Garden Open Day

Garden Open Day

Once again we were lucky with the weather and once again Jane and Dellores on the cake stall triumphed in selling a luscious variety of baked temptations – beetroot brownies, courgette and parmesan muffins, chocolate and mint cake, apple cake, spinach tart and more delights than you can shake a pea stick at.  They flew off the table, earning us £100!

The cake stall (with the Elizabeth Fry building reflected in the window)
Visitors at garden
Visitors begin to arrive at the garden

Swatches of material dyed using plants

Swatches of material dyed using plants from the garden.

Liz set up her rust-dyeing – and general natural dye guru – stall and gave a demonstration to the Edible Gardens tour of how to dye using rusty old things – and tea.



We had a steady stream of visitors and buyers of raffle tickets for our home-grown hamper.


Jan won the raffle.  It wasn’t fixed, honest.


Most exciting was that one of our frogs made an appearance for the visitors.

Yellow Frog with Black Spots
Frog in Cordwainers Garden – raised from spawn

The Oddest Recipe

Nasturtiums in Cordwainers Garden
Nasturtiums in Cordwainers Garden

At our open day we came across a book in the jumble called “Herbs for All Seasons” by Rosemary Hemphill (1972).  It goes through the common and less common herbs and gives some history of their uses (it explains that a “decoction of lovage seeds was recommended as a gargle for infections of the mouth and throat, as a drink for pleurisy and as a lotion for bathing sore eyes”, for example.  What didn’t it cure, I wonder).  It also has lots of recipes – how to grow and make orris (perfume from iris roots), violet ice cream and elderberry face lotion.  It’s an education and an inspiration.  But this recipe I can’t see myself making:


Here are the instructions anyway.

1 1/4 pints hot water
4 tsps Vegemite (I’m assuming Marmite could be substituted)
1 cup roasted peanuts
3 or 4 nasturtium leaves chopped roughly
1tsp salt
1/2 pint milk
Nasturtium flowers

Pour the hot water onto the Vegemite and stir until dissolved, making a broth. Place the peanuts, 1 cup of the broth, the nasturtium leaves and salt together in a blender and purée until smooth.  Empty the peanut mixture into a saucepan, stir in the rest of the broth and milk, simmer for ten minutes, then chill. Float a nasturtium flower – or one petal if you prefer it – on each serving.

I’m not sure…

St Giles Fayre

Last weekend Nat, Charlotte, Sue and I set up stall in the churchyard of St Giles church, alongside bee men, weavers and dyers, some goats, fancy pigeons, a donkey (which escaped twice) cows (one of which jumped over its fence and caused some panic) and chickens.  It was a delighfully rural afternoon in the middle of the West End (tucked behind the Odeon Shaftesbury Avenue and Charing Cross Rd and Soho minutes away). We were entertained by Punch & Judy and their violent antics, the Crystal Palace Brass Band, singers from the church and we even had a go at bell-ringing.  On top of that, we made about £50 – mostly on Anna’s courgette muffins and Nat’s beetroot brownies.