Monday, 29 August 2022

Elderberry Cordial

We love a little warm beverage in the evening during the winter, and these bottles will be stashed away till then.

After sharing my recipe with some friends and hearing about all the health benefits of Elderberries, a fine stand of plump black elderberries yielded sufficient for my little stash of winter elderberry syrup.  

Lee Hooker wrote the following which I am including in its entirety.



When elderberries are at their lusciously dark, glossy best they are irresistible, the only tricky bit is deciding what to make with this foraged bounty, will it be jams, jellies, syrups, cordials or wine?


Mary Poppins advice that ‘a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down’ was very much in mind as we picked the first batch of this year’s harvest specifically for medicinal rather than culinary use. Sambucol* Black cordial has a long and impressive history of boosting immunity against ‘flu and respiratory disease thanks to its antioxidant and antiviral properties. [*Sambucus translates as ‘gift of the gods’]. Whilst on the linguistics theme, Cordial derives from Medieval Latin, Cordialis meaning ‘heartfelt’.

Since the arrival of novel Covid-19 disease, described by Dr Chris Whitty as a mild seasonal ‘flu, interest has increased in using herbal remedies in preference to pharmaceutical or mechanical interventions. This significant shift has been endorsed by the NHS Foundation Trust at East Kent who trialled this remedy as a treatment for Covid-19 because of its immune-boosting reputation.


Our immune systems benefit from extra amounts of the flavonoid Quercetin taken with Zinc. Together they act as an anti-thrombotic needed to regulate adaptive immune cell functions. Plant polyphenols with this flavonoid have the ability to inhibit viral replication at various stages in respiratory diseases such as influenza. Published research articles record its role in inhibiting cellular entry of SARS -CoV-2 and reducing upper respiratory symptoms but there is a caution to heed, elderberries are toxic if consumed raw, they contain sambunigrin but cooking eliminates these cyanogenic glycosides.


Israeli virologist, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, of Hadassah-Hebrew University, found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses use to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. Taken before infection, it prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents spread of the virus through the respiratory tract. In a clinical trial, 93.3% of study subjects claimed complete cure or significant improvement within 2-3 days. In contrast, subjects receiving the placebo required 6 days or more to recover.




[adapted from Noelle’s and others]

Fresh ‘black’ European elderberries

Granulated Sugar [sufficient for preserving shelf-life]

Cloves and other spicy additions [see List below]




Sumac [added to cold infusions for high Vit C content]

Dried echinacea root [immune stimulant]

Dried ginseng root [immune stimulant]

Allspice, Fennel seeds, Cinnamon sticks, Nutmeg, Ginger


 Pick berries that are glossy, almost black, reject red and green berries.

     Strip the berries from their stalks with a fork or by hand. I prefer hand-stripping for quality control. [stalked berries can be frozen which makes stripping them extremely easy]

     Wash the berries, unripe ones tend to float to the top along with stray stems and perhaps insects.

     Skim these off, drain, re-wash.

     Put berries in a preserving or thick-based pan with enough water to just cover them 

     Gently mash the berries with a potato masher to release their juice whilst simmering on low heat for 20 minutes

         Strain the elderberry mixture through a muslin-lined sieve/straining bag into a jug or separate pan, squeeze the muslin to extract all the juice

         For each pint of juice, add 1lb of sugar and 12 cloves [optional Variants list below] I add the juice and rind of two small oranges, one lemon, 2 cinnamon sticks, all spice and fennel seeds

         Boil the mixture for 10 minutes until it starts to thicken [add citrus juice if necessary]

         Allow the mixture to cool. Strain it again through muslin sieve to achieve a smooth syrupy liquid, pour into sterilised bottles, add more cloves if desired  then top up with brandy or cherry liqueur to further extend and preserve its shelf life [up to two years if kept in a cool, dark place]


If you over-boiled the syrup and invented elderberry toffee along the way, well done, have some apples on sticks ready to hand!

 We just celebrated a house purchase with a glass of Kir Royale made with champagne and our newly-bottled elderberry syrup, the ultimate health tonic. The cordial is also delicious poured over buttermilk soft pancakes and waffles. Next to try on the culinary list is Elderberry panna cotta which substitutes elderberry cordial for the sweet element in recipes.

Thank you Noelle for suggesting All spice, fennel seeds, cinnamon sticks, all of which went into my Elderberry cordials. We’re about to forage our garden for our third batch of elderberries for cordials and will keep going through September until nature closes the supply.


