It has always, always amused me that a pub only has to have a scrappy old bit of grass with some bench tables and it can claim to have a “Beer Garden”.

Pubs and gardens have loomed into my mind recently.

Last week there was a pub on TV that had donated part of it’s garden for locals to grow veg as part of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Landshare thing. All very laudable, but I can’t help but wondering exactly how philanthropic their motives are. Digging is thirsty work after all.

A few days later, the RHS’s mag The Garden arrived and included a piece on the garden at The Star a pub in North Yorkshire. Though I’m not sure if somewhere with a Michelin star and 15 chefs actually still counts as a pub, The garden really looked amazing akin to Raymond Blanc’s Manoir. I’m sure with these things that whilst the plot does provides some food it largely a statement of intent-cum-shopwindow for good produce and all that.

The final pub in this trilogy was The Pot Kiln a well regarded gastro pub that even had a TV programme about its garden – called I think Heaven’s Garden. We went along on ‘Pizza Sunday’ and the food, cooked outside in a pizza oven, was great, as was the local West Berkshire Brewery beer, but the garden (garden proper that is – as opposed to the drinking area) was… well a bit ropey. It looked like an allotment that had been started by a keen youngster and then fallen behind once the kids arrived. Quite a bit like my own allotment in fact and as such I feel qualified to comment. Now I don’t reckon for one minute that it is supplying more than a smidgen of the pub’s veg/herbs, and so surely it should be a lot better – more akin to the aforementioned restaurant show gardens.

I know this might sound like I’m being bad bit picky – after all my garden and allotment are crap, but then they haven’t been promoted as heavenly and they don’t have piles of long dead weeds and uncoiled hoses dotted around them.

Not on a Sunday anyhow.

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