Ring a ring of roses, a pocket full of…

The past week or so has seen my garden come alive with colour and also the end of my wonderful umbrella Wisteria.  Being such lovely and sunny weather as well as long evenings, meant that I was able to serve guests when they arrived, afternoon tea in the garden.  On a couple of occasions, they were joined by family.

I was asked several times by guests the names of the roses that were resplendent looking in the garden and all I could say were that they were from David Austin who is a top Rose producer!  Reflecting back on it I should have been more prepared as last week was the Chelsea Flower show –  but I wasn’t.

Today my top priority was to look up the names of the David Austin roses on his website which I have successfully done and with the help of a departing guest who was passionate about gardening.  I am glad I have refreshed my memory and will now be able to tell future guests the names of the roses.  My white climber is ICEBERG, my delicate tangerine is CROWN PRINCESS MARGARETA and my shock of pink is TAM O SHANTER.  I have broken with tradition this year and bought a new rose from Peter Beales called JACQUELINE DU PRE and having only planted it last week, it has already produced three roses!  I can’t wait to see how it blooms next year!

I took a few images on my iPhone yesterday, thankfully I didn’t wait until this morning when the heavens opened.

I look on the garden as another room and a space that we can all enjoy (me, Paul and Purdy) and also my guests can enjoy, be it with a drink in the afternoon or at breakfast in the dining area which looks out onto the garden.

Paul my younger son started last year growing chilies (we made several jars of chili jam as a result of his green fingers) as well as aubergines, spinach leaves, and tomatoes. This year he has gone one step further and is growing runner beans and several palettes of salad leaves and Bok Choy as I am trying to lose weight and part of my regime is to eat a salad as my last meal of the day!

Elderflower is on most people’s lips since the Royal Wedding as the wedding cake was flavoured with lemon and elderflower.  Its that time of year when the elderflower flowers are ready to pick.  We live a two-minute walk from some lovely ancient woods, so yesterday Paul and I took Purdy out for an early morning walk as well as to pick some elderflower sprays. Weather permitting we will aim to do several batches over the next two weeks as that is the window recommended in all the textbooks about when to pick the wild elderflower.

Having soaked the elderflowers overnight, we put started to process the cordial this morning after breakfast.  The kitchen smelled so wonderfully fresh and lemony whilst it was reaching the cordial setting.  We made just under two litres which have now been put downstairs.

Paul and I also noticed the blackberries that grow wild on the common look as if it will be a plentiful crop this summer, so we will be making a lot more jam and fruit compotes this summer, the latter of which will be on the breakfast table and goes perfectly with thick creamy yogurt topped with granola.

Grey clouds and thunder now occupy the skies in SW London, a rather gloomy contrast to the incredible sunny bank holiday weekend. I have checked the forecast, and unfortunately, we are not due anymore sun until Saturday. I feel a little bit sorry for my guests, but at least London is big enough that there is plenty to do even when it is raining cats and dogs.

The whole time I have been writing this blog I have been humming a tune about a rose garden. So I thought I would share it with you before I sign off. Its a Lynn Anderson song Enjoy!