As we hurtle to the finish line at a rate of knots, we were invited, en masse to Ballymaloe House today, for a tour, a chat, and a cup of tea.
We had started the day with a wonderful sushi demonstration (who KNEW there were so many types and variations)
We then had our usual, and last Wednesday lunch in the Garden Cafe. After which Darina brought us foraging around the cookery school gardens.
Here she is showing us Allium ampeloprasum babingtonii, (took me AGES to find this genus). The history of which is very interesting. As a Charles Darwin fan, I was delighted to discover that this member of the leek family is named after Charles Cardale Babington, a contemporary of Darwin. And it is hypothesized that the origins of this relatively frost hardy vegetable lies with the monks. I’m not entirely sure WHY this leek was named after Charles (1808 – 1895). In 1840 he wrote about the differences between true leeks, Allium porrum, and Allium ampeloprasum in the Annals of Natural History, where he writes that on Guernsey he had seen Allium ampeloprasum reproducing from bulbils (like a topset) produced on the flower head. And maybe he also specified this very local Allium species then.
and so onwards. It was a walk of melancholy for me, however, as we took practically the same route that we did on our first day, albeit the weather was better today.
It signifies the beginning of the end. Although like the sprouting herbs, I’m sure we are all waiting to sprout forth with all our new found knowledge.
We then travelled to Ballymaloe House, where we, en masse, split into groups and had a tour, and a cup of afternoon tea.
The history of the house, and the Norman castle beforehand was fascinating, and Hazel was very interesting, especially explaining about the different art pieces hanging in the different parts of the house.
And as I looked out at the daffodils from the Yeat’s Room, I felt a pang. I’m going to miss this.