Tag Archives: gardens

Garden inspiration (and sunshine) for Tuesday (and a reading list)

I’m at the BERA conference this week, in Belfast. I’ve never been to either a BERA conference or Belfast before so both are new experiences. (BERA is the British Educational Research Association by the way.) I’m presenting a paper tomorrow morning and yesterday afternoon I attended a session on education and social justice. I got to meet some postgrads and had some very interesting discussions around how we do socially just research, particularly as early career researchers. After I survive Wednesday, I get to hang out on the Titanic experience in the evening which will be fascinating. I’ll try and update you all over the course of the week but in the meantime I thought we could use some summer garden inspiration. Plus a reading list!

This is a kitchen garden at a private house in Derbyshire. When my mom was here last month we stayed in their converted stables. They do wonderful preserves and chutneys with the produce they grow. My dream is to have a place like this when I grow up –  a large kitchen garden and a house where you can teach cooking classes and have pop-up dinners! And have chickens roaming free, obviously.

2015-08-09 17.08.15 2015-08-09 17.08.20

2015-08-09 17.11.22 2015-08-09 17.12.02 IMG_5547 IMG_5545

IMG_5546 IMG_5544

I particularly love the still run-down greenhouse with its low brick wall and out-of-control grapevines.

IMG_5548 _DSC2234 2015-08-09 17.31.08

Tuesday Reading List

Lunch in Paris – I am thoroughly enjoying this story of love and food. I can relate to this American girl’s experience of falling in love with a Frenchman – communicating with family members who do not speak the same language as you being something to which I can particularly relate. But the way she tells their relationship through food is wonderful.

I finally finally read a trashy book that I enjoyed. In fact I read it in a week (fairly unusual for me) because I simply could not put it down. Thanks Jen for the recommendation! The book is The Royal We and is a ridiculous romp about an American girl falling in love with an English prince whilst studying abroad for a year at Oxford and the story of what happens to them afterwards. Wonderfully light and easy.

I cooked pancakes from The Breakfast Bible last week. This is a great book if you’re as obsessed with breakfast as I am. (I mean really, why can’t all meals be like breakfast?) And I use (and have adapted) their pancake recipe numerous times. I will admit that I failed spectacularly to get the pan to the right heat (at one point it was smoking) and then I got distracted when the first few pancakes were cooking and burnt them. Andrés insisted they were perfectly edible but I managed to salvage enough portions from the remaining mixture so that we didn’t have to eat them. Further proof that I should live closer to the princess so she can flip pancakes for me. (It is a truly workable sistership when one can make the batter and the other can do the pancake flipping.) Also, my skills at pancake making seem to be perfectly fine at work. I spent all of the Saturday (the day before I burnt the pancakes) making beautiful, fluffy American-style pancakes to feed to the patrons at the cafe.

This story about how to write a bestselling cookbook made me laugh and laugh. Because it does seem to be so true.

Until next time.

xxx

WJ Beal Botanical Garden, MSU

Another feature of the MSU campus is their botanical garden. This was begun in 1872 when Professor Beal established a nursery on campus. It is situated just along the river, slightly hidden, beneath some rather epic trees. The plants are arranged in themed beds and the idea, the one guide told me, is to create an encyclopedia of plants – an idea which I just love. I got excited at all the different wheat varieties they were growing, as well as the unusual looking herbs. And I took some time out from the heat to sit awhile by the pond…

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 068

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 071

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 072 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 073 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 075 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 082

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 083 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 086 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 091 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 090

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 085 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 098 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 101 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 103

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 105 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 096

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 089

WJ Beal Garden

Just rows of different plants!

Ginger in WJ Beal Garden

I love the leaves on this ginger

WJ Beal Garden

Looking back towards the garden

Pond at WJ  Beal Garden

The pond, where it’s nice to sit awhile.

Petersham Nurseries

Last week, the Princess and I celebrated her birthday by visiting Petersham Nuseries for lunch. Neither of us had ever been so we weren’t sure what to expect. We chose to walk from Richmond station, along the river, and past some cows in a field to reach the nursery.

