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As we all know, it has been an unusual and difficult year all round but especially for the hospitality industry. The Queen at Brandeston, where I manage the garden has met each new challenge full on, opening a local shop and serving food and drinks as takeaway, then sitting outside and inside, as permitted, at different times.

Last week I was there on Easter bank holiday, trying to catch up with jobs in the vegetable garden to make sure I was ready for the growing season ahead.

Usually the pub would be busy, but this year it was just me and Mr Blackbird feeling the chill of snow showers.

You can just about see the snowflakes!

I was weeding the final beds to be done and he was following me, filling his beak with worms. He must have a family in the hedge.

Every year I hope to keep on top of the weeds with a little bit of regular hoeing but once I spend more time planting, watering and sowing seeds, the weeds take overk. So I will just take this moment to enjoy the vegetable patch being under control before it all goes crazy again.

There are already some things coming on. I have winter lettuces and chard under green mesh, which seemed to have survived the recent late frosts.

Chard foreground, lettuces behind.

There are some tiny radish seedlings and peas planted out, having been started off in the the greenhouse in early spring.


The wild garlic, which I planted a few years ago, is looking well and finally spreading. I just have a bit of a problem in that bed with tiny field maple seedlings.

Wild garlic surrounding my new pinkcurrant bush.

There is lots of self seeded coriander in the herb garden and the chives are romping away as always. The only bed not sorted out yet is the flower patch.

The flower patch – still to be sorted.

A week on and the flower patch is still waiting to be brought to order but I have planted 14 kg of pink fir apple seed potatoes to be used in the pub kitchen. A main crop variety, they should be ready, once they have flowered, late summer.

With the tables and outside space restored and and the glamping facilities re-vamped and improved, The Queen is ready to welcome people to sit outside to eat and drink and stay. Visit the website here for opening hours.

The tulips are flowering with perfect timing now customers are allowed to sit in the garden again.