There is that old saying that if you wait for a bus for long enough then suddenly three come along at once and so it seems with the Eriska Garden although unlike bus timetables I suspect nature is even more unpredicatble and fickle. The good news from our side is that providing we get our planning right and the kicthen are kept up to date with all the opportunities then we can simply divert attention from suppliers to our own produce however the balance seems to be between tiem allocatedfor harvesting and sowing for now with a little bit of garden maintenace and weeding in amongst this!
So after a slow start to the season when even those seeds in the greenhouse struggled to survive - the warmth is certainly here and is helping the growing and cultivation and as douggie tried to explain to me teh long days with sunshine can do noting but encorage teh photosynthesis that is essential in a garden. We have gone from a few radish and forced rhubarb to full baskets of herbs, flowers and vegetables arriving on a daily basis.
The juicer is at full capacity mulching down the watercress, wild garlic and other herbs to make oils and potions for use in the winter and the sinks are full of leaves being washed and prepared. Last week we even had the ultimate compliment when one of our foraging suppliers came to the kitchen and offered to swap items so he could refill his van for his next stop- tempting but these are very much our ingredients for use by Paul and his team in the Eriska Restaurants whether in the fine dining Main Diningroom or accross in the more informal Deck Brasserie where we are combining some of the wonderful seafood we have delivered with our natural larder.
Douggies Gardening prowess does not stop in the small kitchen garden but now reaches into the herb gardens by Lilac and most importantly the relatively new garden out by the sports facility. This structure gives it shelter from thr morning frost and warmth from the evening sun- the perfect combination- and having been full of potatoes last year we hope the soil will be starting to recover from 30 years as a cows pasture field and will start to help us with our vegetables. This was in fact the original kitchen garden used back in 1900 when the house would have had to produce the majority of the ingredients for the kitchen during the sumer when the island was occupied. 9Just dont tell douggie that there was ateam of 10 working then).
Whilst we are led to beleive that the Victorians ate heartily - evidence does not show that they enjoyed "Five a day" that we are promised although they did grow pears, apples and even pineapples back then but it has to be said that Sir Ian Clark Hutchison, who lived here then, always admitted that they were "Quite" Sour- maybe photsynthesis was limted then too!!!