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Posts Tagged ‘zimbolic’

It’s such a perfect day! Having arrived in some splendour aboard the Northern Belle, the RHS flower show at Chelsea is more than a fitting destination, but how to see it all?! Here are a few of Tea with Mary Kate’s favourite things:

Favourite Stand in the Great Pavilion – Sweet Tea Cafe

I confess to never having heard of Heucheras, but I just fell in love with them, and absolutely adored this stand. I’m reliably informed by Jooles, a self confessed heucheraholic, that the inspiration for the Sweet tea cafe theme came from the names of the varieties – and with names like creme brulee, vanilla spice, strawberry swirl, key lime pie cappuccino, chocolate ruffles, tiramisu, it’s easy to understand why! Of course how could Tea with Mary Kate resist the wonderful green shed and amazing purple tea cups!

These pretty plants are great for shade, and with such diversity of form. Rather worryingly, I am beginning to understand the obsession – Geisha’s fan and blackberry jam just two more gorgeous names for equally gorgeous plants.


Favourite Dragon

The first sight that greeted me at the RHS flower show in Cardiff was an amazing Red dragon, aptly surrounded by the turrets of Cardiff Castle, and I was delighted to find Dragonswood Forge, at Chelsea too. These amazing dragons are designed and created by the blacksmith Neil Lossock. You can see his screens with fern patterns seared through them just behind the dragon, really very clever too. Neil has also made an amazing mechanical water fountain, which as the tuberous flower fill and tip their water, makes a magical bell like sound against the mushroom shaped bells below – just wonderfully creative!

Favorite Practical Gardening Item

Nutscene, gorgeous, practical twine, manufactured in Angus, Scotland. In business since 1922, it has a rather cleaver patented lock tie spool so you never have to get into a knot with garden twine again – and the lovely bit – they are in gorgeous colours – lilac is a personal favourite.

After having read all about the businesss in Country Living magazine, it was an absolute pleasure to meet its inspiring and enthusiastic  managing director Shona Young, who welcomed me into their stall. There was a lovely British flag made out of the round ends of twine. Sadly readers, I neglected to take a photograph, as literally, I stood in front of the stand unable to move, bedazzled by the array of beautiful and practical products. Shona assures me they’ll have the Saltaire when they are back in Scotland! Quite frankly, I was like a child in a sweet shop, I barely knew what to choose, but I plumed for the Tins of twine, with its recyclable authentic vintage label redrawn from the Nutscene archives, just perfect!


Favourite Leaf Tea

Tregothnan – Beautiful tins of leaf tea, grown at the Cornish estate – and who could resist the wonderful giant red teapot!

Favourite  Willow Sculpture

Tom Hares “Tree of Knowledge” skillfully crafted from greenwood willow, is fabulous! The personal pledges to support biodiversity (ensuring that we keep both common and rare species of everything, not only plants!) hug on copper leaves were poignant and very thought provoking, the whole idea really for RHS support for UNs international year of biodiverity.

Favourite Ethical Business

Zimbolic – Jonathan is so passionate about what he does, it is truly humbling. Designs are crafted from recycled oil drums, giving stable employment in Zimbabwe, while creating these beautiful garden ornaments. I adored these wonderful  hogs on the hill, looking quite at home at Chelsea.

Favourite Cottage plant

Blackmore & Langdon’s gorgeous majestic Delphiniums

Favourite Inspiring Idea

Garden organic Heritage seed Library the UKs leading organic growing charity, committed to conserving varieties of vegetables that would otherwise have disappeared – I loved the red flowered broad bean, and my one pot pledge is to grow my courgette organically (Ok, so I already grow everything organically, even though last years cauliflower crop was eaten by caterpillars, it means lots of beautiful butterflies and healthy birds!)

Favourite Moment

………….in the floral marque suddenly hitting HW Hyde’s wall of amazing lily fragrance, breathtaking!

Just like the Chelsea flower Show. If you have never been, promise yourself a visit, it’s an inspiring day out, full of idea’s for your own gardens, absolutely gorgeous plants, all in the grounds of Chelsea hospital, London.