In a Vase on Monday - Sea Shells and Oyster Shells

 Of Sea Shells and Oyster Shells....

Script above ' Lobster'!

One's mind can pleasantly wander and create a posy, bring forward pleasant memories stashed away, which is all part of the slow joy of this weekly meme.  Conceived and hosted by Cathy who also wanders through her garden twice a week for this meme, and also to join in with Six on Saturday hosted by another enthusiast. 

Today is Bank Holiday in the UK , and a leisurely breakfast in the garden justified a 'garden' posy.  Cosmos 'Sea Shells' are the star this week.

Joining the sea shells in the vase are Sedum Bertram Anderson, Dianthus Superbus, Aster King George, and leaves from Centaurea Silver Feather which went spare when I was potting up some cuttings yesterday.

Around the base of the vase are some old Oyster Shells which I picked up from the beach at Mersea Island.  We went there are visiting Beth Chatto's garden last year and spent a couple of delightful hours just walking along the edge and viewing a mini regatta of red sailed barges.  

"Oyster shells had collected in vast quantities on the beach. Found on Thames beaches only as a reminder of 19th century diets, the oyster shells of Mersea were displacing the shingle, forming a protective bulwark around a fragile island. The Romans, arriving in Essex to deal with the Iceni, stayed to fortify Colchester and had laid oyster beds at Mersea, where they liked to come on holiday. Oyster farming rights on Mersea dated back to Edward the Confessor, and shellfish were the fabric of the island." Edge Walking #3 Mersea Island by Tom Bolton

I am a 'gatherer' and here I gathered shells old oyster shells some had pebbles embeded in them, others had smaller oysters growing on them. I place the shells often on the gravel to mark the position of choice bulbs, or place them on the garden to deter the many birds from digging around the patches of cuttings I place directly in the soil.

Saturday, 27 August 2022

Six on Saturday - last one in August

How the month has slipped by so quickly I can't explain.  Wistfully hoping for a good soaking for depite a sharp shower in which I got drenched when I was but a mile from home, here, the garden recovered from its hour of mizzle to end up within a couple of hours as dry as ever. I know it will have rained in other parts, and I look forward to reading Jon's post and those of other gardeners later today and during the week.

Here are my Six on Saturday.

1. How long before it is time to bring the succulents indoors?  Some are now on the shelf with some just on the gravel.

2. Acer Corner and its bed are looking weather worn, with many perennials and the annuals cut back to ground level having withered in the searing heat and drought.

Acer itself has done surprisingly well  considering it has not been watered, but maybe the oak on the other side of the wall has given it some shade and who knows what the underground microfungi are doing?

Right towards the front the Heritage Chrysanthemums Picasso which I am 'holding and expanding' for the HPS too are in full sight now all the cosmos have succumbed. I managed to hand back three good plants early this year, from my original the previous year.

3. We weresitting at the round table in the garden yesterday afternoon, having a cup of tea  my dearly beloved and I spied.  Suddenly I saw an unusual small half slug half caterpillar type creature. One of my pear trees has Pear Slug Sawfly and then I found a lone one on the other tree.  

Using the search term half slug half caterpillar, I was able to identify the culprit/

The larvae are important pests that eat the leaves of commercial crops such as cherry, pear, and plum trees, leaving behind a skeleton of veins. The larvae cover themselves in green slime, making themselves unpalatable to predators. When the larvae are fully grown, they drop off the tree on the ground and pupate underground. The adult sawfly emerges from the pupal case and climbs from the soil to mate and lays eggs on the leaves of the host plant, completing the lifecycle.

When I investigated the other pear tree I found another problem!  Could be Fire Blight?

4. I felt it was time to repot the Trapaeolum tricolor, and when upended the pot there were these three large tubours.  They are in a new pot now, and will be destined for the conservatory when bloom start to appear.

5. With their roots constantly in water, these plants have enjoyed the hot weather. I am on the hunt for a suitable container to accommodate the original large one, and the three smaller ones bought earlier this year.

6.  Before the first cucumber plant had tired itself out, or at least looked as if it would stop fruiting, I bought a small plant for £1.50 from the market stall, and by having these plants in succession,  I shall be picking cucumbers from late May going into September.  It is growing outdoors up a string anchored to the outside edge of the conservatory.

Thursday, 25 August 2022

Dinner with Friends

 Last night we had a delightful evening with friends here.  I have days when I am inspired to cook and feel happiest in the kitchen, and yesterday was one of them.  Even before I set off for the market, I knew I wanted to cook a feast to local produce.  

