Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Between the rain showers.

I love the beauty of prairie gardens where drifts of grasses and herbaceous plants blend together to create a naturalistic look such as this.......


Last year when I was gathering ideas for our new garden I came across pictures of this garden designed by internationally renowned landscape designer Piet Oudulf on pinterest .I was very excited to discover that the garden was actually in Somerset and only about 90 minutes drive from home. As late summer is when this type of garden is at it's best we just had to go and see it for ourselves! (You may also have seen this location featured in posts by Where five valleys meet and Vintage Jane)


As you can see it was absolutely stunning! This garden was planted using 26,000 herbaceous perennials - that is what you call planting on a grand scale! The mass planting in drifts really created the wow factor and  highlighted to us how, even on a smaller scale, having fewer plants but more of the same variety can look so good.







The location of this garden is in the grounds of Hauser & Wirth a futuristic art gallery and education centre built around a old Somerset farm. It is quite strange to find an international gallery in the country rather than a city- the owners moved down here from London  and then decided to create one of their international galleries here.The current exhibition in the building  revolves around the power of words. My husband found it very thought provoking whereas I found some of it disturbing.It was interesting and we will visit here again to see future exhibitions and of course see how the garden develops and changes through the seasons.


 At the entrance they also had a wonderful raised kitchen garden which is used in the attached bar and grill.


Vintage Jane had also given me many recommendations of other things to do when visiting the gallery. We travelled a few miles on to the town of Frome. We have been here before and I love the buildings.You could just imagine a costume drama taking place here couldn't you?


It is has many independent shops with great names and good places to eat.


The weather is so chargeable at the moment. I had been promising one of my closest friends that we would go for a cream tea at one of my favourite cafe's which is walking distance from home along country footpaths. As we arrived there in the sunshine we could hear the rumble of thunder in the distance. It did not however distract us too much from enjoying our cream tea! On our return walk, as we reached the open fields, the heavens opened. Tavi was the only one that thought it was fun as he ran around and around in circles. We managed to take cover in a wood but we still returned home looking like drowned rats. Luckily the camera wasn't to hand to capture this moment!

Sunday morning it was still raining heavily, in the afternoon the sun reappeared, we decided to visit Abbotsbury sub-tropical gardens to remind us of warmer climes.


The rain drops on the water lillies looked stunning and the late colour in the garden was beautiful. I loved the combination of different coloured hydrangeas growing together and also the cornus tree which was smoothered in insects.


 We even managed to sit and have an ice-cream on the neighbouring beach, it was good to feel summer was still here!


It is always good to hear your thoughts, have you been inspired to visit anywhere from pinterest? Do you like priarie planting or modern art galleries, have you been caught in the rain recently too?

Until next time.
Sarah x

Monday, 17 August 2015

Staycation in Dorset

Since my husband and I first met, we have always spent a week off at home in the summer holidays exploring our beautiful county. After so many years we often return to familiar places and discover something new. This is Kimmeridge in the Purbecks in the south-east of Dorset. These boat sheds still provide shelter for the small local boats that fish out of here for lobster and crab. 


One of the buildings has been converted into marine centre for Dorset Wildlife Trust. As we were looking at the exhibits inside, we were encouraged to rush outside to see a seal that had appeared in the bay. I'm afraid I did not manage to capture it on camera - it's head kept bobbing in and out of the water. I just took lots of images of the sea!  It was wonderful to watch the seal in it's natural habitat.




A new addition to this coastline this year is a sculpture by Anthony Gormley to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Landmark trust who restore old buildings. It looked quite small in the vast landscape looking out to sea. It is a shame it will only be there until May 2016. Other sculptures to celebrate this anniversary are at Lundy, Suffolk, Warwickshire, and Argyll and Bute, see the 3 minute video here.




We climbed the headland to look at Clavell Tower which was built in 1830 as an observatory and folly. The cliffs have eroded over time and in 2006 it was moved brick by brick to it's new location.


Our daughter and Tavi  are standing where it used to be. The tower belongs to the Landmark Trust (mentioned above) and you can even stay there, see here if you want a peak inside!  (NB It's not a sponsored post I just love looking at interiors especially if they are unusual or quirky.)

Another day we revisited Lyme Regis - this time to disappear from the crowds and head inland. With the glorious sunshine we had to begin our walk by looking out at sea!


