Picking and snipping

We’ve just said farewell to Alec Jones’s Dragon Spring Tai Ji School Summer Gathering (www.dragonspringtaiji.co.uk). It was a wonderfully hot and sunny weekend so they were able to play Tai Chi outdoors for most of the time, under the cherry tree when it was very hot!. We were watering the veg plot at dusk one evening and a group of the students were playing their form on the tennis lawn – very peaceful and still, the Tai Chi and the evening beautifully meeting one another. We really enjoy having the school with us every year and look forward to seeing them again next summer.

We have a few days now before our next group and so are catching up on garden jobs – today we had a lovely day picking clean the dwarf bean and mange tout plants so they keep producing and picking the plums which are starting to fall off the trees. We also picked all the dahlias and sweetpeas so more keep coming ready for the August groups to enjoy, and now we are awash with flowers for home and the office! Some of the new varieties really are stunning. We like this white one and the purple pom-poms especially:

Whilst picking and snipping, we’ve been seeing a lot of interesting insects at the moment. We loved this raggedy bee on a raggedy dahlia: 

And there were grasshoppers about too – on the dahlias and one visited us while we were de-stoning plums and arranging the flowers. He took a fancy to Steve’s knee and then started nibbling our flapjacks!

We also came across this amazing caterpillar – if anyone knows what it will become, we’d love to know! We’d never seen anything like it before!

Well, that’s about it from us and the Poulstone creepy crawlies! Hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and time outside too.

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre

Berry berry fruity!

We’re enjoying having the European facilitators of the Shadow Work Guild (http://www.shadowwork.com/) with us this week. It’s an international group of practitioners meeting for on-going professional development in Shadow Work.  We had already met John and Nicola Kurk (http://www.goldenopportunities.org.uk/) when they visited Poulstone a few years ago and it’s been a great pleasure to see them again and meet their colleagues. It’s their last evening tonight so we hope the forecast rain holds off for their celebratory evening around the fire.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the swing door we’ve been picking the vast quantities of berries that are ripe around the garden – loganberries, gooseberries, red and blackcurrants. It’s been lovely hunkering down in the dappled shade of the bushes or getting the full sun on our backs. Some of the berries we will be freezing for use at other times of the year but we also plan to make some jam and chutney this year. We’ve found a W.I. recipe for Gooseberry Chutney so watch this space!

We have a week off next week (probably to pick more berries!) and then Alec Jones’s Dragon Spring Taiji School (http://www.dragonspringtaiji.co.uk/)\will be joining us for their annual summer gathering. We look forward to seeing them.

More soon!

Mel & Steve

Poulstone Court Retreat Centre