Over the last few weeks, I've rejoined the team at Trill Farm and have been helping to prepare for upcoming courses.

I used to do this when I lived at the nearby Monkton Wyld Community. My favourite part remains picking the seasonal flowers to beautify the guest spaces and bring a little of what nature provides indoors.

My first experiences of Trill Farm were a few years ago, volunteering in the Herb Gardens. It was April, with regular showers even though it was warming up. The blossoms were opening and the wildlife was beginning to buzz. By the time June came around, harvesting flowers and herbs was as regular as the wet days had been in spring.

Just as then, the elderflower are now aplenty and ready for picking. In order to enjoy them a little longer, they can be dried for use as tea or made into elderflower cordial to enjoy throughout the summer months. Typically made with lemon juice, elderflower cordial reminds me of the glorious sunshine that we enjoy more and more as we approach midsummer.

If, like me, you enjoy a bit of food history, you might choose to look at Dorothy Hartley's 1954 work, 'Food in England', when searching for a traditional English recipe to follow. Her perspective on the kitchen being a 'warm friendly place, where one can come in any time and have a chat with the cook' is endearing.

Ms. Hartley's suggested use for elderflower is all about the flavour that the delicate lace imparts to food. One idea she writes about is to 'draw a bunch of flowers through any fine jam just before bottling it to scent it deliciously'. I love that there aren't any formal measurements; intuition and your senses were to be your guide.

Nature is full of inspiration. Hopefully you will find some in the great outdoors this summer whether you're picking flowers for the cook or the windowsill.

Mary works one day a week, preparing our course schedule for this year and next.

Interested in volunteering in the Herb Garden? Email post@trillfarm.co.uk