I've just returned from a fab five days in Burgundy, staying at the beautiful Le Moulin Prunier, home of the Hungry Cyclist, Tom Kevell-Davies. Restoring the old mill as a guest lodge, running cycling tours, cooking, brushing up on his wine knowledge (for research purposes only) has been a labour of love for the past four years.
The Mill is set in five acres of land, including a stream, mill pond, orchard and nuttery and a garden. Unusually for me I was up most mornings at 5.30am and I finally discovered why most garden photographers think this is the best time of day. The light is soft, the shadows long, there is still dew on the ground and, most importantly, no one else is around.
The English Border, as I like to call it, was initially dug over by wild boar. The perennials here are mostly gifts and swaps with a few purchases.
At this time of year there is a predominance of soft blues, purples and grey
Stunning when back-lit against the early morning sun.
At the top of the garden is the mill pond. It was fascinating to see how this changed with the different light and weather conditions.
Early in the morning, before the sun falls on it, the water is a deep and cool green. A kingfisher uses this bird house as a fishing perch apparently.
After a huge thunderstorm the water level rose nearly a foot in height. Most of the plants became submerged and the water fully reflected the surrounding foliage.
Successful country gardens reflect and draw on the countryside around them. Tom's garden is no exception, with views of the vineyards that surround the village. Pinot noir and chardonnay, if you're wondering.
Tom's other passion is collecting - cycling memorabilia and bric a brac. The garden contains a few well-placed pieces of furniture, including this old bench.
This bridge across the stream is made from an old wine barrel, quite a large one by all accounts.
I couldn't work out if this collection of pieces was deliberate or random in its placing, next to the cellar.
During my stay I was lucky enough to borrow a macro lens for a day. It was quite tricky to get the hang of (more practice needed), but some beginner's luck resulted in a few good shots.
Tom is aided and abetted by the delightful Mirabelle.
Really the best thing about being up this early is that someone else has made breakfast, ready just when you need it.
A big thankyou to Tom, Desna, Susannah, Sarah, Chris and Rob for a fab holiday.
The Hungry Cyclist Lodge - http://www.thehungrycyclist.com/