2023 was a year of transformation and celebration with the creation of Jekka's Herb Garden and Jekka's HerbFest in the summer. It definitely was not without it difficulties but it is wonderful to be able to look at, and walk around, Jekka's Herb Garden that was not there this time last year.
Spring at Jekka’s
We transformed the nursery at Jekka’s with the creation of Jekka’s Herb Garden. If you visited us throughout the year, which we know many of you did, you would have seen the garden grow and establish itself into a wonderful feature. In the spring of 2023, with the help of Mark Gregory, from Landform consultants, we installed the beautiful water feature, which was the final piece of hard landscaping prior to planting. When the ground began to warm, the team from St Mungo’s Putting Down Roots joined us to help plant the garden. We installed some of the large feature plants from Jekka’s RHS Flower Show displays in the corners of the garden, such as the olive trees and pomegranate trees.
Following Jekka’s plan, we planted up the petals in themes with the idea that you can reproduce the petals in your garden at home. You can see the petal planting plans in Jekka's Blog.
Planting of Jekka's Herb Petals
We also started the season with Jekka making some herb treats on ITV’s Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh. Jekka made several healthy and cost-effective delicious snacks, which were Jekka’s Spring Herb Flat Breads with herb mayonnaise, herb carrot salad, pistachio and feta herb dip and a herby hummus. The recipes for which can be seen online in Jekka's Herb Based Recipes.
Also, given the flu and bugs prevalent at the moment, in a previous episode, Jekka gave her best herbal remedies, which can be also be found online here.
At the end of Spring 2023, we were delighted to welcome several group visits to the farm including the Tyfu Cymru team, the Farming Connect Horticulture Group and the Oxford Friends of Botanic Garden and Arboretum. Each group had a private tour of Jekka’s Herb Farm, Herbetum and Herb Garden followed by the opportunity to browse and buy from the collection as well as a slice (or two) of homemade cake.
If you are interested in organising a group visit to Jekka’s in 2024, please find more details on our Group Visits & Private Tours page and complete the enquiry online form.
Spring on the farm was a busy time as we also started our Open Days and ran our Master Classes: Garden Design and How to Use Herbs. These days are very special and attendees leave with a new understanding and passion for herbs. Classes are limited to 12 people. If you would like to attend this years’ Master Classes, please check out the dates and information below:
Summer at Jekka’s
The summer at Jekka’s saw further work to evolve the herb farm with the removal of a one of the polytunnels to give the site a car park for the open days as well as Jekka’s HerbFest.
We continued the work on Jekka’s Herb Garden and we planted up the annual beds and gravel beds plus weeding, pruning and general maintenance; you can see what we got up to in Jekka’s Herb Garden in our blog series that covers spring, summer, late-summer and autumn as well as a time-line to see its evolution.
Jekka's Herb Garden in Summer
The summer also saw the installation and planting of Steel Landscaping Co. beautiful weaved metal raised beds. These can be found along the side of Jekka’s Herb Garden. If you have plans to install some raised beds this year, please check out Jekka’s 10 essential tips to create the perfect kitchen garden, which lists all the things you should consider from soil to light.
Jessica planting Steel Landscaping Co's raised beds.
Planting of Urban Herb Garden, visiting the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and giving the "How to Grow Herbs" Master Class for Riverstone.
Also, in the summer of 2024, we designed and planted an urban herb garden at a residential development in Bristol. You can see the raised beds and plans in our online blog on the "Urban Car Park Herb Garden". This garden not only transforms neglected raised beds that were once full of weeds and uninteresting bedding plants into a vibrate colourful space but also provides the residents with a communal project and fresh herbs for cooking.
In June 2023, we visited the Riverstone Fulham Residence to give a Discovery Day on “How to Grow Herbs”. Residents were given tips on how to grow and look after herbs as well as the opportunity to pot up a Whichford Terracotta pot. Please follow the links to find out more about our Discovery Days or the Whichford Gift Boxes.
The big highlight of the summer, and 2023 as a whole, was Jekka’s HerbFest. This was a unique three-day event held on the first weekend in July (30th June, 1st July & 2nd July 2023). It was filled with cookery demonstrations and talks by renowned chefs, garden designers, herbalists and authors as well as help and advice from gardening experts in Jekka's Gardeners' Corner. We were so delighted and humbled by the response and feedback we received. You can see the highlights online here.
Autumn and Winter at Jekka’s
In late summer, early autumn, we visited the Riverstone Fulham Herb Garden to do a refresh and put it to into autumn mode, so it could hibernate over winter. This involved cutting back and dead heading herbs, such as Lavenders, removing biennials and annuals, such as Nasturtiums.
Jekka’s has also designed and planted a number of gardens for chefs and restaurants and, in the Autumn 2023, we were pleased to plant one for our friend Rob at his new restaurant Root in Wells. This transformed an overgrown space into one he and his chefs could use and incorporate into his dishes. We planted, for example, Chives, Tarragon, Oreganos and Winter Savory.
We completed the season with our last open days of the year, and as it was unusually warm, our last open days were on the first weekend of October. For those that attended, we were very fortunate with the weather and it was a great couple of days welcoming people to the herb farm to purchase their last plants of the year. We look forward to welcoming you in the spring this year; our first open days are on Friday 5th April and Saturday 6th April 2024. You can see our other dates online here.
2024 at Jekka’s
2023 was a very busy year with Jekka’s Herb Garden, Jekka’s HerbFest, the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and our continued partnership with Riverstone. Somehow, during the year, Jekka wrote and submitted her new book, which was announced at the end of last year. Jekka’s new book, 100 Herbs to Grow comes out in March 2024, you can pre order your copy here.
2024 looks to be another exciting and herb filled year with open days and master classes. We are looking for a couple of people to join our team, both in the office and on the farm. You can see our current opportunities here.
Want to know more?
You can find more about herbs in Jekka’s blog, our past newsletters and videos as well as Jekka's new book '100 Herbs to Grow' and Jekka's existing books, namely 'A Pocketful of Herbs' or Jekka's Complete Herb Book, and also by 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.
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 (email@example.com). 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.