Stepping into 2024

As we embark on our journey into 2024, we celebrate the second anniversary of the kitchen garden at Bishopstrow, poised to be our most fruitful growing season yet. The landscape surrounding our growing space has undergone a remarkable transformation in this short span. Nestled just a brief stroll from the hotel, amidst an eighteenth-century partial walled garden, the river Wylye, a doric temple, and ancient Sequoia trees, our garden has truly become a cherished haven.

Our primary objective for the upcoming year is to consistently yield the freshest organic produce for our kitchen, emphasising varieties renowned for their exceptional flavours rather than those chosen solely for their shelf life or durability. The start of the year signals a collaborative session with our Head Chef, where we deliberate on the crops to be cultivated, their quantities, and brainstorm ideas to fortify the bond between the kitchen and its flourishing garden.

The soil in our river garden boasts remarkable fertility, and with the successful establishment of our new polytunnel, we are now capable of cultivating a diverse range of crops, spanning from Brussels sprouts and salad leaves to melons.

With each passing year, our growing space has expanded, and this year is no exception. Particularly exciting is our freshly designated area for cultivating cut flowers exclusively for the hotel, reducing our reliance on external sources. While I regret missing the window for planting out bulbs last year, we eagerly anticipate the blossoming of dahlias followed by sunflowers, zinnias, cosmos, nigella, and an array of other blossoms. Another new addition to our repertoire this year is the cultivation of asparagus, a vegetable I consider one of Britain's finest. However, patience is key, as it may take a few years before they mature enough for harvest in our kitchen.

I look forward to sharing the beauty and bounty of our evolving garden with you and welcome you to witness firsthand the growth of these new additions and all the other thriving elements within.

Darren Stephens

Chef Gardener

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