Cut and Come Again Veg

Posted by on Feb 17, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Cut and Come Again Veg

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Jim , our head gardener and I both think that ASPARAGUS KALE is our very best green leafy vegetable. It doesn’t seem to get tough, or stringy. It tastes absolutely delicious and when cooked it goes a bright green. It germinates easily and requires no special treatment.

The seed comes from Madeline McKeever’s wonderful award winner  organic seed company  THE BROWN ENVELOPE SEED CO in West Cork.

It grows throughout the season and is never effected by frost, like Swiss Chard. It grows on and on as my namesake, Sarah Raven calls it a “Cut and Come Again” Veg. SARAH RAVEN gardener extradinaire runs her gardening enterprise Perch Hill in East Sussex. She is an inspiration. I first met her at Ballymaloe when she did a day course on each of The Cutting Garden and Vegetables. I think she was a very big influence for me in my garden at Kilcolman Rectory. Sarah trained as a doctor, and when her children were very small she felt that she was not spending enough time with them so she transfered her work to follow her passion with flowers. The moral is follow your passions. Sarah had worked in the famous garden at Great Dixter with Christopher Lloyd who had known her father at Cambridge. It was here that Sarah met her husband Adam Nicholson who is the grandson of Vita and Harold Nicholson who created the famous garden at Sissinghurst. He grew up at Sissinghurst and both Adam and Sarah are very knowledgeable about it. They have both written very interesting books on Sissinghurst.

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Opera at Lismore Castle

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Opera at Lismore Castle

The great thing about making marmalade everyday is that it encourages one to take the air. So I try as often as possible to take the dogs on  a walk to The Towers which is a few minutes on the Ballyduff Road or crossing the river to Lismore Castle which is only a few minutes walking the other way. This photograph was taken from the  famous bridge. How it manages the sheer weight of the heavy lorries which cross everyday is a wonder of early engineering. Yesterday as I walked over and looked up at the majestic Castle in the winter sunshine I was reminded that there will be another  Lismore Opera Festival in the Castle this Summer. It was absolutely superb last year. This year the programme is L’Elisir d’Amore by Donizetti which is wonderful. We first heard it at the Wexford Opera Festival several years ago. img_0521-1

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Frost Damage to Early Rhododendron

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Frost Damage to Early Rhododendron

On the other hand this is what the Frost does to the early Rhododendron which even flowers before Christmas. We rather like the effect when the petals create a carpet on the ground. That is why we chose a similar  photograph for our jam labels. These early flowering Rhododendrons were planted many years ago and we can see the very tip of them as they begin to flower. Catching a glimpse of their first buds gives us great pleasure as we sit up in bed with early morning tea. There is great shelter in the garden if the wind is not coming from the East. Ballyin is set right on the river Blackwater which helps maintain a warmer than average temperature. I noticed this morning that the daffodils  nearest the river are already out. There was also our tame pair of Mallard quite happy in the garden along the Rhododendron walk. They nest in the Killing Hatch by the Smoke House every year providing us with a family of little ducklings.

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Christmas Cheer on Valentines

Posted by on Feb 15, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Christmas Cheer on Valentines

There is nothing quite like Christmas Cheer on Valentine’s Day!

Peter picked me a posy and put it in our favourite antique glass vase. He is my Sweetheart.

As the name suggests this early flowering Rhododendron usually flowers at Christmas. Traditionally we have had a bowl of it on the Dining table on Christmas Day, rather wonderful, and makes everyone full of cheer.
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Book Launch at Ballymaloe

Posted by on Feb 14, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Book Launch at Ballymaloe

On 2nd February we went to The Grain Store at Ballymaloe for the launch of Sally Phipps’s book about her mother Molly Keane. The launch was a very personal tribute by the whole Allen family and a wonderful tribute by Ken Thompson. They all obviously hold both Sally and her mother with great affection. There was a very poignant and moving radio recording of an interview done just after the publication of Time After Time, it was lovely to hear her voice. We had the most delicious food produced with the minimum of fuss with the usual flair of Ballymaloe. The whole Grain Store was packed to the rafters, literally.  I happen to speak to Johnny de Falbe this week as John Sandoe Books in ChelseaIMG_0534 1 are also hosting a book launch for the book, Molly Keane, A Life next week. We both said how much we had enjoyed reading the book and he said they were selling fast from the shop. That is wonderful news, as I must say it is most beautifully written, Sally writes superbly. It is full of antidotes from around here as she lived in Cappoquin and Ardmore.

 

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Making Marmalade

Posted by on Feb 11, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Making Marmalade

Once a year the special Seville Oranges  are picked from specially chosen trees in Seville, in Southern Spain. They are shipped to Ireland and the UK for the making of Marmalade.

The early apothecaries in the sixteenth century discovered the health values of preserving citrus for use throughout the year and proved to be beneficial for all sorts of ills.

The thick dimpled skin of the Seville Orange is prized for making marmalade as it is high in pectin giving a higher set than the ordinary sweet orange and a higher yield.

The whole house  smells  sweet of steamy oranges  in the  cold dark months of January and February.

There are many different processes in the making of marmalade,  all are slow, many are family secret receipts passed down through many generations. There is much slicing and squeezing and boiling for the beautiful end result!

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img_0506-1We are now selling our Marmalade,

please email or phone for details.

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Dromana Gardens

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

I went to have tea with Barbara Grubb and her mother Emily Villiers-Stuart at Dromana earlier this week. I couldn’t help noticing that they have droves of beautiful Snowdrops all through their woods.  We have invested time and money buying literally thousands of tiny snowdrop bulbs to no avail. I think the crows or badgers must take a fancy to them as they have disappeared.

 

We have just a few clumps that have been here for years and they have lovely long stems , so nice to pick for the kitchen table.

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Early Iris

Posted by on Feb 10, 2017 in Latest News | 0 comments

Early Iris

Thank goodness for these early flowering IRIS reticulate. Although they are not suitable for picking they are a welcome bit of cheer to look straight out on to on these very cold winter days. Unlike the early flowering Rhododendrons which are badly effected by frost. (The flowers just quickly turn brown.) These perky little flowers continue from early January until the end of February.

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15th November 2016

Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Latest News | 0 comments

15th November 2016

Just Back from Australia……..

My last day in Brisbane I head for the post office, better get those Postcards off because otherwise the moment will be lost. Whilst in the queue, I spot these two covers! I immediately think that I will buy them both and send them home one for us and one for daughter Sophie ( she breeds rare breeds). I must explain, they are TOMES, weighing a tone because they have so many photographs in them. So I don’t buy them and they don’t get sent.

 

I regret not getting them and worry that with titles like this our own hens will think they are not so contented as the ones in these books.

Everywhere I went in Australia, its all about the “Chooks” Same as here really just a very appealing format.

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Our Friends

Posted by on Nov 14, 2016 in Latest News | 0 comments

See our friends and partner websites – click on the links below.

Website Design and Development- Imadept.com

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