Archives for posts with tag: garden

In late June James and I took a train down to Lyon, hired a car and cruised across the alps to Piedmont arriving at dusk to an amazing little farm by the name of Finocchio Verde.

We found our hosts Mario and Isa along with another WWOOFer Marco milking the sheep and goats in the barn, next to a mama giving birth to a little lamb. We wandered around the beautiful property pointing out to each other all the edible things along with the melange of animals. Keeping the goats and sheep company were donkeys, endless cats and kittens that seemed to share mothers jumping from one teet to the next, two dogs one just a puppy and a few grubby pigs at the bottom of the vegetable garden. That night we were fed one of many amazing meals and returned to our room through a path of fireflies.

Our mornings were spent doing hard labour – erecting temporary fences, clearing stinging nettle and tending to the vines. We stopped when it got too hot and made our way inside to help prepare lunch. Most everything we ate was grown on the farm. We would go to the garden to collect asparagus, beans, lettuce, artichoke, purslane, herbs, capers, peppers, and the very first tomatoes of the season.

After siesta we would wander the property looking for wild fruit. Next to Mario & Isa’s property are some semi abandoned farmhouses which make for great exploring. Like the owners just disappeared they are still full with farm equipment and even old stiff coats still hanging from pegs next to doorways. We picked cherries, prunes and red currents and made summer fruit tarts most evenings, which I always decorated with sage flowers or rose petals. The wild flowers growing provided us with sweet little table arrangements which Marco sweetly started making with me.

Along with some of the most amazing cheeses I’ve had, Mario and Isa also make their own honey, jam, wine, vinegar, olives, and once a year they slaughter a pig and make many different types of delicious salami that last them through the year.

One afternoon Mario returned from a nearby fish auction with a tonne of fish bought from his fisherman friends. I gutted my first fish that afternoon and we helped clean maybe 100 more while Mario salted 50 kilos of anchovies. That evening he cooked the most delicious fish gently poached in a pot of incredible homemade passata, wine, garlic and olives. Another food highlight was the fried pardon-style peppers and raw minced meat seasoned simply with salt, pepper and wine covered with freshly shaved local truffles. And the fresh pasta… I could go on. It was all so bloody delicious.

On our final evening Mario’s family came for dinner and he fired up the pizza oven while the whole team helped prepare the delicious rounds of dough. A perfect send off. They really know how to work hard but also get the absolute most out of their day. They take such pleasure in their land and the food that they cook, it’s catching.

We are so happy and thankful to have experienced this small amount of time on their farm. They welcomed us with such generosity and their enthusiasm, vitality and ability to live so thoroughly off the land is enviable. IMG_3499IMG_3333IMG_3358IMG_3360

IMG_3340 IMG_3350     IMG_3382IMG_3366IMG_3394    IMG_3439IMG_3516IMG_3464 IMG_3491    IMG_3503 IMG_3506

IMG_3509   IMG_3524 IMG_3531 IMG_3537 IMG_3546 IMG_3551 IMG_3552IMG_3364IMG_3561 IMG_3562  IMG_3573IMG_3567 All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

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I recently changed my Instagram handle from @thesecretgardenblog to @sophia_kaplan

Still the same photographs of gardens and flowers, but I wanted it to reflect my new branding and website.

Some recent posts…

All images by Sophia Kaplan.

Located in the marais, the Jardin des Rosiers – Joseph-Mignaret has been accessible via the Maison de l’Europe for some time, but only recently have they opened up the rue des Rosier entrance, meaning it was a completely new find for me in a neighbourhood I thought I was quite familiar with. I am sure there are so many gardens like it in Paris, hiding just out of view.

The garden is named after Joseph Mignaret, a local teacher dedicated to the Resistance during the war. After 165 of his Jewish students were deported (none were to survive) he became active in the underground network assisting Jews escape deportation to the camps. He has since been honoured as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.

It’s a beautiful garden filled with birch, green walls, apple espalier and a thriving vegetable patch. A fitting memorial to Mignaret.

