As we gathered the honey from our hives in the summer, we were mindful of the remarkable effort that goes into every precious golden drop. The hard work of the bees begins long before harvest and at Daylesford we are committed to supporting our favourite pollinators throughout the year.
For me, there is no comparison to the classic English rose, picked straight from the garden and brought in to the home as part of a simple posey. Our cutting garden at the farm is filled with organic seasonal blooms and is now open for pick-your-own afternoons every Wednesday throughout September and October.
Our busy bees have had a great spring and summer this year, with plentiful hedgerows, orchards and good flying weather in the early season all contributing to a bountiful harvest. The fields of wildflower and lavender that we have at Daylesford, together with the second flowering of clover and Sainfoin have also bolstered their reserves, making this one of our best years yet for our estate honey.
In November 2015 we launched Agricology – an online and in-field platform offering practical information and advice for farmers about sustainable British agriculture. It is a fantastic, much needed initiative and I am very proud to be a founding trustee. Over the past two years the website has grown into an interactive, online resource centre, brought to life by a regular stream of industry news, educational resources and blog posts and a monthly video diary of agriculture at Daylesford provided by Richard Smith, our farm manager.
This summer we are holding a special series of children’s floristry classes, which are a wonderful way to encourage budding floristry skills in children aged 5-12. On Thursday 20th July our floristry team are holding Children’s Jam Jars: a fun morning exploring the market garden to learn about how plants grow and to gather flowers, before making pretty jam jar arrangements to take home.
The Market Garden is somewhere that I love to escape to whatever the time of year, but it is during the summer months that the garden really comes to life, overflowing with vibrant fresh, organic produce. Spread over 25 acres, the garden is tended to by our Head Gardener, Jez, and his team and between them they grow and produce over 300 varieties of fruit, vegetables and salads using entirely organic, sustainable farming methods.
Flower pressing is a traditional pastime that has been enjoyed for generations and is something that I love to do with my grandchildren. Join us at the farm this Saturday 8th July to explore the Daylesford estate and gather beautiful blooms for pressing, to create pressed flower designs that can be used to make cards, window art and keepsakes to take home.
As we enter high summer the bees are at their prime. Despite many negative stories surrounding the plight of the bees, many farmers and beekeepers are adopting a suite of measures to give our essential pollinators an opportunity to thrive.
Throughout the year at Daylesford, we make sure that our bees and other pollinators have a plentiful supply of plants upon which to forage. In early spring, snowdrops, crocuses and of course blossoming fruit trees offer sought after sweet nectar while in the summer wildflower meadows and pastures rich in sainfoin and clover provide a feast for the bees.
In celebration of this week’s Chelsea Flower Show we are hosting a beautiful pop-up flower stall outside our farmshop on Pimlico Road. Our Head Florist will be present throughout the week to offer advice and create seasonal blooms, bouquets, floral headdresses and crowns with English flowers. We will also have a great display of bee friendly plants, arrangements, pots and tools for the garden available for sale throughout the celebrations.
Bees are essential to life as we know it and much of the food we grow at Daylesford would not be possible without our most vital pollinators. With their populations in sharp decline, we must do everything we can to encourage and support the humble bee.
With the hard frosts of winter behind us, and buds on branches bright and green with new leaf, this time of year is full of expectancy and excitement as springtime unfolds into full bloom. Bringing bulbs into your home not only creates an incredible scent, it also reminds us that this is the season of revival and new life. At Daylesford, we like to forage for nature’s seasonal offerings to include in our floral arrangements. Here is our step-by-step guide on how you can create a seasonal table centrepiece that would be perfect for an Easter table.