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autumn autumn colours country walks Land Art landscapes National Trust ornamental trees and shrubs outdoor sculpture photography Shrewsbury Shropshire The National Trust woodland woodlands

A Lockdown Woodland Walk- Attingham Park

On a warm bright autumn in mid-November we took advantage of the covid lockdown rule allowing us out for exercise and booked a slot at Attingham Park our local National Trust property.

We really enjoyed the amazing sense of freedom we felt every minute of our wanderings. It felt great to take a few photos again! Here they are! The last few show some knitted animals placed among a shrubbery for the autumn season.

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countryside garden design garden paths garden photography gardening gardens hardy perennials landscapes National Garden Scheme NGS ornamental trees and shrubs Powis Powys shrubs Yellow Book Gardens

Some NGS gardens open by timed tickets – part 1 – Bachie Uchaf

After not being able to visit any gardens during the lockdown period, due to government guidelines, it was great when some lifting of the lockdown rules allowed gardens using a timed pre-booked ticket only system to open. The RHS, NT and our very own NGS (Yellow Book Gardens) all made plans to make this safe.

We opened our own garden along with our next door neighbour on the 2nd and 3rd July, which was great success. But we also started visiting our NGS gardens too.

The first of these was Bachie Uchaf a garden not far away in Powys. It felt great to be out enjoying someone else’s garden. Between the car park on a rough part of the farmyard and the house itself we passed some impressive plant combinations which gave us ideas of what we had to look forward to in the main garden.

The garden is set at the head of a valley so afforded impressive views out into the Welsh countryside.

This was a garden divided up into ‘rooms’ but still afforded us long vistas within its quarry bottom setting.

Bachie Uchaf surprised us with its unusual quarry bottom setting but also by the imaginative planting and use of space availability by the gardeners/owners. One final area that impressed us in particular was a steep rock face planted with succulents mostly sedums. Very unusual and cheerful.

 

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countryside garden design garden photography gardening gardens gardens open to the public hardy perennials landscapes ornamental trees and shrubs shrubs Wales

Pentre Uchaf – a high altitude garden

While holidaying in mid-Wales near Cardigan we enjoyed a visit to a garden high up in the hills, surrounding a cottage called Pentre Uchaf. It took quite a drive to get there following narrow lanes up and down steep hills and along narrow valleys. We were so relieved to get there and started as usual with refreshments.

The walk from the car up to the house treated us to great views looking through the planting of trees and perennials.

The theme of the visit was enjoyment of these views from every part of the garden.

 

These two little surprise elements added extra interest to our garden wanderings.

As with any garden it is the plants that are the stars! Pentre Uchaf was no exception!

It may have been a difficult drive to find this little garden but it was most definitely worth the effort.

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hedgerows landscapes pathways the sea the seaside the shore Wales wildlife

Pembrokeshire coast and gardens – a week away in June – Part2 – A Coastal Walk

After enjoying our coastal walk in Cornwall last year we looked forward to exploring part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path. We spent much of the walk looking at the wildflowers growing close to the track and out to sea watching black and white plumaged Oyster Catchers flying in formation quickly flirting with the waves. In every bay gulls of many different sorts called from their nesting ledges to their partners bringing in food. The noise level and excitement level rose sharply whenever Peregrines or Sparrow Hawk flew close by. All along the walk we were accompanied by Kestrel hovering and eyeing up the short grasses below them in search of small mammals. In the scrubland along the clifftops on both sides of the paths small songbirds entertained us every moment of our walk, Wren, Dunnock, Linnet, Pippets, Blackbirds and Goldfinches.

Aberporth was the starting point for our coastal trek, and this little coastal village was a very colourful place. It took us a while to find the beginning of the path and we seemed to make a few false starts before finally getting going.

The local planners were not averse to letting architects design modern homes to contrast well with the cottage style prevalent throughout the village.

Once on the path proper we caught site of the headland we decided to aim for. It looked so far away. The path took us along the cliff tops and we spotted so many interesting beautiful wildflowers along the way and also this brightly coloured beetle on a dandelion flower. When we reached our destination the path dropped down steeply and we were able to walk on the beach for a while.

