Last week I joined the lovely Hannah Bullivant and Charlotte Jacklin on a beautiful blossom walk at Brogdale Collections. Brogdale is a farm situated just outside of Faversham in Kent housing over 4,000 varieties of flowering fruit tree. They had just celebrated their Hanamai Festival* so the orchards were in full bloom.
Ted was our tour guide for the afternoon and he led us through the many orchards and types of fruit tree at the farm. Brogdale is a charity who provide access and education to their National Fruit Collection. They also have an amazing fruit identification service where you can send in fruit from any unknown trees to find out what they are. (My Mum reminded me the other day that we did this for one of our apple trees in our family garden when I was growing up).
At the time of our visit (mid April) the cherry blossom was in full bloom. The pink and white flowers were absolutely beautiful and the smell of the blossom in the heat of the sun was so delicate and pretty. Writing this post at home a couple of days later in a wooly jumper and feeling decidedly chilly made me realise just how lucky we were with the weather; a mini heatwave made it feel like midsummer.
Once we had completed our tour and we had soaked up the glorious sunshine and blossom, we were led to the most beautiful cherry orchard where we sat under the dappled shade of blossom trees for a picnic. I honestly could have stayed at Brogdale all weekend; it was just so idyllic. I did manage to pop into the shop on my way home and I picked up some delicious Brogdale apple juice and some unpasteurised apple cider vinegar (complete with mother) so that I could take a taste of Brogdale back home with me. I also stumbled across a little antique stall in the yard of the farm and picked up some wooden toys for my son’s birthday (which he loved!).
The cherry blossom will probably only last for a few weeks but Brogdale is a wonderful place to visit all year round. The apple blossom will be out in mid May, there is a cider festival in August, a Pear Day in September and an Apple Festival in October. You can keep track of their program (including updates on all things blossom on their website and twitter). If you are visiting with children then there is an outdoor playground and a wonderful miniature steam railway which travels through the orchards giving you by the far the best view of the farm.
A big thank you to Brogdale for providing me with my yearly blossom fix and to Hannah and Charlotte for organising a wonderful day with such a lovely bunch of people. If you are based in the South East then I would highly recommend making the trip to this beautiful corner of Kent. I visited by train and it only took me 25 mins to walk from Faversham station to the farm; so you don’t even have to venture too far into the Kent countryside to immerse yourself in the real Darling Buds of May!
* the traditional Japanese custom of enjoying the transient beauty of flowers
If you are visiting Faversham on a Tuesday, Friday or Saturday then pop down to Charter Market to pick up some local produce or plants.
If you have time then I also recommend taking the trip to Standard Quay. Situated alongside the creek there are lots of hidden gems to discover including antique shops, historic buildings and places to eat and drink.
Take a look at Hannah’s instagram stories where she shares lots of lovely things to do in Faversham.
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