Countryside Pursuits


This is not a post about tweed wearing, fire-arms bearing activities (although if you haven't yet bought a ticket to Miss Knight's Crawley & Horsham extravaganza in November - you know who you are - you better be quick smart, it's going to be a fantabulous evening 😘).I just wanted to write a little post about a few places and things I have discovered recently whilst in the countryside.  I like escaping London, I may have mentioned this a couple of times 😉.   It's always so nice to be in the fresh air and away from the constant rush of the city, and enjoying a slightly slower pace of life.  So below are some of my finds 🌳😃.

Alice xxx

Marourde Mead

In a small village in Kent, William Boscawen has been perfecting the recipe for his delicious mead. Using mostly local ingredients, hops and honey are from the farm, he has created three sparkling meads each with their own distinct flavour.  The mead is aptly named 'Marourde' as this is the historic name of the village of Mereworth where it is made.

I spent a delightful afternoon with William, we had a tour of his meadery and of course a tasting.  With no expectations at all, I really enjoyed this sweet yet satisfying drink, which is best served very chilled.  William is also growing vines, so watch this space for the next in great English sparkling wines..... and in the mean time check out Marourde's insta for all things mead.

Ravilious at The Towner Art Gallery

I am quite a bit fan of Eric Ravilious. I really like his woodcuts and many of them are currently on display at The Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne.  This is particularly fun as many of the places Ravilious depicted in his pictures are close by, nestling in the South Downs.  So not only can you see his artwork, you can also seek out the locations in which he painted.Off we went down to Eastbourne, and it was very exciting indeed, there is great selection of his original woodcuts and paintings -  I love his book illustrations - alongside many other works by his friends and fellow artists, Edward Bawden, Paul Nash and John Nash.  I highly recommend going to see this exhibition, we followed our visit with a blustery walk up onto Beachy Head, and I am excited to go back and explore more Ravilious countryside soon.

Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

This beautiful garden, hidden away near Ockley in Surrey, has a wonderful display of contemporary sculpture.  It's rather fun to wander about, weaving in and out of the water features and catching the sunlight as it shines through the giant foliage.  We had a greatly enjoyable evening discovering all sorts of weird and wonderful works of art, they display over 200 pieces varying them throughout the summer, so there is lots to see!

And a few other English countryside happenings 😍


Young British Designers

This weekend we took some photos in the garden, and I wore a number of items all by British designers.  It was lots of fun, the bluebells are out, and all the clothes are quite wonderful.I am now hankering after a Bruta embroidered shirt and a Baia handbag, and am completely obsessed with anything and everything by Rejina Pyo.  I wore the most beautiful printed silk dress by Klements, and also a very sweet little white dress by Kelly Love.  And Needle & Thread please may I have everything you make, I just love the pretty embroidered tulle top.  Also check out Rosita Bonita's seahorse earrings which are made from leather so are super light and just so cool, and also a couple of excellent finds from the British high street.Happy photo viewing!! Isn't the garden looking super 😃, and next time I promise I shall smile more... 😘.Alice xxx

Rejino Pyo jacket, Kelly Love dress, Klements dress, Bruta shirt, Whythe Bea skirt, Baia bag are all available from:

Young British Designers.

Blue nail polish by Barry M.

Photography Sarah Bray & Emily Bray.

Photographed at High Beeches Garden.

RHS Early Rhododendron & Camellia Flower Show

This year I went along to help with the set up of the RHS Early Rhododendron and Camellia show at Savill Garden.  Anyone can enter, the big gardens will have their many varieties on show, but if you have a camellia you are particularly pleased with, you can come along and display it too.High Beeches entered rhododendrons, having carefully transported them to Savill Garden, and came away with 'Best in Show' for Rhododendron Kesangiae, and a number of other prizes too 😊.  Although we didn't enter camellias, I always love looking at the beautiful arrangements of perfectly formed camellia flowers.  I hope you enjoy the photos below 😍.I am also particularly enjoying the cherry blossom at the moment, so 'Brayce Yourself' on Friday will be full on blossom 😘.Alice xxx 

Spring Flowers

I really love this time of year as the garden is finally awaking from winter ❄️and the flowers 🌺🌸are starting to come out.  We went for a wander round the garden 🐶🌳, just after it had rained and founds lots of delightful colours, the daffodils 🌻 are out in force and the rhododendrons 🌺and magnolias 🌸 are starting to appear 😊.  Also do follow the new High Beeches Garden instagram account for lots of photo updates @highbeechesgardensAlice xxx

