99 Day of the Elderflower

A Birthday post for Oscar

A warm day will progress the ripening of a flower’s full scent just as it does fruit, and when it does, the summer air, with a china blue sky above, can fill with happiness. Every flower will have its hour when it is most fragrant. The intention was to allow my share of wild elderflower on the local canal to sunbathe all day and become so totally imbued with its own fragrance that it would fall in love with itself. Then I would come along and pick it to make its own love potion – elderflower cordial.

On yesterday morning, whilst on earlier tasks in the day, as I passed simple, but proud gardens,  the sweetness of orange  blossom and sweet peach tea from roses pervaded in the surrounds,  as I passed. The warm air was doing its job, this mix of perfumes was good few metres from their blooms.The day would bode well.

With their petals outstretched to maximum,  and with bushes and stems flowered to absolute profusion, these were no longer the shy, soft  and slow emerging, first blooms of Spring.  Summer is about  attention seeking moments , with knowledge acquired from the past, and like the confidence of a flirtatious teenager, these flowers made no secret about the desire for indulgence.  Their eagerness was to be utterly seductive to the senses of the unsuspecting passers by. This was apparent, not just in the rising, bewitching aromatics.

The petallics from even from the shy, old fashioned wall loving  hollyhock, from last week to this week, post midsummer, has deepened into a glowing magenta concentrate.  Any six legged insect friends could not be more openly tempted to attend a nectar party up and down its stems.

On china blue sky days,  with  fluffy puffy clouds,  we now know that past midsummer, between the extremes of humidity, and dry heat, because of the changes in warm moisture and light, the season is racing against itself, impatient to intensify and enter its very best,  and being aware of such short-lived pleasure, we wonder “Why can’t Nature always be like summer days?”

Whilst grasses dry quickly and turns to straw, one remembers that to ensure the most fragrant offering of an elderflower potion, and possibly to mix subtly with new gooseberries, one must not forget to let the day turn to evening with love potions. Remember to pick the best when immersed in the warm sunlight of the day and pleasantly drowsy, nothing else will do.

Elderflower Love Potion

25 heads of elderflower, some closed ones

Immerse in freshly boiled water with orange and lemon zest

Cover overnight

Sieve and bottle the next morning with honey/sugar

Share with generousity, but use sparingly. Make cocktails, soft drinks or add to fruit salads. Use its bottled fragrance to remember the tender warm and fragrant days of summer, blue skies and green walks and in my case 26 years of being a mother. The labour was not a summer walk as I remember…but the end product was definitely intoxicating, a bed of baby was a very good result. Happy Birthday Oscar. Always keep love potions in a secret, well protected place.

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© 2015 La Floralie

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97 Microcosm and the mollusc

From stem to rest,  a poppy petal must have thought it had found its final resting place. With lightest touch, as it laces its bed of leaves with its fading edge, it leaves the faintest imprint of memory and touch. Not allowed to quietly dissolve in the June rain, it then becomes the creative material for a shelled sculptor investigating  its own windows of opportunity. And voila, evolution, the fate of a poppy petal and an appetite create a whole new landscape.

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© 2015 La Floralie


96 Up close and personal

The physical attractiveness of some can be truly magnetic. Ranging from the typical classic beauty to particular qualities of the unusual and individual, the magnolia possesses highly contrasting aesthetics of appearance for Autumn and Summer, and this paradox proves to be the bedrock to its clock from season to season.

In Spring and early Summer, the blossoming beauty pushes hard through the unforgivingly ugly seedcasings of Winter. This flora is a form which contains both beauty and beast, Jekyll and Hyde. Feel its seasonal detailing and charisma by clicking on the images for a further close up and personal interaction with its changeable, but utterly engaging character.

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From the beguiling, carved eye sculptures from Winter,

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To softest facial hair and firm neck in Spring;

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With the dual appeal of petal soft complexion and 5’o clock growth or trendy beard,

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And perfectly formed pinked, blood rushed lips.

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Only on the most microscopic observation will one view the furry layer on the edges of our ear, and exciting ripples in petalled skin. All nuances for the strange powers of sensuality.

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Nature’s soft looks brings memories of youth and beauty, but in Winter years, when conversation of floating petals on the Spring and early Summer breeze finally ceases,  hardened flappers become the necessity of the cold season, deafest wood keeps the ancient secrets of evolution safe and sound. How can a plant manage to conserve its energy and proceed to alternate between the fresh face of blossom to a season of ageing and maturity? The vertebrates are not capable of this type of renewal and growth.

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With new warmth and light attention of Spring to Summer, the ageing process then appears harnessed. The tree flowers once again, and as it gets older, there are only more blossoms and it becomes even more beautiful, proving that with maturity, ageing can apparently bring with it more procreative energies and benefits……Well, well, well…..breathtaking alchemy indeed.

Hmmm…..Magnolia,…….through the seasons, hardiness, softness, energy, stillness, colour and power, wisdom and constancy – you could be my type of flora….

© 2015 La Floralie