Here steep cliffs towered above us, in places green with algae.

The wooden footpath sign directed us back to Aberporth and as usual the return journey took us half the time of the way out. But we discovered just as many interesting wildflowers as we did on the way there.

   

We still have not decided where our next coastal holiday will be but it will definitely be where there are accessible walks close to the sea.

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Christmas traditions colours Land Art landscapes light light quality sculpture the sea the seaside the shore Wales

New Year’s Day at the seaside

This post was written right at the beginning of the year but I never got round to publishing it, so here it is a day spent at the seaside to celebrate the arrival of a new year, 2019.

It has become a tradition with Jude and I to spend New Year’s Day at the seaside, sometime on the north coast, sometimes mid-wales. For 2019 we made the trip to mid-wales settling on Aberystwyth as our venue for the day. Daughter Jo and son-in-law Rob joined us so it was extra special.

 

We are always amazed when at the coast how both Mother Nature and visiting humans produce little creations with pebbles and driftwood.

    

As the day wore on the light changed and a warm light lit up the sea and the rocks where the tide rushed in with frothy waves.

So now we can look forward to January 1st 2020 a new year’s day seaside amble and of course a new decade’s day amble too!

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countryside landscapes light quality

A Hill Top Winter Walk

In mid-February on a cool day with a cold wind we took a walk along the top of Llanymynech Hill on the England/Wales border. Jude and I regularly meet up with a group of friends from our college days back in the late 1960s/early 70s, often at gardens, National Trust properties and on this occasion we met up for a pub meal followed by a walk.

Although it is not far from us we haven’t visited it before although Jude did go when she was a child. Come on our walk with us by following the gallery of my photos. Click on the first photo and navigate with the arrows.

Perhaps we will return in the summer and follow the same walk again and see what changes with the seasons.

 

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autumn autumn colours colours garden design garden photography gardens gardens open to the public lakes landscapes light light quality ornamental trees and shrubs pathways Powis Powys shrubs Wales woodland woodlands

Gregynog Part 2 – the woodland walks

Here we are back at the NGS garden, Gregynog where you left us just starting out on our exploration of the park’s woodland. We wandered past the rose hedge along the gravel drive before turning off to the left along a gravel track which took us past mature trees, both conifers and deciduous, with an understorey of shrubs. Autumn colours were beginning to show in their foliage.

  

Acers beneath the tree canopy provided bright splashes of colour.

   

We soon found ourselves having to cross over the driveway to enter the woodands and almost immediately came across the lake. We began to meet several other couples and families taking advantage of the weather and the woodland trails, as well as a few more serious runners using the “Green Gym”. We took the path that took us almost all around the lake and then took a side track, grassed underfoot, into the woodland itself. We walked beneath mature wrinkled Birches which let plenty of light through to allow an understory to grow away happily.

        

After walking half a mile into the woodland the pathsides were a mass of tall growing golden leaved brackens. The tallest were the same height as Jude, the Undergardener.

On the wood floor beneath the trees a carpet of colourful fallen leaves gave a soft surface for us to walk on.

A final surprise were the dens built around and against the tree trunks by young visitors enjoying the special woodland atmosphere.

Leaving the woodland we could see the hall through the trees, and then we discovered the “Green Gym”, where wooden gym structures awaited the fit and healthy visitors.

So that was our day out at Gregynog, a completely new garden to us and one we would enjoy visiting again.

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Land Art landscapes light light quality outdoor sculpture photography sculpture trees Yorkshire

A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 7 Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The last day of our family holiday, where we spent a week in the Scottish Borders, was spent part way during our journey home at The Yorkshire Sculture Park. This is a favourite place for our family so it was great to all be there together. There are always top quality gallery shows and outdoor exhibitions as well as the permanent collection of outside sculpture all dispayed in beautiful parkland.

Before going out to the underground gallery to look at the work of Guiseppe Penone, we had a quick look at exhibitions inside which we all felt were rather strange except  for Arabella who enjoyed the animals. She loves all animals! See what you think of these.

