Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Garden of England

Last Summer, faced with the "what do I buy the man who has everything?" predicament in the run up to Mr HenHouse's birthday, I was pleased to discover a feature in good old Country Living mag about "Rent-a-Cherry Tree".  Mr HenHouse you see, as a boy born and bred in the garden of England, is a veritable cherry fiend, so what better than to hand over a few  notes and rent him a cherry tree so that he could gather his own bounty!  So, that is just what I did and in July last year, we picked pound after pound of the most delicious dark red/black cherries.  Oh yum, my mouth is watering at the thought of it.  Now, just some cherry jam remains as a memory.

I was first in the metaphorical queue, then, when the opportunity came to rent the same tree again this year.  Saturday saw the annual "blossom weekend" at the cherry farm (we missed this last year as we rented the tree after the blossom had, well, blossomed.)  How lucky we were that the rain stayed away and off we set in the trusty motor car, destination Northiam in Kent.  The countryside really is looking beautiful now.  We were only away on holiday for a couple of weeks but at this time of the year, the difference in nature is always very apparent when we return.

The cherry farm enjoys a very bucolic setting, all ramshackle barns, twisted old trees and grass that brushes your calves as you walk in it.

We set off in search of our tree.  Ah, here it is, row 13, the variety of cherry being "Colney".

Ah, what beauty. I'll let the photos speak for themselves...

Fellow cherry tree renters were making merry in the fields.  The hog roast smelled very tempting, shame they ran out of bread rolls!  I was more than happy with the local brew.

To top off the day for the boys, Northiam just happens to have an old steam railway (The Kent and East Sussex Railway). Well, we could hardly not drop in...

It's a beautifully picturesque setting and very well preserved.  It was once a very busy line, in the days when Kent was full of hop fields, bringing the hop pickers to work.

I wouldn't mind having that view whilst waiting for my train!

Further up the line, is the lovely town of Tenterden.  Now, I'm always up for a trip here as there are some rather nice shops (and tea shops too).  This station is so well kept.  I think this looks like a page in one of the Munchkin's (many many) railway books...

All around there was beauty in nature, too.  

Ah, this time of year makes me feel so very lucky to live in this wonderful country of England.


  1. Hope row thirteen is very lucky for you.

  2. I feel lucky to be able to see your country through your photos! AMAZING!

  3. Hi Hen,missed you not blogging for a while.What a lovely post, such a thoughtful gift too!
    I only recently realised that you were a follower on my blog,how slow am I!Did'nt understand what it meant at first,but now I'm getting the hang of it.Thank you Hen,you are my one and only follower,you're such a sweetie.I have only just worked out how to follow a blog too! Oh,I'm so pleased with myself!I've added myself to your list.
    Take care Hen
    Rachel x

  4. I couldn't agree more! Why would you want to live anywhere else?! :-) We have so many lovely places and beautiful wildlife. You don't get that much history and character anywhere else. I love the cherry tree idea, I love cherry season - I bought some cherries from a chap in the lay by and they were delicious!

  5. What a fantastic idea! Glad you had such a great time in Kent. Lucy x

  6. What a great idea...I didn't know you could do that. It sounds like you had a great time.

  7. Oh Hen, those photos were lovely! What a fabulous idea to rent a cherry tree!

  8. England in springtime is a treat that I have been lucky to share on many visits across the Atlantic. Simply, simply perfect, rain or shine.

    Like the idea of the rentable cherry tree. I used to give my parents the a similar sort of gift ... any maple syrup that would be produced by a particular maple tree I would rent in their names. Great stuff, just waiting to see what the season would provide.

    Best wishes to you!

  9. Clever clever... I love novel present ideas..
    I think Mr Custard would appreciate renting a grape make that a vineyard!
    What a lovely day out and where were all the people..!?

    Michele xxx

  10. what a very cool idea and how lucky to be so near a railyway

  11. What lovely pictures! Hope that you had a nice holiday! x

  12. I came across this idea of renting a cherry tree - is it definitely worth it? I think I would love to do this, especially from the look of your photos! xxx

  13. What a brilliant idea, renting a Cherry tree! There's nothing like that around here, but if there was, I'd be first in the queue too.
    My Mum is called Cherry!
    And when she was a girl, she used to go and pick hops. They'd make a holiday of it. Sounds like your picking is a similar version, with a community gathering together.
    We do live in a wonderful country, I agree whole heartedly!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  14. Oh the cherry tree is so pretty! Cannot wait to see when the cherries arrive. You're right that train station almost looks like an illustration! g

  15. I do agree Helen. I read that article too and it is great to actually see it on your blog. Happy MAy Day x

  16. Renting a cherry tree - what a brilliant idea! We have several friends with great French cherry trees in their gardens (plus, sadly, the occasional French cherry maggot) but last year we also 'adopted' an abandoned cherry tree in a remote hedge near our piano teacher's new house! Piano lessons became a bit sticky for a while, and we always had lovely puddings on Wednesday evenings. Happy May Day!

  17. Oh my!!!! To live in beautiful..gosh!!! Your excursion looks like a wonderful day..thank you for sharing!


  18. Sounds like bliss Hen!
    I adore cherries, the colour is charming and the sharp, yet sweet taste evokes so many memories.

  19. What a wonderful idea, renting a cherry tree. I would never had thought of that.


  20. Really enjoyed your post Hen!
    Lovely cheerful pictures!xx

  21. My husband and I love Tenterden. Have stayed nearby three times, but not for several years now. I still use a plastic bag from the gentleman's outfitters there (where we bought matching panama hats because it was so hot!) for my dusters! We also had a ride on the train from Tenterden to Bodiam and the day we did this we were the only ones on the train, sitting in royal splendour waving to people as we went out of the little station! Oh, what larks! Yes, why live anywhere else but England? And the idea of renting your own cherry tree is wonderful. I'm thinking of adopting part of an animal at nearby Paignton Zoo for husband's birthday in November ... spoilt for choice, whether it would be the right hind leg of an elephant, or the ears of a bongo!
    Happy Bank Holiday to everyong - not that the banks deserve a holiday!
    Margaret P

  22. How lovely and what a quaint idea :)

    I am off to read your LLangollen post, my DH has done some drawings for a site there and I love meeting Father Christmas at the end of the railway line ;)


  23. Ohooo I so enjoyed the Llangollen post, you can actually see the site my DH worked on in your photographs :)

    We too have done the Thomas journey, but oh my it was a busy affair, all the children were so excited. We took DD when she was younger but must go back now we have a little DS, on my goodness he would love meeting Thomas and friends :)

    Both DH and I grew up in N. Wales so know the area very well, we like to go back as often as we can


  24. You may be the lady to ask :)

    Seeing your lovely collection of egg keepers on your sidebar, I thought you may be able to help me with my question. I have bought a vintage one from a CS and it bears the name Walchester, is on my post and wondered if you knew anything about the maker. I love my Hen, she is very sweet and couldn't leave her behind, especially as she was only £2.50


  25. wonderful pics, your blog is lovely :-)
    and what a great idea about the tree!

    Rose XXX


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