Every now and again we deliberately try to have a day away from the smallholding, for as much as we enjoy it, we can still fall into the trap of not stepping back to appreciate what we've achieved.
Last Sunday was the Veg Group's summer outing and we had arranged to all meet up at Barnsdale Gardens, just up the A1 near Rutland Water. These were the gardens from where Geoff Hamilton presented Gardener's World when I were a lad.
Fortunately the weather held, just. At a leisurely pace (we don't spend enough time at this pace) we strolled around a series of 39 gardens, each holding trinkets of inspiration.
Some of these ideas will be appearing in my garden soon, maybe.
I returned to Swallow Farm full of plans. So far I've not spent much time on the ornamental side of the garden and what I have attempted has been seriously undermined by the rabbits (as an aside, I have seen a couple with signs of myxomatosis of late. I knew it was near, so it was only a matter of time before it hit the out of control population here. I have 'myxed' emotions about this.)
But I was not lured by the Barnsdale nursery. Instead I have started searching out the seeds I need and looking around for suitable subjects for cuttings.
A trip to a local plant cash'n'carry resulted in the extremely reasonable purchase of 17 box hedging plants and 6 lonicera nitida. From these I have taken a fair multitude of cuttings.
I reckon that in another twenty years or so Swallow Farm will be ready to open to the public!