The tiny wild strawberries, planted as raggedly crowns last winter, are finally ripening. Barely the size of a child’s fingernail, they are deepest red, and utterly fragrant, with a rose-come-pineapple flavour. I grow them under the blackcurrant bushes for shade, and reaching for them releases the heady musky scent of their leaves.
A single wild strawberry, tucked under a crème brûlée fragrances it seductively, and is the ultimate lazy June pudding (Warm 500ml of double cream with 100g of castor sugar and six egg yolks. Allow to cool and thicken. Sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top of the cool cream and grill to a hard crisp caramel).
With all that egg white, why not make a meringue? Egg white and (yes, more!) sugar are beaten together and then baked in a low oven until crisp but still chewy in the centre. Smothered in cream, and scattered with more strawberries there can be no finer way of enjoying the tiny fruits. Rosemary syrup (Boil equal weights of water and sugar with a few sprigs of the herb) drizzled over, adds an interesting and adult note.
But the Potager does not only give us strawberries this week – the roses are flame red too, and beneath it stands ruby chard, proud and tall. Sissinghurst may be famous for its white garden, in this corner of London, everything is very much red.