greentapestry : The Icing On The Cake

Monday, 3 June 2013

The Icing On The Cake


Himself's decision that we must take our ageing camper van on a road test this weekend, prior to a longer holiday later in this year caused me considerable angst. It was a huge dilemma deciding what to do with all the plants in the greenhouse that are still in the process of hardening off let alone the ones that have not even started that process. So a warm Friday morning saw me risking spontaneous combustion as I emptied half the the greenhouse contents outside, whilst the other half got transported to the other more shadier side of the greenhouse. I was hot and bothered and more than a bit apprehensive as to how plants/seedlings would cope with wind, too high temperatures or too low temperatures and lack of liquid refreshment for a couple of days.

However some hours later in a site conveniently situated close to a pub and the Shropshire Union Canal I began to mellow. There was sunshine, good food, good ale (himself can vouch for 'Slumbering Monk' whilst the sights on the canal were a most pleasant diversion ~



There was also the prospect of two garden visits including a plant fair over the weekend. This of course soon bought a smile to my face. I also realised that such activities might provide an ideal opportunity to take part in 'The Bloggers' Cut', which is a most imaginative idea from Michelle over at Veg Plotting. It gives us bloggers the chance to participate under the umbrella of 'The Chelsea Fringe' by posting about gardening and cake. Now domestic godess I'm not! When it comes to cakes eating rather than baking them is my speciality so alas you will not find recipes for any mouth watering delicacies here. However I'm more than happy to combine plant hunting/garden visiting with the civilised pastime of cake eating so decided than sometime during the weekend that we must partake of cake.

Our first point of call was Hodnet Hall Gardens,where apart from the mishap of camper van sinking into the only wet patch on the field aside for parking, a most pleasant time was had. Once we had been towed out of the mud, we headed for the plant sale before going on to the gardens where our eyes and noises were assaulted by an absolute riot of colour and scent ~




We have visited Hodnet before but not when all the azaleas and rhododendrons are at their peak and oh what a treat it was. I will post more about this visit soon as well as on our second garden visit of the weekend.

After recovering from our earlier trauma and a good stretch of the legs we were more than ready for something to eat. However we both felt in need of something more substantial than cake, although there was a good selection of baked goodness on offer as you can see from the photo below ~


We both remember our previous visit to the tea rooms at Hodnet quite vividly and both of us felt a bit uncomfortable in such surroundings . It seems that there are so many pairs of eyes looking at you as you eat, as the room is absolutely covered with big game 'trophies' including a lion and tiger. Having said that our lunch was quite delicious although sadly there was no room for cake.

On then to Wollerton Old Hall yesterday afternoon. It's but a short distance away from Hodnet but could not be more different ~





Now we have had a cake at Wollerton in the past and throughly enjoyed the experience but it does not feature on the menu until later in the afternoon. As himself did not want to hang about until then it looked as if there could be a possibility that not a single crumb of crumb would pass our lips as we headed back to the van. I would have failed in my mission.

However about fifteen minutes away from home we stumbled across pure cake gold in the form of Davenports Farm Shop Tearooms. You know how it is with places on your doorstep - you often pass them by on your way to somewhere else time and time again. It must be a good few years since we have stopped off there and we were absolutely amazed by the choice of teas/coffees and cakes on the menu as well as the quality/quantity when our cakes arrived. All served in most pleasant and comfortable surroundings. You can see my choice of carrot cake at the top of this post. I did not realise that it would arrive so ornately and beautifully decorated - almost too good to eat. Himself had an equally delectable and moist slice of apple and pear cake. What a discovery - the icing on the cake to top off a great weekend. It was only later at home after some 'googling' that I discovered that this establishment won the Tea Guild's Top Tea Place Award in 2013. This is apparently the equivalent of an Oscar in the world of afternoon tea! A return visit is definitely on the cards before the summer is out, although I think I will have to make sure that it does not become too much of a regular habit for my waistline's sake.

Finally I'm pleased to report that all was well with the seedlings and plants on our return. The sun is shining this morning and I'm off out to do some serious allotment and gardening work. I will make time however to sit down in the shade later to enjoy some liquid refreshment and tasty cakes with fellow garden bloggers here. Do join me - there will be a cup and a slice of cake with your name on.

32 comments:

  1. I love Wollerton and it is just about doable for me. I hadnt realised it was so close to Hodnant which means thats is probably just doable. As for that slice of cake well if I had decorated it I wouldnt let anyone cut a slice

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    1. I thought of you when we were at Hodnet Helen remembering your liking for rhodies. If you can get to Wollerton and back in a day you Hodnet is only about a mile and a half away! With you on the cake - I would just want to look at it :)

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  2. Hi Anna - what an amazing slice of cake, it's more like a work of art! Seeing your picture of the canal (which I've been along on a brilliant narrowboat holiday) reminded me that another name for a canal is a cut! So you've contributed to the 'Bloggers' Cut' in two ways ;)

    Thanks for showing us these gardens, I haven't been to either, so they're now on my ever growing list thanks to this event :)

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    1. I was rather taken aback by the cake VP :) Thanks for providing me with the perfect excuse for eating it. I had not clicked about canals and cuts but it's come back to me now after the event! I know that you would enjoy both gardens different though they are.

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  3. Slumbering Monk. There's been an explosion of micro brewery beer in the UK in recent years. Mmmm, where to start?

