episode 11 | show notes & advice
Almost a month into the spring season, this week seemed a fitting time to consider our pick of the early tulips to bring colour to your garden. Helping to choose our favourites, we have a wonderful guest with a background in fine art and floristry, Anna Potter. The artistic eye behind Swallows & Damsons, Anna shares her journey to starting and building her own floristry company, using her photography skills to create a ‘visual diary’.
We also hear how to chit potatoes and use them in a variety of delicious dishes.
in this episode, discover...
- Anna Potter’s background in fine art, and how it grew into a love of floristry
- How Anna grew Swallows & Damsons through beautiful Instagram content
- Anna, Sarah & Arthur’s absolute favourite early tulips
- The story behind the tulip named after Sarah Raven
- Chitting potatoes, and Anna, Sarah and Arthur’s favourite recipes for their potato of choice
links and references
Early tulips & forcing potatoes
Our guest is Anna Potter, the founder and floral designer at the flower shop and studio, Swallows and Damsons, based in Sheffield. Sarah and Arthur both love Anna’s style and her book,The Flower Fix, is packed with inspiring flower arrangements, along with clear instructions in how to recreate them yourself. Anna is a huge following on Instagram @swallowsanddamsons Anna uses chicken wire for all her installations, never oasis, which is made from plastic. Nature and Dutch Master Paintings are Anna’s main inspirations. She loves coppery tones and the earthy colours of autumn, are her favourite.
Anna’s favourite spring flower is the tulip
Her favourite Tulips are all doubles, the so-called ‘peony-flowered’ varieties:
‘La Belle Epoque’ Double Late, “for its colours – the dark stamens and earthy, blush tone with dramatic dark centre”
‘Copper Image’ Double Late, in beautiful copper, with a wash of pink
‘Brownie’ Double Late, pure ginger-nut brown None of these are good for pollinators (as their nectaries are bred to be secondary petaloids) but the flowers last almost twice as long.
Arthur’s favourite Tulips are
‘Palmyra’ – Double Early
‘Exotic Emperor’ (syn. White Valley) – Fosteriana group, very early to flower
‘Black Parrot’ – Parrot group, with deep crimson-black flowers, the earliest of this group to flower
Sarah’s favourite Tulips
‘Ballerina’ – scented (of freesias), lily-flowered, tall, orang
‘Sarah Raven’ — dark, sultry, crimson, elegant lily-flowered, very perennial variety
‘Slawa’ – crimson with bronze-coppery petal edge
We are planting our chitted potatoes this week
Arthur’s favourite variety is Maris Piper
His favourite way of eating the Maris Piper potato is as a jacket spud, drizzled with olive oil, and then served with prawns and mayonnaise.
Anna’s favourite potato recipe are chips
Parboil and then roast with rosemary salt Both baked spuds and chips need floury potatoes
This is one of my favourite soups, good to cook when there is a glut of tomatoes, and it’s also brilliant for freezing. The sundried tomatoes are key, both to the intensity and richness of taste and for our health. For optimum anti-cancer benefits, eat this with a bowl of steamed broccoli on the side. The broccoli florets are delicious dipped in the warm soup and make a great alternative to bread.
For 6 as main (8 as starter)
Bunch of evergreen herbs - rosemary, bay, thyme or myrtle are all ideal
Freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Mix some oil, salt and pepper in a bowl.
- Wash and dry the potatoes and then cut along the length, not across, cutting almost (but not right) through - the cuts spaced about 1 cm apart, so creating a sort of fan effect. I usually do this freestyle, but if you want to be precise, put two wooden spoons on a chopping board, about 5cm apart. Place the potatoes one at a time between the spoons. The knife will stop slicing when it meets the spoons. Or, put each potato into the bowl of a large wooden spoon and cut through in the same way, the edge of the spoon preventing you from cutting too far.
- Drop the potatoes into the oil mixture.
- Then place (cut side up) onto an oiled baking tray. Stuff a leaf or two of the herbs into every cut. Experiment with different flavours.
- Sprinkle any remaining oil over the lot and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
- Take out of the oven and drizzle with a little more oil (or dot with butter), turn the oven up to its top setting — and roast for a further 10-15 minutes, until the flesh is soft, but the outer edges of each slice crunchy.