Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Monday 28 May 2012

Review - ‘Kitchen Garden Estate’ by Helene Gammack

I have very recently been given a copy of this book by the publisher, National Trust Books, to review

Kitchen Garden Estate describes itself as "Traditional country-house techniques for the modern gardener or smallholder” and as an insight into the way things were done in great country houses in times past it is very informative, with wonderful illustrations and images.

The book is full of interesting information about how food and drink production was carried out behind the scenes in large Country Houses, over the last few hundred years. Fashionable trends are discussed ( I had heard of an Orangery of course, but had you heard of a Pinery, for growing Pineapples?) There are some wonderful recipes scattered throughout the book as well, for both food and drink. I was particularly taken with Gooseberries with Honey Saffron Cream   - yum.  There are sections devoted to bee keeping, fish ponds, poultry yards, deer and vineyards as well as describing how the more usual orchards, fruit and vegetables and herbs were produced. All of it is well written and researched, with excellent illustrations and photography

I was also really pleased to see mention of some of my favourite NT properties - Croome Court in particular is the area where I spent my childhood, and I often visited it and played in and rode through the ( then unrestored! ) grounds so it was lovely to see various places discussed and to see photographs.

I have one small quibble - the sub title makes it sound like a book which a modern gardener or smallholder might turn to for advice. I did, however,  feel this book would not really be that much help if you were seeking practical advice on how to run a smallholding or even an allotment.

But that minor quibble aside, the book is lovely, printed on good quality paper, brimming with illustrations and superb photographs, just the right size hardback to be comfortable to hold,  and with a clear index at the back and a comprehensive bibliography - very important if, like me, you like to "read around" the subject matter in other books!

In conclusion,  I really enjoyed this book, and found much to interest me - the ways things were done in "olden days" often give me much food for thought and I have gleaned some  ideas for things I would like to try from this book

( and I really want a "crinkle - crankle" wall now to grow fruit trees up!)

The book is available to purchase directly from the National Trust website for £15 and makes an interesting and informative addition to a general garden book collection, or would make a lovely present.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Compostwoman! Was looking to purchase a copy of this book and just clicked on your review and found your delightful blog! Great to see all these kindred spirits around the world just growing their own and getting on with it. Funny that last night I went to bed before my husband and left the book open on the Crinkle-Crankle wall page for him to look at. We are building in cob so I might get one! I work for the equivalent of the National Trust here in NZ, now called Heritage NZ. Come visit. Check out my blog "The Professional Countrywoman@blogspot.com


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