Driving through the Peak District and jumping in and out of the car with my iPhone. Voilà..
Haddon Hall has been on my wish list for so long. I’ve heard so much about it and seen so many beautiful photographs that I couldn’t wait discovering it myself. I’m very much a person who loves grey skies and rain. And that is exactly how I’ve always imagined Derbyshire. Except that, this Summer, well this is a real Summer with lots of sunshine and heat. And burnt out colours. Even in Derbyshire.
When I was commissioned to shoot a garden nearby, I jumped with happiness as I could finally make plans to see this unique Tudor country house. I got there just in time to catch the last of the roses.
I went straight to the chapel (maybe unconsciously looking for a cool place?) that was one of the most beautiful places I have ever-ever seen. I was completely mesmerized by the 15th century wall paintings but it’s more than impossible to describe so look..
I did have a good look around the whole house. As I mentioned (maybe hundred times) how hot it was, the windows were all open and as you walked by the perfume of the roses just hit you. I must go back. When it’s cooler and when the light is better for taking photographs (as you’re more than welcome do to so, at Haddon Hall).
“Rousham is restful, spacious, time-worn and beautifully paced. Whatever season you visit, the garden always reveals something afresh. It is a magical landscape, an exercise in restraint and classical narrative, where anything seems possible. It has been hugely influential.”
Reading this, by Dan Pearson, how could I possibly write anything about this beautifully paced garden, an example of the early English landscape garden. As I write landscape garden, I even feel a bit ashamed too as I spent quite a lot of time admiring the foxgloves around the dovecote. These were most certainly not planted by William Kent. But then I did take a big walk around the garden, down by the River Cherwell, around the ponds and cascades, the Cold Bath or the seven arched Praeneste. Rousham must be seen. And felt. It is a very powerful place, you’ll see.
Foxgoves around the dovecote.
Roses everywhere. A lot of roses..
This is what Monty Don thinks about Rousham -
“Astonishingly little known or visited, yet I think it’s the best landscape garden in the country” See the whole film here. Find out about William Kent, who had very little knowledge of horticulture, yet, he created this wonderful garden. Do visit it if you can.
But when Debbie came to teach her magic skills at Green and Gorgeous Flower Farm, I was so happy I could finally meet her. The course was so super relaxed and colourful and floral and just, well, perfect. Let me show you ..
First, Rachel showed the class around the gardens where everyone could pick the flowers they wanted to paint.
Papers and pencils out, sketching time.
It was so relaxing seeing everyone immersed in their drawings ..
After lunch, which is always a treat at Green and Gorgeous, Debbie shared her painting techniques and so the most colourful part of the class has begun. I was amazed (and jealous!) by all the talented artists.
There was so much to see, so many beautiful little details to photograph and moments to catch. It was such an uplifting day for me for so many reasons..
I haven’t posted here for a long time and I so wanted to add so much but then everything just happened and time was not on my side and all that but now, here I am. With images of Orchard Dene Nurseries.
I first heard about them during a Chelsea Flower Show week years ago and then I found out they were just down the road. But wholesale. So I’ve never been there until this week when my biggest luck sent me there. Long story short, I picked up an order for someone special and I got to have a look around this perennial heaven. Here’s what I saw..
The most close-to-nature nursery I’ve ever been to. And the choice plants is just amazing. And very close to my heart. So voilà. The visit to this nursery was one of my lucky treats for this week.
I’m so lucky that I have never lived without a garden. I grew up with my grandmother’s two-acre garden surrounded by endless countryside. I always think back on my childhood as the biggest and most important inspiration of what I now do for a living.
I’d like to think that my current garden is a cottage garden. It’s far from perfect and you’ll find the occasional ground elder and the fence is held together by ivy. I love being in this garden and
I love photographing. I also love teaching ..
So I thought it was time to combine all this into one to one photography courses.