We had enjoyed the bounty from other gardens and had produce in ours too.  Walking along the lanes, we took up offers of tomatoes and apples from two different front garden tables over the last couple of days, just what our hands could hold, leaving plenty for other people.  

We had beetroot and courgettes from our gardens, and tomatillos and white Hungarian peppers dropped round from Tim and Lee's only a few days previously. I dropped them an email early and set off to the market for my weekly local produce, not even knowing whether they were available or canted to come.

I bought a kilo minced meat from Perridge Farm, which is only 4 miles away.  They have a stall in the market and last week we had a steak which was probably one of the best we had had. A couple of excellent cheeses from the Bartlett Brothers again with Wotton Organics being in eye sight of home.

Arriving home, I cooked the mince with my usual mixture of herbs, carrots, celery, onion, tomato passatta, pancetta etc, and all I can say I was spoiled, and for beef, this will be the source for us from now on.  I portion this up and freeze excess to form the basis for future meals.

Then an email accepting the invitation arrived, saying they were vegetarians.  That got my creative energy surging, and with a little inventiveness using store cupboard ingredients, plus pulses ready cooked but frozen, and  quick flip on ideas with quinoa plus a little inventiveness came up with a delicious array for our 'thanksgiving for local produce dinner.'


Quinoa with our garden courgettes with onion, and chopped salted and spiced cashews.

Roasted front garden stall tomatoes with our garden garlic, and olive oil.,

Roasted tomatilloes from their garden with garlic and olive oil

Baked White Hungarian heritage pepper from Lee and Tim, stuffed with a ragu of black beans, and lentils, onions, marsala infused raisins, spices etc topped with goat's cheese

Our garden beetroot freshly cooked, topped with walnut oil and chopped walnuts

Lee had also brought stuffed peppers with grains and pine nuts topped with pecorino


Jacket apples, from a front garden table, stuffed with my vintage mincemeat, with lashings of Mr Bird's Sauce first invented in 1837 ably made by Mr S and we had to scramble to find a jug big enough for lashing for 4 people, and the tin of Tate and Lye's Golden Syrup: 70 years Special Edition Tin was also handed round.  

Finally beautifully sun ripened grapes, with a couple of the Bartlette's best chesses, and my freshly made Einkorn Blend, walnut and garden dill seed baguettes. 

Wine brought by our guests, and jar of blackberry jam made just days ago, and this beautiful fasciated Aubergine. Weighing at over 400g, that is my next recipe challenge: Mr S doesn't care for aubergines...but he may yet be charmed!

Conversation was very convivial and free flowing, with titbits brought about such as some rainbow quinoa is being grown at a place not far away close to their village, which means there will be a cycle ride with an aim in view, why Mr Bird invented custard, how we can use tomatillos , etc etc....

A big thank you to Mr S who organised the clear up and washing up and cleaning of the kitchen, without which I would have just gone to bed and not woken up to a lovely clear kitchen, and breakfast already set out in the conservatory this morning.

A lovely day at home with a great end of appreciative dinner guests, one to remember.

Monday, 22 August 2022

In a Vase on Monday - Of Shooting Stars, with Harps and Olives

My sisters and I have had some lovely 'e-communications' this past week that have had us thinking back to our childhoods, with some memories forming the basis of this Week's In a Vase on Monday.

With very few flowers in any reasonable condition and leaves tatty and dry and mostly on the ground, it is time to show this lovely alliumi.  The name Allium carinatum  subs pulchellum ia such a mouthful I call them my shooting stars.

On my Six on Saturday last week, I showed a close up of the flowers in the garden. After guessing at their height in a reply to Anna's comment, I went armed with my tape measure when cutting the blooms in the front garden, and the tallest were around 70 cm.

The leaves are quite desiccated now, and yet the bulb has found some moisture to make the flowers. In normal years it is already growing the new season's leaves at flowering time.  I had the original three or four small seedling bulbs from Alison, and have gradually increased my stock.  It takes three to four years to yield good sized flowers.  I chose the name Shooting stars when I first saw the crazy shapes which probably are more like a little fire work.  My father used to sing 'Catch a Falling Star' to us when we were very little, and I have since found the original sung by Peri Como.

The shells are Olives and Harps: all collected washed up on the beaches. After large cyclones, a little beach combing would yield a harvest, with little arrangements made with seaweed and mostly broken shells and corals on the sand, with maybe only one or two better specimens taken home.  I have a little kilner jar of my objets trouvés which include these beach finds.

