Monday, 3 August 2020

Random Ramblings :: Time to Harvest

Hi there everyone 😀

If you are a regular reader you will be more than aware that this year we have had another go at growing more edibles in the garden, especially in our new vegetable beds ...
Well ... we are now starting to see the fruits (and vegetables) of our labours and last week we actually managed to harvest or eat something that we'd grown ourselves every single day ...

Monday 27, July
We started off the week with plenty of crisp iceberg lettuce for our salad ...
It's the first time we've grown iceberg lettuce and whilst they don't quite 'heart up' like a supermarket one does they have been really reliable and the leaves taste just like the supermarket version.

Tuesday 28, July
We added a bowl full of spinach to our salmon curry ... a recipe taken from the Britain's Best Home Cook show, which has definitely become a favourite ...

Spinach has been another first for us this year and seriously, nothing could be easier to grow. The seeds are a nice size so can be planted spaced out so no need for thinning and they just grow really quickly. We just keep picking the leaves and within a few days another batch have grown to take their place. We are already on our second sowing ... the first was just in a bucket, but the second is now in the vegetable bed.

Wednesday, 29 July
Wednesday's pickings came from my herb box ... basil for our Abruzzi Lamb ...
I am so pleased with how the basil is doing. The plants you can see in this photo are grown from cuttings taken from a supermarket basil that we bought a good two or three months ago. I've taken more cuttings this week and the original plant has been split in two and both are still going strong. I am aiming to have a season's supply of basil from just the one plant and so far it's looking good.

Thursday, 30 July
Today we had more lettuce for our hot smoked salmon rolls which we had for lunch. I was also given some plums, harvested from my sister's Cornish garden, which we made up into jars of sugar free plum jam ...

Friday, 31 July 
Today it was courgettes, of which we have a number building up. We had ground beef strogonoff and just chopped one up and added it in to bulk it out a bit ...
If you fancy having a go at this recipe we also switched the butter for cooking spray and the full fat cream cheese and sour cream for a low fat cream cheese with garlic and herbs.

Saturday, 1 August
Today we used the first of our green beans ... on the side of a Slimming World friendly lasagne ...

This wasn't the only thing that got picked on Saturday ... I picked the last of the blueberries for dad to have with his yoghurt ... we just have no more room in the freezer ... another big bowl of spinach to wilt and freeze and another courgette ...

We still have beetroot, carrots, turnips, cauliflower, brocolli and leeks to come ... none of which are looking too promising at the moment, but time will tell 🤞🤞🤞

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Monday, 27 July 2020

Exploring :: Sezincote ... India in The Cotswolds

Hi there everyone 😀

We’ve continued trying to find somewhere nice and quiet to visit for a day out once a week and last week we got to tick somewhere off the list that I’ve wanted to visit for a while.

I first became aware of Sezincote from a Gardeners World programme and straight away I added it to the list of gardens that I wanted to visit. It just looked very different to anywhere we’d been before and it was in travelling distance for a day trip.

I’d originally hoped to tie it in with a visit to Bourton House Garden, which is literally just down the road but, despite having reopened following lockdown it had closed again as a result of a staff member falling ill ... just another reminder that this virus is most definitely still around and things are not really back to normal just yet.

We had also hoped to be able to sneak a visit to the Cotswold Lavender Farm which only opens to the public for about a month each year and having seen photos of other people’s visit I really wanted to be able to take some of my own.

We had to book tickets on line for Sezincote and it was really reassuring to see that just 30 tickets were available for arrival for each hour of the day. We were hoping it would be nice and quiet and we would have no problems with social distancing.

We arrived quite early so decided to have a drive up to the Batsford Garden Centre, which is next to the arboretum, another place I’d like to visit, and dead opposite the entrance for Sezincote.

We had a lovely walk round the garden centre ... they were very well organised and it was nice and quiet.

Just before our scheduled time slot for visiting we headed back to Sezincote and made our way down the long, narrow and windy lane which took us to the garden ... this was our first view of the house which isn’t open at the moment ...

