A visit to Worton Organic Garden

Posted in All posts, May, on

Worton Organic Garden is an unimposing archipelago of rustic and heavily inspiringly productivity. Nestled next door to a dusty cluster of various stables and farm buildings is this, the most wonderful of open smallholdings and farm shops. The place is run and owned by David and Anneke Blake, whose passion and knowledge is evident within seconds of being in conversation with them.

Nothing is hidden away from you. Within its 7 acres you are free to wander much of the site to see the produce growing at first hand.

Here they have polytunnels but not the traditional hobbit house, curved sided sort. Instead the sides are straight then the curve beginning at their top half to maximise the growing potential such a space can provide.

One polytunnel's floor was carpeted in a mass of upright tulips – the protection offered to them resulted in these being especially straight stemmed, like skyward-faced flamingos on breeding parade undamaged from the spring wind and rain. These home-grown flowers supply the site shop, resulting in the most stunning visual impact upon entering this sweet little triangle-roofed wooden building.

A wall of tiered flower buckets with tulips of all imaginable varieties from eccentric, attention-grabbing parrots to perky, velvet cut satin singles.

Upon the tables next to the counter are the offerings of freshly laid eggs in wicker baskets.

Mostly these are laid by floppy combed white leghorn ladies – one of the hardest laying of the pure breeds in existence. They can be a little flighty for a town garden, but are a light Mediterranean breed so these cope very well being penned, but their long yellow legs mean that they can never be trusted out in the open garden.

They have nearly a hundred or so here in a large pen. The areas near the hen houses are bedded with straw to keep down the mud – such litter is no doubt a vital asset to their mulching regime. They also have a flock of very sweet Barbu d'Uccle booted bantams. These are classed as Millifleur in their colouration (which means a thousand flowers). These are a true bantam, being very sweet in their nature and well-behaved mostly when it comes to the flower bed; their eggs however are laid in just small clutches during the summer.

There is a fabulous café at the heart of the farm and each table has posies of home grown flowers to admire. What I loved about this place was the combination of beauty – with all the typically seen shabby dirt that accompanies all smallholdings – not hidden but not allowed to expand to the point that it becomes ugly. Instead it is combined with the beauty to be seen through marvellous pots of tulips and wallflowers that one would expect to see at a national trust or RHS attraction! So if you're in Oxford do visit for a slice of cake with a marvellous shot of inspiration and beauty added.

Thanks for reading,