Friday, 16 October 2009

Inspiring - and more jelly

I've been contemplating why we do what we do this week, I think it's the time of year for a bit of contemplation. And realising how fortunate I have been to meet so many gardeners over the years, some of whom have had a profound effect on me. I suppose it did all start with my mother who is a terrific gardener and very positive, she probably started it all rolling, but working as a journalist and particularly as a garden writer allowed me to meet all sorts. Often the most interesting gardeners are unsung, not the people in the public eye (though I have huge respect for some of them, not a lot for others), but people you meet at random. In the past few years I've been totally inspired by Anne Townley, a gardener/producer (and now friend) on the borders of Warwickshire/Oxfordshire who has created an astonishing garden on about 7 acres, starting from nothing and building up a collection of stunning plants, many highly unusual, in unusual and beautiful landscaping, incredibly creative. I don't know how she has the time to do all she does, or how she has such a depth of knowledge. She not only tends, raises and sells amazing plants and produce - from unusual vegetables, fruits, nuts, cordials to striking cut flowers - she also makes unique pottery. From tiles and mugs to jugs and garden tiles and edgers, I would give each and every piece house and garden room if I could. And she doesn't realise what skills and talents she has. If I ever have half as much genuine plant knowledge as her I'll be happy. You may find her at a farmers market round Oxfordshire or in Stroud, it would be worth a trip if you're looking for a really special plant - amongst other treasures.

I've nearly finished editing Alys Fowler's next book. She is a delightful person and an entirely genuine gardener with a complete passion for her subject and a delight in good grub. I'm trying to persuade her and everyone else I come across to invest in a steamer/juicer cooker which is so perfect for processing produce at the time of year... I'm trying to track mine down today, it gets loaned to so many people but I'd quite like it back this weekend to try some flower jellies. 
For those of you who don't know them, this is a three tiered pan, you boil water in the bottom, juice collects in the middle from fruit that steams in the top. They have a clever little hose and tap so you can drain the juice off as you go and can make perfect jellies without any of that jelly bag malarchey plus a million other delicious things specially wonderful fruit juices to store for the winter. I don't know why they are so uncommon over here, in the States you can get them easily, and in Scandinavia and Germany.

No comments:

Post a Comment