Dienstag, 18. April 2017

Roadtrip: Azalea Season

Furzey Gardens, New Forest

I had promised myself another trip to Furzey Gardens in the New Forest ever since the unexpected autumn colour spectacle that I found there in November and even though I could feel the beginnings of a cold catching hold I took the chance of Easter Monday bank holiday to pay a second visit.

I arrived quite early and had the gardens to myself for a while, apart from a ginger cat called Lily who accompanied me for the first twenty minutes. This time I had expected a great display but was again overwhelmed by the boldness of colour combinations, especially in the azeleas that are now coming into their own, the fresh foliage of the acers and the scented summer azeleas. If I had to draw up a High Fidelity style top five favourite gardens, Furzey Gardens would currently hold number one.

Much love,

Summer azaleas have a very distinctive fragrance

Lily the cat

Camellia, almost open

Some great structures.

This acer and the azalea in the background just work so well together.

Not quite sure what this climber is ... but the buds remind me of teeth on a necklace

Freitag, 14. April 2017

Roadtrip: Cricklade Fritillaries

Purple and white snake's head fritillaries
It was quite chilly today but we had planned to see the famous snake'shead fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris) at  North Meadow nature reserve in Cricklade for some time. This old hay meadow is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and supports Britain's largest population of the rare fritillaries and it took us at least one hour to walk around the meadow. The fritillaries moved with the breeze like a field of little bells and a sparkly purple haze seems to hover over the grass and it is a shame that these impressions don't translate to photos. Afterwards we went for lunch to the Fritillary Tea Room, organised by the Cricklade Bloomers where a wide range of plants was on sale, so I bought a few for the shady part of my garden, a variegated solomon's seal and a geranium, as these seem to do quite well in my garden.

If you're in the area, North Meadow is really worth the drive and the second and third week of April is the best time to see the fritillaries!

Much love,

Purple haze: North Meadow Nature Reserve

The German name for these flowers is 'Schachbrettblume' (chessboard flower) and here you can see why.

Sonntag, 9. April 2017

Q1 Omnibus

I am slowly coming out of hibernation but as we have been having uncommonly glorious weather over the last four days I really need to clear the decks for future photographs - so here is the collection for the first 3 months of 2017!

Much love,

Bristol Cathedral - a few days before Christmas, not yet 2017 ...

Dyrham Park, near Bath, almost 2017

Winter bark, Dyrham Park

Walk on Bucklebury Common, January 2017

Bucklebury Common

Bucklebury Common

Hamish, annoyed
The Queen is in residence - Windsor, end of February

Walk on Fyfield Downs, these are the Sarsen stones they built Stonehenge out of

Fyfield with dramatic sky

RHS Garden Wisley, middle of March


Azelias, magnolias: Wisley


Coloured bark and water, Wisley

The camellia for my fourth year in the cottage is called 'April Snow'

Mittwoch, 21. Dezember 2016

Halfway out of the dark

Happy winter soltice, everyone!

I started off for Avebury a bit late this morning and had quite a tricky drive as the rain was coming down hard and the A4 between Hungerford and Marlborough started to flood in Savernake Forest. Unfortunately the National Trust hadn't opened its car park this year but I managed to find a spot to park (with a great view towards Silbury Hill as it turned out) - and the rain had suddenly stopped!

I arrived in the stone circle feeling a bit rushed but as soon as I found my spot on the wall I started to calm down. There were quite a lot of people around and everyone looked towards the sun. Unlike last year when dark grey just became a lighter grey it was quite a dramatic spectacle.

Unfortunately my camera was quite unhappy with the low light levels and I fear that it might be on its last legs; lots of the pictures have weird stripes but I was able to find a few that document the sun rising after the longest night of the year.

Much love,

Lots of people on the wall

Silbury Hill near Avebury