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Journal - Mid May

Updated: May 20, 2022

We’ve enjoyed a busy week here. Glorious gardening weather at the weekend (yes including the well timed rain!), starting a visit to Wimpole Walled Gardens to discuss top secret plans for events later this summer. The gardens are a jewel in the crown of this National Trust property, with productive flower and kitchen gardens, no dig area and much more (far more than the website mentions!). I got to have a snoop around the greenhouses and polytunnel which you never get to look into. Frankly behind the scenes is always the best isn’t it? More on what I am doing there next month...

Photo - Wimpole Visit. No-Dig Kitchen Area, Greenhouse & Polytunnel, flower beds and caught getting animated in chat! It was productive!

On Monday Evening, I was at the Fitzwilliam Museum to decorate a long table for 35 guests of the Director for the latest Exhibition ‘True to Nature’. This was gift of a brief, inspired by the exhibition and artists that painted ‘en plein air’, inspired in awe of the natural world and it’s landscapes. Cissy from Wildstems and I made the table True to Nature, laying directly onto the tablecloths, a scene of grey green and blue scented foliage that complemented the skyscapes in the posters of the exhibition. And with a nod to the seasonal menu (first time a vegetarian meal was created) with artichokes and their leaves with pea shoots, together with rosemary, eucalyptus, thymes, potted herbs and other hot climate loving succulents. Finally we used large moss covered flints from the gardens and meadow grasses. It got rave reviews and only reaffirmed my belief that connection to season, place, purpose and time can be so enriching, if not essential to living well. The pots and stones were collected and bought back to the gardens to dress the tables for the summer and greenery straight into the compost heaps.

Photos - 'True to Nature' Exhibition Dinner, before, set up and broken down back in the gardens.

The next day Cissy held her ‘for the love of Spring’ bowl arranging class in the studio with our flowers. The guests enjoyed a wonderful morning immersed in May flowers then we enjoyed a delicious lunch on the terrace together.

Photos - Before the class, waiting for others to arrive, finishes bowls and Cissy's demo.

Then back onto preparing for the final ‘Grow Your Own Cut Flower Course’ 21/22 intake. This one will be focusing on lifting ‘Spring’ and focusing on the summer flowers, from tulips, narcissus and ranunculus through to planting out, dahlias and seed sowing for late summer and next year with biennials. I am really looking forward to it but tinged with sadness that this lovely group will be graduating!

A lesser spotted Alex in the polytunnel

Beds in the walled garden planted up with early summer annuals to flower in June and July.

And finally there were the flowers to cut this week for deliveries on Friday. Ironically, I don't think the farm as being ultimately about the flowers, just one of the results of my work here. After the controversial Woman’s hour chat where, horror, flower arranging was likened to ‘pretty housework’, I confess that we hardly ever have flowers in the house! The value for me is growing and using these gardens to research and share knowledge and space. So I am thrilled that I get messages from my clients, brides, florists like these this week, and buy them flowers before I can make them into food for the soil!

"The flowers are a delight Anna. Thank you. It is such a pleasure to look at them, seeing different glories each time!"

"I am hooked on your flowers and foliage Anna, no one grows like you"

Until next week and goofy smiles from the gardens here, Anna xx


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