This weekly meme links up with others under Cathy's post.

Saturday, 20 August 2022

Six on Saturday - In Search of Blooms

 A couple of hours or so of rain earlier in week very soon evaporated, at least it made it more comfortable for the slugs for a day, now it is back to the normal routine of watching the weather forecast promise rain, but none falling here.  By now most readers will know that I write these weekly bulletins headed by Jon the Propagator for they are the best way of reminding myself of what went on in the garden, with pictures, which I can search later with the clever search facility, and also remind myself that some years plants worked very well, and the need to look forward with hope to another year. If these help you see what plants you may be interested in and how they look in a 'real' not a show garden, then I am also very happy.  I have learnt so much by reading other such posts on other people's blogs.

Let's stay positive and hopeful and appreciate the few flowers that are surviving for our Six on Saturday this week.

1.  Catch these shooting stars. 

Allium carinatum  subs pulchellum

I've been catching the seeds of these Alliums each year, and gradually increasing the little clumps throughout the garden.  Even the ones where the foliage dried out in the drought have flowers opening.

2. The taller Origanum laevigatum  Herrenhausen again now in several clumps is a magnet of interesting hover flies, bees, etc.


3. Although bleached out by the strong sun, this dianthus is a favourite of the large Humming Bird Hawkmoths which seemed to appear at the same time these flowers started to open a couple of weeks ago.

Dianthus superbus 

4. The Eryngium Planum Tetre Petra was staked early in the season, and with its large number of blooms is a clear favourite of so many insects too.

5. King George is not quite standing to attention, but that has meant a few stems are languishing in the shade of other plants relishing the cooler conditions there.

6.  I'm not sure whether to be happy or fed up that this plant on the corner of the gravel garden just doesn't know when to stop flowering. I'm happy that it is the longest flowering plant in the garden, starting in the spring, and flowering until I very late in the autumn. Erodium Fran's Delight never fails to please.

A weekly task of dead heading required attention before the sun creeped round. 

Around the garden leaves are drying up, and looking like the Autumn is upon on us. I am already wondering what the next week will bring....

Sunday, 14 August 2022

Chilli, cheese and Rosemary Polenta with tomato sauce

 Mandy a friend from Kenilworth and I frequently share our 'findings' on a number of topics, or are inspired by our blogging posts or Facebook musings.  Mandy and her husband have a superb allotment and love to garden to produce vegetables, fruit and herbs, and at the moment I would say that is her special super power.  She has others of course...

She shared her picture of  Chilli, cheese and Rosemary Polenta with tomato sauce which she had made some time ago, and I just wanted to do a little cooking or rather preparation in advance for the evening meal.  I found the recipe on line, but it is also in River Cottage Veg Everyday by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I just happen to have that as well as Much More Veg out from the library. Over these hot days when there is little strenuous work possible after 11 am, I have been going through these and adding little tabs on dishes I would like to cook. 

Dinner was enjoyed outside late in the shade: homegrown veggies and the chilli cheese and Rosemary Polenta wrapped in thin pancetta slices.  

I made the Polenta and cooled it in some oblong dishes, so that I could get some good chunky chip shaped pieces.  Some I wrapped in some thinly sliced pancetta, and the others left without. Except for the ones I was cooking that day, I have frozen them, to pull out and defrost and have for a 'ready made meal',  I open freeze them then remove them and add them to a  box in the freezer. 

Saturday, 13 August 2022

'Postcards' from Mauritius

Better than postcards from Mauritius, as they take no time at all, and offer the possibility of questions and requests, I've been receiving pictures, notes, and videos from my sister.  I asked for and received this lovely picture of one of my favourite coastal trees.

"The Heliotropium foertherianum, also known as Veloutier Blanc, is one of the last endemic trees left in Mauritius. It grows at the limit of sandy beaches."

Looking through these trees towards to the paler blue of the lagoon, and beyond to the reef with its continuous sound of large waves smashing themselves against the coral, to sky scapes often tinged with wonderful colours of the setting sun is one of my fond memories. The shape of their branching trunks and leaf canopy often shaped by wind and salt spray add an elegance to the shore line.

Six on Saturday - The drought episode

 With no grass in the garden front or back, I don't have a bed of straw to show, for proof of what it would look like then Jon's our man. Jon is the chap who got this weekly Six on Saturday going and many of us join in most of the time.  Life is not a bed of roses here either, with blooms, should the poor roses make some, cut early in the morning to add to a vase.  I find this far better than waiting till the evening to dead head, at least we can enjoy two or three more days of their beauty inside.

