And it was all yellow…

I can’t believe we have just welcomed the first week of September, where has this year gone! In the garden we are still picking generous amounts of tomatoes, courgettes and beans. The flowers are still in full bloom and enjoying the warmer temperatures that we have been experiencing, I’m not quite ready to fully embrace autumn but am sure by the end of the month I will be digging out the jumpers for those chillier starts.

Quite unintentionally I have ended up with a colour scheme this year…yellow! In a bid to grow things more unusual I have been inadvertently pointed towards this probably less favoured colour amongst gardeners.

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The first yellow on my growing list for 2016 were these scrumptious yellow beans (from Chiltern Seeds, the yellow wax bean http://bit.ly/2cEVEKv ). I’ve been picking plenty and adding them with courgettes to a stir fry, or boiling for an easy addition to any meal. They are quite unusual and received lots of comments from visitors, and a few questions as to what they were!

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The vegetable plot also saw the addition of yellow courgettes, this variety is Gold Rush. These have been roasted, fried and added to pasta dishes. With their bright colour they are easy to pick, avoiding the typical monster courgette!

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Over in the flower garden I grew, of course the compulsory, traditional yellow sunflowers but also added in the ‘Ladybird’ Nasturtium, a very nice warm yellow with pretty red splodges at the base of the petals. Tagetes ‘Pineapple Crush’ also did well and offered a more unusual shade of yellow, paler with a hint of lime. It very much lives up to it’s namesake.

Have you grown anything yellow this year, intentionally or unintentionally?

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Binfield Heath Flower and Dog Show

On Saturday we spent the afternoon at the Binfield Heath Flower and Dog Show. This is an annual event held on the August Bank Holiday weekend and we have been a few times before. However on this occasion we were putting our dignity on the line and gearing up for full on red faced embarrassment, for we had made the incredibly brave decision to enter Murray into some of the dog show classes!

Now for any of you that know us, you can definitely liken Murray and me to the famous story of Marley and Me! Murray being a Dalmatian has not been easy to train especially as once off a lead everything in the world is way more interesting than me! Having said that we have made great improvement recently on the listening front and recall. So with our brave faces on and having given Murray a strict ‘pep talk’ about behaviour, we were off!

I’m not sure weather it was the ‘pep talk’,  the new surroundings or whether it was all his four legged peers around which made Murray behave absolutely impeccably. The visions of me being dragged around the arena were long forgotten and we really enjoyed ourselves. We entered four classes and came 2nd in one (dog the judge wanted to take home) and 4th for non sporting breed. I think Murray was just as pleased as us with how the day turned out and now he can be trusted to not make a mockery of us, I think we’ll be doing this again!

A huge thank you to all involved in organising the dog show, the judges and the sponsors for the most fantastic winners bags.

We spent most of the afternoon by the side of the showing arena but managed to have a quick wander round before hand and a peak in the show tent afterwards, of course there was the compulsory hot dog break too! Here are some photos from the show tent:

The most stunning selection of bouquets.

One of my favourites, the Dahlia. I really fell in love with the white tipped gently with lilac, so unusual and pretty. I will be looking out for these for my planting schemes next year.

A true village/country fair must have the compulsory show off vegetables and just look at these! First and second prize featured above, the carrots almost look like they have been moulded from plasticine and the onions are perfectly spherical! Too good to eat!

Did you visit the Binfield Show too? Comment below would love to hear your experience.

Mapledurham Love Food Festival

Mapledurham House and Watermill is a short drive out of Reading (towards Cane End and the stunning surroundings of the Oxfordshire countryside) and this weekend they are playing host to the annual Love Food Festival. This morning we ventured out early to go and have a good mooch around all the stalls. The backdrop of the house and grounds is beautiful, tranquil and located just on the edge of the Thames.

The food stalls offered a fantastic variety from cheese to churros to champagne! We worked our way round and sampled scrumptious cheese, juicy olives and tasty sausages. I can highly recommend Blacks Cheese http://www.blackscheese.co.uk we opted for the ‘Old Smokey Redwood’, ‘Little Winker Ale and Mustard’ and ‘Smoky Peppadew and Garlic’. I am so looking forward to getting creative in the kitchen and including them in some salads and pasta dishes, if they aren’t gobbled up on crackers beforehand! We also took home some sausages from Natural Game http://www.naturalgame.co.uk who stock the most exotic range of meats I have ever come across. We choose the ‘BBQ Jack Daniels’, ‘Venison’ and ‘Stilton and Spring Onion’.

The sweet treats available were also outstanding with macaroons, cupcakes and ice cream available.

