I don’t know if it was the stillness of the air, the steel grey sky against the vibrant hues of the autumn leaves, or just that warm feeling inside when you buy out the time to enjoy a leisurely lunch that I experienced.
I travelled past the now free flowing Markeaton island; or at least it was today, after months of road works, and into the verdant countryside that so tightly embraces the city of Derby. Through the pretty village of Kirk Langley, on the Ashbourne road, and I turned right, down curving country lanes to Meynell Langley Gardens where I was meeting my daughter for a spot of lunch.
As I parked I could see the Trial Gardens in their fading summer glory, still brimming with colour though with a scattering of leaves over them. To the left is the garden nursery and the newly extended coffee shop where we were meeting up. Reminiscent of a Swiss log cabin, cheerful red leather chairs are in informal groups as you enter. The counter is laden with an extensive assortment of cakes, tray bakes and scones all obviously home-made and delightfully indulgent, and to the side a blackboard menu displays the daily choices.
We were greeted by friendly staff, all smartly clad, and found a table in the adjacent conservatory, which, although it was light and airy, was also pleasantly warm. Ordering our drinks, we looked through the menu which offers a selection of Panninis, baked potato’s with a selection of fillings and sandwiches. My choice was the home-made cheese and onion quiche which was served with a pot of chutney, a crisp side salad and potato crisps. It was lovely, creamy with a mixture of finely chopped onions and a short pastry. Home-made lasagne was also on the menu but I decided that would be for next time! The soups are worth a special mention as they are freshly made each day from vegetables grown on site and are extremely popular.
The cakes we chose to follow were sumptuous, a light chocolate sponge and a moist almond slice, so big we were offered wraps to take them home in (which we eagerly did). Feeling sorry for my husband at home nursing a cold, we took a treat for him too. We sat and enjoyed catching up on each others news until we realised that we only had a few minutes to look around the nursery until the school run called.
Meynell Langley is one of the few remaining nursery gardens, selling their own plants raised and cared for on site. It is a family business which goes back four generations, and to anyone who loves their garden it is a real treasure and pleasure to experience. We came away with pots of Wallflowers, packets of bulbs, a generous bunch of freshly cut chrysanthemums and good advice on planting, as well as a truly enjoyable lunch. It was a pleasure to meet Robert and Karen who have put so much love and care into creating and preserving this lovely place, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did.