Sunday, 25 May 2014

River Cottage Food Fair

This weekend we visited River Cottage Food Fair. When we booked in March we dreamed on blue skies and sunshine. It wasn't quite like that!


Why does it always rain on bank holiday weekends? Yesterday, on the first day of the event, the weather was so wet that some cars had to be turned away as the fields became more and more muddy. The weather improved today but Wellington boots were essential!


At least the ducks were making the most of the puddles!


Regular readers will know that we have visited River Cottage before and the reason we keep returning is...


 1) Because the vegetable garden is always a magical place to be.......



 2) Their passion for promoting fresh seasonal food through growing, influencing people's shopping habits and cooking and of course Hugh....


3) The food  is always amazing, this time- carrot hummus, beetroot hummus and raw salad with flatbread,
(the recipes for the hummus recipes are in the River Cottage veg book.)


4) The location situated in a beautiful valley on the borders of Dorset and Devon.




 5) And the inspiration .........


 This beautiful  flower was in some of the vegetable borders, it is a green manure that attracts the insects called phacelia.

Mixture of herbs in a old wash tub, chives mixed with tulips in an animal feed container and strawberry plants in a wooden box.

 6) Beautiful planting ideas in unusual containers.


7) Fantastic Food from local producers. The cheeses were sublime and we didn't come home empty handed. We tasted cricket pate and caterpillar pate, it didn't taste too bad - the thought of what you were eating was worse!

I hope you have had a drier weekend and have had fun whatever you have been doing.
Welcome to  my new followers and thank you for all the lovely comments in my last post about our garden.
Sarah x

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

A May garden

The highlight in our garden in May is the aquilegias in their many different shades.




Aquilegia












Our old washing basket has seen better days and has now made a good home, just outside the back door, for these cut and come again salad leaves.


The vegetable garden is still looking quite bare but many seeds are just starting to appear.

The alliums are always a  favourite too!


 Do you think Twinkle is enjoying the scent from the lilac?

I have been enjoying visiting Chelsea Flower Show on the television every evening  this week and seeing a feast of gorgeous flowers and gardens. What is your favourite plant in the garden at the moment?

Sarah x

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Walks from the doorstep

   Which way to go?


We live in the village below, which lies between the hills and the sea. Sometimes it is hard to choose which direction to take. Do we to turn right 


and head for the sea?


Where we can smell the tang salty sea air and listen to the waves crashing on the seashore, 


 and enjoy either the distant views of Weymouth or



 the isle of Portland across the water.


 Or maybe instead turn left and head for the hills and woods......


 which are currently covered in a carpet of wild garlic.




Luckily with the lighter evenings it allows us time to take both routes and enjoy the contrast between what each has to offer us. Which way would you go? Do you have a choice when you leave your front door too?


Last evening we headed towards the hills and met a man leaning over a five bar fence with a glass of white wine in his hand, just drinking in the view, that's what I call a perfect end to the day!

Hope you have had a good weekend too.
Sarah x

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Moonfleet


  Have you ever come across the story of Moonfleet written by J Meade Faulkner ? It is an adventure story written  in1896 and based on the shores of the Fleet  in  Moonfleet in Dorset. It tells the story of smugglers, a cursed diamond, and a story of love and friendship. All the components of a  great story!. Chris de Burgh was so inspired that he wrote an album about it please click on link here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPygaNo_fiY before looking at the next pictures it adds to the atmosphere!










We didn't see Blackbeard the only black we found was on the coats of these friendly heifers (that blocked the footpath) or the oyster catcher down on the Fleet!


Last night the light was fantastic and the water was so still. The only sound was the distant sound of the waves crashing on the other side of the Chesil bank on the other side of the water.





                     The boats were just lying empty and adding a extra touch to the scene.


I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit too , wishing you a good week ahead.
 Sarah x

Following a tree in May

On the last visit to following a tree I was promising apple blossom in the next post ........


It was however, not to be! I had to photograph our neighbours tree instead as there was not even one flower on our tree!



The blossom on the ground is from the neighbouring trees. The last 2 years we have had a huge crop of apples to the extent that we have still been eating them 5 months later. Our apple tree has usually had alternative years of a smaller crop but we have never before had none. Could this be because the mistletoe has started to grow? Only time will tell......


I did notice this snail on one of the branches. I didn't realise until afterwards it was so battered!
Snails can cause damage to young fruit trees, it is best to place a coarse substance (coarse coffee grinds, grit or crushed egg shells around the base to discourage them). Our garden provides such an abundance of food that they have taken over and go everywhere!


 This magnificent tree below was one of my options for following a tree this year. I pass it on the way to work and I just had to capture, from afar, it's first fresh leaves.

The cow parsley is now in flower and lining the sides of the country road around here. I expect as usual in the next week or so, the council will be out cutting it all down before it has reached it's prime! I will be making the most of appreciating it while it is still there!


I am not going to predict anything for my apple tree next month! To see other tree followers visit Loose and leafy.

Sarah x

Monday, 5 May 2014

Returning home

This week I have been away at two work conferences and I was able to stay with my sister for the night. The following morning I awoke to a magnificent dawn chorus (better than at home) and heavy rain!  So I only attempted a  take a couple of pictures from the gardens of the flats were she lives. 



It is hard to believe that this is just a 5 minute walk from Marble Arch and Oxford Street in the city of London. As you know I am not a city girl and it is many years since I have wandered these streets. However  it felt like returning home to familiar territory, as I stayed with my sister many times in my teenage years when I was at boarding school and our parents were living in Germany.


Returning home everything seems to have grown a few more inches in my absence!


With the sight of blue skies and so many leaves appearing on all the trees we decided to visit Littlebredy, where I also once lived. Regular readers may remember that I lived for a few years with my parents in a cottage which came with a huge Victorian walled garden. See previous posts here and here for pictures and further details.


It was a gorgeous morning and it was delightful to just take in the views.


As I mentioned previously the "Scented Wall gardens" were converted to a beautiful flower garden a few years after we had left, and are now shared with many visitors on selected days. We knew before we set off that today was not one of them but I couldn't resist taking a peek through the gate at the garden and my old home.
 (In our time the walled garden was mainly filled with fruit and we feasted on raspberries, loganberies, black and red currants, gooseberries, figs, grapes, a few peaches and cultivated blackberries. Other parts of the garden were full of herbaceous plants and it was from here that my real passion for gardening began.)


We then walked through the village towards the lake watched by some friendly "residents" !


 We noticed there was a Mother duck with 3 ducklings swimming right at the very top of the waterfall. I have blown up the middle picture of the collage so you can see how close they were to the edge!


Luckily there is something to stop them going over the edge and theysoon decided that swimming was more fun in the lake and turned around (there were still 3 ducklings safe and sound, but I only managed to get 2 in this picture!)



After our lovely walk we returned home and as we sat drinking a cup of coffee my latest copy of Country Living (June 2014) was posted through the door. Looking through the index I immediately noticed a picture of the waterfall above and then this lovely article about the walled garden! Wasn't that a strange co-incidence?



 I also noticed that the front cover of Country Living magazine also features Sarah-Jane's buttercup field !

I was only reading and commenting to Annie at Knitsofacto about which place we feel rooted too.  As you can see I feel as if I still have roots in many different locations how about you too?

Welcome to my new followers and a big thank you for all the comments you leave me.
Sarah x

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