Both Casey and Angelina asked what elderberries look like. I could describe them as being like small black pellets that hang down in clusters of about fifty. No, far better to wander into the garden and take a photo.
So I did.
On the way, to the elder, I found a whole lot more fallen apples. I gathered them. Then I found more blackberries. I spent time picking them. Back in the kitchen, I set them all aside for a crumble.
Camera in hand, I headed out again.
Out again in the garden, I couldn’t help thinking about all the goodness I harvest from our garden. Apart from the obvious kitchen garden plants. The garden provides such diversity and, on the whole, I spend no time carefully nuturing it. So long as I don’t cut it down, it grows. There are so many plants, I do nothing with, which flourish. Most I have not identified, but they are all growing in my garden. I photographed four of them, that I could be using. They are (clockwise from top left) nettle, rose hip, haw and fat hen. Any fat hen, that I do find, usually is given to the hens. All these plants have lots of uses, but I just let them grow.
We also have plenty of fungi, which again I do not pick. I used to pick lots of field mushrooms and shaggy ink caps. I would cook them and eat. I used to go mushroom picking with a french friend and collect mushrooms that I only ever knew the french names for (so have now forgotten!) Then, one day, I went on a day course at a local university, to learn how to identify mushrooms. Hoping to identifying more interesting varietes to eat. By the end of the day, I was terrified of picking any fungi, let alone feeding them to anyone. My confidence gone, I have never collected mushrooms since.
Finally, after a few distractions, I reached the elderberries. They are beginning to go over now, so they are not hanging down in clusters. The black berries have a diameter of about 1/4th of an inch (0.5 cm). They have a tiny pip, the size of a grape pip, which is supposed to be bitter (I’m going to skip testing this fact). All sorts of medical claims are made for elderberries. Most seem to suggest that it strengthens your immune system to fight off a cold. Having tasted the syrup, I can imagine that it would be very soothing for a sore throat. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be enthused to make double next year.