It is mid morning and the forecast is for another hot day. We are off to explore a favourite place from many years ago. It is not accessible by the usual public footpaths and is always heavily overgrown. For this reason it attracts very little attention. An overnight downpour has left large puddles across the approaching track. The lack of footprints in the mud confirms that it is still seldom used. Even then, I guess, it is only a very occasional fisherman who would ever use it. It is a long walk but a wonderful place for anyone seeking out isolation and a few hours of escape!
I am writing as an ex parish councillor to the village of Stoke Ferry.
Now we have a new Parish Council I would like to suggest an agenda for the next 3 years.
Stoke Ferry, unlike many neighbouring villages, has a wealth of facilities but a long tradition of personality clashes and worse has prevented our community assets from operating as one organisation, leading to avoidable conflict and an apparent difficulty in cooperating for the good of the community. In particular we have a Village Hall (run by a non-elected troika) as well as the Parish Council, which has a budget of almost £20,000 pa and which seems to exist mainly to operate the cemetery. The Parish Council is forever looking for a role beyond opining on planning applications and administering the lighting in our village. Surprisingly, a number of councillors are opposing payment of grants which the parish council has generously made to the Playing Fields to contribute to public liability insurance and even to the community car scheme, which many people have benefited from.
We also have the Playing Fields Committee, which has rejuvenated itself over the last three years and has transformed the playing fields and the children’s playground, raising I understand in excess of £40,000 through events and grants. The next phase of development will be a proper clubhouse to support the sports fixtures and I can think of nothing better than this new facility incorporating the village hall as the main community building in the village.
Am I alone on Stoke Ferry in saying that these three organisations should really be run by a single entity, which would mean a transfer of management responsibility and budget control to the Parish Council. This would give the Parish Council a meaningful role which in itself would prevent fiascos such as the last parish council “election” which seems to have been resulted in a crony council with no legitimacy supported at considerable expense by the parish clerk. The Village Hall, which the parish council does not even use for meetings, is in desperate need of complete rejuvenation and better still moving to prevent regular blocking of the main street at Village Hall events. I understand that the Village Hall Committee has been outsmarted by the developers (again) and the promised £20,000 due in February has not been received – to my mind the resources and contacts of the Parish Council should prevent such shenanigans.
August always brings plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the garden, however there are still plenty of jobs to be done. If any plants are looking tired dead-heading spent flower heads and removing brown leaves will quickly rejuvenate their appearance. Continuing on from the July edition, this month is exploring edible garden flowers, some of which I’m sure you are familiar with such as pansies, roses and marigolds.
Agastache: Both flowers and leaves have a delicate, fragrant aniseed taste. Add to whipping cream or cakes. If you are pregnant Agastache is best avoided.
Alcea Rosea (Hollyhock): The flowers can be crystallised and used to decorate cakes, mousses and roulades. Can also be used to make syrup to add to puddings. Remove the stamen before using.
Cornflower (Centaurea cyanus): Provides a sweet to spicy clove-like taste. Ideal for using as confetti for sprinkling on salads, omelettes or pasta.
Dianthus (Carnation/ Pinks): Most dianthus flowers have a pleasant spicy, floral, clove-like taste, especially the more fragrant varieties. Ideal for decorating cakes, adding to soups and salads. The petals of Sweet Williams add zest to ice-cream, sorbets, seafood and stir-fries.
Fuchsia: Very decorative if crystallised or inserted into jelly. The berries are useful for making jams. Before eating, remove the stamen pistils.
Gardenia jasminoides (Cape Jasmine): These extremely fragrant blooms can be used in pickles, preserves and jams, or shredded and added to cakes.
Hemerocallis (Day Lily): Chop and added to stir-fries or stuff with almost any filling. Do not eat other types of lilies as they are poisonous.
Oenothera (Evening Primrose): The flowers taste like lettuce so make a perfect addition to salad.
Phlox Paniculata (Perennial Phlox): Provides a spicy taste to fruit salads. Also ideal for crystallising and adding to cakes or desserts. Annual and alpine (low growing) phlox are not edible.
Primula: (Polyanthus/ Primrose) Flowers can be crystallised and use as decoration, making them ideal for special cakes, (or pancakes) for example on Mothering Sunday or at Easter.
Salvia Sclarea (Biennial Clary) flowers have a very aromatic flavour and being pastel shades makes a lovely contrast when added to salads.
Scented Pelagoniums (Geranium Fragrans): powerful citrus fragrance that adds flavour to meringue.
Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Mix fresh flowers with cream cheese and serve on crackers.
Yucca: The white yucca flower petals have a crunchy, sweet taste with a hint of artichoke flavour. Delicious added to salads.
Whatever August brings, I hope you are able to enjoy some time simply relaxing in your garden.
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk
Disclaimer: P&R Garden Supplies has researched all the edible flowers listed and to the best of our knowledge all the information provided is accurate and true. However, individuals consuming the flowers, plants, or derivatives listed here do so entirely at their own risk. No liability exists against P&R Garden Supplies or any member of P&R Garden Supplies. P&R Garden Supplies always recommends following good hygiene practices. We cannot guarantee that everyone will react positively to the edible plants listed and P&R Garden Supplies cannot be held responsible for any adverse reaction, side effect, allergy, illness or injury caused by the flowers or information provided in this article. In case of doubt please consult your doctor.
SAYING IT WITH FLOWERS
Very many thanks to all those who gave so generously after my appeal for flowers to decorate St Margaret’s Church, on Open Gardens weekend.
It was strangely exciting to see what the buckets contained! Some interesting items, including herbs; bay leaves, chives and fresh mint …. so refreshing, also long stemmed alliums and some lovely foliage in various shades and sizes -some items more challenging to use than others.
It was a great joy to find the little posy of garden flowers, lovingly placed outside the church in their own plastic container…including home grown freesia, in shades of blue and purple…just simple and delicate. I had a great time using the offerings, both garden flowers and cut bunches; making use of everything you kindly put in the buckets.
I really do hope those who contributed went into church to see….where the flowers had gone!
The Battle of Britain – 75 years on
On 18 June 1940, Churchill gave a rousing speech to the British people, announcing: “… the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin.” Four days later, France surrendered to Germany and Hitler turned his attention to Britain.
German air superiority in the south of England was essential, so Hitler ordered Hermann Goering, the head of the Luftwaffe, that the RAF be, “beaten down to such an extent that it can no longer muster any power of attack worth mentioning against the German crossing”.
Starting mid-July the Luftwaffe attacked shipping, coastal towns, airfields and radar bases. Then in August, Hitler ordered the destruction of London and other major cities. Eleven days later, on what became known as ‘Battle of Britain Day’, the RAF savaged the huge incoming Luftwaffe formations in the skies above London and the south coast.
Today, we are again fighting for the survival of our way of life against evil people who have no respect for life itself – and all of their atrocities are done in the name of God. How dare they! The name of God is Love, not hate, brutality, depravity: and the God I am talking about is the God of the Christian faith and Muslim faith – the one these brutes say they represent.
The difference this time is that the enemy is not known, we don’t know where they are and we don’t know when and where they will strike next. We cannot rely on the special few like we did in 1940, we have to fight ourselves, each and every one of us. Yes, report anything you are suspicious about but also pray. No, please don’t dismiss this as a light hearted remark, I am deadly serious. In the past, the Monarch would call the nation to prayer during times of crisis. The last to do so was King George VI, who, acting under the advice of Winston Churchill, called the nation to a National Day of Prayer for Repentance and Petition for Deliverance during World War II.