Swyncombe to me is the most peaceful place around us. Whenever I want to be somewhere quiet, I take a short drive to Swyncombe. But I also go there every early Spring when the snowdrops appear and cover the churchyard with their tiny white bells. The snowdrops are returning soon so if you’re planning a visit, keep an eye on the church’s website for the best times to go. Here’s what you’ll find ..
I do love the Cotswolds. It’s not too far from us and we’re lucky with the traffic around Oxford, we can get there within almost half an hour. Although I love a walk when we don’t have to use the car, I really fancied a walk somewhere else. So off we went. to the tiny village of Swinbrook in the Cotswolds. We parked at the churchyard and took a walk along the river Windrush. One of the most beautiful part of our walk was the tiny St Oswald’s Church in Widford. In 1904 it was found to have been built on the base of a Roman house or temple. It’s mainly from the 13th century but it has remnants of an 11th century Saxon or Norman building. Wonderful church to visit especially at Christmas time.
I think this December walk in Pishill might become one of my favourite traditions. We went last year as well, it was much colder then and Christmas was nearer too. This year it was really mild but it was still festive and just the loveliest Birthday gift I could get. So here’s some pictures from our walk today in the most beautiful countryside around Pishill and then tea and cake at the church. Thank you so-so much Justine and Stanley!
“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.
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.
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.
Today we met up with my friend Justine and her wonderful dog, Stanley. I emphasize wonderful as not long after we started our walk, Henry decided he wanted to explore the deep, unknown woods and off he went. I got a bit worried and I knew the more you call him the deafer he becomes. But there was Stanley. He understood my worrying face and voice and he ran after Henry and found him and brought him back! Wee pals.
After the incident, we all enjoyed the rest of the walk and Henry wasn’t always on the leash, he had some good runs with Stanley and other dogs. Then back on the leash through big woods. And to the church for a cup of tea and mince pies. The church of Pishill couldn’t be more picturesque and tranquil. It overlooks the beautiful Stonor valley and you only hear the birds sing. And what’s more, you can enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee) there, just make sure you clean the mugs after you leave. Very British, isn’t it? So yes, it was another beautiful day..