June, Summer Flowers

June and it IS summer, lovely word, Summer I’ll give it a capital letter, in fact as we waited so long lets have all capitals, SUMMER, yes that looks good to me (thank goodness this is not an English test )

Flower season and real summer sun to match, any countryside stroll is bound to bring you within range of the heady scent of “May” or White Thorn, and the Gorse and Broom and still blooming on mountain and bog though quickly going to seed.

Elderflowers that we all know and love are just appearing in my area, 3 more days I’d say. The fab Rosa Rugosa or Japanese rose is also appearing and while more an escapee or result of municipal or roadside planting deserves attention where it is abundant and there is no evidence of spraying nearby.

Even the humble and much maligned Dandelion is still about and if I  don’t get to gather flowers or mow , birds love to feed on the seed heads, a pair of Goldfinches or Blackcaps can only gladden all but the most pernickity gardeners heart, or maybe that’s my excuse for the jungle that currently surrounds my house.

Red Clover is also blooming and the bumble bees are busy feeding on it.

Wild fruit trees are also blooming or just finished and fingers crossed that they have had favourable conditions for pollination and the fruit will “set”

So with all this heavenly scented bounty about it’s time to get gathering and go all girly and pretty, try your hand at the Rose Petal Butter Biscuits which you could cut into pretty heart shapes as Tamasin Day-Lewis does in her book Supper for a song. Or a simple delicate flower scented jelly, make in small batches and pot in small pretty pots or I used small glasses and sealed with cling, adding a petal to each glass. These will be used up quickly so not worried about keeping time. Then there are cordials and syrups to make for little folk and maybe a demijon of wine.

Even if you do nothing but sit back and breathe in the scent of the flowers, enjoy, enjoy.

Rustle in your hedgerow

Plantain buds and St. George mushrooms ready for pan

Plantain buds and St. George mushrooms ready for pan

If there’s a rustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed… get out and investigate.

Well May has been very busy so far, I’ve been away in Washington state among the stunning Cascade mountains and while there had the pleasure of accompanying a local mycologist and true gentleman, Jim on a mushroom hunt, we gathered a basket of Bohemian Morels,(Phytoverpa bohemica) delicious, thank you Jim.For sharing your knowledge and good company. I had some Jelly Fungus(Hirneola auricula-judea)   from my own Elder stumps in April.

I also picked up some plug spawn for Shitake(Lentinula edodes) and Blue Oyster (Pleurotus  ostreatus) which I’m very much hoping to grow in storm damaged hard wood logs, I will keep a diary of the process and seek others to join in the experiment.

I arrived home to a garden chock full of Dandelion Flowers just crying out to be used for syrup, jelly or wine.the Plantain is also flowering. A quick trip to my friendly farm neighbor yielded a nice scarf full of St.George Mushrooms (Calocybe gambosa) so dinner featured these lovely mushrooms cooked simply with butter and onion a handful of Plantain buds, a good grind of black pepper.

The Garlic-mustard is in flower and unmistakeable at the moment. It makes better pesto than Ramsons in my opinion being much easier to digest.

The Beech leaves are coming out and now is the time to lay down some booze for future gifts.

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