Saturday, 25 July 2015

Exeter University - a magical microcosm! ;-)

I’ve had my gagging order lifted (at last!). 

I’ve had a bit of a proud mum moment this week, when Nich texted me to say that he had won the top award in The University of Exeter’s  ‘Above and Beyond’ recognition scheme for all employees. 

£1900 isn’t to be sniffed at and that’s what he’s been awarded!! ;-)  

As it just so happens, a few weeks ago, we arranged to visit the university campus and savour the horticultural highlights with Nich and Lizzie!! And that’s where we’ve been today!! 

The Streatham campus is actually a registered botanic garden…and you can wander to your heart's content…all for free! And we barely saw another person!! What a great time to visit!

Come with me and have a wander...

We start off at Reed Pond, a traditional brick built and clay puddled pond.

This was created as part of the original landscape of Reed Hall.

Stop and look closely and you'll spot some beautiful dragonflies, frogs,

a variety of fish species and no doubt many other water loving creatures.

It's an idyllic spot; it's calming, charming and delightful.

I'm in heaven, already! ;-)

Reed Hall... a lovely building which hosts many events, including weddings 

and, indeed, this is where my daughter Helen was married.

The beds are planted with blue Ageratum, White Alyssum and Blue Salvia,

signifying the colours of the university. It's beautiful.

It is said that the landscaping on the campus is designed to ensure that

the buildings 'sit in' rather than dominate the landscape.

This is especially noticeable when you reach the Business school,

where you find a lovely, wildflower meadow.

It's a microcosm and a haven for bees and other insects

in which to work and play.

The other thing that I love is the use of water, here and there,

on the campus. This lends itself to big bullrushes

and other water loving plants, which sit in harmony with 

each other. It's simply nature getting on well....

and maybe giving us humans a lesson at the same time!

We've visited in July, when the Hydrangeas are in their prime and roses

 climb at their leisure.  Montbretia flashes its blooms in your face

as you pass and various types of lilies, along with Escholzia, blend in with

the colour scheme. A little, wild Arum, basking in the sun,

 says, 'Hey! Don't forget me!!'

How could we?!

We have reached the Taddiforde Valley. 

If you visit in April/May then you'll see the wonderful

 Millennium Magnolias, in bloom, along with many bulbs.

As it is, we just listen to the birdsong and that is pure magic.

One or two of us fancy playing 'Pooh sticks'!

We haven't seen it all...that would take a few more visits but this is one

fabulous place!  The micro climates created by the buildings and the natural

lie of the landscape, mean that not only can rare plants be grown but also

that the biodiversity is constantly being improved along with the

resources for learning.

The  University of Exeter can stand very proud in its achievements and aims

in supporting sustainability and lifelong learning.

The campus is a living laboratory and the university also retains

 the services of an RSPB specialist, who undertakes regular bird counts.

In other words, the ecology of the campus is under continual

appraisal and always looking to improve the ecology of the campus.

I do so love it here!

Suddenly, I find myself wishing that I could join the hundreds of 

'freshers' who are going to be descending on this place of learning

in September! 

How lucky they are!!

Having studied, many years ago, at a beautiful campus, 

which was said at the time to be second to Kew Gardens when it came to

the variety of trees, I have this sudden pang of passion for

my student days!! 

I'm also very glad that both Nich and Lizzie have this

 fabulous resource at their fingertips and as they work at this very place;

they can dip their toes into the nature here, whenever they feel the need!

You'd have to go some to find anywhere as lovely.

The Times has described Streatham Campus as 

' The best gardened campus in Britain.'

The Independent has described it as having,

' A sublime setting'

And me?

I say.... 'Go and see for yourself! You won't be disappointed!!

Click here for your guide.

And not forgetting a big THANK YOU to our guides for the day! ;-)

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Winchester...dustbin lids...speeches... and heaven! ;-)

I hereby declare...with this sword... and dustbin lid....!

This is a bit of a standing joke with me and my other half!

Good old King Alfred! 

You can't miss him when you visit Winchester ;-)

Winchester holds a very special place in my heart, for various reasons.

Firstly, I once lived near this lovely city and spent many happy hours

here, mostly during my student vacations.

Secondly, the walk alongside the River Itchen is delightful; in fact I will

go so far as to say that Hampshire rivers are far superior to Devon Rivers!

Tut tut, how disloyal...!

You shouldn't compare; I know t'is not a fair test!

Oh well, tough...they are! 

Spend an afternoon beside The River Itchen or the River Test 

and you're in heaven...well almost!  Not much beats it, anyway! ;-)

I first saw a Kingfisher on the River Itchen....this was a sight to treasure, forever.

I first saw a cuckoo flying across the same river.

