Purple haze

For the first weekend in as long as I can remember, we actually go out for the day! A well needed break from the house and an inspirational afternoon at Cotswold Lavender farm at Snowshill with Jasper the dog. Jasper doesn’t like buzzing things at all so, unlike us, he wasn’t too impressed by the amount of bees on the lavender.

We plan to plant lavender beds at the front of the house, along the length of the lawn. Our love of lavender was passed on to us by our mum who used to grow and dry it every year to make lavender bags and pot pourri. Not only does it smell divine and attract bees, but it can create dramatic blocks of colour in the garden.

The contrasting purples and greens of the fields of lavender are super dramatic.

Cotswold Lavender farm also grow chamomile and other wild flowers in fields. The place smells incredible!

Lavenders come in many different colours and varieties as demonstrated in this corner of the farm. We have selected our favourites based on the different colours and the more prolific varieties.

Unfortunately the farm doesn’t sell the actual plants oddly, so we will have to source them elsewhere. They do sell all the products that they make from the lavender oil that they farm, so we came away with bags of delights ranging from lavender honey, drawer liners, room sprays and sleep gel, to lavender chocolate, flapjack and I even had a lavender tea!

Imperial Gem is one of the strongest varieties, it is the variety they grow in the fields here to farm.

Hidcote is another strong variety, similar rich purple flowers to Imperial Gem.

Silver Sands is a favourite of mine (it’s also one that mum loved), with silver foliage and delicate purple flowers.

Twickle Purple has pale coloured flowers and a fabulous name!

Cedar Blue has similar pale purple flowers.

Rosea is a beautiful pale pink colour.

The spiders here are busy and brave. This one was wrapping up a live wasp! I couldn’t believe it so watched until it had it fully wrapped and dragged it away into it’s lair… Sorry wasp!

It’s that time of year when flying ants bubble out of pathways, gardens and the occasional windowsill. Ugh! They were coming out of the walls but inside the damn house!

We marked out the lavender beds with string and paint brushes (it was all we had).

Cat started off the beds with the turf cutting tool. She didn’t have the right shoes on for this, so I took over. Not as easy as it looks, turf is pretty tough and the turf cutting tool cuts into your feet as well as the turf!

Once the line was cut in the turf, Cat digs out the turf. These beds will be around 18 inches wide.

I had a delivery from a very good friend who I haven’t seen for 2 years. A whole load of garden plants that she has been growing during lockdown! Perfectly timed Sophie, thank you so much! xxx

Colin arrives with a load of top soil for the new lavender beds. It’s from the top of the hill and is red due to the high iron content in the soil. This is where the Hornton red stone comes from that the house was built with, there is one small quarry still there.

Interesting fact I have just found out: Radway is so called as it was named ‘red-way’ after the colour of the soil up the hill.

Thankfully Colin takes over the turf cutting, my feet (and back) are grumbling despite wearing thick soled walking boots.

Cat demonstrating the size of the ‘massive spider’ that she just came across while digging out the flower bed.

The flower bed needs to be reasonably deep, so Cat digs down quite far, removing any rubble and big stones that were back filled when the wall was built.

We have over 100 slate tiles that were originally going to be used along the bottom of the walls of the house. We decided this was unnecessary, but these are perfect to line the edge between the new beds and the lawn.

Each tile gets buried in the bed and overlaps with the previous tile forming a strong wall that will stop the grass from growing though.

Filling the beds up with the new top soil, we realise a lot doesn’t go very far.

It is as heavy as it looks, and there are 6 bins full to move!

The tiles curving around the corner remind me of an armadillo’s scales.

Colin finishing off the tiled edge while Cat digs out the beds.

Jasper is rather intrigued with what we are doing.

Colin precariously filling the skip with the rubble that is being dug out of the new beds.


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