Category Archives: Countryside

Braving the thunderstorms…

Visited the first Stratford on Avon Home and Garden Show held at Alscot Park, we had a great time in spite of black clouds, thunder and lightning and heavy rain!

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The house was out of bounds but we had a wander round the grounds. Really loved the
stunning lavender garden which was humming with hundreds of bees making the most of it.

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The black clouds were beginning to get closer so we didn’t spend quite as much time looking at the gardens as we would have liked (another reason to come back again next year!) but here are some of the views we saw:

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We had to escape thunder, lightning and heavy rain so nipped into the demonstration
marquee to listen to the Weber BBQ chef talk about pizzas – with some tasters too,
a nice little interlude.

Then it was time to make our purchases before heading home. These included some metal
garden sculptures from Zimbolic:

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Thyme and sage from Hooksgreen Herbs:
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Campanula from Naieus Exotics:
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Seeds from Hardy’s Cottage Garden Plants (really looking forward to growing these flowers):
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No photos of the chocolate brownie, that disappeared quite quickly…

Shame about the weather, but it didn’t spoil a lovely day for us and we’ll definitely be back next year, hopefully without the storms so we can spend more time in the garden.

The Handkerchief Tree at Batsford Arboretum

This tree at Batsford Arboretum only flowers once a year for about two weeks – last year it
flowered in June and by chance, we visited then and saw it. So this year, I’ve been keeping a look out on the Batsford Facebook page as we didn’t want to miss it.

It has flowered a bit earlier this year, they think it will be in bloom from 14 to 24 May so we popped up to have a look.

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It was a beautiful sunny day at Batsford and lovely to see that there were still some bluebells flowering:

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As well as some magnolia trees which haven’t yet lost all their beautiful flowers:

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Also good to see some beautiful buttercups, they always remind me of childhood:

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Spetchley Park Plant Fair

We attended our very first plant fair on Sunday – I don’t think it will be our last! I did have an idea that I would just be having a look, with no intention of buying yet more plants but I think we all know how likely that was…

We fell in love with Spetchley Park as soon as we got there and are already planning another visit to explore the gardens more.

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We took a little stroll round by the lake, lovely and peaceful with some beautiful blossom and wild meadow flowers.

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We watched the amazing chainsaw woodcarving demonstration by Steve Elsby, he made it look very easy.

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But the plants were the real star of the show. Lots of varieties I haven’t heard of before and I really did have to stop myself getting carried away. It made me realise how much I still need to learn about all sort of flowers, shrubs and herbs. Here is our haul, not bad for someone trying to resist temptation:

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One of our favourite stands was Edulis Nurseries, where after some discussion with the owner, we bought a Japanese Wineberry (Rubus Phoenicolasius) and an Earth Chestnut
(Bunium bulbocastanum). We also liked the Pershore College stand, where I bought a couple of lovely geraniums as many of my overwintered ones are not looking their best. They also had some pretty bedding plants I couldn’t resist.

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Later we found ourselves at the Cottage Herbery stand where the really helpful stallholder gave us some advice about stopping the wild garlic we bought from spreading itself across the whole garden.

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He had some wonderful herbs and plants, lots of unusual varieties but one we liked the sound of was Goat’s Rue (Galega officinalis) so that was added to our bag as well.

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So that was us done, but just as we were heading back to the car, a Prostrate Willow (Salix nakamurana yezoalpina) caught my eye and I just couldn’t resist it – another lovely and very helpful stallholder, Paul Green of Green’s Leaves in Gloucestershire told us about the plant’s hardiness and the fact that it hails from Japan.

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So, my first ever plant fair – showing me how much still I have to learn about plants and
gardening but another step in my fully fledged addiction 🙂