Stone In The Northern English Landscape

Bronte bridge
Brontë bridge as it is now

Today’s post is a celebration of stone. I’ve grown up seeing it used for buildings, country walls, and paths and miss it when I spend time in places where it is not so readily available. Stone is ancient and helpful: it softens, steadies, anchors.

My first stone bridge has pedigree. It’s one that the Brontë family used to cross the river across from the waterfall on the path that leads over the moor from Haworth to Top Withens. Actually the original bridge was swept away in a flood and this is a replacement, made to a similar design.  Continue reading “Stone In The Northern English Landscape”

Celebrating The Southport Flower Show’s 90th Birthday

Southport Flower Show Poster from 1929
Southport Flower Show poster from 1929

Remember the days when the Town Hall was the place to go if you wanted ‘further particulars’ about an event? How life has changed since then! At this year’s Southport Flower Show, we had no horse leaping events, but we did have heritage animals, courtesy of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, including a pig that was more rare than a giant panda (and much the same size).

The cultivars may have changed over the last 90 years, but gladioli like those shown on the 1929 poster were on display in 2019, together with just about every August flowering plant you could hope for.

Perfect pink Japanese anemone flower with gold stamens
A serenely beautiful Japanese anemone

Amongst so many choice plants, this solitary, perfect, innocent-looking, pink Japanese anemone caught my eye. Continue reading “Celebrating The Southport Flower Show’s 90th Birthday”

Auricula Gallery from the Northern Section’s Cheadle Show 2019

Flowers with yellow eye, white ring, black feathering and green edge
Green edged Primula auricula

After writing my last post it occurred to me that I might have the chance to realise my long-held ambition and go to an auricula show. It was a timely thought: the N.A.P.S.’s Northern Section’s auricula show was held at Kingsway School in Cheadle on Saturday. Visitors were ‘warmly welcomed’ from 2 o’clock onwards, so I headed on down. Bargain hunters may like to note there was no admission fee and a whole table of cakes were being offered at the knockdown price of £1 per slice.

In the hall, people were peering at rows of circus plants with button shaped flowers in bright, bold colours decorated with rings, stripes, powder, and fancy edges.

Neat cluster of grey edged auricula flowers
Edged show auricula ‘Sea Peep’

Continue reading “Auricula Gallery from the Northern Section’s Cheadle Show 2019”

Fern Frozen Against A Mossy Moor

Frost-covered fern lying on moss

An old, unflattering rhyme I’ve never liked calls my home town’s moors bleak and barren. Perhaps if you don’t like moorland or have never taken the time to walk on it, you might think so. I suppose some people might care little for what walkers can find on a winter day up there by venturing a few steps off the path.

If you follow my blog you can expect to see brighter, bolder pictures of plant combinations taken in gardens or at flower shows, where skilled, creative hands have put together their best for public consumption.

I’m not sure you’ll see any plant combination I could look at with much more pleasure than this.

In the textures of the frozen vegetation, I seem to see fabric: the fern becomes lace; the moss, wool or velvet. The colours are alluring too: sage, mint and chocolate, the latter frosted to mink. Nothing is jazzy, all is harmonious. I’d love something to wear in a design inspired by this.

It may appear haphazard – there are a few wayward stems, but the fern and strands of grass have surrendered to the frost gracefully and a natural order is appearing – of sorts. Towards the top left, a thaw has started.  Continue reading “Fern Frozen Against A Mossy Moor”

Looking Out From The Limestone Paving Above Malham Cove

Fields, trees and a footpath leading to a village viewed from a cliff
View from the limestone pavement over Malham Cove in the Yorkshire Dales

I enjoy walking, especially through a garden or in the countryside, but words (as so often) matter: you’ll find me less keen to set out if the journey might best be described as a climb or hike. So it took my sister (for whom hills are little more than hiccups) several seasons to get my sweetheart and me to accompany her to this point, where we could look out over the edge of a broad expanse of limestone pavement above Malham Cove in Yorkshire. Thanks little sis – it was fun and you know I’d never have done it without you!

You might recognise the pavement from scenes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows if you’re a fan. I was fascinated by the pavement itself: its deep cracks and the odd bits of ferns and wild flowers that somehow have a foothold on life within it.  Continue reading “Looking Out From The Limestone Paving Above Malham Cove”