95 - The Legend of Abbey Brook

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Back in that odd little seasonal hinterland that lies somewhere after Christmas but before spring sets in, we left the children with the grandparents for the afternoon and escaped for a quiet drive down through the peaks (and through the amazing Chatsworth estate - serious heart eyes for that) to Abbey Brook.

Unassumingly nestled at the bottom of Brian and Gill Fearn's garden, a pared back but nonetheless wondrous version of its former self (having once had many more operational cactus houses before being scaled back to wind down a little). A small but perfectly formed cactus lovers dream, and surely the most photographed nursery north of the M25.

My jaw visibly dropped as we pulled back the door to the specimen house and I could honestly spend all day there taking everything in. Even their "mess", cast offs once deemed unfit for purpose and abandoned under the tables, are thriving in their own beautiful way. It was our good fortune to get to speak to Gill who set us straight on a thing or two about lithops and told us a little of the story of Abbey Brook as she showed us around.

We were most excited to get to see the propagation house as it isn't open to the public in general and Gill clued us in on a few things we could be doing to grow our own for the shop too. She has amassed knowledge over the years and her travels that I could only dream of, it was the most beautiful thing to see two people with a business that is literally part of the fabric of their being. The photos don't do it justice but have a look anyway.

We now stock a few select specimen plants from Abbey Brook - currently only in store but we are considering having a Plant Market Monday on Instagram stories to enable you to see what we have in stock and order. Get in touch if this is something that would be of interest to you and we'll keep you posted. You can see the rest of our Outdoors In range here.

94 - NEWS

Well, we've been busy lately. Busier than the busiest of bees on a hot summer day with directions to a freshly blooming patch of lavender.

I have ceased being a one woman show and finally given in to the fact that I can't do it all, no matter how much I might want to for feelings of ownership or pride or whatever else has been at play when I've frequently refused help on this enterprise that is growing every day. Since we opened the shop almost a year ago (which I fully appreciate I still haven't posted about...) I've been steadily letting go of some responsibilities. That's not to say I'm lounging by a pool daily, reading books and drinking cocktails watching my bank balance increase whilst someone else does The Work (tho that would be awesome - for a week until I got bored and wanted in on the action again). I am learning limitations. Passing off the stuff I'm not great at to be able to focus on the things I'm awesome with. We still aren't completely there just yet. We are, as they say, a work in progress.

If you have ventured into the shop you will have more than likely dealt with the man of the house. He's far better at people you see and isn't socially awkward like I fear I am when not being my online self. He's also very chatty and not easily flustered. Shop = his thing. Contemplative attention to detail, love of typography that works as well as it should and bringing a concept to life, that is what I do best.

There's a point to this, I promise...

One of the changes that has come about as a result of all of this, is this lovely blog space here. It will, from today and forever more, be the blog space of Alfie's Studio. New products, fresh designs, makers stories, environmental goodness and all such related articles. In view that Alfie's Studio is no longer my personal brand but has grown into a thing all of it's own, I'm giving it space. I'm now going to be blogging over at adventuresingreyandgreen.com - I hope you'll join me there. N.

NOTE: The new layout looks a little funny at times with posts that don't have an image. We're unsure yet whether to go back to each and every one and add an image or to leave it as it is. Either way, we apologise for any bits that look anything less than awesome.

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