The courses will start in May when there will be lots and lots of foxgloves in the garden. And cow parsley. And many other flowers and greenery and there’s a little pond too. I often use my shed as my studio and love using such natural props as old terracotta pots, old garden books or garden tools so we can play with these too.
So if you feel like you’d like to learn photography from me or if you know someone who might be interested, please
Follow this link for details of the course or message me at email@example.com for more details or any questions.
PS - Every image in this blog entry was taken in the garden this weekend. Except the first one that is from last year. Spring is a bit late this year with no lilac or snapdragon in sight, but not long now until those flower too.
It’s a very quiet Saturday afternoon in our little Oxfordshire village. It’s snowing. Several times I make my way to the dining room. Not to eat but to admire my floral arrangement and pinch myself! I still cannot believe I made it! How lucky I am to have been able to participate at the flower arranging class given by the super stylish Claire of Honeysuckle and Hilda. Claire organised the class in the ever-so beautiful village of Hambleden. A village I absolutely love and that is not short of cute cottages and rolling hills everywhere you look. It’s only a twenty-minute drive away from where I live and I often go there, especially when the cow parsley covers the churchyard. Now back to March ..
The class was held in the village hall and people came from all parts of England. After everyone introduced themselves, I got a bit intimidated as everyone was a florist with years and years of experience between them. There was a moment (or two) where I wanted to run away and cry but I had my camera with me and that calmed me down, as always. And then I returned to my arrangement and kept working on it. When I arrived at the village hall that morning, I spotted the fritillaria persica and I knew I wanted that flower to be the centre piece of my arrangement. Claire’s signature flower is amaryllis that she always arranges so wonderfully and I almost felt bad I didn’t use that flower but I’m sure she didn’t mind. So yes, fritillaria persica and with many other Spring flowers. The arrangements all turned out so beautifully, as expected, and I was fascinated by how we all made arrangements so different yet quite similar. Clearly the influence of the class and Claire’s style.
Enough of words, I let the photos speak for themselves. There are photos of the class too but I’ll share those with you once Claire has written her blog post about it too.
Also, here’s how all our arrangements looked like. Well, one thing is for sure. I love flowers even more but I’ll stay behind the camera and take photos of them rather than working with them every day.
And so there was snow. Beautiful snow. We didn’t get as much as Scotland did, but I was really happy with ours too. I enjoyed it a lot, enjoyed seeing the garden, the snowdrops and hellebores disappearing under the snow and I enjoyed taking long and cold walks with Henry. And I managed to go up to Turville, just before it all disappeared, to admire this quintessential little village under - a bit of a - snow.
And then the obligatory snowy robin shot. I went hiding in my garden shed and was waiting for this feisty little bird. And there he came.
The snow is now all gone and I’ve moved on from robin to foxgloves. But that’s another story..
I only had a few minutes to look around the gardens before I had a meeting there last Friday. Almost missed the last of the snowdrops but caught the first blossoms. Beautifully hidden behind its walls in Chelsea, this garden is a little piece of heaven in London.
I loved walking through the various glasshouses and when I go back, I’d like to spend more time admiring the individual plants.
Next time I’ll take my camera. This time, I only had my iPhone with me for taking pictures.
Swyncombe is a beautiful hamlet only six miles from where I live. I visit this place every year, sans faute, in early Spring. I call early Spring when snowdrops appear and that always happens in January here, at the churchyard of Swyncombe. St Botholph’s parish church dates back to Norman times and you sometimes have the feeling that time stopped there then. It’s the most quiet and peaceful place I know. Let me take you for a wee tour there ..
When the snowdrops appear, the snowdrop celebrations begin with snowdrop teas, see all details and dates here. This photo is not from this year so tea & cake prices might have changed since :)
Swyncombe is very popular with walkers who are exploring the hills and valleys of this beautiful part of the Chilterns.
Last year I managed to find there not only snowdrops but snow as well. But needless to say, the churchyard is also beautiful with cow parsley flowering all around it..