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in granny's footstepsI’ve always wondered whether my desire to ‘go slow’ and live off the land is a product of my upbringing or something more innate, inherited over several generations. We popped down to Wales for a quick trip at the end of the school holidays and it turned out to be a much bigger adventure than I’d imagined. The showers held off long enough on Monday for a trip to Colby Gardens and a very muddy walk along Long Lane to the beach at Amroth.

The reluctant gardener has been researching our family tree for as long as I have known him. Recently he discovered that  Long Lane was the birthplace of my great great grandmother. The cottage is long gone but it did give me a thrill to be walking along the lanes that she frequented both as a child and later as a redoubtable old lady in her pony and trap, delivering milk, cheese,veg and pickles to her neighbours

I come from a long line of Welsh farmers and I suppose that may be one of the reasons why working the land is so important to me. Sarah’s love of all things horsey seems to stem from there too. My family bred shire horses and used them on the farm. Sarah was delighted to learn that my great grandfather used to ride a pony to school every day and came home with what has become her most prized possession – his stirrups,  donated by a very elderly aunt during the weekend.

Sepia shire horses

School’s back tomorrow and it’s going to be very difficult to convince one of the apprentices to walk there. I don’t think stables are part of the school’s development plan for this year.

What do you think? Is it nature or nurture that makes keen gardeners?