Let's get on with the Six:

1. The succulents are coping, and a new kid has joined the gang. It needs  sunshine, and it is getting it! Repotted and labelled the same day too, after purchasing it from Graham at Wells Market.

Cotyledon orbiculata undulata

It is taking pride of place in the centre of the table.  We have all meals now outside except for lunch, when the dinning room is the coolest option.

I'm not surprised it has been given the name 'Silver Ruffles'.

2.  It comes to most of us in the end for certain, the time when certain jobs will get more and more difficult, or so difficult they can't be done.  We had our previous bench new around 25 years ago, and when we moved to our previous house I painted it blue.  It needs painting as does the table made out of pallet wood every couple of years.  This year it needed doing, I have a little paint left over, but would have had to buy another tin, and even if I could have managed to paint it this year, given my back problems, I couldn't envisage doing it again, or rather I would prefer to sit in my deckchair on the bench!  The new bench and table arrived this week . Made of recycled materials it is looking very smart and matches the shed very well too. No more painting..Mr S will be making me up some shelves to go on the shed with NO painting required when it gets cooler. The bench and remaining paint are going to a friend, and the table will become a potting table down the alley in place of the compost bin.

3. We haven't got a hosepipe ban yet, but I have been watering with a watering can, as to have our garden watered with a hosepipe would take far too much water, and we have brought in water saving measures in this household for several weeks now.  I have large gaps in the borders, and really hope that the plants will be dormant and recover in due course.  I am saving seed and taking cuttings, and as a gardener I wonder what next year will bring.  As you can gather we have had another week of high temperatures, strong sunshine and no rain whatsoever.

4.  In the shadiest corner I am training up a new twisted weeping willow which I hope will add an elegant and cooling note to the garden.  It is staying in its large pot and will not let out into the garden. I only bought it this year as a 30 cm rooted cutting for a couple of quid.  My friend had grown it from a cutting from hers and I ended buying it from the plant stall I was helping on a few weeks back. Jack and the beanstalk comes to mind.

Corkscrew willow: Salix matsudana 'Tortusa'

5. I'm making a note of the types of plant that seem to be riding the heat and drought and will either extend these or find similar plants for next year:

The eryngiums although loosing some of their bottom leaves are making a fine display despite not having had a single watering. Bees start early and to get a head start are often found asleep on them.

On the shady side of the garden, the low growing variegated and the dark leaved Ophiopogons show their resilience compared to the Saxifraga stolonifera.  I am trying not to look too hard at all the damage from scorching and drought and trying to focus on what is doing well or I would just cry. Beyond O. Little tabby is a glorious small Astilbe, whose leaves have crisped up and flower stalks too.

This is what it should look like.

The sedums shine out...both Autumn Joy and the others around the garden.

6. The first beetroot have been picked and cooked, and are delicious.  I picked up a pack of ready grown seedlings at Morrisons a few weeks back, and they followed on from the garlic crop.

Every bit of water is returned to the veggie area, so are being washed in a bowl rather than under a running tap. Almost all the grey water ends up there too.

They say it may rain next week, but with a 35% chance at the most, which means we may probably be missed altogether.  Dire times for all the farmers to be sure....


Thursday, 11 August 2022

The last of the roses in a Vase

 Every rose in the garden was cut yesterday morning early.  Plants are getting scorched, and the leaves shrivelling on, and what a waste to have roses go over in just one day. 

We might as well enjoy the roses indoors. Will the rose bushes recover, and will there be any late roses? Who knows?   I have picked roses as late as December, so this year is quite unusual, but who knows whether after a good shower, and cooler weather the bushes will perk up again.

For now we are ensconced behind closed windows, with curtains closed on the sunny side of the house, and each door internally closed and it is making a difference.

Today a postcard came from a friend who is holidaying in the Dordogne, where it is almost as hot as the UK! I've started to receive a few post cards even from friends staying at home in the UK.  It is rather nice when a card flops onto the mat. 

Monday, 8 August 2022

In a Vase on Monday - Icebergs may be melting

 It feels as if icebergs may be melting. It certainly is getting too hot for my Iceberg Rose, and to avoid the problem of dead heading daily, I have decided each day to cut the flowers in close bud.  They soon open in the heat.  Joining them this week are some Cosmos, a couple of varieties of the Marjoram which are bee and butterfly magnets in the garden.

