Hedgerow foraging – Elderflowers

Elderflowers in hedgerowElderflowers, elderflowers everywhere! The perfumed scent of elderflowers has been following me in the early mornings signalling the start of the summer season. In the woods and along the hedgerows by our house the tiny clusters of flowers have finally been opening up. I watched and waited for them in May but they’re finally flowering this June in our area of West Sussex.

But superstitions walk hand in hand with elder trees.

To fell the tree is unlucky as it is home to the unforgiving Elder Mother; burning the timber in the house will release the devil within; and to make a cradle from its timber is sheer folly.” Hedgerow by John Wright

Elderflower woodsElderflowers shrub in woodsIn the woods many of the elder trees are unreachable. Brambles and stinging nettles form armed guards underneath them.

But luckily just behind one of the hedgerows by our garden they’re growing in abundance. Tucked next to wild roses and hawthorn blossoms are more than enough creamy and frothy elderflower panicles for me to pick early in the morning when their heady aroma is at the fullest. I only cut the ones with full flowering heads to bring home and use straightaway – when they’re still fresh – in recipes.

It is meant to protect the household from evil if planted nearby and is apparently never struck by lighting.” The Hedgerow Cookbook Wild at Heart

Elderflowers blossomingHedgerow Hawthorn blossoms

Pink hawthorn blossoms

White wild rose in hedgerow

Wild rosesElderflowers wild rose buds

Elderflowers and wild rose buds

I’m also fortunate as I don’t have to worry about anyone else cutting all the flowers. There should be plenty that will have turned into elderberries later this year.

Elderflower shrub hedgerowElderflower paniclesElderflowers tiny flowersOf course the first recipe on my list was making elderflower cordial. Guess what I’ve been sipping while writing this post? Sparkling water with a dash of elderflower. My twins will also be enjoying these fragrant hedgerow delights as I have elderflower with mixed berries ice-lollies in the freezer. Elderflowers are lovely to look at but even better to infuse for treats.


10 thoughts on “Hedgerow foraging – Elderflowers”

  1. Pingback: 159. HDYGG - Mammasaurus

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  3. Our elder is finally in full flower and I think the best I have seen it in years and the smell is intoxicating 🙂 I must try and get some photos. As ever yours are stunning 🙂 #hdygg

  4. Elizabeth - Simply Blossoms

    Gorgeous pictures and I never knew that folk lore about the elder tree. That’s really interesting. I think I may have one in my garden, I’m going to take your pictures and study the flowers tomorrow to check #HDYGG

  5. we used to collect elderflower for my mum to make cordial with as kids, it never turned out that nice though

  6. I have been watching on on IG as people gather Elderflower with glee – here’s the thing, even though I have seen the trees in photos I’m not sure what is one in ‘real life’. I’m such a noob. Shame because I would love to make Elderflower cordial!
    Lovely photos Kriss, all this talk of wild rise buds and elderflower takes me to a very happy place 🙂

    1. I’ve seen some elder trees on their own or others growing abundantly within a hedge. Best time is to pick some flower heads from what you think might be an elder in the morning and smell them – the fragrance is quite remarkeable.

  7. Every year I decide I’m going to make elderflower cordial – and every year I don’t quite get around to it. So perhaps today I need to go and pick some elderflowers!

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