A few months ago I had a meeting, it was very interesting. As is my way I arrived with a rucksack of bottles and various twigs, leaves, resins and petals. I always find meetings go well when I surround myself with the tools of my trade, they somehow offer an explanation of what I do far better than a document or even a verbal description. I lay them out on the table and as I start to talk, picking each up in turn, I feel the connection, as if I am a bridge between the client and the landscape. Without them, I feel hopelessly lost.Read More
Once a year in June, when our Roses are in full bloom, I throw open the doors of the barn and welcome in the intrepid group of people who want to experience the absolute joy of wild perfumery. It's a day of immersion in scent, an invitation to try out the way I work myself and it’s utterly liberating.
Working with plants can be challenging. Seeds sown enthusiastically may not germinate. Sometimes the precious little seedlings put into the poly tunnel to grow on might be snacked on by mice. Small plants potted on and cared for so carefully if planted out too soon can fall prey to rabbits, slugs or snails. And then there’s the weather…a late frost, an early drought, too much rain at the wrong time, too much sun (very unlikely here), not enough sun (a familiar story) Farming/gardening is a roller coaster.Read More
Autumn is here. My nightly need for fresh air with windows flung open, suddenly tempered by the realisation last night that I was not cool but cold. It’s curious the small cues that mark the seasonal change long before the leaves are turning and the plants begin their full on retreat back into the earth for a season or two of hibernation and regeneration. It starts with the air. A change in the scent and an almost perceptible thickening of its texture so apparent at dawn.Read More
Unexpectedly I find myself sitting – this is unheard of through the Summer when the flowers are reaching their peak and the distilling, drying and plant work flows like an unstoppable tide of greenery to rejoice over and manage. However, having fallen over rather badly whist dashing to the farm last week, I’m now directing operations rather than doing them. It is a very strange sensation.
It is a bright sunny day here, the scent from the jasmine by our door wafts in and roses from the farm brought by Emily our guardian of the garden, offer a reminder of the sheer abundance of this time of year.Read More
It is that glorious time, the point in the year when the hedgerows are bursting with flowers and plants full of healing and taste. About a week ago the wonderful A.S Apothecary team headed out on our annual hunt for Elderflower. This has become something of a ritual for us, a moment in the year to come together and celebrate the sheer abundance of the Elder and to marvel at how it grows in the least hospitable places, often on the far side of deep ditches surrounded by thickets of the largest healthiest nettles to be found anywhere.Read More
The barn at the farm is both sanctuary and plant space. It houses our Alembic Stills, the drying racks, shelves of jars and bottles filled with any number of experiments, flowers and herbs. It is the heart of A.S APOTHECARY. The place where ideas and ingredients come together in alchemical harmony. It is the place I retreat to when I need to think through an idea or reflect on some troubling aspect of life or business.Read More
It’s 5.45am. I’m sitting in a little wooden hut looking out at a dawn breaking over miles of pristine golden sand with only the sound of the sea gently lapping at the shore. The cabin is basic but ideal for a couple of nights break at the end of a week of constant picking and distilling with my sister. It is my guilty pleasure. It is as far as one can travel on this island and one of the last places to remain truly unspoilt. Donkeys with extra big ears mosey along, birds chirrup joyfully, there is no traffic, no noise beyond the natural and, at this magical time of year, an abundance of endemic cyclamen strongly scented of honey and lily of the valley and wild flowers as far as the eye can see. Tourists have yet to arrive, the sea being cold and the temperature only around 22C. I love it. It makes me feel free.Read More
At this time of year we are normally sitting back to draw breath before the Christmas orders start arriving, but this year is slightly different. With our first A.S APOTHECARY shop about to open in Lewes we are clearing, sorting, painting, packing and making. It is rather more full on than we are used to, but the end and the beginning are within sight.Read More
At Asapoth, we love photography - we feel that unlike any other medium, through photographs we can invite you into the heart of our world. I asked Katie Vandyck, an excellent photographer and friend to write a little about her inspiration...Read More
Wanting to get away a little from the ‘jobs to do in the garden’ type monthly blog, I found my thoughts turning instead to what provides moments of pleasure and indulgence, realizing that for me these things are equally important to achieve, helping provide balance in approach and inspiration for the growing year.Read More
My last post was about an alternative view of business and this update is a development of that. I want to write a little about face to face networking – the painfully awkward moments of attempting to feel comfortable within an edifice of artificially cheery sessions of card swapping and lift-style business summaries. I’ve found myself at a few of these events and I die inside as I hear the polished spiel, the 2 minute summary, the craven seeking out of potential work leads. It makes me want to run for the hills.Read More
A couple of weeks ago I was in London for a day, it was a while since I had visited, I always find the hurly burly exhausting after the peace of the workshop. To remedy this, some time ago I decided visits to London would be infinitely more interesting if I travelled by boat and foot, drawing on the delightful experience of criss-crossing the Bosphorus in Istanbul.Read More
We have passed the mid point of our calendar year and the light tide is on the turn but it seems our true summer season is just beginning with some long awaited heat pinking up our cheeks. The freshness of spring has faded with the cow parsley but instead the hedgerows have been heaving with the fragrant creamy plates of Elderflower which seems particularly abundant this year.Read More
Scent is arresting. Bypassing the intellect it resonates with long forgotten associations buried deep within the mind. It is visceral, captivating, at once familiar and unknown. It can flood the memory with thoughts of a particular place, time, person or sensation. We frequently underestimate its power.Read More
Some gardeners accelerate from January dormancy to February fidgeting like a slick motor car, effortlessly taking on board the extra daylight hours, pruning, sowing and digging their way into Spring. Others are perhaps more like tricycles, finding themselves "wasting" a fair few hours just staring at bare weed strewn patches and fantasizing about what might happen there this coming summer.Read More
As the year draws to a close, my excitement builds as I am on a countdown. I love Christmas and its rituals, and enjoy a glass of bubbles on New Years Eve, but it is neither of these dates which I eagerly await. It is the winter solstice on the 21st December , when the days cease to shorten and slowly, slowly the light returns to our gardens; that really signifies the start of a new gardening season.Read More
It’s been a busy few weeks, Christmas boxes to make, new orders to supply and friends to visit and with that, life briefly turned from cooking for the skin to cooking for the stomach. Rain. Hours of catching up. Rain. Chilling out. Rain. Finally the inevitable departure. Joyful and unsettling in equal measure.
I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of November. The elegant and delicate decay of October gives way to grey skies and wet sludgey deadness. This is the lowest point of my gardening year and I recommend a holiday somewhere warm and sunny or a visit to the pub. To combat this morose frame of mind I use it as a time for pulling things apart and starting again. If you have a border or corner of the garden that isn't quite working then go into the gloom and dig it all up.Read More
The process of making an AS.AP face cream and more specifically what makes it unique is an interesting question. In time, a single face cream takes between 30 minutes and 12 months depending on how literally the question is answered but the uniqueness is a more complex issue to consider.Read More