Mickey, your story of renovating Glenmore House is such an amazing achievement. How did it feel finally putting pen to paper and writing down your experiences?
I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to document the process of restoration and building, alongside the story of raising a family and creating a garden with some silly stories along the way. But while writing them for our own personal record was one thing, exposing our story for others to read was quite another, and something I felt quite squeamish about. The only reason for doing so was that visitors to Glenmore had been asking me to write it all down for years, and if our peculiar tale can inspire others in some small way, then the result is well worth the telling.
What is your advice for beginner gardeners?
Start – just make a start! Dig some earth, sow seed, buy a plant….just start somewhere. Don’t be afraid to get your hands in the soil – put on old clothes and throw yourself into the task. Along the way read all you can, visit gardens, ask questions – no gardener will ever laugh at your question, no matter how daft – they are the most encouraging people on earth who love to share their knowledge and help new gardeners.
Where do you find inspiration for your interiors?
I draw a lot from personal experience, travel, historical detail, paintings, books and magazines of course – all of which can take you on an imaginative journey. But sometimes a scrap of fabric is all I need.
Some of your recipe inspiration came from when you were living in the UK. Do you find that your recipes are shaped by your memories and experiences?
Yes of course. Recipes have the ability to take us straight back to where we first enjoyed eating whatever it may be. Take the Pea & Lovage soup recipe on page 221: the soup itself has a texture like velvet and the most sensational taste. I remember thinking how silly that four of us ordered the same thing late one Sunday evening at the Dean Street Townhouse in London where we stayed after a family wedding on the Isle of Wight. We were quite weary and the soup sent us all into raptures! Each time I make it I’m reminded of that weekend…..and so it goes…
What is your favourite vegetable when it’s in season?
I always hate that question because it will be whatever veg IS in season! I love the ephemerality of the garden…..the looking forward to the next thing…..the passing of the last. But if I must choose, I think I’d say the pea…..for the way it clambers up tunnels and wigwams with twining tendrils, creating impact in the garden; for its delightful flowers and decorative fresh green pods so translucent in the evening light; not to mention those sweet little morsels that can be popped from their pods and eaten on the spot!
Lastly, given your love for interiors, renovation and gardening, who would you invite to a dinner party at Glenmore?
Carole Bamford, Gael Boglione, Kit Kemp, Jasper Conran, William Yeoward and Ben Pentreath. They would make for a lively discussion on interiors and gardens from grand to rustic, chic and elegant to whimsical and fun. They’re all well-travelled and use their imagination to create places and spaces to inspire, engage and delight.