New arch for the garden entrance

Brian the blacksmith and his two trusty apprentice from Little Newsham Forge have spent months crafting a Polemonium and Fragaria arch for the entrance to the garden, as many visitors had said they were not sure if they had arrived at the National Plant Collections or not. Well I think they will know now and thanks to Jackie for putting the picture on the main website for me as I no longer have David to do this for me. I do think he would have been as pleased as I am with the final result.

Dianne Nichol-Brown

Breakfast award for our organic local produce

Just received our 4 star rating and breakfast award from QiT after the inspector stayed a fortnight ago. We have lots of apples for the guests and I am going to use some tomorrow to make organic vegan/gluten free mincemeat for our mince pies  to welcome guests on arrival, and to sell at the Lionmouth Christmas Fair we will be at on Sunday 16th December. I am thinking of putting some nutmeg in our Durham Pikelets for our breakfasts to make them a bit more seasonal, and getting out the Holly and Ivy pottery for meals now the dark nights are making it feel winter is nearly here. Still toasting in front of a log fire makes you forget the outside for a while, and there are plenty of indoor jobs to get on with.

Fences, planters and School Parents

Trying to repair the ageing fences bit at a time as we have something around 64 mtrs

The unused drive gates were often being hit by the parents delivering the ‘little darlings’ to school. Not sure why they need that as we live in a village!!! yes some are farmers wives, easy spotted by the wellies and a dirty 16 foot 4×4 thrown in to a 10 foot gap


We had Justin from Homefix replace the fence for us.

You can see the old  damaged planter boxes, from the cars hitting the gates.


The completed section

The previous section was replaced last year with the help of the eldest grandson Dillion (1 of 4 of the collective).



The new replacement box

Made with 50mm square and T and G floor boarding, the brass balls are spares for the welders/monkeys during the winter

The alternative organic Durham Breakfast

Having cooked our organic Durham Breakfast with bacon, mushrooms and sausage from Piercebrige organic farm shop. our tomatoes and eggs, milk and butter from Acorn Dairy for guests for 16 years, I do wish someone would ask for my organic pancakes for a change. I made them for us this morning and used up the fruit picked fresh from the gardens -alpine strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, with lemons, passionfruit and maple syrup from the farm shop.

Afternoon cream teas at Polemonium Plantery

Having baked for WI markets and the B&B for many years, we are now offering afternoon cream teas for guests on arrival or for garden groups and visitors to the gardens to see the National Plant Collections of Polemonium, Hakonechloa and Fragaria vesca. I had some help making the Battenberg cakes from a grandson who stayed for tea after helping his grandad in the garden, and he took a few back for his brothers.

Afternoon Tea Menu

A selection of finger sandwiches on organic bread with Acorn Dairy butter
Durham cheese with home made tomato chutney
Sliced Cucumber & cream cheese with mint
Organic egg with chives on organic white bread
Farm shop ham with Durham honey mustard

Freshly baked scones
Acorn Dairy cream, homemade lemon curd & strawberry preserves

 Afternoon Tea pastries
Chocolate brownie with poached quince
Operetta -Joconde sponge with pistachio mousseline and orange ganache
Battenberg cake                                                                  Meringue Tart

Served with a selection of loose leaf teas -Ringtons Northumberland blend, Taylor’s Afternoon Blend, Single estate Assam,Ceylon, Darjeeling,              Earl Grey, Lapsang Souchong, Fresh garden mint or Lemon Balm

Cost is £8 per person, or £5 per person for groups of 20 or more.