There’s a hidden gem not far from Bristol in the Somerset country side, a green and lush valley, dotted with cows and complimented with a lake. It’s a perfect setting but that is not the hidden gem. Look a bit further and a sign says “Yeo Valley” in the flowing script of the yoghurt pots. This is the home of Yeo Valley, family farmers and makers of wonderful yoghurt and other lovely dairy products. On a sunny day recently I visited the Yeo Valley gardens and discovered something very special.
Starting at the tea rooms with a cup of tea and home-made biscuit on the terrace. Before a tour of the organic gardens, a beautifully designed and wistful space. I had some lovely company in the form of Chris,and Ella, .
A very informed lady from Yeo Valley led us through various the spaces that make up the garden. Answering questions and sharing tips.would make a lovely treat or a gift for anyone interested in gardens. There is something to appeal to everyone. We started in pretty vegetable patches. Strolled on through meadows. Continued into gorgeous designed spaces. The metal work around the garden was created by local artists. The hot houses by a local businesses.
We wandered by back towards the terrace sheltered from the sun on soft paths shaded by trees. It is an inspiring space, all organic and developed by the Yeo Valley family, the Meads, as they’ve developed their business. It mirrors the ethos; thoughtful, locally sourced, family run, organic, inspiring and a little bit quirky.
Designed to appeal to gardeners and those that just love an English country space the tour is informative and informal, taken at a relaxed space, it meanders throw the gardens arriving back at the tea rooms for a little cookery demonstration. The ease of making your own butter. I had no idea how butter was to make, I put this down to being a city dweller. A simple but delicious (I had several slices) soda bread. Basil ice cream and, easy if you know how, Trout and Fennel Gravlax. Because the group was small it was easy to ask questions and of course we all got to sample.
We were treated to a homemade lunch with products from the garden. I positively popped with excitement when the main course arrived; swiss chard, ricotta and lemon cannelloni. I’d seen the recipe in the Yeo Valley Family cook book and been meaning to try it. It did not disappoint. My experience of the Yeo Valley Great British Farmhouse Cook Book is that I could re-create it just as deliciously at home. Followed by basil Ice cream and strawberries, sounds strange – works perfectly.
After lunch the garden tour continued with instructions and information for composing. I’m not a gardener, I’ve never had a proper garden, just a series of paved yards. My understanding and interest in composting is adjusted to pretty low. However, James spoke with such enthusiasm and conveyed his subject in an accessible form that I was fascinated (yes, me).
I would love a garden and Yeo Valley Gardens would be a wonderful place to return to for inspiration. It’s difficult to do the garden justice in words and so I have resorted to photos.
Sometimes blogging brings me wonderful opportunities and this was one of them. Disclosure: I received an invitation to the garden tour. All words and opinions are my own.