 Leaving the busy seaside we followed the river up-stream to Uplyme. Through shady paths with just the sound of trickerling water as our companion. This peaceful location was once the pathway taken in 1685 by villagers from Somerset and Dorset who came to Lyme Regis to support the exiled Duke of Monmouth in his ill fated attempt to topple the King James II.



Past a beautiful mill house and other picturesque thatch cottages with names capturing the countryside around them.


We headed over a village cricket ground with a colourful cricket pavilion. It must be wonderful to sit here on a sunny afternoon watching the cricket and admiring the view.


We then walked along empty country lanes until we reached this viaduct. It use to carry trains between Axminster and Lyme Regis but sadly it was one of the lines axed in the 1960's. It must have been a fantastic journey to the sea. 


Heading over the meadows and through some woods we eventually arrived back at the sea. The view was so stunning we just had to stop and marvel at it for a while. It is even better in real life!


Heading back to the car we looked down at those who hadn't been quite so energetic as us!


  On another sunny evening our daughter cooked us sausages on the beach and my husband did some fishing, Tavi did try to fish too and was frustrated when he had to watch from a distance!
 I wandered along the edge of the beach and tried to capture these seed heads glowing in the sunlight.



The fishing was unsuccessful for us, but maybe others might have been luckier !


When the sun shines holidays in the United Kingdom don't seem such a bad idea after all! Do you also spend some of your holidays at home?
Sarah x

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Houghton Lodge Gardens

We visited Houghton Lodge Gardens near Stockbridge in Hampshire with my brother and his Jack Russell dog called Emma. He had visited this garden once before with my sister-in-law who thought the garden and location were so special.They had originally discovered it while searching for gardens that welcome dogs.  It didn't take us long to fall under it's spell too. 


We visited the Peacock Garden first. The peacock was made out of recycled materials and stood proudly surrounded by topiary.

The walled garden was equally impressive with many fruit trees, wild flowers and a border full of plants to create natural dyes.


I noticed this bee on the cardoon, it's body was covered in pollen!

 The house was built as a rural retreat in 1793. The roof of the building, the shape of the windows and the lattice iron work were so pretty.It had wonderful views overlooking the surrounding countryside.


The water meadows led down to the beautiful, clear, River Test. We met the resident Alpacas Tom, Dick and Harry!



We could only admire this beautiful boat house from a distance.

 As we wandered along the river bank we noticed a fisherman on the opposite bank fishing for brown trout.

It was such a peaceful location and the food and drink at the cafe in the walled garden was very good too.It was just so relaxing chatting in such gorgeous surroundings, while admiring the view and enjoying the homemade cake.


Do you think that Tavi and Emma were lucky enough to have some too ?


How could we resist those imploring eyes?

Sarah x

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

In the garden

 Firstly, thank you for for all your thoughts about the weather, which I enjoyed reading. We all seem to enjoy all types of weather if we are dressed for it!  As the sun made an appearance this week, we enjoyed spending some time in our garden.


The cutting garden is bursting with flowers  - all of the flowers in the collage, I have successfully  grown from seed. It has made such a difference having a greenhouse and so far we haven't been visited on a daily basis by over a hundred slugs and snails on the lawn (as we were in our previous garden!). We haven't had to resort to slug pellets, which I hate using. The only protection we have given young plants is surrounding them with used ground coffee or clean cat litter. Like a popular restaurant I'm sure it won't be long before our plants are too good to resist!


From top right clockwise Cerinthe major Purpurascens, Malope trifida Vulcan. Cosmos Cranberries and Zinnia.

This is the first time I have grown this variety of cosmos and the ruffle flower heads are so pretty. It is so good too to have the house full of flowers too.......
 and also enjoy them in other parts of the garden. 

This beautiful rose that we inherited has been wonderful with a continuous mass of blooms.


From the vegetable garden we have been enjoying lettuce, rocket,spring onions, spinach and broad beans. Many of the tomatoes and peas haven't got much further than the garden before being eaten! This week we have also eaten our first potatoes, it is so good to eat so much fresh food, grown so close to home!



 The crop of cultivated blackberries are also looking so attractive at the moment.


As always some things in the garden don't go according to plan. The sweet peas that I grew from seeds collected from last year's plants have looked quite weedy. I failed to give them a good helping of well-rotted compost to get them started. 


And finally our new garden wouldn't be complete without daises, which reminds us of our dear dog Daisy. Which plant have you admired most in the last week?
Sarah x

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