The romance of compost

I was recently told that as far as aspects of horticulture went, compost wasn’t particularly romantic. But if you are what you eat, then essentially you are eating compost! Ok, so I joke, but if there is a desire to grow quality produce for great cuisine, then a good compost is essential. To produce amazing […]

Flowering of Mesembyanthemum crystallinum

Ice ice baby! Today the ice plant, (Mesembryanthemum crytallinum) sent out its first flowers. It is usually grown for its glistening water vesicles, which are large epidermal cells on the stems and leaves. I love the delicate touch of the flowers myself so its great to see them up close! Oh and as an added […]

Beekeeping with Carlo

I was fortunate enough to be around when Carlo came to visit Case Vecchie early one afternoon. He stayed for lunch as we barbequed fish that he has brought with him. This was amazing, a new way to cook fish that I had not experienced before- a little more info can be found on the […]

Plant hunting

I’ve just spent the morning on venturing across the hills of the estate searching for plants that we want for developing the garden. I have gained inspiration on my morning walks, seeing various plant combinations from what grows naturally around the estate. Today’s haul included some Asphodelus aestivus, Acanthus molle, Salvia, Nepeta, and Dittrichia viscose […]

Better bee-lieve it- black bee honey

As I have breakfast after an early morning run and core workout I realise I haven’t wrote about the range of honey I am accompanying on either my toast, yoghurt and cereal or savoury loaf- there is a honey to go with anything and it’s all brilliant produce. I am gauging on the produce by […]

The problems with Mandrake and the two minute window

After consuming a meal with the leaves of a plant, thought to be a wild green, but actually turning out to be Mandragora– which grows commonly around Sicily; there would rightly be cause for concern. For those not familiar, it’s a highly poisonous plant and one that should be avoided. I have read from some […]

On the hunt for wild fennel

A Sicilian tradition that goes on around this time of year is the harvesting of the wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgaris) which in Italian is Finocchietto selvatico. This can be found growing at the side of the roads as well as high in the hills and is then used to begin making many traditional Sicilian recipes. […]

Harvesting citrus

I have news rich in fruitful goodness! Today I have been busy harvesting from the citrus orchard which bears a variety of oranges, satsuma, mandarin, blood orange, grapefruit and lemons. I’ve also been looking at plant health and have noticed a variety of scale and mealy bug which we shall treat with organic insecticidal soap […]

A taste of Sicily

I’ve been here for almost a month of a 6 month project working in conjunction with culinary school. It’s been so busy, I’ve only just had time to write!   Well.. What a place. I am situated amongst a beautiful landscape and surrounded by an estate over 5 times the size of Hyde Park!   […]

Autumn at Waterperry gardens

Today I visited Waterperry gardens in Oxford. I met up with Andrew who I had met studying at Wisely. He had previously worked here so was able to give an insiders view of the place!   Originally a site for horticultural teaching for ladies in the 1930’s, today the 8 acres of gardens are an […]