Monday, 19 October 2009

Herbal ointments

One of the things that visitors say they will miss from our shop when the garden closes is the range of herbal creams that we have sold for the past nine years. Made in Scotland, with simple, unpretentious labelling and organic, straightforward ingredients, they will be missed by me too. So I thought I would let everyone know where they can still get them, especially as Jacqui who makes them, has just had her own website made.

We've always found the calendula ointment great for sunburn. Petals of Calendula officinalis - see picture - are steeped in sunflower oil and mixed with beeswax, lavender oil and benzoin (which is also a natural ingredient) ... and that's all. There's a comfrey ointment too - it's a light green colour from the comfrey leaves, and the midge ointment has always sold well when I took groups round in the evening! Not only was it effective at repelling midges (tested in Scotland! but due to some rules has to be called Summer Evening Balm), but it smells delicious, a mixture of lavender, thyme, citronella and peppermint oils in aloe vera.

Jacqui's website is and there are lots of other products to buy as well as our favourites.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Delicious baked tomatoes

There are so many tomatoes at the moment that we have them baked several times a week and they are just wonderful. David has grown our favourite variety, the small and sweet 'Gardener's Delight', plump little tomatoes on long tresses. We have them baked in the oven to a recipe from Monty Don's book 'Fork to Fork', a much thumbed book in our kitchen which has recently been reissued. I shall really miss them when they are finished but at the moment they have been producing for ages and I just don't get bored with them. At lunchtime, we pick them, hot with sun, straight from the vine.

The garden is amazing for butterflies at the moment. Fallen plums on the grass are being feasted on by red admirals who obviously know a thing or two about grog. You can smell the tinge of alcohol as you walk by! They are so laid back that it takes them a while to lift from the ground, then some 20 or 30 take to the air. They are all over the asters too, loads of them, followed by visitors with cameras!