Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Horse chestnuts and watercress

Not much time for a blog post today, so I thought I'd post some lovely piccies from one of my walks ....

This is my favourite horse chestnut tree, currently in full blossom and showing off in the sunshine!

It's in Capability Brown-designed landscaped grounds and is over 100 years old, so who knows perhaps even planted on the orders of the great designer himself :0)

And any idea what this below is ... somewhere to cool your pinkies when it's hot?  Something to do with fish farming?  Nope ... these are old watercress beds, built in the 1800s as part of the landscaped gardens to give a regular supply of watercress to the estate kitchens.  Watercress was highly prized for upper class dinner tables, especially in the early part of the 19th century before commercial production.  The beds are designed to allow a steady flow of fresh, clear, shallow water over a wide area, providing the ideal conditions for growing watercress.  The water supply comes from an underground spring.  This meant the water temperature remained stable throughout most of the year, allowing watercress to be grown earlier and later in the year than normal.

Watercress sandwich, anyone? :D