  

Entry via 10 rue des Rosier or through the Maison de l’Europe, 35-37 rue des Francs-Bourgeois.

It’s been a big couple of weeks since I arrived back in Australia. Ten hours after I touched down I was flying again up to Port Douglas for the wedding of the lovely Lucy and Nick and a long weekend away with my family. Hanging with my gorgeous baby nephew and soaking up the tropical sun completely evaporated any possible post Paris sadness. Now I’m back to work with Jardine, ChrisThe Glue Society, my own flower jobs, and another project I’ll tell you more about later for a crazy busy rest of year. Perhaps it’s a little corny but Paris always leaves me feeling energised and inspired for what’s yet to come.

So to Paris. I booked my ticket a week before I flew and left my visit a surprise from my sister. When she saw me at our regular Sunday cafe spot there was a lot of love and jumping around and a smile that lasted on both our faces for my entire trip. Over the couple of weeks I was there friends trickled home from their August holidays and it was such a pleasure to catch up with each and every one of them. Special mention goes to my French Family: Angele, Robinson, Pierre, Francois, Pauline, Emile, Flo, and friends Etienne, Charlotte, Monsieur Floch, Marietta, Artus, Jade, and Rebecca along with the visiting Aussies Luke, Mike, Kitty, Jamie and Monty. And of course my actual sister Olive. Love you, miss you loads already.

Here are some pics from my first day in Paris, wandering from the Marché d’Aligre through the marais, Place des Vosges and then a friend’s rooftop bar, le Perchoir. More photos to come of a few French gardens, a wedding in Croatia, and a quick pit stop in London.

 

All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

Tiff and I had a fun afternoon shooting some pics in the park with friend and photographer Kurt Davies. Forgive some of our more serious faces.

IMG_3927newAll photographs by Kurt Davies.

Last night we saw the strikingly beautiful La Grande Bellezza at the Open Air Cinema (check out the trailer here). Before the show we took a wander through the Royal Botanic Gardens. The garden is set on Sydney harbour and is always a nice spot for a picnic. This particular evening the flora was glowing pink, red and orange and I was reminded how charming this spot is.

Botanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensBotanic GardensAll photographs by Sophia Kaplan & Marie Laubie.

These pics are not super heavy on the gardens and flowers but I wanted to share them nonetheless as Italy was another highlight of our summer adventure. From Mont Blanc to San Vincenzo, Portofino to Pisa we drove we ate and we drank a lot of spritz.

ItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyWe also spent a week at a friends place in Tuscany for the Palio horserace of Sienna. Grazie mille to Lodo and his family for taking such good care of us.

ItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyNext stop Corse and Monaco!

Photographs by Sophia & Olivia Kaplan and Pierre Voirin.

The always gorgeous Tiff visited me in Paris last weekend. We spent one afternoon wandering through le marais where I introduced her to one of my favourite little gardens in the entrance to the Musée Carnavalet.

Swirling hedge designs are bordered by seasonal bright flowers and even some rainbow spinach. I used to live just around the corner and it was a always peaceful spot for me to escape the bustle of the street.

Musée CarnavaletMusée CarnavaletMusée CarnavaletMusée CarnavaletMusée Carnavalet Musée CarnavaletMusée CarnavaletAll photographs by Olivia and Sophia Kaplan.

I visited the High Line in New York for the first time in summer last year and it was top of my list of things to do when I was back in town earlier this month. This rambling walkway park is made from a disused rail line and runs from Chelsea to Meatpacking.

High LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineIts historical past is beautifully evident in the old tracks and planting design which mimics the self-seeded landscape which once covered the unused tracks.

High LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineHigh LineSydney recently proposed its own version of the High Line, which they’ve called the Goods Line. Hopefully we get to see it get made.

All photographs by Sophia Kaplan.

Beautiful wisteria in Venice and delicious home grown artichokes.

ItalyItalyItalyItalyItalyAll photographs by Tiffany Hague.

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