The first peas…

Hello everyone, 

So far, the early winter weeks have been something of a whirlwind! Since my last newsletter I’ve been on the road…out west to Trangie, to talk all things kitchen gardening; and last month I released another collection of those impromptu IGTV clips, taking you on a little tour of the kitchen garden here. I’m heartened to hear they’re keeping some of you on track and I promise to do another soon (just don’t expect them to become any more professional!). 

Last week’s road trip aside, rather than isolated (which is how I tend to live much of my life, interspersed with wild flurries of activity); these last few months I’ve been inundated, with all the family at home, plus one! I guess in some way or other, all of us have experienced the opposite to our usual normal. I’m not complaining though. It’s been a rare opportunity, and one that’s certainly kept me on my kitchen gardening toes…in an attempt to keep the produce rolling in!

With regular workshops and events pretty much out of the question ’til now (and even now I hesitate), I’m delighted to let you know that the few PRIVATE DAYS in the KITCHEN GARDEN here have been an absolute joy. Several have been staged for avid gardeners, keen to up their kitchen gardening skills (and to learn more about my seed bank) while one was for a group of girls who just wanted to get together…a day’s escape from the city, to natter…which they did in the sunshine after a lovely garden walk and over a long, lazy, seasonal garden lunch.

At this particular moment, I won’t release any specific kitchen gardening dates, as private days allow greater flexibility – both with dates, and should illness on either side occur. But I would like to invite you to gather some friends…one, two, three or more…(with more the cost reverts to the old one anyway…it just means I can’t have Kim here to help…’til we reach six! Then I can!). Part of me is thinking to drop the kitchen garden tag…and to call them PRIVATE DAYS at GLENMORE HOUSE as they can be tailor made to suit (although you’ll glean the most amount of information by picking my brains on that particular topic and one upcoming group want to focus on compost which makes me smile!). But I know some peeps simply love to potter with me in the garden…picking, tasting, chatting…perhaps do a little flower arranging…with the opportunity to prepare a seasonal lunch with me should they feel so inclined..or not as the case may be in which case they can potter or relax while I do the final prep! Or they can be completely cooking based…I’m toying with the idea of a Seville Orange Marmalade day…the tree is heaving…

If you’d like a classic kitchen gardening day, we’ll make our way through the topics: from the two different methods of growing I employ here (with wildly differing results), through layout, design, aesthetics, companion planting, seed collecting, crop rotation, successional sowing and….compost; with a thorough inspection of the kitchen garden before a late’ish lunch. Whatever form the day may take, it will begin with morning tea and one of my naughty cakes; and seasonal organic produce will be at the very heart of the day…peppering our discussion, along with cooking and recipes. You can find the details for these idyllic PRIVATE DAYS in a country garden, that’s just a hop, skip and jump from the big smoke here

All that said…I may slip in a little surprise from time to time…and have just tentatively agreed the date for a proposedWILLOW WORKSHOP with PENNY SIMONS on FRIDAY 21 AUGUST. This will be for making cloches and garden edge panels. I won’t release a booking form ’til closer to the time, but at this stage, ask you to register your interest. All being well, places will be available for 10 people and I’ll take bookings in the order in which enquiries arrive. Let’s cross our fingers that this workshop with Penny that we SO look forward to each year, can take place once again…although this time the resulting works will take a different shape (I’ll forward an image and details when you contact me).

I know quite a lot of you were following my road trip (via instagram) to the GIN GIN GARDEN CLUB at Trangie last week, to speak about kitchen gardening. With heightened interest in the topic just now, it was a joy to see so many enthusiastic faces in the well-spaced crowd (what a contrast this presentation was, with guests sitting on hay bales in a tractor shed, compared to my last talk pre-Covid, in a plush setting in Macquarie Street…both equally enjoyable!). The Gin Gin audience came from near and far…many driving hours there and home to attend. My talk aside, it was a terrific opportunity for them to get out and see friends, to see Claire’s newly planted and beautifully tended garden and to enjoy recipes from The House and Garden at Glenmore prepared by Michelle of the Whiskaway Vintage Van (Fennel & Lemon Risotto, Orange and Rhubarb Cakes)...two days in a row! And to raise a substantial sum for the Trangie Cancer Support Group :))

I’m so happy to share the knowledge I’ve gleaned over the years and this kitchen gardening talk with accompanying images gives me the opportunity to explain it all quite thoroughly. I was thrilled to hear on the Sunday, that much enthusiastic chatter had taken place on the Saturday evening amongst some members of our first group, (and of their husbands raised eyebrows over the size and number of compost bays those girls now want to install for their own burgeoning kitchen gardens!). Oh dear…can’t take me anywhere! But I’m delighted my points about compost hit the mark…it’s where I begin the talks…with the soil, the good earth…that provides both the bounty and the beauty.

I do hope this finds you well. It seems to me we’re all one foot in, one foot out…one day up, then questioning what happens next. I hope you’re navigating it well. If you have questions about your own kitchen gardening exploits, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Otherwise, I’ll very much hope to see you here soon.

Very best wishes


ps Are you listening to Charlie Arnott’s new podcast, The Regenerative Journey? I managed to catch up on all but the final episode of series one during my road trip…now I’d like time to listen again with pen & paper!