Easier, better or both?


Walnuts

We had a bumper walnut crop in Worcestershire this year.

My Hubby is crazy about walnuts. He has identified every walnut tree in our village plus most of those growing wild around Bredon Hill.

In our house, Walnut Fever is biphasic:

The initial phase starts in late June/early July, when unripe, soft, green walnuts can be harvested to make Nocino. This is a delicious, deep brown walnut liqueur, traditionally made Italy.  (However, the fervour of this phase has somewhat abated in our household since Hubby’s initial attempt to make Nocino last year resulted in a rather startling green, bitter concoction.)

The second and most intense phase starts in autumn, when the walnuts are ripe and ready to be harvested. At this time of the year my foraging Hubby ensures that every walk passes a walnut tree or two, and we head home to the sound of nuts clattering in bulging pockets. The rest of the day is spent happily cracking the shells and savouring the wonderful fresh flavour of the newly harvested walnuts – so much better than those bought in the shops.

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Yellow, Orange and Gold

The colour palette in our corner of Worcestershire is shifting again. Over the last few days the colour of the leaves on the trees around Bredon Hill has started to change into the yellow part of the spectrum. Autumn has started.

We popped into the Batsford Arboretum near Bourton-on-the-Hill yesterday. It’s a great place for tea or a light, informal lunch. They have a good selection of hot meals and sandwiches and there is usually a gluten-free option or two in their delicious cake selection. The restaurant is in a beautifully designed modern, wood and glass building. It’s light and bright inside and outside is large deck with stunning views of the Cotswold countryside.

We hadn’t planned going into the Arboretum, as we thought that autumn had not quite got going yet, but as we were there, we decided to go inside anyway. Good decision! It was a warm, clear, still afternoon and perfect for a walk among the trees. The aptly named Golden Mile was a spectacular succession of yellows, golds, bronzes and oranges, with bright red acers thrown in for good measure. The low autumn sunshine filtering through the leaves was quite breathtaking. We left feeling wonderful and so pleased that we’d decided to pop in and have a look.

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Red

Hawthorn berriesIsn’t it fascinating how individual colour palettes predominate at various times of the year?

This week in the gardens, lanes and on the hillside near our home we have seen:

Deep crimson Discovery apples. Their red colour leaks into the white flesh when you take a bite.

Squashy, matt, light red yew berry cups, which stand out against a background of dark green leaves.

Hawthorn trees weighted down by lavish clusters of bright red berries

Columns of opaque, red spheres hanging amongst heart-shaped leaves on bryony vines.

Delicate deep red, translucent bunches of guelder rose berries.

Light red upright clusters of rose hips covering wild rose bushes.

Luscious, tiny, shiny, ruby red elderberry clusters.

Spikes of closely packed orangey-red balls on Lords & Ladies (Cuckoo pint)

Red and purple ripening blackberries

Looks like it’s the Red Season in Worcestershire!