There has been lots of new life in the garden this past month. Ladybird larvae have become their adult form; damselflies dart across the air like neon lights; bees have been buzzing, foraging, and snoozing; wild poppies have bloomed, their petals floating away with the slightest rise of wind. With outdoor service and Garden Sessions restarting, we’ve been able to see first-hand the joy the garden brings to the community, and to our pollinator friends.

Some of our garden botanicals became ready to harvest too. Anise was first up. Its large seed pods can be found to the left of the Stillgarden sign, underneath mustard seeds, and above some English lavender. Aniseeds will go into the Distillery for the Distilling Academy for people to make their own spirits with this produce from the garden.

Caraway was next, and with four caraway plants in the garden, there were plenty of seeds to collect. The seeds can be used as a dry ingredient in gin, so we’ll certainly be putting them to good use!

Our lavender bank is now in full bloom, and it’s also the time of year that mint starts to flower. Whilst very pretty, mint loses some of its essential, fragrant oils when it flowers, so I’ll be pinching them off when they appear. These two quintessential ingredients to our Social Gin are nearing their peak growth, so we will soon be harvesting them for the next batch. We have lavender farther up the garden too, and one member of the community recently asked me if the type growing was “super lavender.” Stillgarden Super Lavender has a nice ring to it.

We’ve also harvested some dandelion root and strawberries, and I personally have been using the spinach and rocket as salad leaves for my lunches. There is plenty more floral activity in the garden beyond being tasty in a bagel, with cornflower, chrysanthemum, vetch, fumitory, ox-eye daisy, nasturtium, lemon thyme, and many different types of poppies all in bloom. Our Social Botanists have been hard at work with weeding and planting, so there will be something new growing every time you visit.

Further afield from Stillgarden Distillery, the Social Botanists and I met for a foraging morning at Landsdowne Valley Park where we collected quite the array of goodies. Blackberry leaf, blackberry flowers and buds, meadowsweet, limeflower and cherries are among some of the treasures we found last Saturday. We’re loving the turnout at Social Gardening Hours every Saturday, if you’re looking to join our community of Social Botanists, click here to sign up, we’d love to have you growing and foraging with us!

Your friendly neighbourhood forager and gardener,

Connor