The cosmos were plants gifted earlier this year from one of our WI gardening group whose 'super power' is seed growing, and the petals of 'Sea Shells'.  The others are less 'sea shell' shaped but still really lovely. However they do need water,  and some of the plants in facing west into the strong afternoon sun may need to be sacrificed. Except for a brief shower last Wednesday we have had no rain for a very long time.

I bring out my little glass Ngwenya rhinoceros to pose in the pictures as a sign it is really hot weather.  This was a lovely gift from my SA friend Diana many years ago. 

When I came to dismantle last weeks arrangement, the apple mint had starting to sprout roots as had the Sedum Autumn Joy.  As Joy is doing very well in the garden despite no rain, a couple of extra plants in the garden are to be welcomed. The ivy too is recycled from previous arrangements.

Cathy who hosts this weekly In a Vase on Monday is going tangerine, or maybe not totally this week.

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Friends visit Burrow Farm Gardens

 We packed ourselves into cars and joined the holiday traffic down to visit Burrow Farm Gardens.  Except for myself who was holding the camera, here is a group photo of everyone admiring the wonderful view.

This was after coffee and group chat, and this is the view of the rolling countryside across from gardens.  


Looking at the map on our return, we missed some areas such as the lake and the woodland garden and it is often good to have held something in reserve for a return visit.  Despite the very dry weather, the garden was looking pretty good.

Carolyn and I tried to identify this plant which had a lovely form and was thriving amongst the grasses,  An ideal choice for this time of the year to give a little height but a graceful see through plant at the same time. Update: Burrow Farm Gardens have kindly replied to my email enquiry.  This plant is Althaea cannabina and seed is available from Chiltern Seeds.

Walking away from the rose garden which again I missed, was a very blue and striking hydrangea growing close to a ditch under the shade of trees. Time and again we noted how plants had been positioned to great effect.

The orange tiger type lillies blazed in the sunshine in a number of beds.

Sun and shade and spreading branches....

Planting in the beds on the terrace garden was also drawing admiration.

It is thanks to our Wells WI 'Bloomin Fun' sub group organisers Carolyn and Maggie, that we get to visit lovely gardens together, and also thanks to the drivers who share lifts minimising the cars travelling down.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

Six on Saturday - 6 August 2022

 Today wall to wall sunshine means yet again makes me do the round of watering plants in tubs and pots.  Luckily I have some Mediterranean plants in the garden that continue to thrive and there are so many honey bees, bumble bees etc visiting the garden to feed on the nectar of  the marjorams, oreganos, and eryngiums.  

1.  We did have a shower of rain on Wednesday morning, which was not at all forecasted, and thus I arrived back from cycling to the market wet and very happy to find my gardening showing that it rained at home too.

I quickly caught the beauty of rain drops on roses.  A couple of hours later I checked the soil which had dried out complete, even a few centimetres down there was absolutely no sign of there having been any moisture.

2.  Each day I have been covering some of the vegetables with white fleece and this was been valuable in protecting the leaves from scorching, wilting and excessive moisture loss.

3.  Allium flavum is looking good in the gravel garden

4.  These extra large bumble bees are the first the visit the Eryngium Silver Ghost in the early  morning.

5. With so many flowers on Origanum Bristol Cross these small bumble bees came out as soon as the shower was over to continue of their day long attendance on the blooms.

6. In 2018 I was given this little Crassula ovata as a 'kokedama' by Sandra D.  

I was tickled pink, and went on to use this idea to make other succulent kokedama.  The original Crassula kokedama had grown large and still in into original small moss ball, but had to be balanced in this pot with stones to give it some stability.  The net curtain billowing air caught and snagged a branch and after more than four years  it was time to give the plant a proper pot, with soil etc.

I am hoping to lead a workshop some time in the future showing friends how to make these, and therefore I needed to start a few new plants off.

As I went out just a few minutes ago to retrieve the plants to take a picture, the exposure to strong sun had already within the last two days already stressed the small cuttings, so they will be moved where they receive only indirect light until we have better weather.  Even succulents are struggling!!!

I doubt that others will allow trials and tribulations of weather to prevent them joining in with Jon The Propagator, and I am looking forward to reading through a few of them at least. I've been trying to concentrate on the more positives and trying to ignore the poor state of some of the garden and the glum mood I was feeling, and it is somehow good to read that The Prop is similarly lacking enthusiasm.