Sunday, 28 June 2015

Church stowe early flower show

Yesterday I had the honour to judge Church Stowe early flower show which is a small village show that takes place in the old school rooms.
There was some lovely flowers unfortunately there was only two soft fruit entry's as a lot of soft fruit is still not ripe. But the roses where out in force and you could smell them as soon as you stepped into the room.
 There was some lovely blooms on show but it is not just about the roses there was some lovely sweet peas as well as Delphinium's, foxgloves and mixed perennial's.
It was a lovely little village show I am already looking forward to judging there show in September.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Elder flower season has arrived

June means the start of the elder flower season it has to be one of the most useful flowers there is I would not want to miss out on them.
Hedge rows and waste land up and down the country have burst into frothy white bushes even the dullest bit of waste land is brightened up by them. They have such a wonderful sweet delicate scent That seems to be intensified by the heat of the sun. It is this wonderful scent that you are wanting to capture when making elder flower cordial and that is what we did today.
 Best to pick your flowers when they are full open ideally within 24-48hrs of them opening fully and on a dry day. You will need 12 large or 24 small flower heads after picking give them a good shake so any insects fall off. Best not to wash the flowers as you will wash all the pollen off them place them in a large pan cut three lemons and one orange in half squeeze the juice out. Then add 4.5 litres of cold water cover and leave for 24hrs after 24hrs take the flowers and fruit out of the pan and strain through a muslin cloth to remove any bits. Add 1.5kg of sugar stir in and bring to the boil then simmer for a few minutes keep on stirring.
Have your sterilised wine bottles ready to pore the cordial in using a funnel be careful as it is all very hot ask for help when filling the bottles if you don't have a steady hand. Screw the top on tightly and leave to cool over night the bottles may need a wipe as they can get sticky when filling and store in a cool dark cupboard.
 The cordial will last for many months if stored well or you could always use plastic bottle and freeze so you can have cordial all year round. Dilute to your own personal taste with cold water or lemonade and enjoy on a hot summers day.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

From ruff to smooth

Being a man's man I would not normally publicly admit to the use of hand cream but when I was contacted by Gordon Castle in Scotland. They started to explain to me how the cream is made using ingredient's grown in there own walled garden in Fochabers up in North East Scotland.
 The walled garden is over 8 acres big and is one of the biggest in Scotland they are currently restoring the walled garden back into full production. Garden designer Arne Maynard has drawn up a contemporary design for it's restoration which is on going at the moment.
Gordon Castle have launched a range of products inspired by the produce produced in the walled garden. It's a great project the products are produced from the garden and the funds raised from it's sales go back in to help restore the gardens for the future.
 I have used many hand creams over the years but never found any that really do a good job i.e. get my ruff old hands soft I may have found a cream that dose the job. The Hand cream contains Comfrey, Geranium and lavender grown in the walled garden at Gordon Castle. I first put it on of an evening just before I got into bed it soaked in over night when I got up in the morning my hands where lovely and soft. I now use it regularly and don't suffer with ruff hands that where more like sand paper at times.

The hand cream is available either direct from or through and costs £6.85 which is a bargain as it dose the job if it can get my hands soft if will get any ones hands soft.