Book review: National Trust School of Gardening

This new book by Rebecca Bevan, beautifully illustrated by Madeleine Smith, is the perfect companion to the RHS’s Growing Vegetable & Herbs.

Between the two of them, anyone will have the confidence to successfully fill their garden with flowers, vegetables and fruit.

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Product review: Biotrim. Eco strimming has arrived.

We’ve seen the future of garden strimming, and it’s biodegradable!

Regular readers or visitors to The Secret Acre, will know that strimming has been a big part of our lives since moving in.

Only now, some six years on, does it feel like we have finally made good inroads into reclaiming the overgrown areas to put back into productive use. Each winter’s incremental progress requiring regular summer strimming to maintain the foothold.

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Wild Garlic Three Ways

Followers of our adventures at The Secret Acre will know that we go wild for Wild Garlic.

It’s usually one of our first big forages of spring, and one of the easiest for beginners, growing profusely in woodlands over a long period, and not easily misidentified, smelling and tasting of, well, garlic.

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The Noodle of Serendipity

There is a new soul with us at The Secret Acre.

Meet Noodle, the labradoodle!

When our beloved Ruby passed away before Christmas we were very clear. We were not going to have another dog for at least a year in order to go travelling. But fate had other plans for us. Continue reading

Heartbreak Hotel

There have always been three souls here at The Secret Acre, the third person in our marriage being Ruby, a little rough-haired Jack Russell.

She even carried the rings down the aisle for us.

So it was heart breaking this Christmas when Ruby died at the ripe old age of 13, from what we have now all learned to call ‘underlying health issues’. The first of a string of devastating bereavements as it turned out. Continue reading

It’s beginning to look a lot like Winterval

Sadly it’s turning into a Christmas Horribilis for us. More about this at a future date when we feel we can write about it.

But before the proverbial hit the fan, we were busy preparing for a happier, socially distanced Yule.

The Christmas tree arrived on a tractor, delivered from the farm a few hundred yards down the road, where we had often walked the dog past the field where it was growing.

Just six inches needed trimming off the top to get it in. Continue reading

Leaping into Leaves

Autumn, according to Winnie the Pooh, is “A time of hot chocolatey mornings, toasty marshmallow evenings, and, best of all, leaping into leaves.”

And who are we to argue with the great Tao of Pooh?

So all three have been enjoyed at The Secret Acre this autumn, while England endured its second Covid lockdown as you can see!

These autumn months always just seem to whiz by in a flash. Continue reading

Best in Show

Regular readers will know that autumn’s harvest season also brings forth the village show.

We have form, stating with some urban practise, and then some baby steps, before gaining experience for a successful all-out assault on a whole section last year.

To be frank, I didn’t think it could get any better, and along with the uncertainty around the virus this year, I doubted we would enter. Continue reading

Harvest 2020 – Part 3: Summer Holiday Helpers

August is always a manic month of harvesting and preserving, and our ongoing Harvest 2020 was no exception.

If anything things have been even busier this year with the unseasonal climate change affected weather meaning everything has been ready at least two weeks early, and some crops badly hit.
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