Sunday, 29 November 2015

Breezy Knees Gardens, York, 5th September 2015

One of the best maintained and stocked gardens in the North of England lies five miles outside York at the delightfully named Warthill. Breezy Knees Gardens was opened in 1999 by Colin and Marylen Parker. Its roots as a farm are easy to see as one enters via the cafe and tramps through the fields along a path though flat land, bordered by rabbit resistant perennials to the fenced in area that is the the home to the fourteen acres of gardens. One of my favourite writers on gardens, John Grimshaw, head gardener at Colesbourne Park, complained in 2012 about the "square-line fetish" of the garden's construction. I noted this but truly the vast number of perennials in fabulous condition is the overwhelmingly positive  Indeed the lay-out greatly improves identification of plants, particularly as they are all clearly labelled up. Tomorrow I shall identify some of the plants that took my eye but for now fill your boots and enjoy the straight lines.








Saturday, 28 November 2015

Helleborus niger 'Christmas Carol'

Helleborus niger 'Christmas Carol' is one of a number of heavily marketed, named varieties to be seen in garden centres. I tend to buy my plants in flower as then I know what I am getting. Hellebores are magical plants in winter, flowering when all else, or nearly all else, is gloom, "Christmas Carol" is the most upright of our Christmas Roses. I chose it for that reason. No drooping beauty this. Look at the plant this morning before the rain, when the first flower of the year is as resplendent as a daffodil in Spring. The flower has a pink tinge as it ages, not its finest quality in my opinion.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Castle Howard at Christmas, 27th November 2015

It is only eight or so years ago that Castle Howard set out to attract more visitors for Christmas. This year their decorations were tasteful and complemented the stately rooms. Today's weather forecast was wrong. This beautiful area of north Yorkshire was sunny and mild. Inside a mix of the grand and the domestic. A cinnamon scone and coffee. It felt like Christmas.























Sunday, 22 November 2015

Madeira's Jardim Botanical Gardens, April 1st 2015

Jardim Botanico gardens sit some two miles from Funchal, up a steep hill that necessitated us taking a bus, though on previous occasions we have used a taxi for a modest sum. Laid out in 1881 and moving to its present site in 1960, the gardens are a principal draw for tourists and worth the entrance fee. One walks steadily downhill from the entrance to where the universally friendly taxi drivers await. Despite our return ticket for the bus we took a taxi. Madeira is a place of spectacular heights. Somewhere I have pictures of our levada walks of past years to prove we have a head for heights.


Arriving early in the morning, the café was deserted.


A frog!


Our boat.






We can't grow these at home.

 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Galanthophile Diaries

Here's an excellent Facebook page for those who love snowdrops: Galanthophile Diaries.
 

I discovered it while researching my new acquisitions, one of which is featured on the screenshot. It is full of info and some stunning images. I don't subscribe to Facebook myself despite the obvious temptations. When I used to write about animation I was besieged a little by enthusiasts and decided to wear a hard hat and take a back seat in this blog. Facebook diaries like this may make me reconsider perhaps. Whatever, some of my own snowdrops are becoming a little more conspicuous and there is a race to be in flower led by one of my own little seedlings. We'll see. In the meantime visit Galanthophile Diaries and dream a while.
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Friday, 20 November 2015

Autumn Display of Perennials at Lakeland Horticultural Society, Holehird Gardens, 22nd September 2014

We visited Holehird a week ago but a combination of rain and a ruined camera meant that I failed to make the necessary clicks. However here is a series of photographs I took of the September display last year. I'd been on a writing assignment for HF Holidays. The photographs were taken on our last day. They feature the inner walled garden.



Whatever the weather, volunteers come from many miles around to give generously of their time. Indeed last weekend when floods and storms hit the Cumbrian fells there were still amateur gardeners toiling away in the 17 acres.





The gardens are free to visit though the society depends on donations. In their hillside setting overlooking Windermere a journey there is an essential part of the Lakes experience.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Cleethorpes, 19th November 2015

Time was when the East Coast resort of Cleethorpes was a little tatty and, whereas I'm definitely not keen on amusement arcades, the seafront has been cleaned up very nicely and, as our nearest seaside town, it takes less than one hour to be parked and embracing the sea air. One end is still tat, the other welcoming and landscaped.


"Oliver's" where we had afternoon coffee having enjoyed lunch with our family at "Marples". Both are well recommended.


Strange as it may seem, the sea is not always visible here in the Humber Estuary.


The Humber Estuary is ne of the top three sites in England for birds, the mud flats teeming with birds of all sorts.


Here I tested my long range zoom on my brand spanking new Panasonic Lumix TMC TZ70, purchased because attempting to use my previous Sony compact in the Lake District last week ruined the damn thing so it is impractical to pay for a repair. Anyway enough of my problems. The bird below is a Dunlin viewed from the 30x zoom.


Not sure what this bird is but it's part of the landscaping.



Below is the less attractive end of Cleethorpes. The final two images look across the estuary towards Spurn Point.