June Open Days – nipping out for a sniff and a rub between downpours

Mostly, we’re very grateful for a drop of rain in summer: the herbs love the combination of wet and warmth,  and we love it because it reduces our daily task of quenching the thirst of 650+ herb varieties.

However, sunshiny days are infinitely preferable when opening up the farm and inviting people along for an enjoyable meander through the herbs.  The Friday and Saturday of our June Open Days were a bit wet for a lengthy amble amongst the aromas, but, happily, this didn’t deter our fabulous, die-hard, herb loving visitors and we were delighted to welcome back many regulars as well as many new visitors to the farm.

Ominous sky..but enough blue for a pair of sailor's trousers?

The weather forecast was pretty dreadful, but our visitors are made of sterner stuff

Nipping out for a sniff and a rub between downpours

Jekka’s farm tour became a herb talk in a warm, dry, aromatic polytunnel and our wonderful caterers, Berry Blue, had their busiest event at the farm ever – when the rain came down, everyone headed for the food marquee, where herby feasts and a hot mug of herb tea braced them for their next expedition outside.

Jekka's herb talk in the dry, aromatic polytunnel, and a very helpful young man

Jekka’s herb workshop was all about ‘How to take herb cuttings’, and she was delighted to make the acquaintance of her youngest pupil, Millie, who demonstrated great potential of becoming a future ‘Queen of Herbs’. Jekka’s next (pre-bookable) herb workshops (22nd – 24th July, 12pm) will tell you all you need to know about growing your own  salad herbs for autumn.

Millie (left) demonstrates her new skill - taking herb cuttings

Happily, Sunday dawned (and remained) much brighter, and visitors could take their time to enjoy the scents and arouse their senses. Jekka gave an outdoor herb talk to visitors, who learned that herbs in containers, such as Bay, won’t survive on love alone – they need a weekly feed at this time of year – we use liquid seaweed; that ‘Sir Basil‘ doesn’t like to be watered after midday; that Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary and thyme must have very good drainage to thrive, and that herbs in flower now, such as lavender and thyme, should be cut back after flowering to promote plant health and maintain good shape. It was actually warm enough for her audience to sit back and soak up some most welcome sunny rays.

Soaking up some herb learning

The rain rarely deters open day visitors, who are often as nuts about organically grown herb plants as we are. But we would appreciate (please, please, please?)  some warm, dry days from 5th – 10th July, when we’ll be at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, and 22nd-24th July – our next Open Days. Fingers and fronds crossed.

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