Inside the tents are also a variety of craft stalls including an enchanting company who offer silver jewellery made from antique items. I fell in love with the bangle made from a silver fork, so unusual and so beautiful.

The Mapledurham Love Food Festival is running tomorrow from 10am-5pm, would highly recommend a trip. Enjoy!

 

Read and see more about The Mapledurham Food Festival here: http://www.mapledurhamfestival.co.uk

The Loseley Park Garden Show

Last weekend we headed out to Loseley Park near Guildford for their Garden Show. It was a bit of an impromptu decision, but hey that’s what weekends are for!

The long sweeping driveway up to the house and grounds was enchanting, it is such a beautiful property and I would love to visit again to look around the house. We were blessed with the weather also, beautiful sunshine and blue sky with the odd fluffy white candy floss cloud.

There were lots and lots of stalls and I would liken it to a mini Berkshire Country Show. We had a go at Archery, which requires a surprising amount of strength in the upper arms! I did manage to get one of the arrows fairly close to bullseye though! We also watched the birds of prey show which was spectacular.

 

Next we hit the food stalls and I came across THE BEST fudge company yet Mini Mouthfuls http://www.minimouthfuls.com so many wonderful and more unusual flavours and so fresh. I love fudge when it is slightly squidgy and moist, I was quite disappointed with some that I bought at a show last year which was very crumbly and dry and I must say at least double the price as to what Mini Mouthfuls charge. I took their card and will certainly be ordering…quite possibly next week!

 

We also were introduced to Giggly Pig sausages, have you tried them? Again so many different flavours and they had samples of every one of them to try. It was hard making a decision as they were all so scrumptious, but we settled on three packs and chose Caribbean, Spicy Cumberland and Honey and Mustard. You can read more about Giggly Pig and their products here; http://www.gigglypig.co.uk

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So many beautiful flowers were on display and available to buy. It was hard not to take a whole garden home with us! Here are a few of my favourites especially the Gazania and Echinacea.

So a big thank you to Loseley Park and everyone involved for such a wonderful day filled with so much to see and do. I can’t wait to come back next year.

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Breakfast at The Farm Cafe

Yesterday morning we ventured out for breakfast, under recommendation we decided to give The Farm Cafe a try in Wokingham. It had great reviews online and the menu looked brill…if you are a fan of fried breakfasts that is.

Just 20 minutes from Reading and we were there. The Farm Cafe is set amongst a garden centre and other small shops, nice to have a peruse after your breakfast! They have quite a vast selection of breakfast and lunch choices and serve till 2pm. We went for full english’s but you are also able to create your own, for the fussy eaters! Service was quick and the food, well it may not be as nicely presented as The Coppa Club, but oh my the quality and taste was fabulous. We were also lucky enough to sit outside seeing as this English summer has finally arrived. I am afraid I didn’t take many photos as the deliciousness distracted me!

 

Flower Farm Fun

Last week saw florists and flower farms across the country celebrating British Flower Week. We took a visit to the inspirational Green and Gorgeous flower farm based just outside of Wallingford. I fell in love, around every corner are lines of the most beautiful flowers making you long to have your garden just as beautiful. I took lots of photos, but they just don’t do the flowers justice. I would highly recommend a trip to Green and Gorgeous for any flower lover, they are open every Saturday morning when you can also buy cut flowers and home grown goodies.

My favourites that I saw growing there on the day were Cephalaria gigantea (giant scabious), sweet peas in every imaginable colour, white Nigella and Verbascum ‘Southern Charm’.

Tea, coffee and cake were served and there were also scheduled florist talks and displays throughout the day showing how one can conjure up the most magnificent arrangements from cut flowers in the garden. Leaving feeling very inspired and with some Dahlia tubers I am now busy planning what I can sow and grow next!

 

 

Chelsea Flower Show 2016

On Friday I was lucky enough to attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, my first time ever! Navigating through London with our little map was…interesting, but we did arrive in one piece with no wrong turns = a successful voyage for some country bumpkins!

The show was very busy as expected and we headed straight over to the pavilion to view all the displays from growers across the country. I think this may have been my favourite part of the event, some of the displays were so intricately done it was hard to believe these were made from real flowers.

Just look at that frog!

Inside the pavilion was also the M&S ‘Spirit of Summer’ display, this was another favourite of mine as the colour schemes were so bright and cheerful.

We then headed out for a compulsory ice cream (it was quite a warm day after all) and took a look at some of the show gardens and artisan gardens.

We also saw the amazing tribute of the knitted poppies, photographs just do not do this justice, I was in awe.

 

I hope you have enjoyed the read and the photographs. Did you go to Chelsea this year? If so share your best bits in the comments below.