Strawberries, Roses, Larkspur, and the Royal Wedding

“Some are monarchists and some are not”, said a critic after my tour.  I mentioned that in 1990, Prince Charles stayed next door to my friend Francess Palmer’s house at 5 East Battery, which we were visiting.  Allow me to confess.  I am a monarchist  and a prayer warrior for the Royal Family as well as  my own.  I was of neccesity to all things English born though a native Charlestonian.  My mother is from England, and Auntie Edie, almost 98, still lives on her own in the village my mother is from, and Auntie Pam in the next village over.  Thankfully, my mother lives in Charleston where she gave birth to me and is a daily part of my life, as well as the one doing the two hour walking tour part of my business. 

What do strawberries, roses, larkspur and the Royal wedding have in common?  They are all being celebrated this week!  My children and I picked strawberries this weekend at Pete Ambrose’s  at Selkirk Plantation on Wadmalaw Island.  We also collected eggs and picked lettuce and swiss chard from our friends Becky and David Baird’s Live Oak Plantation.  They are both doctors to support their farming habits.  Becky Gregorie Baird was one of the first women to graduate from Porter Gaud with my husband, Preston.  She also delivered our three children.  Her sister, Ann Kulze, is also a doctor who has written two books on eating right for life. 

My shoulders ache from picking, washing,  and slicing strawberries for hours last night, making  strawberry jam.  But this Easter morning, I was able to give my family a strawberry cream tea before church at St. Philip’s.  No, you do not put strawberries or cream in your tea.  You put them on your split scone and drink your cup of tea with it.  The dollop of cream makes it decadent, along with a drizzle of my calamondin marmalade.  I have made freezer strawberry jam for the first time, a fresher, healthier taste with less sugar needed. 

 This week of the Royal Wedding, I will be serving strawberry cream teas after lunch at my house where the tall Canton blue larkspur is in bloom down our walkway with the lacy cilantro, lettuces,  and johnny jump ups.  The Doctor Van Fleet pale new dawn pink roses make you want to weep to see and smell them on our fence.  The jasmine is in bloom along the same, the scent of Charleston!  The loquats are swelling up from the hard green to the fleshy yellow.  When  they are golden I will be picking them for more loquat liqueur, or essence of loquat.  It is a plum, not in the citrus family.  I have been cooking with it, adding a taste you have never had in any other American city.  It is like a sexy, fruity almond, hard to describe.  Come taste for yourself!  I hope to see you soon!  I have little time to get back to the computer with tours, cooking, gardening,  family, and friends so that the best way to reach me is by phone.  Leave me a message and I will call you back.–843-577-5896–Laura

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