Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Walking to Ilfracombe from Mortehoe along the Coastal Path

As far as distances go, it's much shorter by coastal path than by road, if a bit up and down.
Ilfracombe is a short walk from Mortehoe, via Bennett's Mouth and Lee Bay, which has a quiet charm:
There's a very steep walk away from Lee Bay, along a headland and soon Ilfracombe comes into view, the outskirts populated by grand houses:
 And nearer the centre some past their best, but giving an idea of a magnificent past:
Further on, there's a beautiful harbour:
with some excellent shops beside here, including the fabulous Adrift, a clothes shop to visit if ever you are in Ilfracombe, it's apparently just opened, I was helped by the excellent person on the left of the picture seen by clicking on this link:
Interesting comments made in the article about the impact Verity coming to Ilfracombe has made to the town.
Here is Verity, she is amazing, and elicits comments from everyone walking past her. I could spend some time there listening to people's reactions.
 Here are two views of her:
More information on Damien Hirst's Verity can be found here:
Ilfracombe is well worth visiting for its many shops, places to eat, tunnels linking beaches, theatre and I'm sure there's much I missed in this short trip.
Walking back was a breeze after a lunch of fresh fish and chips.

 Above the only orchid seen on the holiday
 Coastal path above Rockham Bay
Rockham Bay at sunset

And another Devon sunset.

Mortehoe in Devon, the perfect place to visit

Maybe even the perfect place to live.
Last week, Seven of us, five adults and two small children stayed in the most glorious house in Mortehoe, it was perfect, with views of the sea and the coastal path from the living room window:
I couldn't really believe it, the village itself has 3 pubs, here's one, the Ship Aground:
 a cream tea restaurant, a chippy, gift shop, food shop, post office, village hall, heritage centre and a 12th Century church:

The church has some lovely stained glass windows:

is famed for its pew ends:
And has a lovely mosaic:
 There was even a request to change a light bulb when Rich's height was noticed:
 We set aside Friday to visit the heritage Centre, unfortunately it's closed on Fridays, so we played in the play area attached and enjoyed looking at the Millenium Sundial:

Being west facing, from Mortehoe, you can see wonderful sunsets, particularly fine if you walk to the beautiful Morte Point:
There are countless walks from Mortehoe, Bennett's Mouth being the nearest destination, here's a photo of the woods on the walk to it:

 And the bay itself, hard to photograph, but worth the walk through the woods:
Other places to walk to from Mortehoe include Woolacombe, Lee, Ilfracombe and Croyde.

Walking around Mortehoe was voted one of the top ten walks:
I will be returning there I hope.

Beautiful Fuchsia Patterned Pottery from Colin Kellam

I'm going to write a bit more about Mortehoe, but for the moment, I wanted to share with you some delightful pottery pieces I bought in Shore Moor, a lovely gift shop in the village. It seemed a little extravagant, but I couldn't decide between the mug, plate and bowl, so bought them all.
The pottery is made by Colin Kellam, he is based in Totnes, and here it is:

I also bought a glorious tea towel with hand painted Devon scenes on it, and managed to part with that to Jane as a thank you for watering the plants.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Rare Plant Fair at Kingston Bagpuize today

As if the garden isn't packed with interesting plants, the chance to buy more specimens meant that on a day which could have been spent tidying the garden and weeding the allotment after a week away, I went to Kingston Bagpuize House where there was a Rare Plant Fair being held in the grounds.
There was a tremendous selection of nurseries there, it seemed as though there were twice as many as usual, and certainly I bought twice as many plants as I usually do, plus a large metal structure and some plant supports.
Here's sense of the atmosphere:
 As someone commented, it's like being a child in a sweet shop.
 The other positive aspect of the Rare Plant Fairs is questions can be answered, so I now know to keep taking cuttings of young shoots of African Basil to keep a plant with a good shape.
The  'Ladybird' variety of poppies tends to self seed in cracks between paving rather than in flower beds, but can be easily grown from saved seed if given warm conditions.
 I can email the nursery I bought my grapevine which isn't producing leaves with a photo of the offending plant and they will advise me on what might be the cause. Is it slugs or snails?
 After the plant buying, there's the house to look at, and the garden:

 It's beautifully laid out.
 And last but not least, when I got home, I made a note of what I'd bought and took a rather bleached out photo.

What had grown in my Garden after a Week Away?

On returning home after a week in Devon, I walked round the garden to see what had grown and had to go inside to photograph the best of the plants.
Here they are:
 The poppies do not appear as dark red as they really are, but they are lovely for about 4 days, and in front of them Cirsium rivulare atropurpureum has grown so much and is covered in bees.
 The foxgloves are very tall and coming into bloom just now.
 This ornamental cow parsley I think from Special Plants has about 10 flower heads blooming just now.
And the Aquilegia are just fabulous, with so many colours and flower types, they are fascinating.
Here's a close up of one of my favourite flower types- the super frilly:
And the Clematis has even more flowers open than before.
 And the Iris sibirica, although they do behave thuggishly, are lovely for a few days.
I could go on, but that's a taste of what's good at the moment.

Chelsea at the Wheatsheaf

I have long been an admirer of the garden at the side of the Wheatsheaf, so on a recent trip there, I took some photos of this glorious area created by the green fingered landlord in what was a carport/smoking area. He has nurtured and encouraged his plants to grow magnificently in this area, and then arranged them most carefully to give a wonderful effect hence the title. Next time you're passing the Wheatsheaf in Newport Street, make time to go and have a drink in there and have a look at the plants.
Here's what you see from the pavement:
And on closer inspection:
 A fern uncurling above, and below a Solomon's seal looking perfect.
 Below a Hosta
 and last but not least an Azalea in full flower.

These photos were taken a couple of weeks ago, so it's worth a trip to see what's 'peaking' now.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Artists taking part in SOS 2014 are on the Website

There's been a steady stream of registration forms from people wanting to join Swindon Open Studios which is taking place on the weekends of the 6th/7th and 13th/14th of September, so tonight, I have listed the artists so far definitely taking part in SOS 2014. They can be found at by clicking on 'Artists taking part in 2014'
If you would like to join, please click on 'Registration Form' on the left hand side and either email or print out and fill in the form and send it to me at the address on the form.
The deadline for entries is 17th of June.
The image I received today is from Jonathan Paget entitled 'Umbria still life', seen below:

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Auriculas at Pop's Plants

I love Auriculas and having bought a few at garden centres and enjoyed their robustness and generously prolific nature, I thought I'd try some more unusual ones. I bought 'Tomboy' a yellow Auricula from Mary Keen recently on an ngs visit to her garden, and noticed an article in the March edition of the Garden on Pop's Plants, a nursery specialising in Auriculas and was determined to go and have a look on one of their rare open days, they are mainly mail order.
It's a bit of a way from here, through Salisbury and on a bit, their catalogue describes it as being on the edge of the New Forest, but it only takes just over an hour.
It was well worth the trip, they have 1400 different varieties of Auricula, and lots for sale, although many of the most popular ones had already sold out.
Here are some photos, firstly the Auricula Thaetres used to display the plants, but not to keep them in full time, just when they are at their flowering peak as they are just now.

A close up:
Inside the large greenhouse type shed with open sides:

And a gorgeous plant, the colours are tremendous:
I now have 6 Auriculas, and this time next year should have photos of their flowers.