David and Anneke Blake have created a quite wondrous space in the form of Worton Organic Garden. Its a lush and rich, seemingly chaotic melee of organically grown fruit trees and bushes, gloriously intermingled with vegetables and herbs, with a few animals thrown in, and, in the midst of it all is a small shop and artisan cafe – L’Arte de Mangier Bene – open Fridays and weekends. David is the enigmatic gardener, Anneke the cook. Together, as the cafe name indicates, they aim to deliver The Art of Eating Well.
David was brought up in Australia, Anneke is from Holland (they may be lucky with David actually born in Britain, but just as an aside, how might ‘Brexit being Brexit’ affect such similar couples……what a strangely divisive thing we have created not just for ourselves, but for our friends who live here and who may have originated from places we pillaged and plundered in the name of empire. Oh Little Britain!). David and Anneke came to Worton in 2005, after being in England three years working as gardeners but having met in a second-hand bookshop in The Hague.
In total there are seven acres of land under cultivation at Worton. The biggest part admittedly is the field where veg and fruit trees are cultivated in more traditional style, but alongside there are a the couple of acres or so of garden and greenhouses. Its just outside of Oxford and approached via the long sumptuous drive and yard of the adjacent stables of Worton Equestrian, making it not the easiest place to find. Once you are in the garden though you are just mesmerised. Here all around you is a piece of land packed to the limit with an amazing diversity of intermingling and often self seeded vegetables, herbs, fruit, eggs and flowers, which may be grown in Worton but are sourced from around the world.
As the Worton Garden website so rightly says, ‘This is a place to linger in, with friends, with books, or in peace with your thoughts’. Somewhere definitely not to be rushed……….
For more on Worton Organic Garden, see the garden website and Facebook page.
Click here to buy the book Unlikely Heroes – the documentary photobook about the current agrarian renaissance in England and Wales, and featuring Worton Organic Garden.
[Double clicking on any of the images below will open up that image up in a slideshow format. You can then run the slide show using ‘left’ and ‘right’ buttons. Personally I prefer to go also to full screen having opened the slide show – F11 on my PC, don’t forget to get out of full screen is the same button , not ESC!]