Rebecca Smith - Garden design & consultancy

It is Valentine's Day

Well it is Friday 14 February, St. Valentine's Day. My husband of nearly twenty years surprised me this morning with a text after I had dropped him off for the 6:50 train: 'Look on the chest of drawers in the hall. Happy Valentines Day.' Propped up against the candles was a card. This was a first. A nice start to the day.


I braved the elements this morning and went for a run with my great friend Camilla and our dogs. Her dog Tilly is mother to my Enzo and the two of them run faster and cover far more ground than Camilla and I do in our 40 minutes. We try to do 5k, talking all the while, and although my bed was lovely and warm, I am glad we went, it is easier for me if I run with a friend. 


But this week has been a good one. The weather has been horrid but there have been dry days and although much work this time of year is thankfully design work indoors, I cannot remain in my office too long before the lure of a brief glimpse of sunshine drags me out. 



Sunday brought out both the sun and the Seville oranges. I haven't made marmalade in a few years as I did a bumper load last time but Sunday was the day. Would it work? Would we ever eat our Sunday lunch which I was attempting to cook at the same time as the marmalade? In the end both were a success. Roast pheasant with apples, jacket potatoes and creamed leeks if you must know!



 Sugar + oranges


The end result was perfect, easily the best marmalade I have ever produced over the years. We have already eaten one jar!


Finished marmalade




Tuesday brought lashing wind and rain and the chance to visit to the workshops of the craftsmen at Gaze Burvill, who produce stunning oak garden furniture. I am looking for some special pieces for a job near Cobham and they have just the thing I am after for this job. 

To get to their current workshops, you have to drive past their neighbours:


wet cows


They will be moving to new space in April and exhibiting at RHS Chelsea in May. Do try to visit their stand if you are planning to visit Chelsea, it is well worth a look. The website is if you cannot wait until May.


The rest of the week has been a mixture of sunshine, rain and work. Yesterdays glorious sunshine gave me a chance to get out in my own garden for an hour or two to check tree-ties, top up the bird feeders and actually see what is happening out there. If you do feed the birds, please check your feeders. The wild winds have emptied out all of our and actually broke a rather lovely ceramic one which was tangled in a tree. We have several types of feeders: apple feeders, seed feeders and the ones for suet balls. Each attracts a different type of bird and the seeds that fall on the ground are eaten by the robins and blackbirds as well as occassional golden retriever.


apple feeder

This apple feeder is simple wire and I bought it at Marks and Spencers, there is a spike which can hold the apple or alternately, a candle. 


But if you can get out in the garden, you will see there are things popping up all over the place. It may be wet and horrid but nature marches on. Here is a selection of what is blooming at Wyck Farmhouse:



Snowdrops are appearing everywhere!


The crocuses are less happy to unfurl in this weather but I live in hope!


This hellebore is worth a closer look, the colours are amazing.

snowdrops on bank of raod

This bank on the side of the road made me stop on Wednesday - it is about 10 metres long and is covered with snowdrops!

And finally, do not forget flowering shrubs, they are a bit of an unsung hero in the winter garden.

flowering shrubs

This is Lonicera fragrantissima in our walled garden. It sits quite happily being inconspicuous much of the year until now, the scent is sweet and the branches can be cut and brought indoors to enjoy the scent in the dry!


I hope everyone has a great weekend, whatever the weather. Stay safe and dry. 




Comments (1)

  1. elizabeth:
    Feb 15, 2014 at 02:17 PM

    LOVE this glimpse into your work and your garden! and I haven't had marmalade in years - yours looks phenomenal.

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