Ah the Solstice and the start of Summer! So much! So much… Too much? No. It’s just a wonderful time of year. Preserving starts, the allotment is lush (too lush), and the days are longer to take it all in!
To start, the Solstice itself is often a night we try and celebrate outdoors. Two years ago we walked from Sherringham to Blakeney towards the sunset. It was magical. Last year we feasted in Salthouse at the Dun Cow, and did the same. We swam in dark off the quay when we got home.
This year we went the other way. In the kayak. Leaving the cut we headed towards The Point. The sky was dappled in clouds backlit by a rainbow sky. We seemed to glide over the rippling water. It was breathtaking.
Then we landed on the point and walked up the biggest dune to have a No.4 cocktail (Gin, honey, cardamom, and black pepper with rosemary sprigs) and watched the sun set. The wildflowers glowed in the dusk as we walked back to the kayak. On the return journey we were treated to a large strawberrymoon rising over Cley! What a sight! What an evening. And all on a Tuesday night.
At home the allium has raised their heads in time for the 4th of July (you can take the girl out of America…) The staghorn sumac is flowering above and the lavender is blooming below. The garden is thick and lush with globe thistle, roses, and california poppies.
On the allotment is it artichoke season! The 50mph winds did go some way towards thinning our crop but there are so many there is more than enough! The broadbeans have been harvested for hummus, and the strawberries are rampant. We have already picked 4kg and so many more to come!
In the hedges the dog roses are in bloom with their classic delicate fragrance. The elderflower too has come out fully. Of course this can only mean one thing! Preserving!
The kitchen has been a hive of activity! Rose and lavender syrup for cocktail experiments. Elderflower cordial for the same, but also cakes. The strawberries have been put to good use in Eton mess with pistachio meringues and honey…. And jam. So. Much. Jam. Some with rhubarb and vanilla. The house smells sweet and sticky and floral with it.
The house is also fragrant with sweet peas from the cutting garden. The first posey of many we hope. With all the rain they look strong this year. But the delphiniums are the drama queens of my cutting garden at the moment. They are both dramatic and delicate and are putting on quite the show in their second year. And let’s not forget the charming country cousin the ox eye daisy. Fresh and cheerful they sit for weeks in a vase looking amazing.
With so much going on it is even more important to sit and reflect on each tiny joy on its own to full appreciate what is going on around us.