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 467 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 469

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 471 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 472 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 468ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 484

We had lunch at the tearoom, not the Michelin-starred cafe. It was very relaxed and informal and the food was excellent. I had quiche (aubergine and ricotta) and a mozzarella and tomato salad. The Princess had a pasta salad and a potato one.

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 486

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 487

We ate in the one greenhouse, by ourselves which made it feel like our own private sanctuary. The nursery itself is incredibly well designed – all displays are pleasing to the eye and cleverly put together, so you feel more like you’re in somebody’s garden. We wandered around after eating and bought an assortment of seeds to take home to try and grow in the allotment. They have wonderful names like Flowers of Spring cabbages or Carter’s Golden Sunrise tomatoes.

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 485 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 488 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 490 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 493

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 497 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 501 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 500 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 505

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 502

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 504 ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 506

We ended the afternoon strolling through Richmond Park before having tea at Pembroke Lodge, on top of a hill. It’s a brilliant way to spend an afternoon, you feel like you’re in the countryside even though you’re only half an hour from central London. I couldn’t help but think how nice it would be to own a place like this – there’s a private garden where they grow fruits and vegetables for the cafe and tearoom, and there’s plenty of opportunity for education programmes. My mind is practically overrun with the possibilities…

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 523

ASFS Chicago and East Lansing June 2013 524

Allotment-ing

Hello dear readers! What a absolutely stunning day we’ve had here today. Truly awesome. If it would just stay this way I could believe that summer was imminently around the corner. Today I’m not telling you about anything I’ve baked or made recently but instead about the food growing activities I’ve become involved in. The university has an allotment on campus, it’s a space student’s can use to grow things, designed and gifted to us by the university estates. They’re totally fabulous people, and are super keen to help us get started and give us handy tips. The volunteer centre is overseeing things but there are three of us who are going to run sessions and organise growing and things. So far it’s been super fun.

Blog May 2013 001

The times I’ve worked on the site, estates have popped over to have a look, and told us how to do various things. We all got very excited at the prospect of wild bees in one of our growing beds and have agreed to make it a wild flower bed so the bees can continue to live there unharmed or unsettled. Today I went down to water the new seedlings we’ve got going in the greenhouse, accompanied by the Princess (who is visiting) and another friend who’s enthusiastic about outdoor space and gardening. We started clearing the nettles and turning more soil, ready for planting!

Blog May 2013 006

Blog May 2013 002

Blog May 2013 005

Blog May 2013 004

The Poison Garden at Alnwick Garden

 These pictures are from the Poison Garden at Alnwick Gardens, in Alnwick. We went there by chance on our way up to Lindisfarne. It was a Saturday and it was school holidays. The garden was teeming with small children and we took refuge on this guided tour.

The poison garden is kept locked and we were warned not to touch/sniff/eat anything because all of the plants are dangerous in various ways. Check out the cool living roof here!

It was a pretty fascinating tour. I can’t remember all of the plants we saw except for belladonna, opium poppies and marijuana. The Alnwick Gardens also have a Roots and Shoots section which is used to teach children about food growing. Sadly I didn’t get to see it this time. But it just means I’ll have to go back!

Oh and if you’re wondering about the rather large amount of gardens being posted at the moment, it’s because I was on holiday with my mom and aunt who are both gardening nuts. I was just the photographer but I think it makes a nice change, especially since my actual work is all about food growing. I promise to bake something soon!

Some plants have to be kept in cages
Others can only be grown with special permission and licences

The Kitchen Garden at Chatsworth

I visited Chatsworth this last weekend. It’s an estate in Derbyshire that belongs to the Duke of Devonshire.

 

The house is massive but the grounds are even more impressive. There’s a wood which we walked up into the day before visiting the house. The top of the hills have amazing views out over the countryside.

 

There are sheep at every turn and a few cattle and a herd of deer. The formal gardens are spectacular with fountains and roses and rock formations.

 
My favourite part was the kitchen garden. They were growing all kinds of wonderful produce – apples, pears, strawberries, lettuces, maize, raspberries. It’s an inspirational garden if you’re looking to grow your own and a lovely place just to visit. We also visited the farmyard which, I’ll admit, is mainly for kids, but it was fun to wander around and see all the different animals.