Last Thursday I fulfilled a long-held ambition and took a trip to the home of David Austin and his wonderful rose empire in the Midlands....it lived up to all expectations! Above you see the Alhambra Garden...one of several that were designed to showcase the absolute magnificence and fragrance of the wonderful roses developed and grown by this far-sighted man. His ambition was to return to the old English heavily-scented blowsy heavy-headed traditional flowers from the neat & tidy standards and buttoned up bushes favoured in the 1950's, 60's & 70's...he's succeeded!
It was so lovely to be able to see the different types in situ...as they should be seen (& smelt!) Huge swathes and banks of rambling, tumbling beauty. It made me wish that our garden was ten times the size so I could fit more of these delights in. There really isn't much room left! But I think I've identified a couple of spots for two more....
As part of the afternoon, I had a wonderful cream tea in a marquee on the lawns...served on rose patterned china
with a vase of yellow beauties (The Pilgrim, a sensational climber) in the centre of the table..
A beautiful way to spend an afternoon, if you love gardens as I do. I came home clutching the latest catalogue...dreaming and planning!
Our county was for many years the home of celebrated author Roald Dahl. I even met him once! When I was about 10, Esther & I took part in a village fancy dress competition. Our Mum made our costumes using lots of crepe paper and ingenuity! I was a milkmaid and my sister a daisy...and to our great surprise,(and luckily for our relationship) we won joint first prize! The great Dahl was the judge and presented us with a signed copy of his book Fantastic Mr Fox...which we still have....
There is a children's gallery dedicated to his creations in my town and on most mornings I hear the chatter of schoolchildren walking in 'crocodile' formation through the churchyard on their excited way to visit!
Last Saturday, the town held the annual Roald Dahl Festival....happily the day was a beautiful one as the children so look forward to it, and everyone goes to so much trouble...
and at 11am, a procession of BFGs, Matildas,Giant Peaches, Charlies and Georges make their way into town accompanied by stiltwalkers & many other amazing characters and creatures.
Dahl died about 20 years ago now...his grave is a huge draw to visitors, who leave chocolate bars on it in tribute to the creator of The Chocolate Factory....and his books continue to give huge pleasure to each new generation of children and encourage them to read.
July has begun...I can hardly believe that we are more than halfway through the year already! I hope that your week has started well...it's raining softly as I write and the cooling air is filled with birdsong and the smell of wet grass from the freshly mown churchyard...it's a little piece of bliss xo