As freezing cold temperatures sweep across the country, the Bullace or Wild British Plum is in flower under clear blue skies. The winter sun has pushed this early flowering member of our hedgerow to blossom over the last week.

A light green hue now adorns the riverside bushes along the Thames Path, patches of white blossom brings a bit of colour momentarily, however we could see a blanket of snow over the coming days destroy the fragile flowers of the Bullace.

It is interesting to see that when these hedgerow dwellers bear their fruit that few people pick them. When ripe these yellow perfumed fruits have a sweet taste, soft skinned and are ideal for making jam. The other use is in the infusion of Gin or Bullace liqueur. Recently I have seen a couple of gin produces launch a limited release of Bullace and Quince Liqueur, Pinkster being one them.

What would be interesting to do is to use the flower as a botanical in gin distillation, on that note I may have to go and have a conversation with the guys at Sipsmith, our local distiller or maybe with the erudite Master Distiller, Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers based in Clapham.

One thing for sure some Bullace infused gin will be made this year one way or another.

On a final note it’s a shame more isn’t done to protect our hedgerows and educate people on the importance of looking after them and the rewards that they can yield.