Thursday, September 10, 2020

Driving down the tiny, rural lanes in Cornwall means you often end up reversing or finding a spot to pull over when you meet another car in the road.

But sometimes, you might end up reversing because you saw the most incredible burst of color and you just had to find out what it was. Luckily, I had checked in my rearview mirror before doing this.

In early August, during our UK staycation in Cornwall, I was driving near Penzance and happened to see this flash of color which turned out to be a field of dahlias by the National Dahlia Collection. This garden features more than 1,600 different varieties of dahlias and is free to visit from June to September. It is impressive!

You can even see St. Michael's Mount located in Marazion in the distance here.

This collection was first established in 1983 in Oxfordshire by a private collector, David Brown, who wanted to preserve dahlias when the flowers were growing out of fashion in the 80s and 90s. Over the years, the collection moved until it happened at is current location. If you are a keen gardener, you can even order dahlia tubers and garden ready plants online or at the collection when it is open.

Dahlias are one of those flowers that blooms prolifically from late summer to autumn. I’ve always admired these flowers, but I don’t have much room at our London flat to grow much more than some potted herbs and veggies.

But the English have long loved dahlias especially during the Victorian era. When the Horticultural Society (later RHS) started regular flower shows in 1831, its September event was dedicated entirely to dahlias. In 1881, the National Dahlia Society was started in the UK.

  • Did you know that by the 1930s – at the height of their popularity – there were 14,000 named dahlia varieties?
  • And did you know that dahlias are the national flower of Mexico? Dahlias are wildflowers in Mexico and Central America but were brought to Europe by a Spanish expedition in the late 1700s and later cultivated.

·      On our trip, I spent about an hour at the garden taking dozens and dozens of photos of the colorful blooms and trying to capture the honeybees in action. Now, if only, I could have my own garden like this.

Pompon Dahlias

Decorative Dahlias

Waterlilly Dahlias

Misc Dahlias


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Day Trip from London

Even though I love living in a city like London, I do miss my country roots at times. 

So to recreate my Nebraska life, I recently gathered a few girlfriends and we set off for a pick-your-own farm about an hour's drive southwest of London for a day trip. Without having hired a rental car for an entire month due to Covid restrictions, we never would have reached the Crockford Bridge Farm, a family farm near Weybridge, Surrey. But what a delightful farm! 

We had a small map of the farm and the different crops we were able to pick that day. I ended up with a kilo of plump raspberries, some strawberries and 6 ears of corn. I also helped my girlfriends pick runner beans and I bought a few other goodies at the farm shop. 

We had a fun day out from London and brought back some farm goodies to cook with at home.
Homemade gelato for lunch and plenty of jams and spreads at the farm shop.


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