As we look back over the year, at Jekka’s, 2022 was really a year for looking forward and making positive plans for the future.
Highlights of 2022: Marcus Wareing at Jekka's, Jekka's culinary herb garden for Riverstone, How to Use Herbs Master Class, Sarah Eberle's Chelsea Flower Show Garden, the Bristol Putting Down Roots gang and starting Jekka's Herb Garden.
We all know what happened over the last few years has impacted everyone in some way or form. The effect of COVID-19 and successive lockdowns will be felt by many, but especially the small business, for years to come. At the end of 2021, over mince pies, we discussed what we should do at Jekka’s and in 2022 we started putting the plans into action. This blog looks back at the year 2022 which has not been like any other year but, in the same vein, uncertainty is now certain. Who could have predicted the year that unfolded? At least herbs will always grow!
Spring at Jekka's
Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata)
As a first step in realising the future of Jekka’s, we started the design and construction of Jekka’s Herb Garden and Mac sketched out the beds and paths on the hardstanding. We then started laying out the steel edging which was made by Steel Landscaping Co. We had a drone fly over during the early days and this can be seen on Jekka’s Herb Garden page. The design is based an infinity symbol creating two flowers, where each petal forms a different themed herb bed.
Laying the steel for Jekka's Herb Garden
In the previous summer, we welcomed Marcus Wareing to the farm for his series based on his homestead. This was aired at the start of March 2022 and led to a renewed interest in herbs; especially the Chinese Schezuan Pepper plant. If you missed it, it is still available to watch on BBC iplayer – Marcus Wareing's Tales from a kitchen garden.
Marcus Wareing's Tales from a kitchen garden
Want to know more? Read Jekka’s Blog on Marcus Wareing’s Herb Kitchen Garden and create your own.
Also, in the spring of 2022, we ran our Master Classes: Herb Garden Design, How to Use Herbs and How to Grow Herbs. It was great to finally welcome some attendees on the Master Classes who had booked in the winter of 2019. All participants experienced and shared our passion for herbs and it was a really enjoyable, herb and food filled day.
Jekka's 2022 Master Classes
Want to come on a Master Class? Our 2023 Spring Master Classes are online now.
At the end of the spring and the start of the summer is the Chelsea Flower Show. Jekka grew and supported a number of gardens but in particular, for Sarah Eberle, a friend of Jekka’s and one of the country’s leading landscape architects. Sarah’s Chelsea Flower Show Garden was titled "MEDITE SMARTPLY Building the Future". MEDITE, a sustainable building material, was used to create a natural vertical rock strata that was topped with a green sloping roof. It was truly impressive to see a waterfall cascading over this to a pool below.
Sarah’s Chelsea Flower Show Garden
Want to know more? Read how Jekka's support this year's Chelsea Flower Show in our newsletter.
Summer at Jekka's
Jekka is honoured to be a Riverstone partner, as you might have read in various blogs and newsletters, Riverstone is a provider of exceptional London living for the over 65s. In the summer 2022 Jekka designed and planted a culinary kitchen herb garden at their Kensington residence. This herb garden forms part of a community garden for residents and visitors to enjoy, which was designed by Andy Sturgeon.
Jekka's Riverstone Culinary Kitchen Gardens at Kensington and Fulham
Want to know more? Read Jekka’s Blog on her Riverstone culinary kitchen herb garden.
We were also delighted to hold our first Friends of Jekka’s Introductory Bee Keeping Master Class at the herb farm run by Richard Rickitt. It was a fascinating day learning everything about bees from the types of bees, to how to care for them and home them as well as why they swarm and what to do. Plus we all got to look at a hive close up.
Alistair at the Cheltenham Food Festival
Alistair, Jekka’s son, was pleased to be invited to run a food demonstration at the Cheltenham Food Festival where he made herb bruschetta and herb syrups. Perfect for the festive season, make a cocktail with Jekka’s herb syrups; find the recipe online.
Jekka and Jamie Oliver have had a long friendship, ever since their paths crossed in 2001. We were happy to welcome the teaching team of Jamie Oliver’s Cookery School to the farm as part of a group visit. Jekka guided them around Jekka’s Herbetum where they learn about and tasted herbs from her collection of over 400 varieties.
Want to organise a group visit? Find out more online here.
