The farm is open to the general public and has a really big playground that kids of all ages can enjoying. Many decades ago, this used to be a real farm where they raised livestock and grew carrots and potatoes. Today there a a few animals of each kind: pigs, chickens, rabbits, turkeys, peacocks, horses, goats, and donkeys are “scattered” around the different areas of the farm. They sell plants in a self-run nursery and grow a lot of their own vegetables that you can enjoy in the salads that sell in a small restaurant with outdoor seating next to the playground. The playground is capped off by a field of fruit trees and a lovely relaxation garden that is cared for by a former employee who is retired and volunteers her time to keep the garden in tip top shape. The handicapped people who live in assisted-living apartments a block away come here regularly to enjoy the peacefulness of the garden, get their hands dirty with garden work, and do arts and crafts that are hung up in the different corners of the garden.
It is pre-summer vacation here, and we are always on the lookout for a fun place to go where the kids can run around a lot. One of out favorite places to visit is the botanical garden of the University of Erlangen. The entire garden is open to the public free of charge and they have a nice selection of different types of plants.
My kids are camera-fanatics, so they each get a camera in their hands and click away at all the interesting things they discover. Their favorite creatures to photograph are the frogs and koi swimming in the raised ponds outside of the garden houses.
My favorite corners are those filled with roses, and if you are a rose lover yourself, you will not be disappointed here. The botanical garden spills out into the local palace garden that is surrounded by the university, and you can really spend hours strolling around.
People, it is elder flower season and that means that it’s time for make elder flower syrup!
If you’re unfamiliar with the elderberry tress it can seem like every other green tree, but when the first warm days of late Spring and early summer roll around, you just can’t miss them. Elderberry trees grow like weeds here in Germany. Everywhere I have been in the last few weeks I have seen at least one. They grow on the sides of roads, at thw edge of rivers, in the midst of forest, along sidewalks, in the middle of farm fields…the list goes on. They can be spotted by their large white flower clusters, and when you get close by their intensely sweet floral scent.
Making a syrup with the flowers is pretty easy and not very labor intensive. And, afterwards you are rewarded withe a unique syrup for making your own sodas and cocktails year round. My favorite combination is elder flower syrup topped off with spritzy water with a squirt of fresh lemon juice and Granada-Mint leaves muddled it – and served super cold of course!
20 Elder Flower clusters, debugged
1 organic Lemon, cut into rounds
Place all your cleaned elder flower clusters in a large wide-mouthed jar or a bowl (if you use a bowl you may need more lemon rounds).
In a saucepan, heat water and sugar over high heat, stiring frequently, until all sugar is dissolved and the mixture has reached 80C. Pour the simple syrup over the flowers while it is still hot.
Using the lemon rounds, layer them above the flowers the keep the flowers submerged beneath the syrup. Let the syrup sit in a cool dark place – unrefridgerated – for 24 hours.
Strain syrup through a fine sieve and discard the flowers and lemons. Place thw syrup in a sauce pan and heat it to 80C before pouring it into prepared jars for canning. Pour into the jars and close with a lid and allow to sit on your counter, undisturbed for 24 hours. Alternatively, you can leave you syrup uncanned and can use it immediately. Once opened, keep refrigerated.
Makes about 1 Liter.
Wolfgangshof is one of my favorite places to visit – it’s like traveling back in time. Luckily, there are festivals heald on this private country estate a few times a year that are open to the public – and they are always great! I always feel swept away by the rustic charm surrounding me.
A few months back we visited a rustic Christmas market held here, and now that Spring has come into bloom, the Frühjahrslust has come (and saddly gone) in one weekend. It was such comfortable sunny weather. After walking around all the garden stands and “acquiring” a decent amount of organic herbs to plant in my balcony garden, we sat by a stone fountain, listened to giggling children, sipped espresso, and soaked in some rays.
I was really excited to find out that this great event comes twice a year – the second event is in September and is called Grüne Lust. Even if I don’t need any new plants for my garden, it is still so much fun to visit for the day and eat yummy food!
For lunch I had a vegan Spaghetti Bolognese with Carrot-Sunflower seed Pesto and a lemon-mint soda from a local restaurant catering at the festival. Not to mention that I also thoroughly enjoyed freshly fried handmade potato chips and an vegan orange gelato….ahhh vegan food love!