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Posts Tagged ‘spring has sprung’

Spring has sprung and it is nothing short of a perfect day for the RHS Flower show in Cardiff.

The cherry blossom drifts across the soft blue sky above Bute Park, the splendid architecture of Cardiff Castle an appropriately magnificent background for the picture postcard weather.  The cry of the seagulls, so familiar to those who live in Cardiff they no longer hear them, evoke my childhood memories of growing up in this wonderful Welsh city.

I am here quite by accident, a quirk of fate, Icelandic Volcano’s dictating the travel agenda, but it brings me home and I am glad for that.

The RHS has returned to Cardiff,  with the ever popular school’s wheelbarrow planting competition, willow weaving workshops, and of course, creative and inspiring gardens.

Irene's Garden by designer Gaynor Witchard is best in show

Two splendid floral marquees have wonderful daffodils ( this is Wales after all!), chrysanthemums and amazing bonsai. I adored the skilful demonstration of corsage making. As we stroll past a lovely display of Fuchsia’s, and I am transported back to my Grandfathers green house which was always over flowing with these beautiful and colourful plants.

We all breath in as we pass the amazing lily stands.

I was delighted also to rediscover Tristen May’s beautiful handcrafted metal furniture, really inspiring water features, arches, planters and tunnels, as well as beautiful gazebos, and stylish tables and chairs.

As well as being a feast for the eyes, RHS show Cardiff is a culinary delight!

After an enchanting morning’s activities , we decide it’s time for a cup of tea. As luck would have it, we find Welsh Brew Tea, a really lovely, flavoursome, quality blend of Kenyan and Assam, just perfect for sipping on a sunny day.

Our tea is accompanied by Love Patisserie handmade French style tarts that are melt in the mouth, beautifully presented and with gorgeous fillings!

I was also really excited to find that Pie minister was there. I’ve been a fan for a few years now and I love their idea for a street party – both such great British traditions.

As we spy the bandstand, Jazz and celtic melodies float over the scent filled air. It’s like being instantly on holiday, but we are in need of a table. I whisper secretly my little request, and like some magic that I can’t quite believe, it works, a table appears just as we need it. We collapse, armfuls of plants and food, it is bliss.

Tea with Mary Kate is enchanted by this magical, green fingered day, and I hope this has you digging to create a wonderful gardener’s delight in which to sip your tea while the sun shines.

Harbinger's of Spring - Ron Scamp's "Narcissus Gwawr" - Dawn in Welsh

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The quintessential eccentricity of the British is never more marvellously illustrated than in what happens on May Day

Now that spring has sprung, my thoughts are turning to May Day, and those traditions that herald the first official Day of summer, with Celebrations that take place up and down Britian. These can be described as varied, interesting, but in all honesty, eccentric is probably the most accurate description. These celebrations are steeped in tradition, rituals that connect us to the past, but their essence is a celebration, a giving thanks for what we often take for granted, giving us a precious gift of future tradition to be continued. The weather is not always perfect though, just as Sean and Mary Kate expereinced after their initial stroll.

Tea with Mary Kate - Always take an umbrella at the start of summer time

One of the oldest surviving May Day customs happens in Padstow, believed to be a ancient fertility rite marking the coming of Summer

Last year, we were lucky enough to witness first hand the Obby Oz! This gorgeous little Cornish fishing village is decorated with bunting, greenery and beautiful flowers swathed over the buildings. The joy of the occasion is infectious, the drums beating, the chorus being sung, and what seems like the whole village following the Oz throughout the streets.

May Day Celebrations - The Padstow May Pole

Welsh May Day traditions

It would be remiss of me not to mention the Welsh May Day tradition of Carlon Mai. To quote Hilaire Wood’s excellent article;

“The celebrations always began the evening before, May Eve being one of the ysprydnos or ‘spirit nights’ when all sorts of spirits and supernatural forces were abroad, and divination— usually with the aim of discovering who one’s sweetheart would be—was carried out.”A picnic is the perfect May Day event to celebrate the start of summer

Although meant to be the start of summer, the weather can be unpredictable, the wonderful thing is that this just makes it all the better, a sort of triumph over adversity, the weather verses mere mortals. The fresh air, sense of freedom and adventure, takes you outside the everyday, even if you are just sitting at the bottom of your garden, or in a near by park.

May Day Picnic Celebration - Afternoon Tea time treat

The essence of a picnic is that it feels like an outdoors treat!

May Day Picnics are about carrying armfuls of chairs and blankets to your favourite spot, it’s afternoon tea outdoors. The ritual of setting up camp -I’ll be taking one of my favourite Welsh blankets to keep me warm. And of course, picnic baskets filled to the brim with all good things, favourite food to savour. I love eating outdoors, because somehow food just tastes so much better! Flasks filled with boiling hot water to make tea – and it goes without saying that you’ll be taking your tea pot and tea leaves. Sipping one slow sip at a time is such bliss.

May Day is restful, revitalising, allowing a magical connection with the start of summer.

The start of summer is fleeting but fabulous. You start to anticipate warmth of the sun, feel the breeze, stare into space while pretending to look at the vista.  Tea with Mary Kate urges you to celebrate the start of summer, and have a marvellous May Day, where generations continue to nurture some very special May Day traditions. Create your own Picnic, rain or shine!

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