Welcome to the Kitchen Garden...

 Kitchen Garden Sampler from Blue Coppice
The Kitchen Garden of the Honeyapple Meadow estate is an orderly collection of edible plants. Green and purple pea plants wind around bamboo tripods, peppery nasturtiums spill out of terracotta pots, strawberries burst out of strawberry pots and fragrant mint and chives fill the air, while sweet violets scatter the paths.
But look more closely and you'll see that the gardener is at his wits' end. His carefully tended fruits and vegetables are not only under attack from ravenous snails, and he'd swear he had more carrots and leeks yesterday, but now the chickens have got loose and are demolishing the young endives and lettuces. What is he to do?
The chickens are delighted. Maisie is so excited she doesn't know which neatly tied endive to eat next, while Gertrude gorged herself on the baby endives and is now contemplating a nap. Barnaby, the handsome cockerel, watches over his new domain with great pride, oblivious to the less-than-elegant stray lettuce leaf dangling from his beak.
Meanwhile, Mrs Rabbit is gathering ingredients for her famous vegetable soup. She's already collected the finest orange and purple carrots for sweetness and colour and a piquant fat leek for flavour. She's now carefully tugging at a robust parsnip before heading to the potato patch. Mrs Rabbit will choose the finest violets and nasturtiums for a colourful tasty garnish before hopping back to the burrow with her shopping.

Technical notes

This sampler includes a wide range of counted embroidery stitches, from cross stitch (over two and over one) and padded satin stitch, to French and colonial knots and back stitch, not to mention the stumpwork chickens! If you prefer, the chickens can also be cross stitched directly on the sampler. All stitch diagrams and instructions are included in the chart pack and keep an eye on this blog for extra hints and tips through the year.
I used 32ct Permin Waterlily linen for this sampler, adding a strip of 32ct Permin Milk Chocolate linen to represent the soil underneath the vegetable patch. As linen can vary in terms of texture, thread thickness and so on, it's worth getting both colours from the same manufacturer. This makes it easier not only to match up the holes for ease of stitching, but also it gives a consistent 'look' across the two colours. The chart pack includes full instructions for attaching the linen strip, but of course it's also possible to cross stitch the soil instead!
All but one of the threads used are DMC six-stranded cotton. Regular visitors to Honeyapple Meadow will already have guessed that, as usual, I've added a little Kreinik Blending Filament to the bees' wings for a subtle twinkle in the light.
The Kitchen Garden Sampler chart pack including all instructions and diagrams is now available for £23.95.

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