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Wandering through the ancient heart of Wales, we seize the moment for a magical visit to Powys Castle, with its magnificent architecture in a truly breathtaking setting.

Now, up front, I’ll declare an interest – I’m passionate about the National Trust (and the Scottish National Trust) . Both organisations do such a splendid job of looking after our national treasures in Britain, including Powys Castle. But suddenly I realise that our membership tickets are not with us – and oh, the kindness of strangers – the National Trust do a quick check and we are in!

Powys was built as a 12th century stronghold against English invaders, and you can understand why when you are there, you can see for miles! Its history is steeped in that of the Welsh Princes, and while there is still an Earl of Powis, the title is on its third creation.

Welsh afternoon tea at Powys Castle

While Powys Castle is amazing, the jewel in its crown are its glorious gardens.

Melding seamlessly into the imposing hills, the garden’s are spectacular, even outshining the idyllic setting of the magnificent hills that surround it. Apple blossom floats in the fresh spring air. There is a sence of enduring nature, particularly of the Yew trees, planted and clipped since the 1700s, now belonging to that ancient vista.


I happen across a favourite portrait, that of Lady Henrietta Herbert, painted in 1777 by Sir Joshua Reynolds, still hanging at her ancestral home

I adore this painting, its captivating and her beauty radiates. Lady Henrietta lived life, and I am inspired by her adventurous nature, by all accounts, she was quite a character. Her collection of Indian artifacts remain at the Castle. It reminds me I have yet to visit India…..

Who could resist having afternoon tea and gorgeous butterfly cakes at Lady Violets Tea room.

It is warm enough to sit outside under the soft blue sky, surrounded by the first flush of the brightest scarlet red tulips, my sweet tooth satisfied by afternoon tea, who could wish to be anywhere else in the world.

Butterfly Cakes at Lady Violets Tea room - Glorious afternoon tea at Powys Castle

I am delighted to find my favourite ethical company Zimbolic are also here at Powys Castles’ lovely Garden Shop.

Their beautiful and ethical garden sculpture is enchanting, and I’m particularly taken with the cormorants that stand guard on the battlements.

Tea with Mary Kate seeks to connect us to the ancient beauty that radiates around us, where we are often in danger of just rushing past.

There is a palpable sence of belonging at Powys Castle, to its history and to the spectacular and ancient lands that surrond it. If only for the gorgeous afternoon tea, but for much more, do visit as soon as you can!

Tea with Mary Kate's Beautiful Tulips

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Inspiration for Easter gifts

If, like me, you’re sitting at the kitchen table, planning your Easter weekend menu & egg hunting activities, your thoughts may too have wandered onto the topic of what to buy as a gift that is both thoughtful & has meaning as a present for Easter, one that you can feel good about as well as being beautiful and aesthetic in its own right. Well, I’m glad to let you know your search is at an end – look no further than purchasing a lovely Zimbolic Easter Bunny!

Zimbolic Easter Bunnies

A Zimbolic Bunny cleverly combines both ethics and aesthetics

You’ll perhaps know already that I’ve written previously about Jonathan Eaton’s excellent company Zimbolic in my recent blog Tea with Mary Kate is inspired by how Zimbolic does business. Zimbolic creates amazing sculptures for the home & garden from recycled metal, harnessing the talents of artists’ from Zimbabwe and Kenya, which is where the strong ethical side of this inspiring company originates. You’ll also be able to see Zimbolic at the 2010 Chelsea Flower Show.

Tie gorgeous Pastel Gingham and Polka dot Ribbons to enhance the Easter Bunny theme

I’ll be tieing pastel shades of gingham and polka dot ribbon around my bunnies to enhance the Easter theme from Crafty Ribbons. Another idea is to have an “Easter Bunny hunt” rather than the traditional Easter Egg hunt, although I have to confess, the sheer joy of hunting and finding chocolate eggs is such a treat that I would not wish to dissuade from this more traditional route, perhaps the Zimbolic Easter bunnies are an addition! Enjoy viewing the excellent Zimbolic website for further inspiration.

Ribbon Inspiration from Crafty Ribbons

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