"... She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs; But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears ..."

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Sun does Shine

All my recent blogs have been set against grey rainy skies, so when the sun decides to shine I thought I should head straight over to the garden. Others have been there before me and I can see an empty bottle of wine on a table in the orchard.

I decide on tea (for a change) and after warming my legs in the sun feel inspired by the sweet peas on our table to go and pick a bunch for the friend I am seeing that night for supper.

As it turns out she was here for lunch (maybe it was her wine) and she had meant to pick some sweet peas for the supper table but had forgotten. I think that is called fate.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

A Spot of Cooking

It may be rainy but I am having a great day. We have guests coming for supper so we are taking time to meander around some of our favourite places to collect the ingredients.
We have been to Shaftesbury to buy a frying pan, Tisbury for the butcher and some flowers from Ted Martin Flowers and we have even had time for a pint at The Beckford Arms, before we head to Pythouse for the vegetables, fruit and cheese.
First I get side-tracked by the sweet peas ... maybe I need some of these too.
As we are looking at the vegetables we bump into manager, Mitch. He is delighted as he has just found out The Beckford Arms want him to supply their vegetables. An arrangement that I imagine will keep everybody happy - and Heather even busier.
Mitch invites us to stop for coffee and cake, but we have cooking to do so have to go on (although he does send the cake home with us!)
We are having beef cooked to an old Elizabeth David recipe with port, Guinness and red wine vinegar - sounds good to me.
My husband is in charge of the main course and I am doing the pudding - pears poached in rose wine with Pythouse gooseberry ice cream.
(I was going to photograph the finished result, but you know how it is ...the wine ..the company - I forgot to pick up my camera!)

Friday, 12 August 2011

Missing Pythouse

I have been away for a while and it is with a feeling of childish excitement that I drive over to Pythouse Garden.
The cafe is closed for a birthday lunch and an art exhibition, but in the garden it is business as usual.
The recent weeks of sporadic sunshine and showers are just what the gardener ordered, and all around me the beds are looking plump and green.
In front of the cafe there has been a miraculous change in the pick-your-own flower beds. The sweet peas have engulfed the bamboo wigwams in a beautiful, fragrant tangled mess.
The cosmos is going crazy,
and the sunflowers are perfect for picking.
The obvious choice to grace an art exhibition!
I catch up with Heather, the head gardener, who is delighted with this year's progress. She has found the fruit and flowers are about a month early due to the hot spring weather, but she is not complaining. The apricots have been picked and the pears and kiwis are just about ready.
Fruit is on sale in the shop and you can also come and pick your own raspberries. Someone who has been doing just that is Jenny from the Chilmark village Gardening Club. She has had the smart idea to turn them into ice cream. Before I take anymore photos I grab a pot of her raspberry and her gooseberry ice cream. (I used to buy my ice cream from Pat Archer ....but since Clary has been ill ....)
Heather is particularly proud of her cabbages and leaks - and she has every right to be!
She tells me people have been coming to the garden to photograph them - what can I say?!
Also doing well is the beetroot, spinach, chard, and in the greenhouse and poly tunnels, the tomatoes and peppers.
Down the bottom of the garden the runner beans (my favourite) are just about ready and the firm cane trellises that I saw Heather's dad building earlier this year are completely covered. I have a feeling he will be back soon as Heather tells me she has plans for grapes next year which will need their own wooden framework.
Once some of the space near the rhubarb is cleared Heather is also planning some asparagus beds and at the top of the garden she is currently planting Red Russian Kale.
But for the time being it is mainly a season of harvesting and weeding.
The cart at the front of the shop is over flowing with produce.
And for once, a justly proud Heather, lets me take her photograph. I knew I would get her one day!
As we chat, in the background is the murmur of the lunch party and the chink of wine glasses.
It is good to know other people are enjoying the fruits (literally!) of her labour
(as well as the flowers).