Tag: Dobies blog team

Garden Visits and E-News/Blog Plans

sunshine in walled vegetable garden at Knightshayes Court

Winter sunshine in the walled vegetable garden at Knightshayes Court, Devon

Having just returned from a business trip to Devon in the last couple of days, I want to share the usefulness of visiting gardens for inspiration, ideas and even growing tips. This was not the purpose of my visit down to the southwest, but with a few hours to spare, I was able to enjoy the spectacular National Trust kitchen garden at Knightshayes Court, just outside Tiverton. I had read that “the restored and fully productive kitchen garden is a treat for everyone who enjoys local produce.” Yes indeed, but so much more, even in winter – and this was a good example of what can be gained from many of the National Trust properties that are presently bringing their former kitchen gardens back into use. This one just happens to be more developed than most.

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Herbs and Herb Gardens

The Kennels herb garden
High summer at ‘The Kennels’, in the herb garden not long after it was first established.

In my days off since last blogging, and writing the Dobies February e-newsletter, I have been travelling – indulging in one of my passions: herbs. Down to the Goodwood Estate near Chichester, discovering a fascinating little herb garden, and a little of its history. Even in Winter, the magic is there; bare earth, mulched and cosseted, plants sleeping in geometric beds: just a hint of the culinary pleasures to come, once Summer arrives. And then imagine the plucking and snipping, the chefs taking only a few short steps from ‘The Kennels’, across the road and into a sun-kissed walled garden, returning with handfuls of fresh leaves to chop and garnish, releasing their saviour and fragrance in delectable dishes.

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Ornamental Gardens – thoughts and plans

Sudeley Castle

I guess not many blog readers have a garden the size of Sudeley Castle (where this photo was taken), but visits to ‘stately plots’ provide both inspiration and ideas

As I sit by the fire contemplating this week’s post, the full moon shines through a gap in the wooden shutters, yet I am dreaming of hot summer days and the joy of working in my ornamental garden. The scent of roses, bees and butterflies in our ‘cutting patch’, and a productive potager filled with salads and herbs. For the moment, the vegetable plot is forgotten, or at least pushed to one side as reality surfaces; for I realise I have not yet ordered flower seeds for this year. Our summer ‘annuals’ border is always a visual delight, continually alive with bees; though sadly less honeybees, and so the humble bumble is increasingly important for pollination.

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