Gather. Harvest. Feast. - Flower Pot Luck
Thoughts are very much still whirling around my head after Saturday and it's been difficult to put those thoughts into actual words. I felt a little overwhelmed after the beautiful day we enjoyed at Manor Garden for our very first event for Gather. Harvest. Feast, a Flower Pot Luck. I drove home in a daze, utterly shattered as I hadn't really slept the night before, but also exhilarated. It was such a delight spending time in the company of so many wonderful people and I went away feeling more inspired, more excited and at the same time, more relaxed than I have ever been. I really needed a day in a garden playing with flowers! The weather was actually much kinder than we'd been led to believe and we only had one slightly heavy downpour that lasted a few minutes. The rest of the time there was some drizzle, light rain and occasional sunny spells. It meant however, that the picnic rugs we had planned had to be put to one side to make way for chairs and shelter in the bell tent. Hey ho, that's summer in the UK. The ethos behind Gather. Harvest. Feast is celebrating the seasons through nature, food and flowers. Essentially its about time spent outdoors, sharing stories, swapping skills and then eating cake. And that's exactly what we did.
I've written about Manor Garden before and it truly is a really special place run by very special people. We couldn't have asked for nicer or more considerate hosts. Barney and Clarey's kids joined us while we were setting up and I thought what an amazing place to grow up in, with so much running around in the fresh air and learning how plants grow. Their daughter was so sweet and helped us out by getting her brothers to sing 'rain, rain, go away' and it totally worked (at least for a while!).
Once our guests had arrived we had a quick cuppa before moving on to a tour of the walled garden with Barney. He explained a little of the history of the land along with how and what they grow. This is only the second year of it's use as a cutting garden but already there are lots of happy, healthy perennials, herbs and climbers. Barney and Clarey have some amazing future plans and it's going to be fantastic to see how this beautiful garden progresses. Follow their adventures on Facebook or Instagram for forthcoming events including pick-your-own days.
Our morning promised to be playing with freshly cut flowers from the garden and it didn't disappoint. Clarey had picked some stunning combinations of annuals, roses, perennials, climbers and herbs for bouquet making. We'd asked everyone to bring a vessel, whatever they wanted to fill with flowers, and the more eclectic the better. From bright enamel pots and teapots, vintage tins to galvanised buckets, everyone filled them up with beautiful foliage and blooms and the tent was filled with an incredible aroma. Clarey led the workshop with a simple tutorial on how to form a bouquet, before letting everyone get on with it, helping out when asked. It was a super relaxing way to spend a morning in good company. Conversation flowed, there was much laughter and new friendships formed.
Aren't all these bouquets stunning? I couldn't pick a favourite, they were all incredible. After the flower workshop it was time to head back into the garden and sample some botanically inspired drinks. Luckily the rain had stopped and we were able to have a little corner of the garden for our cocktail tasting. The wonderful Becky from The Sitting Room in Saltburn had popped over to make us some of her botanically inspired flavours and chat a little about how they are made. We had three to try - Pineapple Shrub, Elderflower Fizz (made with foraged pink elderflower heads) and Everything Rosie, which combined rhubarb and rose syrups. I had a glass of Everything Rosie, which had a real kick to it and was delicious, although I imagine that adding gin would make it perfect! I'm planning a camping trip to Saltburn so I can head back to Becky's bar for an evening to sample more.
Alongside our cocktails we had our pot luck lunch. We'd asked everyone to bring a dish and we had so much food we didn't no what to do with it all! From salads, quiches, dips, frittatas, crisps, fruit to amazing cakes, the choice of what to eat was enormous. We served the food in the bell tent and Jane had styled the inside simply, with rustic and natural details, lots of vintage linens alongside little posies from the garden. It was just beautiful. Lunch was a nice time to chat some more and it was great meeting so many people I only knew through blogging and Instagram.
Once we had feasted, we moved back to the workshop tent to learn how to make our own natural skincare products with Liz of Lark Skincare. Everyone got rather excited at the table laden with measuring cylinders and funnels, giving us all a back to the science laboratory at high school kind of feeling (although with much nicer smells!).
Liz started by explaining where she got the idea and inspiration for Lark, a new project she is embarking on. All Lark products are made with natural ingredients, plant based and then blended with essential oils. For this workshop we would be making our own facial oil and bath oil to take home. Everyone got stuck in measuring and Liz was a terrific teacher, happily answering lots of questions. As I was taking all the photographs during the event I didn't participate in any of the workshops, but Sarah very kindly made me a bath oil to bring home and it smells simply incredible. During the summer holidays, we've got some long walks planned and it'll be perfect to use in the tub afterwards as it's ideal for those hard on your feet kind of days.
Winding down with a last cuppa of the day and as much cake as we could eat, we said farewell to everyone who had joined us and sent them off with a goody bag. Each contained a beautiful handmade print by Sarah, a mini cacti and a floral candle from Essence and Alchemy as well as the oils made in the skincare workshop. And of course, not forgetting all the flowers.......
Thank you to everyone who bought a ticket and came along on Saturday. I do hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did! It was a pleasure to meet everyone and I hope to see you again soon. I've created a Facebook page especially for Gather. Harvest. Feast. so please do check it out and give it a Like to see what we are up to.
Although Gather. Harvest. Feast is kind of my baby I couldn't do it any of it without these amazing people I've asked to help me. So........
A huge, huge thank you to Barney and Clarey Wrightson and the rest of their family at Manor Garden for all their help and support in running this venture, we couldn't have done it without you. (Including putting in a toilet for us!) You guys rock!
Thanks to Sarah Hardman for designing the logo, welcome blackboard and individually making prints for everyone to take home. Sarah is starting on her new venture, Frond and Feather and I wish her all the luck in the world as she is a super artist. She is launching her online store soon.
Thanks to Elizabeth Holdsworth for being incredibly brave in leading her first workshop and sharing her beautiful skincare products with us. Lark Skincare will launch officially later this year and Liz is already planning to run more workshops. Do get in touch with her to find out about stocking her products and future events.
And finally to Jane at Tea with Ruby, who is fast becoming one of my most favourite people in the world. You are funny, crazy, unique and brilliant as well as being an amazing stylist. Although I do have to try and talk you out of bringing everything in your house..... Can't wait to do it all again soon. xx