It’s clear to see that we’re at the junction of the seasons just now in Islay. Dropping in at the community gardens, Tom confirms that the Spring has come fairly early. He says we’ve had only 1/3 of the rain of a normal Winter, while talking to other gardeners down in South East England revealed days when Islay was 10 degrees warmer than Kent.
Helibores are flowering generously, as is the camelia, and the magnolia is covered in unsheathed buds.
Apart from Tom, who soldiers on through the Winter as the only employee, the walled garden at Islay House is worked by volunteers – including, on occasion, our Kevin, whose day job is hosting visitors at the distillery’s “Academy”. The first of this year’s groups interested in learning about The Botanist will come over from Belgium next week, to be introduced to some of the island’s flavours with the help of foraging tutor Mark Williams and chef Craig Grozier. Mark and Craig are often to be seen in the garden foraging for wild plants – or, as Tom puts it, “Doing my weeding.”
Looking forward to the new season and the learning and tasting it’ll bring.