Fri 22 – Sun 25 June
British Flowers Week – until Sun 25 June
Celebrate British Flowers Week by buying a locally grown bunch. Go on, I dare you. Eschew imported petals! Banish the jet-lagged bloom! Here in Herts, you have a choice. In Berko, Barnet and Baldock you can buy direct from growers and flower farmers. Gillyflower in Berkhamsted, Urban Flower Farmer in East Barnet and Baldock Flower Farm. Check them out. One thing I promise you, these locally grown, organic and seasonal flowers are completely different: tendrilly at times, loose and free, totally themselves, and the perfume is intoxicating. It’s British Flowers Week: wake up and smell the roses! And the nepeta, foxgloves, delphiniums and sweet peas.
Karl Blossfeldt, Broadway Gallery, Fri 23 Jun – Sun 10 Sept
This Hayward Touring exhibition, Art Forms in Nature, is fab. I went to the private view last night in Letchworth and the gallery space – light, white and bright – is the perfect setting for these stunning botanical photographs. If you don’t know Karl Blossfeldt (1865-1932), and I didn’t, he developed homemade cameras and lenses in order to magnify his subjects by up to 30 times. His photographs were celebrated by early Modernists and Surrealists during the 1920s. Definitely worth a visit. Great cafe, too.
Major Barbara, Shaw’s Corner, Fri 23 – Sun 25 June
First of all, the photo above isn’t Major Barbara! The door is one that George Bernard Shaw used to walk through, when he’d had enough of writing plays in the revolving shed at the bottom of his garden. Shaw’s Corner, if you don’t know, is Shaw’s former home and it is one of those hidden gems that some of us know and love and others are yet to discover its delights. This weekend, you’ll be able to enjoy a play about an arms manufacturer in conflict with his Salvation Army daughter. I’ve made that sound deadly serious, but I promise you, it’s light hearted satire. Take a picnic, roll out your rug and settle in for drama in the garden of the playwright’s home. You’ll love it. Major Barbara, Shaw’s Corner, Ayot St Lawrence, AL6 9BX.
George Michael Legacy, Alban Arena, Fri 23 June
It’s still hard to contemplate life without George. On Friday you can celebrate his legacy at the Arena in St Albans. Wayne Dilks plays George and his reputation for having a canny likeness has made him a star in his own right. Singing along is mandatory. It’s June, it’s hot, so I suggest that the dress code should be Club Tropicana. Any excuse to drink cocktails, and you know that Suckerpunch won Best Bar in the Muddy Awards? You could swing by on your way home. 8pm.
Hampstead, Garden City Cinema, from Fri 22 June
I know, I know. Already there’s dissent about a ‘silver years’ Richard Curtis style Notting Hill mash up, but I just love Diane Keaton and I’ll be going to see this regardless of anyone who tries to put me off. Hampstead is directed by Joel Hopkins, who I seem to remember made a film in London with Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson. (And I liked it). Inspired by a true story, this is about Emily (Diane Keaton) who falls in love with Donald (Brendan Gleeson) who has claimed squatters rights on Hampstead Heath. Yes it could be treacly. Yes it could be Annie Hall in north London. Whatever you say, I’m on my way.
Friday night cocktails, The White Hart, Welwyn
Speaking of cocktails, did you know that Friday night cocktail night at The White Hart in Welwyn is fast becoming A THING? Oh yes. The list is something to behold and the team who build the drinks are everything you’d want from mixologists. Seriously, The White Hart on a Friday night is THE place to be. The last time I was there I enjoyed this local Pinkster gin with elderflower and raspberries. Delicious.
Dog Fest, Knebworth House, Sat 24 and Sun 25 June
Supervet Noel probably needs no introduction and he’ll be at Knebworth House (finalist in the Muddy Awards for Best Family Attraction) all weekend. Persuading your pooch to give up the sofa to join in with games could be a bit like convincing your kids that it would be a good idea to leave their devices at home to try out an obstacle course. Your cockapoo can choose from flyball, dog diving, temptation alley, the hay bale race and there are various Top Dog competitions. There’s a school for dogs and there’s even an HR department: Jobs for Dogs. Good luck! You can turn up on the day.