We are now being taunted and teased by the expectation of summer but we must not be impatient. Already there is much to see and enjoy. Today it is early morning beside the faithful river Wissey. The very first indication of a sunrise slowly peeps over the horizon as a red glow. Soon the full colours will appear and hopefully herald yet another fine day. There is a feeling of complete contentment and peace that is overpowering. In fact there is always that same satisfying feeling when alongside a river or lake. It is something peculiar to water!
Where have all the Flowers Gone?
Wereham Open Gardens and St Margaret’s Festival are two established events for Wereham village and the surrounding community. The funds raised at these events contribute to the upkeep of the parish church; St Margaret’s is mostly medieval and an English treasure in our midst.
At these events our village church, will be open to the public…on show…compared to other local churches….much admired (we hope!). It will have been spruced up, polished and flowers arranged.
Could you help to make St Margaret’s look splendid? We seek contributions of flowers and greenery; also unwanted house plants (perhaps those which are overlarge for your home!).
A few flowers from your garden or a supermarket ‘cheap deal’ could help us make the church outstanding; creating a welcoming space for visitors and village folk alike.
Contributions can be left in the buckets provided, outside the church doors, from the Thursday before these events. There is no church budget for flowers and so we are reliant on the community to support us. Just one or two blooms with greenery can make the world of difference.
Open Gardens 20th& 21stJune.
Garden & plant enthusiasts (as well as tea drinkers/cake eaters! ) visiting our village/gardens/church.
So …Flower buckets
will be at the ready from Thursday 18th June.
A little while ago I wrote a piece expressing some of my views on the royal family and the associated elitist class in this country. If, however, we were to become a republic, we would have the problem of how to select a president. We have recently watched the rather pathetic spectacle of our politicians attempting to win our votes, the ridiculous promises that they could not possibly keep, the lies and the weak excuses for past failures, and with all the back biting. They are reminiscent of days in the playground when children attempted to out do each other with their boasts. I concluded that the election of a president of a republic would be just the same and the president would, almost certainly, be chosen from the same bunch and I further concluded that perhaps we are better off with an unelected monarch. That does not mean that I have any sympathy with the pomp associated with our current monarch or with the expensive band of hangers on. A royal family more like the bicycle riding Scandinavians might be more acceptable. An upper council is an important institution with an important role, but the current membership of the House of Lords is totally inappropriate and in no way relevant to the average citizen, even those members of the Lords that did have humble beginnings have been removed from those times for far too long.
Looking at the results of the election produced more dissatisfaction for me. It was clear that the result had been determined by voters in a relatively few marginal constituencies, the votes of millions of people had no value whatsoever. The first-past-the-post system resulted in some very odd anomalies, for example:
4.7% of the votes went to the SNP which gave them 56 MPs.
Only 50% of the votes in Scotland went to the SNP but they won 56 out of the 59 seats.
63.1% of the voters did not vote for the Conservatives.
The SNP and the Lib Dems together polled less than three million votes and got 64 seats, UKI and the Greens polled over 5 million votes and have two seats
None of this is democratic and neither is it fair.
Our whole parliamentary system and our election are beyond a joke, viewed from afar it would look like a comic opera.
Incidentally it is clear that 50% of the Scottish voters did not support the SNP, and I believe that a significant proportion of the voters that did vote for the SNP did so because they were attracted to their left wing policies and were not necessarily supporters of Scottish independence. Claims that the success of the SNP in the election is a clear indication of the overwhelming support in Scotland for independence are not justified.
When there are a number of smaller parties first-past-the-post is extremely undemocratic, I was very surprised and very disappointed when the referendum held a few years ago rejected a more proportional system and gave overwhelming support to first-past-the-post. It does seem that it will be necessary to reconsider
Had the number of MPs been determined in proportion to the votes cast the result would have been:
Proportional Actual Result
Conservatives 240 331
Labour 198 232
UKIP 82 1
Liberal Democrats 51 8
SNP 31 56
Greens 24 1
As we rapidly approach the longest day of the year the extra light and warmth encourages the garden to put on a vigorous burst of growth. This also means that weeds will also sprout up from nowhere so keep on top of them by hoeing regularly in dry conditions. This and the next few articles will feature both edible and medicinal plants.
Edible flowers add colour, flavour and texture to both savoury and sweet dishes, as well as cordials, oils & butters. Edible flowers have been used for thousands of years, and recipes can be traced back as far as 3,000B.C. Today, many restaurants around the world are using edible flowers to enhance their dishes. Even if you are not keen on ‘nouvelle cuisine’ many flowers are nice to eat and it’s surprising how many flowers growing in our garden are edible.
Growing flowers for eating is easy, although there are a few practical considerations. It’s always best to grow your own edible flowers, so you can be sure that they are clean, fresh and free from pesticides, pests and disease. Avoid faded or dusty flowers from roadsides or area frequented by livestock or dog walkers. People susceptible to allergies, especially pollen, should not eat flowers. And as with any food and salad preparation always maintain good personal hygiene and practices. Should any of your plants grown for edible flowers be infested with insects or disease these are best dealt with by cutting back and encouraging re-growth as no pesticides are specifically approved for use by home gardeners on edible flowers.
When collecting flowers for eating accurate identification is essential, if you are in any doubt do not eat. Pick young flowers on dry mornings, so that the colours and flavours will be at their most intense. For best results, use flowers immediately or refrigerate in a plastic bag. Dried or frozen flowers are best used cooked. Generally only the petals are used, discard all other parts of the flowers. Smaller flowers in umbels can be cut off and used whole.
Edible flowers from the Vegetable Garden:
Courgette/ Marrows: Use male flowers as not to affect yields. Can be eaten hot in tomato soup, or cold stuffed with cooked rice, cheese or nuts.
Garden Peas: Add flowers and young stems to salads for a fresh pea taste.
Part 2: Edible Flowers: Herbs & Ornamentals to follow in July’s edition.
Whatever June 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.