Sunday, 18 July 2010

An afternoon of cricket: River Cottage v Gardeners' World

I love the drive from my home in Poole, to Devon. Through the leafy countryside and chocolate box villages, like Winterbourne Abbas and Chidock and I still get excited when I see the sea sparkling all the way along the Jurassic coast around to Torquay, on a clear day, which thankfully Saturday was.

The trip was made all the more lovely, with the prospect of a cricket match to watch. Now, if I am honest, I don't really know much about the game or can say that I enjoy it. No, the reason I was looking forward to the match so much, was the prospect of seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Joe Swift, Toby Buckland and a cream tea.

I have met Hugh and Joe before and they are such lovely chaps, so I was hoping to meet Toby and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

Joe Swift, Toby Buckland and me grinning like a crazy fool
The afternoons fun and games, was organised to raise money for Thrive A charity which helps people with disabilities, recovering from an illness or accident, to find practical ways to garden. Everyone who gardens knows how good it is for mind, body and soul.

We were treated to a glass of delicious elderflower sparkling wine and I'm glad it was so quaffable, as I won two bottles in the raffle.

Toby Buckland

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

Joe Swift

The hospitality which River Cottage provides, is always lovely and this event was no exception, with high tea being served, finger sandwiches, delicious cake and scrumptious cream teas (you could help yourself to the most delicious jam I have ever tasted and clotted cream) it really was a spread fit for a king!

           Joe Swift, Mark Diacono and Toby Buckland enjoying a spot of tea
River Cottage won the match but no one was disappointed. We all had fun watching the match in the sunshine and eating our picnics and  I wouldn't be surprised if there was a return match next year. Maybe I should learn the rules in case this happens; on second thoughts I'll leave it to Andy to tell me what's going on, life's too short!

Monday, 5 July 2010

Rules are there to be broken but read the instructions

The old adage 'Rules are there to be broken' is quite true. Not that I am a rule breaker by nature. I might go a bit crazy sometimes and not follow the arrows in the multistory car park, if there is no one around, but no more rebellious than that.
However, I don't think the same can be said for instructions. Rules quite often are petty and meaningless but instructions on the other hand are written by someone who has put the very thing into practise, we are seeking advice on. So why oh why do I find it so hard to follow instructions? Why do I read them and then do my own thing!

Every year when I am planting out my vegetable seedlings, or planting seeds, I read the instructions telling me how far apart I need to plant them and then totally disregard the information, thinking that is far too much room to give them, only to find a few months later that my vegetables are living cheek by jowl in a most uncomfortable fashion.

The area I had given over to my outdoor tomatoes, should have been enough room to plant 4 plants, (according to the instructions on the packet) but I insisted that that was far too much room to give them and planted another two plants in the space and now the bushes are maturing nicely but packed in like sardines.

My three sisters bed is coming along nicely. (Sweetcorn, climbing beans and squash, sitting harmoniously together). The squashes are a bit thuggish but I'm sure when the sweetcorn has got a bit taller and is towering over the squashes, they will be glad that their feet are nice and cool underneath all that foliage.

3 Sisters Planting

I am harvesting my courgettes and they are delicious. I learnt the lesson from my purple sprouting broccoli and I am only growing two plants, which will produce enough courgettes for us. I found a lovely recipe for them here. do try it, it's yummy!

Talking of purple sprouting broccoli, I am growing some more for harvest next spring. I intend to plant just three plants this time, so I can keep on top of the harvest and limit the amount of space they take up.

I have been very busy with photography for the NGS. I visited a most wonderful garden, which will be opening up for the first time, later on in the summer. Fritham Lodge, in the beautiful New Forest, is a little oasis of formal planting, in the middle of the wilderness.. There is a long border chocked full of herbaceous perennials, and borders, edged with box, housing the cottage garden favourites, roses and foxgloves. A productive potager, again edged with box which makes for a very attractive vegetable plot. (Just a small sample of photos, more to come)

Fritham Lodge

I also paid a return visit to White Barn in Ringwood. When I was there photographing in May, the spring bulbs were in full bloom and I got a wonderful surprise when I visited last week, as the garden looked completely different with all the summer herbaceous flowers,at their best. The roses and clematis looked gorgeous.

This really is my most favourite time of the year and with all this lovely sunshine we are having, it is making the summer even more wonderful. Just hope I get time for a swim in the sea this summer and I will pay attention to the flags, for those are instructions I will follow, for a change!


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