Tuesday, 23 June 2009

When I came across this plant I thought it was a very large bramble as they are flowering at present.  It's in a mound around 1.5 metres, covered in these white flowers.  Then I thought again, sniffed the flowers and checked in the book of wildflowers.  I think it's a field rose, something I've never seen before.  It's growing in a small regenerating woodland field, so I will keep an eye on it until the rosehips form, so I can be sure about the diagnosis.  A lovely scent, with such vivid orange anthers on the plant.
When I'm out for a walk, I always keep an eye open for wildflowers I haven't seen before.  This is Red Bartsia, quite striking in the grass and especially close up.
I haven't noticed it before, but will keep an eye out in future.
You don't see too many white foxgloves in the wild, but here is one growing by the river.
And in the same place as the marsh orchids, another orchid - the Common Spotted.  Smaller and more delicate than the marsh orchid.  It's worthwhile taking a close up on the petal patterns.
So, on to the vegetables, here are my Jerusalem artichokes, enjoying the weather, which has now warmed up markedly after a cold spring.  The rainshowers we are having too encourage all the plants to grow.
Today I picked mint for drying - I love mint and drink a lot of green tea/mint mixture.  I just hang them upside down from the curtain rail in my office - the office is always warm due to the computer, and I leave the top of the window open to get a breeze through, which also helps them dry.  This will be enough mint to see me through to this time next year.
I tried drying elderflower once, but it is more difficult to do and I think our climate is too damp.  Instead I collect some flowers and make a cordial with them.

The recipe:
Put 15 flower heads in a pan, pour over 1.5 litres of boiling water, cover and cool, making sure the flower heads are covered by water.

Strain and for each litre of liquid, add 600g sugar, bring to the boil and simmer 5 mins.  Allow to cool and bottle.

I don't find this keeps too well, so I tend to make small amounts regularly as long as the flowers are available and just keep it in a jug in the fridge.  It's a nice refreshing drink for hot days.
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