Gardens remind us of the fundamental truth: All things must change. The burning bushes that separate the Yelton Manor and The Manor Guest House, gorgeous and beloved for 25 years, now have an incurable disease PLUS are at the end of their lifespan. So they are dying off, one by one, sometimes two by two. As they fall away, we drop what I have come to call “a couple of BIG ASS ROCKS” on their stumps, then I landscape around them. The rocks are strong winter bones. And we like the new look that visually connects the two inns. Plus we can see the span of the garden more fully from our inside vantage points. It’s all good. Thank you to the strong, willing and able friends from Huntree Nursery who did the chain saw massacre and the rock drop this morning.
Robert always hoots out loud when the bill comes from Huntree, as the line item is actually “Big Ass Rocks” on the invoice. Gotta love it.
I treated Matt and his great team to huge glasses of fresh fruit smoothie after the hard work. Organic cherries, raspberries, black raspberries, blueberries, banana, pomegranate and a snidge of yogurt for creaminess. Everyone was happy, the sun was shining and a good day was started perfectly!!!!
Many thanks to all our Yelton Manor B&B team who care deeply about making everything perfect!
Spring isn’t spring at Yelton Manor Bed and Breakfast until the compost arrives!!!! Some women like yellow gold on fingers and wrists, I love the black gold that tops off the perennial border each year!!! Today we got the first 7 yards, there will be 40 more behind this one. We fill over 300 pots, then there is 300 X 12 feet of garden to top off. The smell of it is heaven, we love being attached closely with the earth. Time to put on my sh*t-kickin boots and start in!
Thank you Huntree Nursery for being our steady garden partner for the last 24 years! Jan and Dave’s son Matt is stepping up bigtime into the business now, he’s the real deal and we love him!!!
COMPOST!!!!! Aaaaaah, should be a scratch and sniff option here!!!!!
One of my favorite additions to the garden some years ago are the Crocosmia, commonly known as Lucifers. Nothing devilish about these, except for their amazing, true red color.
Cousins to the gladiola, these are hardy plants that produce clumps of green sword-shaped leaves, with tall, arching spikes of funnel-shaped blossoms appearing in mid to late summer.
My only complaint is that sometimes the squirrels will dig up the bulb-like root and scatter them all over, rather frustrating. They don’t even eat them, the scamps! Just replant.
I definitely recommend dividing them every couple of years to help them keep their strength and height. Anyway, you’ll be happy to have them everywhere, pick a nice sunny spot in good soil.
These give you a tall, luscious display that last quite a long time!
I can’t imagine my life without dozens and dozens of jars of this gorgeous relish on my shelf. I make it every summer after arranging with a local produce farm to grow a crop of purple basil (genus Dark Opal) for me, but you can grow this peppery, beautiful basil just as easily at home in pots or the perennial border. Before we were vegetarians we would baste pork roast with it, scrumptious! I serve it up to guests simply as a topper for cream cheese on plain crackers. It has an indescribable color (garnet?) and a sweet/tart taste with a subtle overtone of orange and clove. You will never find this delicacy on a supermarket shelf, and it’s sooooo worth the effort. Double and triple the recipe as you see fit and process in half-pint jelly jars according to proper canning techniques. YUM!
1 1/2 cups (packed) washed and drained purple basil leaves, including tender stems and flower buds
Zest(outer peel only, no white pith) of a bright-skinned medium orange, 1″ strips
6 whole cloves
1 2/3 cups strained fresh orange juice
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
4 cups sugar
3 oz. liquid pectin
Chop the basil into a large saucepan, Twist each orange zest over the basil to catch the oil that will fly out in droplets, then drop zest into pan. Add the cloves, orange juice and red wine vinegar. Set over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and let stand 1 hour. Pour the mixture over a fine sieve or cheesecloth over a bowl, and press to extract as much flavor as possible. You should have 1 1/2 cups of the liquid after discarding the solids.
Add the sugar to the liquid and heat to boiling over medium heat. When a hard boil is achieved (won’t stir down), add the pectin. After achieving a hard boil again, boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim any foam and pour into hot, sterilized jars with 1 inch of headspace. Seal with paraffin or water bath with lids. Cool, label and store the jars.