Jekka's 2022 Open Days
Throughout the year we have organised and run several Jekka’s Open Days. Since lockdown and the need to maintain safe distancing space we have run these by limited coupons over 4 sessions. We have continued this as it means we can help everyone and the tours, talks and café are not overcrowded. Therefore, it is an enjoyable experience for everyone. We were delighted to have Jean Vernon at many of our open days, doing bee walks and tours. Both her books are available online: The The Secret Lives of Garden Bees and Attracting Garden Pollinators. We also welcomed stalls by the St Mungo's, RSPB and Woodland Trust.
Want to know more? Read Jean Vernon’s guide for planting for bees & pollinators to help get your garden buzzing!
Next year we are excited to have Jekka’s Herb Garden for people to explore. If you are already planning your year, our dates are online in our events calendar, which can be seen in our events calendar.
Autumn & Winter at Jekka's
Chinese Szechuan Pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans)
This autumn we were honoured to be short listed for the Bee Bold - Space for Nature award. The Bee Bold Awards celebrate innovative approaches that protect and support pollinators to recover and thrive. We are proud of the bees we have on the farm and bees are also a big focus on Jekka’s HerbFest 2023.
In early autumn, we also did the autumn refresh of Riverstone’s Kensington herb garden and planted the herb garden at their new Fulham residence. This was designed in diagonal rows as it was viewed mainly by the residents from above.
Jekka’s Herb Garden, at the herb farm, also progressed with support of our friends at St Mungo’s, Bristol Putting Down Roots. They helped us on prepare the soil for each of the individual beds, using our recycled compost, sieving, moving and preparing the soil ready for planting in the spring.
We also started the planning for Jekka’s HerbFest 2023 and cannot wait for next summer to host the event. The tickets went on sale at the end of November. Jekka's HerbFest 2023 is full of inspiring talks from leading garden designers, demonstrations from top chefs and garden tours from a variety of specialists. The National Institute of Medical Herbalists are back with a new Health and Wellbeing Zone providing medicinal herb tours of Jekka's Herbetum, onsite consultations and a chance to find out more about Herbal Medicine.
Want to know more? Check out the line up and get tickets here: www.jekkasherbfest.com
As we moved into the festive season, we also launched some new gifts in our online shop, which included our Jekka's New 2023 Herb Calendar, new Whichford Pottery gardeners gift boxes, a Wildlife World bird feeder and Cotswold Granaries ‘No Mess’ bird food. We also have some new beautiful “for the home” gifts including St. Eval's relaxing, scented herb candles and Wild Sage and Co.'s wonderful, herb skin care range including soaps and lip balm.
Want to know more? Check out Jekka’s Online Shop for more herby gifts.
2023 at Jekka's
As 2022 draws to a close, we look forward to what 2023 has to offer. As we said at the start of this blog, herbs will always grow! Next year, at Jekka’s, is all about Jekka’s Herb Garden and Jekka’s HerbFest 2023. We also have our Master Classes, Open Days and several Group Visits already in the diary. Check out our events calendar. Fingers crossed for a calmer year than the previous ones.
Winter in Jekka's Herbetum
Want to know more?
You can find more about herbs in Jekka’s blog, our past newsletters and videos as well as Jekka's book 'A Pocketful of Herbs' or Jekka's Complete Herb Book, browsing Jekkapedia and exploring our herb based recipes.
Jekka's Herbs of the month blogs: Bay (January), Rosemary (February), Salad Burnet (March), French Tarragon (April), Angelica (May), Alliums (June), Lavender (July), Basil (August), Mint (September), Szechuan Pepper (October), Thyme (November) and Curry Tree (December).
For advice on growing and maintaining herbs, check out Jekka's How to Grow Herbs videos and ‘Jekka’s Seasonal Tips’ blog series, which includes what to do in your herb garden in early spring, late spring, summer and autumn & winter. Together they form the basis of Jekka’s guide on how to grow herbs. Alternatively, buy Jekka’s Herb Calendar.
Herb plants are available and you can organise a collection from our herb farm in South Gloucestershire or at one of our Open Days or Herb Experiences (see our events calendar). Please see our 'Looking Good List' for availability and use our webform or email your list directly to us (firstname.lastname@example.org). We no longer offer a general mail order service for our plants but we do offer a limited selection of Jekka's Culinary Herb Boxes.