The road took us past the entrance to the garden and up a pretty long and steep hill to the car park ... already we weren’t looking forward to walking back to the car later ... especially as it was pretty warm already.

We were soon parked up and heading back down towards the property entrance, where we availed ourselves of the facilities before picking up our map and guidebook and heading in to explore ...

We headed over the Indian Bridge, pausing in to take in the view ...

... and to plan our route ...

We decided to head for the house first as it certainly looked like it would be something pretty different ...

This was our first view of the house from within the garden ...

There were a few moments taken admiring the old Hindustan ... 

... which was very plush inside ...

There was a real wow moment as we rounded the corner and could see the front of the house and the Persian garden with the orangery stretching away in a beautiful curve ...
It was absolutely stunning ... the weather certainly brought out the best of the view.

The Orangery was beautiful and just seemed to stretch away for ever ...
All of the doors were open and filled with huge potted fuchsias ... they were glorious ...
This is the view from the opposite end ...
... with the Orangery Pavilion ...
Apparently under normal circumstances you can take tea and cake in the Orangery, which I imagine would have been just lovely. Today though it was enough to just wander through taking in the views ...
We had a really good explore of the Persian Garden ... it was nice and quiet so being patient bought plenty of people free shots ...


Finally we decided to head up past the elephants ...
... from where there was a fabulous view of the whole of the property and the Persian Garden ...
We ended up at the top of the hill in the wildflower meadow ... passing the Dionysus Urn on our way ...
Martin was thrilled to find some orchids in flower ...
But for me ... it was definitely all about the view ... which just got better and better as we made our way through the mown footpath ...
To see the house in all its glory was a real treat and made the walk most definitely worth the effort ...

... especially when the sun put in another appearance ...
We made our way back down for one last wander round the Persian Garden which was now pretty much deserted ...
It was time to head for The Thornery, or water garden, and we took the path which took us past the Tent Room ...
The path brought us out at the top of the garden at the Surya Temple, which was a beautifully peaceful spot ...
... and I couldn't resist a sit on the Temple steps in the sunshine, just taking in the view and the sound of the fountain ...
By now it was pretty warm and it would have been wonderful just have dipped my toes in the cool water ... but decorum won out and you will be pleased to know that I didn't disgrace myself.

We carried on ... following the stream down through the garden, which was so lush and green ...
... to the Indian Bridge, which we'd crossed when first entering the property ...
The path took us under the bridge ...
... where we negotiated the stepping stones in the stream to bring us out by Snake Pool ...
 
We carried on down to the Island Pool before heading back up on the other side of the stream ...

By now we were seriously flagging, especially knowing that we still had that final drag to get us back to the car.

We took our time and stopped for a breather at a very conveniently placed bench back by the entrance before building up to the final leg ...
It was pretty warm and we were both seriously feeling it by the time we got back to the car ... we are both just so unfit!
After a cold drink and a few minutes to catch our breath we decided we would head for the Lavender Farm and see how busy it was.

It wasn't long before we spotted the purple of the lavender fields in the distance. As we got closer we could see that it looked very busy with people all over the place. We drove past the car park and decided that it was just too busy for us at the moment so decided to give it a miss.

We did have a drive round the lanes though in search of a quieter spot to perhaps capture the lavender and this is the best we could do ... not brilliant but better than nothing ...


By now we were more than ready for our picnic and decided we would head back to the Batsford Garden Centre and make use of one of their picnic tables which we’d noticed on our earlier visit ... we also popped into their Terrace Cafe, which was very quiet with lots of space, for a piece of cake and to avail ourselves of their facilities before heading for home.

We had a lovely day ... Sezincote is definitely worth a visit ... it is certainly different to anything else we’ve seen. And in normal times, we would definitely have partaken of tea and cake in that stunning Orangery ... which may just be worth going back for when things are just a little more normal.

Now to find somewhere for our next adventure ...

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