At this time of year we go open-gardening, every weekend if possible. Even Hugo, who isn't into gardening at all, enjoys accompanying me on these little outings.
The whole open garden thingy is run by this organisation.
I'm always amazed we don't see more people our age, in their thirties with their children, visiting these open gardens. It's an absolutely brilliant day out, and cheap too. All the gardens are big, with large expanses of lawn for the children to run around on. Tea and cake are served, and more of the owners are clocking on to the importance of the teas at these events. It's unusual not to see vintage mis-matched china cups and plates, tables covered with cloths, and jam jars filled with flowers picked that morning from the garden, sitting pretty on the tables. On average the entrance fee is £3 per adult, with children often allowed in free. The tea and cake is charged on top of that, but you always get value for money, with a tea and three cakes of your choice offer usually being the norm for about £3. Some garden owners even do free refills of your tea cup!
Even if gardening isn't your cup of tea, these gardens are of the highest standard, (judges inspect the gardens to see if they're good enough to get into the scheme), so having a cup of tea and cakes in these sublime outdoor spaces, is like taking refreshments in the glorious garden of a splendid tea room. Hugo likes to take the weekend paper and have a little relax.
Hugo and I agree that this year the gardens are particularly good. The owners seem to be putting an extra effort in with the teas, they must have realised that the tea and cake is a large part of the attraction for some people (!).
The owners of this garden at Fowberry Mains Farmhouse got everything absolutely spot on. The work that must have gone into preparing for this event! We were even treated to bunting, and got the full vintage china and jam jars of flowers experience, like a Country Living magazine photograph coming to life.
This was my first cup of tea, before heading off round the garden. I couldn't face the three items of baking that were included in the fee for the tea. I chose this tea cup and saucer specially. Like you do.
The couple who own the garden are garden designers, they own "Country Garden designs". I learnt this at the end of my visit, and suddenly it became very clear why this garden was so exquisite, they know their stuff.
We were made to feel very welcome in this garden, with chairs and tables dotted around the garden, beckoning us to sit and contemplate our surroundings. The sofa under the trees was a very special touch, I spent quite a bit of time sitting on it, listening to the birds tweeting and the sheep in the field over the wall behind me, baaing away.
From my past experience of having a large garden, and not being able to keep up with the tending it required, I know just how much work goes into a garden like this. The creation of the garden must have taken years, maintaining it must be a labour of love. The owners must live and breathe plants and gardens, especially as its the way they earn a living. Hard work, back-breaking work, but good food for the soul.
Talking about food for the soul, I have to mention my current dish of choice, the fair isle dress I'm knitting.
I put the live stitches on a length of yarn, took out the circular needle, and tried the dress on. It needs some more length, till the pattern reaches below my knees, but not too long. I'm not too far off finishing the skirt section, and moving on to the arms, which I "have a little plan for". You shall have to wait for the reveal on the arm plan I'm afraid.
Tomorrow, Saturday, there's an open garden to visit, I look forward to these little jaunts enormously. I get ever so excited infact.
Well, if I carry on any longer, there won't be much of Friday left, and I'd like to use some of the Friday that's left to do some knitting, on my fair isle dress. So I'll bid you farewell for a few days, wish you a good weekend with lots of nice weather, and hopefully see you on Monday. Toodle-loo. Love Vanessa xxx