Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Monday, 26 January 2009


And today we have . . . Elderberry and Hawthorn . . .
* * * * *

Elderberry Cordial with fizzy, deeply cold water. (I made some - but it went off; so I buy it now.)
Fried Elderberry Flowers. (First dip them in flour. Plain, I think. White. Wholemeal would be horrid.)
Elderberries. (Added (just a few) to a saucepan of blackberries, they deepen the flavour. The colour too. And the resulting juice (when warm) is reminiscent of red wine.)
Bushes. (Trim them back or smash them?)
New growth . . .
Elderberry doesn't spring to life as enthusiastically as does Buddleia - but the leaf shoots are there, none the less, by December. (See on the left-underside of the broken branch.)
And on a tree nearby, a swirl of close-cropped, broken branches change little in this winter month.
On the left - 5th December.
Below - 13th January.
Apologies that you'll need to click these pictures to see the leaf buds - but it seemed more important to have the pictures close to each other than to post them large.
* * * * *
Introducing Elderberry
The first tree with its own Blog.
(It had better do something interesting!)
* * * * *
. TWO.
Choosing Trees for the Hawthorn Log
Hawthorn, round here, mostly pokes up high from behind lower bushes so it's difficult to follow particular branches. There'll be some sticking through here and there but I can't tell what's what for ivy. Nor will I see, until the leaves come, which, if any of them have been flailed. It may be that they are mostly too high or too far back to have suffered much damage.
So the Hawthorn Log (when it gets going) will have to be a bit general for another couple of months.
Which isn't to say there's nothing yet to put in it.
See this? Above the water? See it? Up on the cliff on the right? Hawthorn trees are too big for most gardens and lose their shape in hedges. So, for me, this is a special tree; I can see its shape. It's quite easy to reach too - when the weather is fine. There's a track. But the weather is not fine and the track is all January-mud and slippyness.
And there are these little ones - the uppermost of which will reach into the way of the flails when it gets bigger . . . which will be interesting. Emotion is such a nuisance. When, eventually, this happens I know part of me will do a stupid 'oh poor little tree' dance. And another part of me will say 'rather trim it back when it's little than hack it back when it's big'. And I'll get in a tangle and have to remind myself that I'm supposed to be a starting-from-scratch scientist.
And that, I think, is the hardest part about all this. Plants simply aren't objects of observation. We do get emotional about them - have our emotions triggered by them. Otherwise we wouldn't grow them . . . well, I know I'm not the one growing these . . . but I expect you'll know what I mean.


Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I didn't know you could make so many edible things with the elderberry. I didn't see any new buds on it when I enlarged it, but that might be my eyes...or computer screen:) I think it's interesting that you're going to play scientific observer with these trees. You're right though, as much as you want to be objective about what you're seeing, there is that subjective part that will enter in, and your attachment to it, memories of one like it, etc...will enter in. I see the Hawthorne...it stands above all others. A proud tree. Well, next time I check back in here, maybe there will be some more green! My fingers are crossed:)

Lucy said...

Hello Jan.

Sorry about the leaf buds.

I'm now thinking it would have been better to put large pictures there after all. You'd probably have found them more easily than hunting round on the even-bigger, enlarged, image.

If you want another bash . . . try the January one.

See there's a V shape in a blotch of light? . . . Sort of like an angel's wings or a dove landing? Well, at the base of the V, more or less, where the neck of the angel or the head of the dove would be, there's a group of them . . . green and red.

An luck?


Lucy said...

Oh, Jan . . . it is clearer on the size one larger.

If you click on the picture in the sidebar . . . you go to the Elderberry Log . . . and it's the top photo there.

(At least, it is on 26th January.)


P.S. I'll not change it for now . . . I'll get all the layout in a muddle if I do . . . but I may do another day - when I'll have time to put it all right again. L.

Philip Bewley said...

Hi Lucy,
I enjoy your rambles about the sea and countryside. I feel I am taking a wonderful adventure. Elderberry and Hawthorn, such evocative plants with ancient meanings. I had no idea you could fry them,too!
You have transported me to a world away.

Lucy said...

Hello Philip - and I didn't know Elder and Hawthorn have ancient meanings!


P.S. Fried elderflower - it's the kind of thing that's nice to have once in a while but, when I've had it, it's been rather greasy so I wouldn't want it every day. And one doesn't want to use an oil that is in itself flavoured too strongly.

As I write this (and having said that) I'm thinking a walnut oil might be a good choice. L.

Tyra in Vaxholm said...

You are so clever and funny Lucy, I'm a huge fan of both these berries and use them every year. I have made a topiary of an Hawthorn that I'm very proud of :-)


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Wow, cool leaf buds and even without a stem (I know there's a botanical term for that, but it's not coming to me).

Lucy said...

Do you have a photo of your hawthorn topiary on your blog, Tyra?

And what do you do with the hawthorn? I've never found a use for the haws. Have you?


Lucy said...

Monica - if you remember what the name is for these kind of buds, would you let me know what it is? It would be useful to know for other occasions.


Chris said...

I really like your beach pic :-) I can just imagine walking there with a gentle breeze on a fine day :-) We have elderberry too, I will try them with blackberries!

Lucy said...

Thanks Chris.

About the elderberries - they are surprisingly strong when cooked with blackberries. You need very few to make quite a bit impact.

Treat them warily - as you would when using herbs - but they really are very good.


Monica the Garden Faerie said...

I think the type of bud is called axillary, but I can't swear to it. (I can just swear, though, if that's ever necessary!)

Mariaberg said...

I have Elderberry in my garden and make "juice" of the flowers- boil them with sugger. I love mixin it with white wine, and sparkling water.

It is easy for me to understand English a lot more difficult to write and spell.

Thank you for visit me blogg - it was fun to read the translation google had made!
/Maria Berg

Lucy said...

Thanks Monica.