 

We went out into the unnaturally cool, wet July morning across the gravel display area into the main gallery. This building is so good at displaying sculpture and is fascinating in its own right. The right hand photo of the three below shows part of the first piece we spotted as we entered the gallery building.

  

In the main gallery spaces we were enthralled by Guiseppe Penone’s exhibition “A Tree in the Wood”, each piece holding our attention. The centre piece was a tree carved to follow the natural contours and get into its soul. It was a beautiful piece! The tree was so long that the sculptural piece went through two galleries passing through from one to another.

           

This sculptural piece was one of the most beautiful pieces Jude and I could ever remember experiencing, as the sculptor successfully discovered and enhanced the textures, shapes contours and even the soul of the tree when it was still living. Now this tree will live on for ever, unaffected by storms, freezing conditions and long winters.

But there were plenty of other examples of his tree and wood sculptures here to enjoy plus a few 2D pieces.

    

After hours of being enthralled by “A Tree in the Wood” we eventually moved outside to a very wet parkland. Arabella however who loves puddles almost above all else soon spotted one result of the rain. To enjoy this you will have to await my next post.

 

 

 

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allotments garden design garden photography gardens gardens open to the public kitchen gardens Land Art landscapes sculpture

A family holiday to Scotland – Part 3- Little Sparta

For a long time we have wanted to visit the garden at Little Sparta near Glasgow, so when holidaying nearby we just had to pay it a visit. Often places you have waited for with high expectations turn out to be less than you hope for but Little Sparta proved to be more than expected. Jude and I visited with our son and daughter-in-law, Jamie and Sam and our granddaughter Arabella, a twenty-month old garden and nature lover.

Little Sparta is the garden created by artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (1925-2006).  It was started 50 years ago, created from the natural landscape and is described in the leaflet given to garden visitors as “a beautiful and shaded place, with trees, flower beds, running streams, bridges, ponds and paths, which lead you past more than 200 artworks many of them carved with inscriptions that will take you into the world of classical Greece and Rome, poetry and philosophy, but also the French Revolution, naval ships, armed conflict and weapons of war.”

So we arrived with expectations of surprises and originality.

We parked in the tiny carpark and followed a rough gravel track for almost half a mile up the slope to the garden entrance. We can’t remember visiting many gardens without vehicle access at least reasonably close. The walk up took us through beautiful Scottish farmland complete with sheep and cattle.

 

The gateway presented a warm welcome but was somewhat of a trick as it was not the actual entrance to the garden which was a short distance along the stone wall.

 

With every turn of a path new and very varied vistas presented themselves, close tight places and larger open landscapes.

     

Surprises in the form of stone sculptures and stone calligraphy add to the delight of this garden and help us understand its designer.

     

A real surprise was a fruit and veg patch which had the feel of a true old-fashioned allotment.

 

 

 

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landscapes

A Family Holiday in Scotland – Part 2 – strolling down the glen

Part 2 of this little series concerning our family holiday in the Scottish Borders, explores a gentle stroll down a beautiful Scottish glen. But first let’s share with you our lovely holiday cottage, a Scottish longbarn conversion, and its amazing grounds.

If the weather is sunny and there are any plants in the garden Arabella loves watering them, but usually has to water her feet first.

 

Come for us now for a wander around the cottage’s grounds and up its driveway, full of wildflowers, scented plants and mature native trees.

         

Whenever we went out for the day we began by driving down that lovely driveway which was a great way to start the day. Early on in our week Jude and I with son Jamie, daughter-in-law Sam and 18 month old granddaughter Arabella took off to visit a local glen.

So, come with us on our little walk, a slow walk at Arabella pace.

 

We were amazed by how many wildflowers we spotted in both quantity and numbers of different ones. Wildlife seemed to really appraciate these plants.

I think the best way to share our walk with you is via a gallery of my photographs, so please click on the first picture and then navigate using the right arrow. Enjoy!

We hope you enjoyed visiting our holiday cottage and its grounds and sharing our walk in the beautiful glen.