All that hard work and effort must be rewarded. This is a great time of year to share, enjoy and celebrate the rewards of gardening.
Too soon it is gone.
Pick it, give it.
Let’s celebrate summer.
My humble offering is dedicated to the Pride Parade this weekend in Brighton. This is an opportunity to welcome and enjoy diversity in this city and beyond. It is a chance for the flamboyant, casual and even demure folk to take to the streets to recognise and be proud of the freedom that we have. To celebrate the open attitude to Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transexuals that our generation has made real and ok. It also highlights the many countries that have yet to acknowledge LGBT rights within the community and have severe punishments for people expressing themselves this way…
Here is my rainbow of flowers…The rainbow being the symbol of LGBT rights worldwide.
I was lucky to be able to take a few days off work for our trip to the ‘Festival du Lin’.
I actually expected the countryside to be bathed in a haze of wafting blue flowers, as it was, the flowering period was mainly over and the crop was being cut and left to dry in the sun. This sets a stunning scene as it is…
The plants usually flower around the 3rd week of June in the mornings and around about the longest day. Obviously this varies according to when they were planted and the weather conditions. We were fortunate enough to find a small strip of a field in full bloom, which was must have been a late sowing. I could then capture these images:
The local villages that participate in the festival have small bunches of Flax tied to sign posts, railings, fences, crosses and just everywhere really
We briefly spent some time viewing art installations that were all part of the festival and the wonder of the yarn
Following that up with Linseed bread with our lunch and linseed biscuits with our tea for the complete unique experience
Luckily for us just a short hop over the Channel and we are in Normandy, home of the delicious Normandy Cider and also an area which is one of the biggest producers of Flax in Europe.
This annual crop grows to just over a metre tall with delicate pure blue flowers. The fibre from the plant is used to make clothes and household linen, the seeds are used to make linseed oil – rich in omega-3 acids – which can be taken to supplement the diet.
This is the time of year the plants are in full bloom and the villagers of Normandy come out and celebrate the crop in the ‘Festival du Lin’:
Flax has been cultivated for thousands of years with evidence from the ancient Egyptians using linen bandages in the mummification process of the deceased and the Romans used it for the sails of their ships. Europe and North America depended on linen for cloth until the nineteenth century when cotton became more economical to use and other materials were more versatile. The biggest grower of Flax today is Canada, who produce it mainly for linseed oil.
Usitatissimum in latin means ‘useful’
The fine fibres of the stem when bundled up after treatment resemble blonde hair, hence the description ‘flaxen’
This weekend I am taking the ferry to Dieppe to enjoy the Linen festival in Sotteville-sur-mer and Veules-Les-Roses:
…and I have already identified an area of the garden for the potential cultivation of flax next year…
We were lucky to have a beautiful sunny Sunday for the Open Garden at Dyke Farm House, Poynings. Many people came from far and wide and from the village itself, over the course of the afternoon. My family came along and Louis, my eldest son, larked about on the trampoline while I showed my parents around the garden. It felt like a real community spirit.
A lady arrived who had worked at the house as a secretary when it was previously run as a hotel. She enjoyed an emotional tour of the house. She also brought with her a pretty watercolour painting of the house that she had been given at the time and gave it to the present owners as a gift and a donation to the event.
There were plenty of delicious cakes and cups of tea to be enjoyed on the patio and the event raised £1000 for Martlets Hospice.
Goes to our wonderful volunteers at Nigs’ Garden (Dyke Farm House) Poynings. The lovely ladies Marissa and Jill have put in many hours and we are grateful for their continued commitment, sheer hard work and ‘joie de vive’ in bringing the garden together for Open Day on June 29th in aid of Martlets Hospice.
Everyone is welcome to this beautiful Open garden in the sweet little village of Poynings. Tea and cakes will be for sale. You could easily while away a couple of hours sitting and chatting in this tranquil spot with incredible views over the fields and along The Downs towards Hampshire.
I am naturally enthusiastic as I have worked in this garden with owner Nigs for 3 years now. The garden is still ‘a work in progress’ but every bit enjoyable.
All the money raised will be donated to The Martlets Hospice.
So put Sunday June 29th 2-5pm in your diaries now and your afternoon will not be wasted.