The orchard at Coleshill Organics was the perfect setting for the classic Shakespeare comedy As You Like It, hosted here on Saturday 30 June as part of the National Trust’s Coleshill Big Picnic & Food Festival.

As I joined the 60 or so guests watching the play beneath a sinking sun, with the rolling Wiltshire fields in the distance and birdsong all around, I had a moment of clarity

Presented by the wonderful Sun & Moon Theatre Company, it’s a play all about escaping the stresses and strains and discord of court life; a place where people argue and fall out, and then escape to the forest of Arden. Here, they find harmony, peace and joy.

‘Theatre’ goers enjoying the weather

As I joined the 60 or so guests sat on straw bales set among the apple trees, watching the play beneath a sinking sun with the rolling Wiltshire fields in the distance and birdsong all around, I had a moment of clarity. This is what is uniquely special about the walled garden. A place where somehow, whatever else is going on in life, harmony can be restored. A place where we can reconnect with what is important, find a sense of perspective and go out into the world a happier person. I was hugely grateful to the Sun and Moon Theatre group, a talented troupe of young actors, for performing this wonderful play in my orchard.

Barny Haughton and his wonderful team from the Square Food Foundation had grilled, chopped and sliced those very same vegetables to produce the most delicious, fresh and exciting meal possible

Square Food Foundation serving their culinary delights

I was equally grateful to Matt Dale, my grower, and his band of garden apprentices, as we all strolled back through the garden after the play past row upon row of vibrant, healthy vegetables on proud display.

When we all finally arrived at the top of the garden, there was Barny Haughton and his wonderful team from the Square Food Foundation. His chefs had grilled, chopped and sliced those very same vegetables to produce the most delicious, fresh and exciting meal possible, closing what was a perfect circle. That is what I call harmony. That is what I call a truly magical evening.

Sonia (centre) and guests

Needless to say, I was equally grateful to everyone who joined us. I’m already looking forward to hosting similar events in the future!

Sonia