Today we are finally going to look around the garden at River Cottage HQ, and although it actually took place and I was actually there in November I'm still excited to share these pictures today. This post has been a little longer coming than I anticipated, even from when I showed you around the yard and the yurt recently, but well Easter came between us, and I'm sure you were busy too...
After that quick glimpse that I told you about before I finally made it into the garden, and it was just as good as I'd hoped it would be. Heading past the small shed-cum-outbuilding I paused to consider the slate plant markers and terracotta pots. Artfully arranged or left somewhere handy to grab when you need them, I'd like to think the latter, but who knows?
It was November when I visited and I quickly had severe brassica envy, which isn't as painful as it sounds. And as well as an array of brassicas, they were all growing in orderly, neat lines and you'll know that this is one of my long held desires and probably something I won't ever quite manage, but I can but try. My rows always end up a little wonky, and patchy. But, if I could do it, wouldn't it look great?
There were still plenty of herbs around and the acid greeny-yellow flowers of the dill really did add some zing to the garden, especially against the gravel paths.
As I reached the centre of the garden I looked back and caught a glimpse of the farm house, the one we're all familiar with from the television - and I rather like it appearing through the kale and cavolo nero like it is.
At the end of the garden - and it's not as long as you think it would be, it's wide, but look at how wide the farmhouse is - the trees foliage was turning yellow, and I'm sure it looked much more dramatic than this at the time.
Amazingly the sweet peas were still in flower. In November. That's quite something, and I expect is partly to do with succession sowing but also because the farm is in a valley and like many other south-western gardens benefit from its own micro-climate. But with sweet peas this late in the year, what's not to like?
The asparagus was done though and its leaves were turning yellow, and it looked good against the purple viburnum, which is a plant I'm adding to my garden wish list. This driftwood heart on one of the walls summed up my thoughts on the garden, and it was great to be there in person.
The nasturtiums were plentiful, in containers and in the borders. I grew them last year on the allotment amongst the squash and courgettes and it brought some colour to my plot. The good thing about nasturtiums is that they grew pretty much anywhere, and like poor conditions (so that's good!) but be prepared for them to come back year after year, as it's hard to remove all of the seeds. But not a bad problem to have.
The feverfew looked pretty too. Yeap, another plant for my wishlist...
There was another part of the garden that reminded me of our allotment too, and that was the strawberry border. Hugh's is looking much more established than mine, but it's something I'm still planning to make happen over at the plot. I think I may need to make a mound for my plants though so they can look as good as this.
It was starting to rain by now, but there was no way I was missing out on the time I had in the River Cottage HQ garden - it was one of the main reasons I wanted to visit. I think I was probably one of the few left out there, us gardeners are a hardy lot aren't we. I realised though that having such a pretty kitchen garden is a bit of a luxury and unlikely something I'll have myself, unless I'm very lucky.
But there were plenty of ideas that I could use at some point- and learn from - in Hugh's garden, and the picture above shows two of those; the pergola and the zinc troughs. One day maybe, I might manage some zinc pots in this garden - not sure I'll stretch to anything this size, but it'll be a while before I manage a pergola though.
But first I'll have to perfect that strawberry border, I'll let you know how I get on! Although I think I could be in for a good crop of strawberries this year as the plants I've potted up ready to take to the allotment are already in flower, so now I'm in two minds as to whether or not to move them....
But what a great opportunity to look around River Cottage HQ, I hope you enjoyed this short look around as much as I did. And if you get the chance to visit yourself, then go!
* With thanks to River Cottage and Flea Enterprises for the invitation and arrangements for my visit.