Paper Blooms !!!

I love flowers their natural beauty can be quite breathtaking, so when someone mentioned paper flowers to me I was a little skeptical but when I saw the flowers that Botanical artist Bee Watson made I was sold.

Artificial and paper flowers are once again growing in popularity, ever since the Chinese invented paper in 100 B.C., people have been making paper flowers, often used for religious ceremonies the craft of making paper flowers traveled the route of ‘The Silk Road’ arriving in Europe sometime in the 11th century. In Victorian times women from the higher classes were encouraged to make paper flowers as part of their daily activities

Modern day Botanical artist, Bee, creates delicate blooms by deconstructing real flowers and creating templates then remakes the flower using specialist papers and wires. Bee has created blooms for Molten & Brown the RHS - Chelsea Garden Show and even Facebook. So when Exeter based Bee got in touch, I was delighted when she agreed to come along to ‘The Lodge’ and show us how it’s done. For full workshop details visit Paper Blooms

Creative Marbling & Book Binding..........

Great day yesterday with Kate from ‘Payhembury Marbled Papers’ and Edel form ‘Edels handmade books’ such a lovely group of ladies and some really amazing results…….

Apples apples everywhere.........

Autumn is definitely here and we are busy collecting the last of the apples from the trees in the orchard. I made a scrummy Dorset apple cake with them this morning…. Its a firm favourite with my family and our students and so easy to make.


  • 225g self-raising flour

  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 115g unsalted butter, diced and chilled, plus extra for greasing

  • 115g light brown sugar

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 6-8 tbsp milk

  • 225g Bramley or Granny Smith apple , peeled, cored and diced

  • 100g sultana

  • 2 tbsp demerara sugar (optional)


  1. Heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Grease and line a deep 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.

  2. Mix the flour and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub into the flour using your fingers, until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the light brown sugar. Beat in the egg followed by 6 - 8 tbsp of milk – you want to achieve a smooth, thick batter.

  3. Add the apples and sultanas and mix to combine. Scrape the batter into your prepared tin and gently level out. Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  4. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool further. Best served still warm with a little custard.

Recipe from the BBC Good food guide

Craft at The Lodge...........

Really looking forward to welcoming Edel Hopkin and Katherine Brett to ‘The Lodge’. Book binding is one of those traditional crafts that has endured time and continues to fascinate us. This workshop not only shows you binding methods but also introduces us to the art of creating interesting and unusual papers that can be used to line the books making them unique and very personal.

Hydrangeas rescue tips.........

Found these gorgeous purple Hydrangea at ‘Covent Garden Flower Market’ last week. They are so lovely to work with they are prone to wilting but all is not lost if they do.

When your blooms start to wilt you can try and revive them by submerging them in a “bath” of water for about 45 minutes. Remove them carefully and gently shake the water from the bloom, re-cut the stems and place them in a vase of fresh water.

The blooms should revive in a couple of hours giving you another day or two to enjoy them.

First Thursday

Inspiration for yesterday's flower club came from walking around the garden looking for some flowers to brighten up the house. Sadly in the garden there were only a few bits 'n' bobs left not enough to fill a vase but enough to make a lovely hedgerow style arrangement in oasis.

We used a mixture of antirrhinum, allium, cornflowers, thlaspi, Delphinium, helianthus, eryngium, aster, sedum, corn, pittosporum and dahlias to achieve this beautiful country hedgerow feel. If only all hedgerows were this beutiful............

Harvest time......

There are plenty of fruit trees in the grounds of Hemingford Grey House so I have been up early harvesting raspberries, plums and apples to make jam.  I've never made Jam before so with my trusty thermometer and a recipe from the BBC good Food website I spent yesterday creating plum jam then raspberry and apple jam, have to say I was pretty pleased with myself, it actually looks and tastes like Jam, now lets see what our B&B guests have to say about it.....

Messing about on the river...............

During the holiday season the river running alongside 'The Lodge' takes on a whole new life, there is always lots of laughter at the weekends with families out on the river rowing, canoeing and even paddle boarding. On the meadow there are always plenty of river cruisers and narrow boats enjoying the moorings, where they can just watch the world go by, enjoy a glass of something chilled and BBQ of course - it always smells so good when you are walking past !!!! 

It's lovely to chat to the boat owners and here about their adventures, I met a fellow crafter the other day on a beautiful narrow boat covered with stunning Bonsai trees. Hannah from the 'The Floating Tea Picker'  produces some gorgeous herbal teas, then creates lovely wooden boxes for them to go in, such a lovely idea. I feel a workshop coming on ...........................