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I started preparing the lemons for steeping for the cordial while I got last week’s blog ready for publishing. My computer crashed between entering the text and taking the photographs; drive D I hate you. Attila attacked the recalcitrant tech while I persevered with squeezing the living daylights out of twenty four blameless yellow fruits. It’s a good job that all of that hand weeding and secateur work had given me a strangler’s grip. My irritation at the perfidious box of silicon chips enabled me to crush my ingredients without mercy. The house was sticky all over from my gummy paw prints larded with vast quantities of sugar but smelled delightfully of citrus.
Vegetable patch facing north
Vegetable patch facing north

I used to curate the National Collection of ground elder. After years of warfare I had nothing but a sprinkling of leaves, which always sprang up overnight after a prolonged thrashing session. For the open day we had worked like maniacs to present the place fairly, as the plot of a plant addict who rooted out the most intrusive wildings but left a few, rather than risk injury. I had been ashamed of a tray full of Dierama pulcherrimum (angel’s fishing rod) seedlings, grown from harvestings from the strapping specimen in the front border. Hastily I pricked them out into 264 individual cells and while doing so, thought that plant sales could be a good money spinner for worthy causes yet to come. It was much too early to mention that to my nearest and dearest. After a day of gardengardengarden, my husband’s expression was beginning to get hysterical.
Hot box - Courgettes, Nasturtiums & Cardoons
Hot box – Courgettes, Nasturtiums & Cardoons

Prattling about plants and reciting Latin names seemed to please our visitors, who wandered about in orderly crowds and supped their iced drinks, bathed in glorious golden sunshine. In the conservatory, We had barricaded the stairs leading to the raised stage, since there was no banister or rail to protect the unwary from the drop. I didn’t want to find a victim’s feet sticking out of the fountain, having fallen head first from above. I had filled the reservoir and left it tinkling for the day. Any longer than that in the heat and the water would turn to the colour and consistency of pea soup. I wedged open both doors to provide a through route, to prevent an eddy of people around the Calla lilies. Spouse had arranged a recording of native birdsong on his MP3 player, which twittered discretely amongst the Brugmansias (angel’s trumpet). Several who could reach gave the Acacia dealbata (mimosa) a shoogle, mistaking it for Mimosa pudica (sensitive plant), which folds up if given a quick feel. Upturned faces all appeared to be charmed. Quite a few expressed lust and envy.
Acnistus australis (blue angel's trumpet)
Acnistus australis (blue angel’s trumpet)

We didn’t sell all of the cordial, so I put the concentrate through the ice cream machine to make sorbet. Perhaps this would be a good idea for summer opening in the future. Don’t think that way. The whole family mucked in with gate admission and kitchen duties. I rewarded them with a takeaway Chinese dinner and as much beer as they could drink. It seemed unfair to pounce when their resistance was low due to exhaustion and alcohol, so I shall wait until they are tipsy at Xmas. We made £270 for charity. It was fun. Can we do it again?

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