piece of kitchen roll and an elastic if not

mix (making sure you touch the bottom) three times a day and keep in a sunny spot

taste after four days it is has been sunny it will be ready if not leave for five days but no longer as the taste will turn bitter after this.

Strain through a sieve into a bowl, bottle it up and keep in fridge

simple and delicious!

The potion.  Elderflower- drink – a – brewing loving a sunny spot to get the fizz going

(Making Elderflower cordial – this post was due to be published at the beginning of July but was not finished or published  due to me being out of action  so bear the time of year in mind if you decide to make this  delicious summer drink)

Sites to remember

Having spent the last six weeks  with a serious back injury (and a holiday on the side) I have been totally off gardening duties (and blogging duties) for quite some time.  Luckily the garden didn’t need too much tending thanks to nature and it’s generous rainfall this year and I still managed to capture the garden, as the blooms came and went, in photos during this period so I can look back on them now.  The garden seems unaware of our complete lack of a summer in the UK this year and plants are blooming bigger, better and longer than ever before.  The plants are loving the combination of the  rain and the coolness  and it seems the blooms  are starting earlier and  staying fresher for longer. The intermittent bursts of sunshine have been enough to keep the plants flowering – so they are not complaining – neither am I now come to think of it – well at least I’ve had ten days in the sunshine and my back is on the mend – things can only get better.

June was the month of……………..

The self seeding foxgloves.  They love a shady spot and will set themselves down and naturalise over time giving your garden that lovely “wild and natural” look.  They flower every two years so plant blooms for alternate  years if you want a blooming session every year. Put in a couple of plants in early spring and nature will do the rest.

I love the serenity of the white ones but they also come in a deep velvety pink, these are the ones you normally see growing in the wild, and they give a lovely countryside feel to the garden.

Foxgloves and ferns compliment one another beautifully as they are both like shade  and look happy and natural growing together as a combination in the garden

The ferns finally unfurled in full to join the party with the foxgloves

The orange lillies under the apple tree  burst open with annual regularity.  Annual bulbs like lillies are always a joy they usually flower for about two to three weeks depending on the conditions and never fail to bring joy with each year they bloom. Plant the bulbs in late Autumn or early spring.

What depicts a summers day more than this? Pink lupins, I grew these from some seeds collected from seed heads of fading plants, that I happened upon on one of my many walks. You can easily grow from seed or purchase some ready grown plants in Spring, they will come back year after year and you can collect the seeds each year from the heads to grow on into more plants.  But be careful the slugs and snails love these! So protect the plants especially the young ones otherwise they will never reach maturity.  I grew mine in big deep pots which makes pest control a bit easier.

Crown and Glory

Interspersed with the ongoing poppies and forget- me- nots that insisted on  “not being forgotten”, June has been  a very prolific and colourful blooming season this year.  The scene has now moved on and the garden looks completely different.  That’s what is so great about spring and summer a very colourful and a very different garden comes with each month.  More to come……………………………..