Monthly Archives

August 2017

Garden Gin Tasting Bar

Posted in Gather by
Garden Gin Tasting Bar

When we moved into our house in January, a ‘selling’ point is the proximity to the Bombay Sapphire gin distillery.  This is something we learnt after we bought the house, and at a mile and a half down the road, it is great to be able to send people off to sample the local gin.  For some of our friends, we are not sure if they were coming to see the house or to get a sneaky trip in to the distillery!

A few weeks back we had a group of friends come and visit.  This group fit into the ‘nice house, where’s the gin?’ category and came to visit the distillery (as well as us!).  We thought it would be a good idea to carry on the gin when they returned and decided our garden also needed it’s own gin tasting bar, so we started getting creative.  Who doesn’t want a gin tasting bar in the garden?

Garden Gin Bar

Bar Basics

We recently bought a potting table from Clas Olsen that makes for a great decorative counter and a good start for a bar, along with its practical purpose of a potting table.  A few herbs, plenty of glasses and clear signage gave us the start of the bar.  For bar supplies try Ikea, H&M Home or TK Maxx.

Garden Gin Bar

Tonics

To make the perfect gin, you do need a good tonic.  We tend to like the FeverTree tonic over the others as it has a more subtle flavour.  Plus it comes in glass bottles that look good and are easier to recycle.

Garden Gin Bar

Garnish

We learnt about garnish for cocktails at the London Gin Club.  Garnished definitely help make a good G&T, bringing out the flavours in the gin.  For the gins we selected, we had a range of garnishes from ginger and thyme to strawberry and lime.  The herbs weren’t there just for decoration!

Tasting Notes

Each gin has its own history, botanicals and distillery method.  One of the great parts about tasting notes is learning the history.  The best part is tasting the gin and knowing what to look out for when you taste the gin are given to you in the notes.  It is important to taste the gin at its absolute best, the tasting notes give you the hints to ensure that!

Garden Gin Bar

The Gin

As Bombay Sapphire had already been sampled that day, we decided to go for a few other gins.  Some choices were made and we found – okay we raided our bar – a bottle of Ophir, Gin Mare and Bloom.  On a trip to Lidl we found their own gin – Hortus.  All great gins and a great selection of gin that is currently available.

Garden Gin Tasting Bar

We can say, with certainty, that every house should have a garden gin tasting bar.  We have had a number of bars in the past and they make for a great focal point.  What do you think? What else would you add to the gin bar?

Where to Buy

 

Garden Gin Bar

 

13th August 2017
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Roses in Our Garden

Posted in Dwell by
Roses in our Garden

If you follow Rich’s Instagram you have probably realised his love of gardening.  For the first time in many years we have a garden to potter about in so we are going to start doing a few gardening updates on the blog to share our successes and failures. To start off lets have a look at the Roses we have planted in our new garden.

We love roses, especially old fashioned and vintage style roses. Four out of the five roses we have chosen are English Roses from David Austin Roses. David Austin is the breeder most often associated with this style of rose.  He has bred hundreds of varieties dating all the way back to the introduction of ‘Constance Spry’ in 1961.  As we have a relatively small garden we have opted for repeat flowering varieties to get the most from our plants and in general we like our roses to have strong scents.

Pierre de Ronsard

Rose Pierre de Ronsard

We fell in love this rose when we went to the Loire Valley last summer, when we were thinking about roses for our garden we knew this was a must. Developed by the French breeders Meilland International, we found it everywhere in France but a bit trickier to find in the UK where it is sometimes sold as Eden ’88.

It is a modern climbing rose with big old fashioned flowers.  The buds are cream on the outside and pink on the inside, as the flowers open the pink gently fades to a very pale pink.. They are big flowers that sometimes droop under their own weight. It needs a hot and sunny position to get the most of this rose. We are growing this rose in a container with a support against a south facing wall, so far it is going very well but the flowers got a bit bruised by the recent rains.   The only downside of this variety is it has almost no fragrance but the gorgeous flowers really make up for that.

Imogen

Rose Imogen

Our garden’s colour theme is mostly soft blues, purples and pinks but as a counterpoint we are using pale yellow flowers, we therefore wanted a pale yellow rose to continue this theme.  We chose David Austin’s 2016 introduction ‘Imogen’ to do this job.

Imogen has very pretty frilly flowers in a lemon yellow that fade to an almost cream colour. It has a lovely fresh scent that David Ausin suggests has hints of apple (we aren’t going to disagree).  It is a shrub rose that we have planted this in a mixed border and it is working very well.  This hasn’t flowered as much as the other roses in the garden but this is probably down to the poor soil where it is located, we have been feeding diligently and another flush of flowers are on the way

Queen of Sweden

Rose Queen of Sweden

We are prone to buying roses because we like their name, which at guess is why they are named so! Our love of Scandinavia has behind this buying choice. David Austin’s Queen of Sweden was named in honour of the 350th anniversary of a treaty of friendship between Great Britain and Sweden.

Queen of Sweden has lovely cupped flowers in an apricot pink colour that fade to soft dusty pink. It has an upright growing habitat which makes it an excellent rose for cutting for arrangements in the house. It has a very light myrrh scent. Queen of Sweden is definitely the most romantic rose in our collection.

Munstead Wood

Rose Munstead Wood

We wanted a darker rose to add to our collection and a bit of research led us to choosing ‘Munstead Wood’.  Another of David Austin’s English old rose hybrids, this rose is named after Gertrude Jekyll’s Surrey home.

This rose has been described as sultry and intense. It has burgundy red colour, halfway between red and purple. The flowers are large and cupped that become shallower over time.  Out of all our roses this has the headiest scent, it really hits you when we are out in the garden first thing in there morning. The scent is describe as having notes of blackberry, blueberry and damson.

Gertrude Jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll

Scent is important to us when choosing roses which is why we settled on ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ one of David Austin’s best selling varieties.  Names in honour of one of the most influential gardeners of the 20th century (and one of Rich’s gardening heroes!) this is a great all round rose that can be grown as a shrub or as a short climber.

Gertrude Jekyll has small dark pink buds that open into big mid pink rosettes with a very pretty spiral of petals. The scent is very strong and described as the quintessential rose perfume.  To make the most of the fragrance we have planted this near to our back door.

Adding to our collection

Cut Roses - Pierre de Ronald

We have very quickly become ‘Roseaholics’ and we are sure to be adding to our collection as the garden develops. We have our eye on ‘Winchester Cathedral’ a honey and almond scented white rose, and ‘Surrey’ a ground cover rose with pink frilly flowers. We are also on the hunt for the perfect rambling rose, and there will no doubt be even more added to our collection! Do you have any recommendations please let us know in the comments.

 

1st August 2017
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