    Wollerton looks very grand. Nice images by the way.

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    1. Not sure where you would start either Rob :) Wollerton is a most intimate garden - there is a clear formal structure which includes some most beautiful floaty planting.

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  4. What a wonderful weekend, and fabulous weather we had too. The gardens you visited look like gems, and what can I say about that beautifully decorated cake other than Mmmmmmmm.

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    1. The weather had just warmed up nicely in time Jo for garden visiting and in fact it was almost too sunny for taking photos!

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  5. What a wonderful piece of cake, almost a mini garden in itself! We took Mum to Hodnet Hall just before she moved down here from Stafford, my Azalea Homebush came from there, the perfume is divine! I agree, the tea room is a bit off putting, especially if you like animals.So glad you had a good few days and that your plants survived!

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    1. Yes the cake was a work of art Pauline and most fitting for the post :) What a lovely piece of Hodnet to have in your garden. The stuffed animals are not my cup of tea but I suppose they contribute to giving the place a unique atmosphere. I just turned my back to them when we had lunch.

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  6. Look forward to seeing more photos of those gardens Anna. Ahh, nothing like an English garden in spring. It almost makes me feel homesick! That cake is a work of art. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks for your comment Cathy :) Will try to post more about the gardens soon.

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  7. That cake decoration looks more like ornate plasterwork rather than edible icing. At the start of your post I thought that was something you'd rustled up for the 'Blogger's Cut' event! Wollerton Old Hall rings a bell for me (I grew up in South Derbyshire) but I certainly don't remember those gardens. Simply beautiful - I must take a detour to visit next time I'm en route to see the family.

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    1. Would I were that profficient when it comes to icing cakes :) I The icing was surprisingly very soft and not that sweet although I did not want much to eat for the rest of that day! Wollerton is in Shropshire so hopefully not too far away for you to visit. Well worth a detour :)

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  8. What lovely garden images Anna - will have to put those gardens on my list of places to visit.
    As for the cake!!!!! Yum Yum It looks so beautiful, shame to eat it .... almost
    K
    xx

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    1. Thanks Karen - exactly my sentiments :)

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  9. Dear Anna, thank you for taking me with you, such a delight! The cake looks too beautiful to eat though ;). Love your pics of Wollerton Old Hall...only goes to show where true garden art is still to be found. It's nice to go away and see something different from time to time and even better to get home and find all's well.

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    1. Yes Annette it is good to have a break from normal routine and as you say see something fresh. I may have worried too much about my plants. I think that I worried about them too much whilst they just got on with things on their own :)

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  10. What a delightful post, Anna - I loved everything about it. The award winning tea rooms have amazing looking cakes - but what was the cake itself like? No point it being so pretty if the actual cake was below par! Coincedentally, I was just checking opening times of Wollerton yesterday, as I was suggesting a detour on a birthday day out for the Golfer (day out for him, garden for me!) - loved it in September 2011, and wanted to see it earlier in the year. Was there no-one else there when you were - no people in your pics!

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    1. Thanks for your most kind comment Cathy. The cake was every bit as good as it looks. We arrived at the garden just ahead of opening and most of the other visitors in the queue headed off in the direction of food hence people free photos :)

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  11. Super pictures. Shropshire's a huge favourite of ours, yet we haven't visited either of those. They've gone straight on the list of what to see next time, especially Woolerton - I'm a sucker for topiary.

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    1. Welcome and thanks for your comment Helen. I do hope that you get to visit Wollerton before long.

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  12. Mmmmm....cake! Oh my, almost too pretty to eat - almost! :)
    Love both the gardens but I think I lean towards the Wollerton, love the green and the structure. I understand you worrying about your plants, I am already thinking of my potted tomato plants and we are not going away until August!

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    1. Now that's taking worrying to the extreme but I quite understand :) Wollerton is my favourite too but really enjoyed the visit to Hodnet where the gardens were at their peak :)

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  13. Wow, what gardens you chose to visit! I love the look of Wollerton, that is truly a garden to inspire! And I'm with you on cake, much prefer to eat than to bake!

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    1. Welcome and thanks for your comment RD. Glad to see that somebody else is an eater rather than a baker. I feared it was just me :)

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  14. Oh I'm jealous. I've wanted to visit Wollerton Old Hall for so long now. And that cake is INCREDIBLE. What amazing decoration. Loving the sound of your long trip this summer in the camper. :)

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    1. Oh I do hope that you get to Wollerton before long WW - it's a fine garden which I'm sure you would enjoy. The trip later this year should be fun as long as the weather obliges :)

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  15. What a perfect end to your weekend, the cake looks amazing, but I am so glad your plants survived. Love the look of Wollerton, somehow it appeals more than the riot of colour, though on another day I would probably say the reverse, so a good combination.

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    1. The cake rounded the weekend end off most nicely. The two gardens were a perfect contrast to visit Janet and both just down the road to each other and where we were staying :)

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  16. What a spectacular cake and your weekend of visiting a real treat. I think I'm adding Wollerton Old Hall on a must visit soon list.

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  17. What wonderful garden visits and like everyone else I too love the decoration on that slice of cake. Fondant rose making is my thing but I've never seen a side or top decoration to a carrot cake quite like that. I'll remember this inspiring cake (thanks for sharing it) the next time I make fondant roses which will be quite soon ;-)

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