Often you don’t have to go very far to find Today’s treasures
June is a delicious month, a time of strawberries, new potatoes flavoured with apple mint, and the first broad beans melting with butter. And the gardens are alive with colours – yellow flag irises decorate ponds, azaleas brighten up patios, rhododendrons mist the hillsides with a purple haze and poppies startle you with their brilliant red blooms.
Butterflies and damselflies flex their wings and the heady scents of honeysuckle and wild roses fill the hedgerows. Bees are busy investigating every single foxglove flower and the buttercups dance their golden heads in the summer breeze.
The bird table is alive with hatchlings, families of blue tits and great tits vie for space on the feeders – and the swallows return from far off places, wheeling and diving across our skies. Alas, gone are the times when the cuckoo called across our fields and the skylarks sang high above our heads – we need to go further into the wilds of Wales to hear these birds now, but we get more visitors to our bird table – goldfinches, nuthatches and great spotted woodpeckers love peanuts and sunflower seeds.
June is also the time to make elderflower champagne (not really champagne – and in fact not alcoholic at all if you drink it soon enough – but it tastes delicious). Iced elderflower cordial is the perfect complement for summer lunches – these traditional recipes were handed down to me by two elderly aunts – handwritten on yellowing paper, now immortalised on my website: visit www.barbararainford.co.uk/recipes
So quite often, you don’t have to go very far for Today’s Treasures, you can always find something new in your own back yard – a blackbird’s liquid notes heralding the dawn, daisies opening up their petals to the sun’s rays, a glimpse of the first wild rose, the sweetness of strawberries, or honeysuckle’s saturating scent – stimulating all our senses. As our very own Shropshire A.E. Housman said: “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare?” Take a moment to enjoy Today’s Treasures.
Published in the June edition of the Whitchurch Gossip