At this same time last year, I visited my dear friend Caroline Courtauld’s English country house, Spencer’s, and its gorgeous gardens (www.spencersgarden.net)
at the height of mid-summer. The stunning 17-acre garden was at its peak and awash in a sea of vivid colors. It was spectacular!!
Unlike most British gardeners, Caroline prefers the French method of growing vegetables alongside flowers instead of the typical English design of keeping the two separate. We feasted that evening on a light spinach soup, steamed zucchini, and the first of the season’s broad beans and pan-seared salmon. All of the succulent, organic vegetables were picked right before dinner.
Caroline & I met on our first trip to China in 1979. We both signed on to one of the first official tourist groups to witness the culturally ravaged (but still extraordinary) country. In addition to being an author and photographer of a number of books on Burma, Hong Kong and China, she is on the board of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres, an organization established by her late friend, Maggie Keswick Jencks (who was a famous author, landscape designer, and painter) and her husband Charles, the noted architect. The fourteen centers offer help for cancer patients and their families, including information, benefits, advice, psychological support, and courses in stress reducing strategies — and everything is free of charge.