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.
Amongst so many choice plants, this solitary, perfect, innocent-looking, pink Japanese anemone caught my eye. Continue reading
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.
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
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
This characterful bus shelter in Manchester, England, could brighten even a dull day. I love the patterns of colour and light created by the design viewed against the city’s architecture. Continue reading
Hoghton Tower, in Lancashire, has a reputation as of the most haunted places in England. Regular apparitions include a Black Dog, The Green Lady and a little girl. Visitations and unearthly occurrences are recorded in a ghost file. Continue reading
My sweetheart and I love going to the annual Saddleworth Rushcart to watch the morris dancers. It’s very British: a happy day, where old traditions are celebrated – colourful, good-humoured fun, with just enough of an element of ‘why would they do this?’ to keep the crowd wondering.
Did I mention they drag a massive cart of rushes up a lengthy hill before the dancing starts?
I always enjoy watching the faces of the dancers – some seem to be feeling pure happiness; others are concentrating hard, or lost in the flow. It surely can’t be easy wearing those heavy floral hats! Continue reading
Night was drawing in when I took this photo of the trees and street lights in Albert Square, Manchester, dressed in red lanterns to celebrate Chinese New Year.
The auspicious colour did seem to have mystical properties, glowing even in the dusk as the lanterns danced in the wintry wind. Continue reading
Fountains Abbey was built by Cistercians in an isolated spot where the River Skell meanders through a steep sided valley. It’s part of the varied and extensive Studley Royal Estate, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most popular pay-to-enter of the National Trust’s sites. Continue reading
During our visit to Grasmere yesterday, clouds lay low over rolling hills, but the greyness just added atmosphere to the water, hills, woods, dry stone walls, ferns and wildflowers along our way.
We’d stopped off here to walk around the lake: my idea of exercise! Our route took us past houses, lakeside businesses, farmland and woods before swinging down to the path around the shore. Continue reading
This weekend we were lured to a Yellow Book charity open day in a thriving community garden, Mossfield Allotments in Urmston, by promises of fruit, veggies and flowers, gardeners we could chat to, a brass band & all the cake we could eat for 50p per slice. Now, that’s a North West day out! You might call it entrapment for people of our ilk.
I loved this artichoke plant I saw in one of the allotment gardens, but I’ve had to crop it quite tightly as my iPhone’s narrow depth of field makes the background very distracting. The blue and turquoise supports at the top make a frame of sorts, though I’d magically whisk them away if I had the editing skills. Continue reading
I’m starting this occasional series on writers and writing by sharing some photos that help place the most romantic literary siblings England has ever produced, Emily, Anne and Charlotte Brontë, in their Yorkshire town, Haworth. Continue reading
If you’re a gardener, love a woodland walk, or visiting a deer park, you’d enjoy the beautiful winter garden at Dunham Massey in the North West of England. In just a few weeks, the winter garden will have a carpet of flowering snowdrops too. Continue reading