The BE hiking group or should that be gardeners?

The BE hiking group or should that be gardeners?



BE is looking beautiful and greening a bit more each day. Everywhere I look there are things to be done. I have not inherited a gardener’s tranquil approach to gardening at all – there is too much of the journalist in me. I know Charlie is the same too and that’s why we work here, for Novokov. We are obsessive and relentless. But the feedback is that the chefs are liking our microherbs already, and that’s high praise given that we began this project only four months ago with glass-less glasshouses and shoulder high weeds.

Today the huge Victorian planters were planted. I chose Astelia chatemanica for the centrepieces. I’ve loved this silver leafed foliage ever since I uncovered it growing in the Jungle at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. I was awed by the way the light reflected from the spear like leaves and spent a day chopping back dense laurel, ponticum and weeds to free it. No coincidence it’s called ‘silver spear; as a common name. Being from the Chatham Islands of New Zealand it does very well here. The silver grey of the old planters goes brilliantly with it and I’ve underplanted with white hyacinth and lily of the valley so that incredible perfume will rise on late spring days when they are in bloom.


The first of the completed planters. I topped it off with grey pebbles to give it an almost Mediterranean feel. Very St Ives.

Another planting today was Tulipa Peach Blossom which has a sumptuous double petal and is early flowering. It’s late in the season to get tulips going but we missed traditional planting time being too busy with structural renovations at the time. Tulip petals are edible with a flavour like rocket and of course the blooms look incredible. There’s a great Guardian 2013 article on the subject if you are interested.

There’s no denying Spring now. Its everywhere we look from the blossom in the peach house to rapid seedling germination. The weather is much warmer by day, although we are still getting a bit of frost. Despite rich pickings the robin still follows me everywhere. Here he is on the herb bed-to-be:


We are definitely all getting the gardeners ‘spring back’ but guess what? Adrian wore his Fitbit to work yesterday out of interest to see how much we exercised in a typical day. It logged just over 30,000 steps. I’ve just checked online and 30,000 is 15 miles.

Now we have a tearoom complete with running water, electricity, heater AND I have an office. OK I haven’t relocated the computer there yet as we have to connect broadband…but step by step people. Hang on. We’re walking at least 75 miles a week each! (more if we’re in 6 or 7 days)  Given that 6 of us are in, that’s a combined effort of 450 miles a week in the quest for the very best hand grown produce. No wonder we get so hungry.


The sun dips low behind the shelter belt as dusk sets in.

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