On the plus side, the last few weeks of hot and dry weather has brought the Garden on in leaps and bounds, bearing in mind that last winter was colder than it has been for quite a few years. Produce in the Kitchen Garden in particular has ripened incredibly quickly and our Cafe team has been busy using some of the cream of the crop in cakes, bakes and soups. Spotted in the kitchen recently are blackcurrants, gooseberries, redcurrants, strawberries (made into delicious cakes as per the accompanying photo) - and more rhubarb. Any excess that isn't cooked or baked is for sale to lucky visitors from our produce trolley at the front of the Cafe, along with our most gorgeous cut flowers.
Another bonus is that we haven't had to mow for a while, though we have spent quite a lot of time watering in the Kitchen Garden!
Looking its best at the moment is the newly-restored Exedra Garden. The team have been working hard on returning it to a more authentic 18th century look, using academic research to inform their use of plants, colour and structure. This would have been the place where the Head Gardener would have had a chance to show off his gardening skills, back in the 1740s - remembering that this was not a flower garden, but a place to party. At the centre of it, the newly-repainted Exedra, gleaming in a new authentic off-white shade of paint. Our team of staff and volunteers have much to be proud of here, looking back at the last six months of hard work!
Our Cafe is proving as popular as ever, with our summer specials and homemade cakes delighting visitors every day. On a sunny afternoon, there's nowhere much nicer to sit and enjoy the chilled-out atmosphere. For more info about our Cafe and our menu, visit this page. And at the front of the Cafe, there's an eye-catching display of beautiful plants for sale which are keeping us delightfully busy as they sell so quickly!
Coming up are the school summer holidays, and we have lots of fun planned for all the family in the shape of our summer trail, "The Garden of Lost Things". Running from 21 July through to 2 September, it's free to take part (normal admission applies) - you can find out more here.
We look forward to seeing you soon!