We went away to Dorset for a short break. The weather was dreadful, but we stayed at a hotel with a wonderful view of the sea and an even more beautiful walled kitchen garden.
There is a note on the gate encouraging visitors to come inside and look around. I found myself walking around the garden at regular intervals trying to memorise the crops. Luckily the camera worked slightly more reliably for recording it.
They pick large quantities of salad from it on a daily basis and have a fantastic range of herbs and edible flowers, including ingredients currently on the menu like salad burnet, violas and alexanders.
It is inspiring to see so many types of chard, kale, beets, mustards and mizuna lined out, with sections cropped and left to come again. I’ve already planted seeds for mizuna since getting back. (I’ll remember our rabbit and deer problem at a later date I am sure.) The kale has reached considerable heights and needs support, but otherwise looks quite elegant with its stripped stalks (like you see of walking-stick cabbage plants).
At least one quarter of the garden is set down to the allium genus: red and white onions, shallots, garlic, scallions and leeks. It is a very active bed currently. I am jealous of this because rust wipes out most of my attempts with this family, including even garlic. I have had some success with rust resistant leeks though, like the F1 hybrid ‘Oarsman’
It’s all very intensive and impressive. There are hardly any weeds and mulching is carried out as patches are cleared. The greenhouse is full to bursting with jiffy cells and modules almost ready to plant out and there is an extensive cold frame area to help with this transition.
The restaurant prides itself on using and cooking the fresh vegetables well and imaginatively and the menu hints at the many unusual ingredients involved. Food is served in a conservatory area and is a ‘shabby chic’ style. So pots of herbs decorate the tables and the windowsills are filled with scented geranium, peppers and lemon grass.
So I have come home inspired, determined to make more of the vegetable garden by growing more unusual vegetables and planning succession better and weeding and mulching and, and, and …..