Friday, 6 September 2013

The Taste of Autumn at Raveningham Gardens

The Taste of Autumn at Raveningham Gardens (near Hales, Norfolk) on Sunday 6 October, from 11am to 4pm, is a celebration of the autumnal fruits of the garden, hedgerow and woodland, with Raveningham’s walled vegetable garden, glasshouses, orchard and herb garden at its heart.  Meet local producers and enjoy talks and tours on fungi, herbs, fruit and vegetables.  Entry is £5 a car.  The event is part of the EDP Adnams Norfolk Food & Drink Festival.

Jekka McVicar, known as ‘the queen of herbs’, will be giving talks on herbs. She has won a record 62 RHS Gold medals for her herb displays at Chelsea Flower Show and created Jamie Oliver’s herb garden. More than 600 species of culinary, medicinal and aromatic herbs from around the world are grown at Jekka’s Herb Farm in Gloucestershire.

Richard Hobbs will be giving tips on growing and caring for fruit trees. Fungi expert, Neil Mahler will lead fungi forays in the park, advising on what to pick and cook and what to avoid. Cook With Me Kids will be running activities for children in the tearoom. Neville Turner, a local expert on apple identification, will be on hand to help visitors identify apples.

The Bacon family and their gardening team will give tours of the walled kitchen garden – discover Raveningham’s vegetable gardening secrets, hear about the history of the garden and buy garden produce. More than 30 different vegetables are grown during the year, including old-fashioned varieties like salsify and scorzonera (both root vegetables). Pride of place in the orchard goes to the 200-year old Queen Charlotte apple tree. There is also a working Victorian melon pit, along with the herb garden created by Susan Bacon. Grapes, peaches, figs and plants are grown in the glasshouses.

Visitors will be welcome to explore the 18th century walled kitchen garden, Victorian glasshouses, arboretum and herb garden at their leisure and enjoy contemporary sculpture throughout the gardens, as well as walk round the lake created to mark the Millennium. Raveningham’s 14th century church will be open.

Tea, cakes and apple pie made from Raveningham apple trees, along with jams and jellies made from the fruits of the estate’s hedgerows and local honey will be on sale. There will also be a hog roast.

Local nurseries and producers attending include: Black Cottage Nursery, Yare Valley Oils, Jelly Cottage Plants, Norfolk Sloe Company, Green Pastures Nursery, Hillfield Nursery, Candi’s Chutneys, The Cheese and Pie Man, The Little Fudge Stall and Franchi Seeds of Italy. The Hardy Plant Society will have an information stall.

Raveningham Gardens NR14 6NS is signposted off A146 at Hales, t. 01508 548152,