Fun with ferns

We’ve finally sorted out the side of our pond. After clearing the pond back last winter we thought we’d wait to see what popped up around the edges. Turns out there were huge numbers of lily bulbs and they were really too tall for the space, so we’ve taken them out and replaced them with a selection of different ferns. We also have our first flowering lily pad on the pond!

Look who has moved in!

We decided the lillies around the front of the pond were too tall this year, so as they are just finishing their flowering we cut them back and started to dig the bulbs so we can move them to a better place for next summer.

As we were doing so we spotted this little guy who has moved into our pond! As he clearly likes it, we decided we’ve left it long enough since we put in plants and the filter, so we’re going to get some fish soon.

Visiting Bath for our wedding

Hello, and first off, if you’ve not been here before then welcome to our blog! We share updates here about our gardening projects, and the huge amount we’re learning (and getting wrong!) along the way. Feel free to have a nose around and leave any comments or advice for us!

So, anyway, we thought that seeing as so many of you are travelling a long way to Bath for our wedding, and are likely to make a weekend of your visit, we’d share some ideas for great things to see and do locally with you.

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You’re lucky in that the Great Bath Feast is taking place throughout October with events including a tasting at the Michelin starred Bath Priory, a celebration of local game at one of Bath’s oldest pubs the Garrick’s Head and Chianti tasting at our friend Alan’s Great Western Wine shop. Bath is a fantastic city for food lovers – we are really lucky in that we still have a lot of family owned, small independent restaurants and producers, and we have highlighted a few of our very favourites below. The Great Bath Feast celebrates all of this, so it is a fantastic chance to sample the best of Bath’s culinary treats.

And to counter any preconceptions you might have that Bath is full of posh boring old people, the city is also hosting ‘Glow in the Park‘ on Saturday 11 October. This is a 5k run during which you get sprayed with ultraviolet glow paint before heading through UV light, strobe and fog zones… not for the light hearted or those who like to keep clean…

Of course if you’ve not been to Bath before we definitely recommend seeing the sights – you can easily see the Roman Baths, the Assembly Rooms, the Circus, Number 1 at the Royal Crescent, the Abbey (do take a rooftop tour) and Queen’s Square in a day, and still find time to bathe in the hot spring waters at Thermae Bath Spa to unwind. Evening entertainment, with or without children, is plentiful – but we definitely recommend the ‘Bizarre Bath’ comedy walk which leaves the Huntsman Inn at 8pm.

If you like gardens as much as we do and want to get out of the centre then either head to Prior Park (a National Trust property, Capability Brown gardens), to Victoria park and botanical gardens, to Sydney Gardens or to Corsham Court. Further out again, but ideal for easy day trips, you have Longleat safari park, Wells City and Cathedral, Glastonbury Tor, Stonehenge (although we prefer Avebury, also nearby…) or picturesque Lacock.

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If you’re planning to eat out please do take a look at Bistro La Barrique, a fantastic ‘petit plat’ style French bistro owned by our friend Michel who guarantees you true French service – brusque! The place doesn’t look much from the outside, and Michele is terrible at answering the phone so you just have to turn up and try your luck for a table, but we assure you that the food and wine are fantastic and make this our very favourite restaurant in town. Other good options include the Brewhouse (ale and meat), the Raven (pub with pies), or the Mint Rooms (great curry). If you’re staying outside the city near our wedding venue and want to treat yourselves then the Wheatsheaf is popular, but you’ll have to book well in advance.

Obviously we’re on the border between the Cotswolds and the Mendips, so there are fantastic walks between picture perfect villages all around. If you want to find a good local walk have a look at ‘Walking in Somerset‘ or give us a shout and we’ll send you some of our favourite routes.

These are just some of our favourite things to see and do and we hope we’ve whet your appetite for your visit to Bath. There is plenty more to explore which you can find info about on the Visit Bath website. We hope you have as much fun visiting our city as we do living here!

Inspiration from Major Lawrence Johnston

After going to the beautiful Yorkshire wedding of my little cousin Lucy to Gordon Stewart last weekend, we decided to break up a long journey home with a stop at the National Trust’s Hidcote gardens.

There is nothing like a large productive kitchen garden to really boost your enthusiasm. We we got home it was gone eight on Sunday evening, but I still got out and did a good hour of work on our little plot!

 

The Bat Man at Lacock

For Katrina’s birthday last year she requested that I take her bat watching. What seemed a slightly odd idea turned out to be really good fun, and this year we decided to go back and to take our friends with us.

This is why Adam, Nat, Paul, Alex, Barrie, Hen, Katrina and I could be seen sat staring at gargoyles mouths waiting for the sun to set in Lacock last night.

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Thanks to the National Trust ‘bat man’ we learnt that there are 18 different species of bat in Britain. We learnt all about the tiny Pipistrelle bat (which can fit in a matchbox) and about the bigger Daubenton which catches its food over water. We also learnt how to use a bat detector to pick up the high pitched calls of both species.

Once the sun set and the bats started leaving Lacock Abbey through the gargoyles mouths the bat watchers started counting in earnest. In total there were 1025 Pipistrelle bats and a couple of Daubentons too – a huge improvement on last years’ 325!