With summer at its glorious, heady height and the landscape swathed in deepening green, it is time to squeeze the most out of the endless, sunshine-filled days. Our July/August issue reflects the ebullience of the season, from carefree cosmos bobbing in the breeze to fascinating finds gathered by youngsters scrambling over rock pools on seaside outings. Swan uppers resplendent in scarlet jackets take part in an annual bird census on the Thames, and fishermen wade out into the Severn estuary to cast their traditional lave nets.
The tranquil waters of a Tudor home’s ancient moat encircle a Norfolk garden with an abundance of plants, while waves of cool mauve and blue lavender fill the summer air with potent fragrance at a Kent nursery. And a ceramicist draws design inspiration from her Cornish plot to create tiles imprinted with delicate pressed flowers and embroidered scenes.
As the heat builds up, so does the desire for refreshing treats, and we have a mouth-watering selection of traditional jelly recipes, requiring little effort in the kitchen. A combination of jewel fruits and smooth, creamy ingredients, they promise to bring a colourful focal point to the summer table. There is also everything needed for an enviable picnic spread, from turning a sea of blue denim squares into a patchwork rug to preparing mouth-watering savoury pies and juicy tarts for an outdoor feast.
When walking in the countryside, an encounter with a prickly resident, the nettle, may be unwelcome, but we reveal how it not only provides food and shelter for wildlife but also has a host of beneficial properties. For those seeking a richness of vistas, our walk at Edzell takes in imposing castle ruins with its pleasure gardens, lush woodland, wild waters and a rocky haven. Finally, discover how ancient limestone evolved into nature’s pavements and how an abandoned stretch of canal is being restored to full flow.
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