Thursday, 12 March 2009
Elder - and a few more leaves!
Well, I could write "Leaves Are Us!" right now, as lots of plants seem to have suddenly started putting out either leaves or buds for same. I am delighted to see the first little leaves on my Elders at the bottom of the yard (photo above) - very dark when they first sprout, but lightening up as they grow larger. We have a tree a little further along on the stream bank which is much darker anyway in the leaf, and its flowers are a slightly creamier colour. The Elder has so many uses - you can cook the blossoms in batter, add them to jam, make a soothing hand cream with them (as I do, and something very similar was also shown on Tales from the Green Valley), make Elderflower Champagne and E. Cordial and E. Wine, and then there are the berries which make a wonderful port-like wine, and can be used to make Elderberry Rob, wonderful for winter coughs, or added to Hedgepick Jam, or pies. The branches are hollow and used to be hollowed out and turned into pea-shooters in country areas. We found this out when a man turned up at the door who was evacuated here during the war. He used his as a protection against the geese which were kept in the yard and which used to pinch his short-clad legs when he had to go amongst them to use the little Ty Bach which straddled the stream.
Below, Red Dead-Nettle growing with the creeping buttercup in my VEG patch!
I think these will be Red Campion, but they don't look quite right, so if YOU know exactly what they are, tell me or else we'll have to wait until they flower!
Cut-Leaved Cranesbill - I 95% "think". Lack of sleep is making me groggy.
Sun Spurge on bank down by the river.
Below is Ivy-Leaved Toadflax. It has a little lilac flower later on. I first saw it growing in a wall beside the - then defunct but now restored - railway line which ran from Swanage up through Corfe Castle and beyond.
On the way to Hay-on-Wye we pass this wonderful apple orchard where the trees are bedecked with Mistletoe. Winter is the best time to spot Mistletoe growing of course.