The Bog myrtle has begun to flower, a blood orange wave running from the sheltered areas around the burns to the more exposed stands on the hill flanks.

Last summer’s harvest was taken in late June. The young leaves were still tender and full of a bay-like aroma. The smell of the myrtle flower is lighter, almost heady. Val tries some of the more backward bushes on the hillside.

We return to the same stand that we harvested last summer. Here the flowers are ahead of those on the hillside and richer in aroma. We start by cutting the flower heads – only to discover that they almost fall off by themselves into our waiting umbrellas. We are pleased to see that our work to remove some of the birches have improved the density of the stand that is thriving under our gentle “negative harvesting”.

We’ll try the flowers on the Rotovap to capture the lighter fragrances.