Sunday, 21 February 2016

Painswick Rococo Garden's Snowdrops

Yesterday I visited Painswick Rococo Garden, a fifth snowdrop garden, involving another grassy field to negotiate to park the car, and then into the garden itself. The Rococo period in England existed from approximately 1720-1760, and was relatively recently extended to describe gardens as well as a style of architecture, furniture and art.
At Painswick this is expressed via serpentine paths with formal vistas and brightly coloured follies, of different architectural styles, which appear suddenly at the end of walks. It's a beautiful place to visit with it masses of snowdrops.
The Eagle House is the first building encountered as you walk into the garden, it's been beautifully restored since 1984 when in was in a very poor state.
 And here's the lower part of the Eagle House which looks as though it has been built into the hillside.
 Below is the Pigeon House built at the same time as the main house, and as its name suggests was used for keeping pigeons.

 Above the house itself, and below an interesting willow structure built to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It was built by representatives of the Friends of the Rococo Garden.
 We then came across a wonderful sculpture in the woodland area, it took Sue a while to see it because it's not where you normally look when in a wood.
 So here it is, a chainsaw structure inspired by Schloss Neuschwanstein in Bavaria. Isn't it fab, and in the perfect place

 Below the Doric Seat, and above an Exedra, an outside seating area, or discussion place, an apse or a large recess in a wall.
The rain started in earnest at about this point and meant I haven't photographed any vistas, the Red House or the snowdrops which were fabulous, but not named.
Becoming a Galanthophile has meant I'm keen to know the names of all of the snowdrops, and none were labelled, however I was able to buy 3 named varieties: G.elwesii, G.Atkinsii named after James Atkins a noted snowdrop grower in the 1800s and G.ikariae and will dig out another snowdrop bed in the garden for the 'Painswick' snowdrops.
After the rigours of the garden, we had a great lunch in the cafe where there was an abundance of beautiful home made cakes to be had along with less sugary options.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

New Photo of Committee

Here we are:
Although it seemed like a good idea ta the time to be arranged up the stairs, it's not possible to use as the banner photo on Twitter unfortunately, so we'll have to have another photo taken.

Yesterday's Committee Meeting

We take turns to hold committee meetings in each others houses, and yesterday it was Vanetta's turn to host the meeting. The day was perfect, and not at all conducive to being inside discussing postcard competitions and how to get maximum publicity for our September event.
Here's the view from the front of the house, you can see what I mean about a perfect day, just look at the sky:
 After the meeting was over, we took a committee photograph since we've recently been joined by Susan Carr and Mark Worrall. They weren't happy because no one had had chance to look their best, so when you see the photo, please bear that in mind. We also wanted to be holding the SOS banner, but that wasn't possible because I've got it in my garage.
I wandered round the garden taking photos of the beautifully clean stream
 and fabulously tall Cedar
 and of course, more snowdrops.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Snowdrops Part 2

Cotswold Farm was open last Monday, but isn't open until June 4/5 now for the NGS. I'd never been there before and was impressed with the woodland area containing clumps of named snowdrops and then a fabulous garden on a slope behind the house.

 There were some amazing clumps of named snowdrops in a bed including the delightful G.hippolyta seen below

 Above is a photo of the superb bed with lots of varieties of snowdrops, hard to appreciate how good it was from the photo.
Walking down through the garden, there was a topiary garden:
and then a bog garden right down in the valley
 with a stream running through it

 and lovely small buildings which add something to a garden

 The back part of the house beside the garden had what must be one of the oldest patio doors onto a garden!
This is the first part of the garden you walk into beside the house photographed on the way our because there was a coach party in the garden when we arrived making it hard to get any idea of the garden. If you can visit in June, this garden is a little known gem, well maybe not, but I hadn't visited it before.

Snowdrop Extravaganza Part 1

Last Sunday I went to look at snowdrops with a friend, we chose 3 places to visit, starting with North Cerney gardens, there had been a worry that with the mild winter, February 14th might be a bit late to see them at their best, but they were mostly in perfect condition.
 The were also fabulous Hellebores
 There's lots of sculpture around the gardens, I think this cockerel works particularly well
 We walked between the long borders to the lake and saw these fabulous cardoon type things with lovely seed heads, I'd like to grow some of them this year.
 Walking back from the lake, there's a great view of the house
And a close up of a fabulous Hellebore
 From North Cerney Garden.we visited Colesbourne Park, arguably the best place to view snowdrops, particularly named varieties. This year I was more aware of the attributes of different varieties, having bought Galanthus Viridapice, G. Hippolyta,  and G. James Backhouse at Colesbourne last year I was keen to see them growing really well because mine are still very small.
 Above G. Hippolyta which I did buy again because I like it so much, and had forgotten I'd bought it last year
 Another view of masses of snowdrops above, intermingled with Cyclamen coum below
 A close up of the Cyclamen below

There is a lovely church at Colesbourne Park with a specially appliqued snowdrop altar cloth

 More lovely Hellebores above and Narcissus Pallidoflorus below
 And these are currently my favourite, Gallanthus South Hayes
 From Colesbourne Park, we went to Rodmarton Manor, a short distance away on the Cirencester-Tetbury Road.
 And the first thing we spotted was a mass of grass like leaves with yellow and black iris type flowers poking through. Later on we saw Simon Biddulph in the garden and asked him what it was, he told us, but by the time we got back, had forgotten the name of it, although remembered it began with an 'h'. In those situations, I have a book bought when I went to a GQT recording in Havant, it's favourite plants recommended by the panel, called Plant Chooser, and it was in there! It's Hermodactylus tuberosus

 Above one of my favourite parts of the garden called the 'troughery', so many lovely different troughs beautifully planted. In the orchard there were some wonderful groups of named snowdrops around the trees.
 That was the end of Day 1 looking at snowdrops, a bit of a marathon, but well worth it. Day 2 involved just one visit.

Friday, 12 February 2016

John Cooper Clarke at the Arts Centre last night

I'd missed the fact that JCC was appearing at the Arts Centre on 11 February until last week when there was a piece in the Adver. Having seen him at the Wyvern Theatre 30 years ago, and then at the Rolleston about 8 years or so ago, I really wanted to go. Fortunately after appealing on Facebook and Twitter for spare tickets, I got one yesterday morning.
And what an evening it was, there were two warm up acts before the interval, although I just wanted to see JCC, or Dr Clarke as he calls himself, Mike Garry, a Mancunian told some great tales of hard times in the streets of my youth. Here he is:
 Next came Luke Wright, with a cherubic face, the strangest hair arrangement and a riveting delivery. What are poems using only one vowel called? Is there really a name for them? Ones with an 'i' aren't too bad, but when you use a 'u' things get a bit difficult, and hilarious.

 And here's the wonderful John Cooper Clarke, what an amazing poet and story teller.
A great evening, I bought a signed copy of 'Ten years in an Open Necked Shirt' book of John's poems, and am looking forward to doing JCC poetry readings!!