Monday, 10 August 2015

Tessier Gardens in August!

There's a little, hidden gem at St Marychurch, Torquay and that's where

we spent half an hour, on Saturday, having time to kill before making our

way to watch Torquay United.

This is Tessier Gardens, which we first discovered back in February, 

when the garden had its winter coat wrapped around it and there was little sign

of life...which you can see here.

But now, Tessier Gardens has come alive and what was in store was a real treat!!

Splashes of colour greeted us and continued to guide us around these lovely gardens.

There were armies of Japanese Anemones; masses of Globe Thistles; 

sprinklings of blue Veronica ...and oh so much more!

But the biggest treat of all was the walkway under the arch.

Lined with so many varieties of Dahlia, I could hardly believe my eyes!

My mind travelled back to last February...what a transformation!

It was simply beautiful; so pretty; so cheery.

I don't grow many Dahlias in my garden but my mum told me that the railwaymen

who worked on the allotments, many years ago, in Newton Abbot,

were experts at growing the most beautiful Dahlias.

I can quite understand why!

I'll definitely be growing Dahlias, next year!

If you live in the Torquay pay a visit!

It's well worth it!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Winchester ;-)

You'd have to go a long way to find somewhere as lovely as Winchester

for a weekend break!

And is there a better way to spend a Friday afternoon?

A walk beside the River Itchen...and then 

finding a suitable watering hole as we wandered back into the city.

I make no apologies for naming Winchester on my 

top five places to love!!

Here's one of my favourite haunts!

Kingsgate Books and Prints

And my idea of heaven is to wander around the cathedral close,

away from the crowds and the hustle and bustle.

It calms the soul and at the same time, cheers me, no end.

Here's my very patient companion, waiting whilst I browse!

Winchester has so much to offer, but for me,

the river, the water meadows and the history

are the things that draw me to the city, again and again.

We did briefly leave the city on Saturday morning!

We caught a bus to Wickham, an attractive little village

nestled in the Meon Valley.

I mean lovely is this:

We stumbled across Chesapeake Mill, and thus stopped for coffee.

And we 'admired' the Dip Hole!

Wickham is one of those places with a lovely wide street; I always 

love places like this as it gives one a sense of space and fresh air!

On our return to Winchester, we wandered some more!

Cheney Court (mid 15th Century) is no doubt the most photographed 

building in Winchester!


A lovely weekend break!

Naturally...we'll be returning! ;-)

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! ;-)