Thirdly, I love the walk behind the cathedral, which

takes in the fab Wells bookshop! It's a step back in time...and

I enjoy doing that; it's a perfect escape! 

Fourthly, the city is steeped in history and I love history!

Fifth, my daughter's graduation was held in Winchester Cathedral....

which meant that I had to be there, obviously...

...which meant a weekend in Winchester! That was in 2003!

Sixth, it was on my tenth wedding anniversary, which just so happened to

be the weekend of my daughter's graduation, when Mr Snippets declared

his undying love for be known forever after as his....

 'Winchester Speech'!

I took a photo...but I didn't record the aforementioned speech!

Here he is, preparing for it!!  (With an audience!) LOL!!! ;-)

Doesn't he look so very young?! 

In fact the speech was so memorable...that I've forgotten it!! 

Well...I mean the exact words ;-)

Moving swiftly on...before I get clobbered.

And so, here we are many years later, in Winchester, and imagine the delight

which spread over my face when I discovered that, as this was

 the first Sunday of the month, a vintage market was being held

in the street!!

I honestly didn't know about this event!

I'm in heaven...once again!

Too many treasures...too little time!

Needless to say, one or too things found their way home

but, dammit, we travelled by train so we had to leave far too much behind!

Soon, the clock showed that it was time to go...except that this is the

 clock showing when we arrived...oh well never mind, you get the gist!


One things for certain! I'll be back!


Thursday, 9 July 2015

Sweet Peas and Delphiniums!

From a very much longer poem entitled

' I stood tiptoe upon a little hill'

John Keats wrote:

'Here are Sweet Peas, on tip toe for a flight:

With wings of gentle flush o'er delicate white,

And taper fingers catching at all things,

To bind them all about with tiny rings.'

Sadly, Keats couldn't be with me, on Saturday, as I ventured

into the flower tent at Hampton Court Flower Show.

I wonder what he would've thought of the stunning displays?

I bet he would've said,'' Stop, Sal! I need to pen a quick poem!

Give me some words for 'smell!''

Oh, the scent! The aroma! The perfume! 

Pure sweetness is wafting through this room!

Hang on!  Not a room.... a GIANT tent!

You can't beat the Sweet Pea for summer scent!

(Sally 'Keats' Hall ;-) ;-)

Beautiful blooms standing in the hall,

waiting to be admired by all!

A pure delight!

A stunning sight!

Moving on...

I'll never forget the 'wow factor', the 'awe and wonder' and 'standing

 with my mouth agog' when I visited The Chelsea Flower Show for the first

 time in the late 1970s.

Stepping into the flower tent, the sight of the Delphiniums was a joy to behold.

I've treasured that memory for so many years; an experience that

until Saturday, I thought would never be repeated.

And there they were...standing tall, proud and so very BIG!!!

Just two delights from Saturday...more to follow!!


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The Hampton Court Flower Show...'Pleasure number one'! ;-)

On more than one occasion, at the weekend, I found myself in heaven! ;-) ;-)

On this occasion, it was at The Hampton Court Flower Show....

and in particular the display by Gabriel Ash.

I've owned and enjoyed four greenhouses during my gardening lifetime...

yet none quite as gorgeous as this!

Swooning was certainly the order of the day ...

and this greenhouse was full of vintage gardening bits!

I'm saving my pennies, in the hope that one day.......!

Saturday, 27 June 2015

RHS Rosemoor ...stunning! ;-)

Judged by the panel at Sal's Snippets ...first prize for the loveliest place to visit

in Devon this summer....

RHS Rosemoor

I'll let the pictures do the talking!

This little alpine house was full of delights.

You simply can't beat this beautiful garden for colour, form, shape...and surprises!

Luckily, it was  'Roses weekend'

On we walked...

It might have been 'Roses weekend' but the Foxgloves weren't giving up the battle

to win a place in my heart and, coming up behind them, there were so many

other contenders!

We took Nich and Lizzie with us and they wandered to their hearts content... they disappeared into the distance, I was hoping that they'd gain

 much inspiration for their new garden!

Meanwhile, I was on a mission...Poppy hunting!

(Amongst other things!)

Rosemoor, for me, is one big box of delights.

Here's my other half...desperate to put a pond into our garden...

he's looking for ideas, I bet!

I loved this combination of Foxgloves and Sweet Peas...

And the wild flower meadows have a certain charm of their own.

Give me a rickety old fence and a load of Foxgloves... any day!

Off to the kitchen garden...

Thank goodness there's a place to stop, for sustenance:

Lady Anne's House.

And then the walk back again...

Returning to the alpine house...

Many thanks to my wonderful chauffeur and companion...