Saturday 13 June 2020

Where Elderflowers Grow

Watching the rain through the window just now, it could be difficult to imagine how different the weather was just a matter of days ago. The sun was shining and the breeze was soft and warm, perfect for collecting elderflowers.

In these parts there are an abundance of elder trees, especially amongst the hedgerows, although they often go unnoticed until the beginning of June when they become covered in large creamy white flower heads. Therefore, with a bag in hand and a small pair of scissors just in case, off I went on my mission, certain in the knowledge I would be able to gather more than enough flower heads to make some delicious cordial. Previously, I have gathered my flowers whilst enjoying one of our favourite walks, but with this being inaccessible for the time being I needed to source some a little closer to home.

The flowers I wanted were easy to reach - often the large blossoms are typically much too high or obstructed by thorny branches and nettles - so I soon had enough for my needs and we continued up and along the side of the hill, pausing along the way to spot a wide variety of wildflowers, moths and caterpillars.
During a brief pause for a rest Lily asked me why I had a yellow nose. Being a little relieved not to have passed anyone else by this point, I realised my face had a light dusting of pollen from all the elderflower I had been sniffing. Oh well, their delightful scent had proved a little too tempting for me 😊

On returning home I prepared the syrup, the flowers and lemon steeping in the sugary mixture overnight soon filled the kitchen with their delicately sweet aroma.

In the same way that making wild garlic pesto marks the arrival of spring for me, the making of elderflower cordial is another indicator of the year passing by. In little over a week the longest day will be behind us and very soon it will be raspberry season.  This week I feel as though I've been a little more productive, and with a very gradual shift towards a semblance of normal life resuming again I'm beginning to feel a little more optimistic. Other concerns have been alleviated for the moment, so I'm feeling grateful for this time to be able to sit back and appreciate what is important.

Next week I have plans to visit a National Trust garden and I'm looking forward to being able to take small tentative steps out into the world again.

Stay well.
J. X