Narcissus Bulbocodium

Narcissus Cyclamineus


Rhododendron Oredoxa

Magnolia Sargentiana


Daffodils at Home

Time for a Snooze

A Little More Autumn

I really do like Autumn 🍂🍁.  There are just so many amazing colours 💚💛❤️ in the garden at this time of year and I really couldn't resist taking many many photos this weekend 📷.We went for a walk 👧, Pip 🐶 came too of course, and we found all sorts of shades - browns, reds, yellows, oranges, magenta, burgundy, purple - I love the cascade of leaves at the foot of trees, and the incredible variation in colour on just one tree.  The garden is looking really very beautiful right now, Autumn always reminds me how special a place it is.  All those trees carefully chosen and planted to create different vistas at different times of the year.  Almost like an ever changing work of art, each variety of tree takes it's turn to be the focal point of the painting throughout the year.  And Autumn always surprises me, just when you think winter is setting in, suddenly the garden has a last hurrah and is ablaze with all sorts of amazing colour. 💖🌳.Sunday was very exciting, not only was the sun out so the Acer Palmatum was looking quite wonderful 🌴❤️- a bright bright red - the garden was also photographed with a drone 🎥- the large spindly bug like creature took off and photographed the garden from above ⛲️, and also caught us on camera too 👧👦👧!I hope the wonderful colours, brighten up a rather chilly week 💕.Alice xxxPhotos taken at High Beeches Gardenimg_2238 img_2237img_2357img_2286 img_2342img_2292 img_2293img_2311img_2302 img_2297img_2305 img_2307img_2322img_2328 img_2370img_2445 img_2339img_2340    img_2341img_2358 img_2353img_2430img_2416 img_2417img_2422 img_2424img_2415 img_2425img_2241img_2567 img_2249img_2365 img_2373img_2394 img_2397img_2380img_2411 img_2412img_2386 img_2385img_2451img_2517img_2497img_2452img_2464img_2472img_2482img_2510img_2524  

Autumn at High Beeches Garden

Autumn is one of my favourite times of year.  I love that the garden produces brightly coloured flowers through the year, and then, when it starts to get a little colder in October, and it feels like it is time to pack up for the winter, it suddenly become ablaze  with brilliant colour. It starts slowly, a little orange here, a little red there, and then suddenly colour starts to appear everywhere.  I like the way the trees produce a multi coloured effect - the Red Oak is currently a wonderful combination of green, yellow and orange.  I love it when a tree has turned completely one colour - a red Acer next to a yellow betula lenta.  And it is always amazing to watch the changing tone of colour in one tree - the Acer turning from a deep purpley red one day, to a bright brilliant red the next, and finally to an fiery orange.  It is so difficult to pick a favourite - the magenta heart shape leaves of the Disanthus cercidifolia are definitely one, and the curling Cornus leaves in their variegated shades another.  The trees in their Autumn colour contrast so beautifully against the greens of the garden.  You've got to be quick though, the colours change so fast, and are gone before you know it.  I love that they change at different times - the Acers are well on their way, the Nyssas not quite started.  This week and next is the time to go and see the colour at High Beeches Garden which is looking absolutely splendid.So of course I put a dress on and we took some photos in the garden.  I appear to have not managed to smile at any point, but I really did enjoy the walk about the garden!Country Life recently wrote a piece about Autumn Colour at High Beeches Garden, which you can read here -  Country Life Article: sept-28-high-beeches Cover - sept-28-coverAlice xxxPhotos taken by Sarah BrayI am wearing a Jaeger dress, Elia B shoes and Patrick Mavros earrings img_7692img_7694img_7703img_7706img_7714img_7721img_7725img_7736img_7739img_7750img_7753 

A Day Trip From London

I love this time of the year, just before the clocks go back ⏰, when the leaves are starting to fall off the trees 🍂 🍁and, if you are lucky, the mornings are full of bright sunshine ☀️.  I really like wrapping up warm 👒 and stepping outside into the brisk cold air ❄️, and enjoying the sun ☺️.Last weekend we decided to escape London 🎡 and took a day trip to Sussex 🌳.  It was really very easy, we hopped on a train 🚂 at Clapham Junction with our bicycles 🚲🚲, and got off at Lewes.  We cycled via Glynde (there were a few steep hills! 🗻),  and made out way to Charleston Farmhouse 🏡.  The garden 🌷at Charleston is looking spectacular right now, the dahlias 🌺🌹🌻 are out, and it is the perfect time of year for a wander - I have written about the garden here.  This time we also had a quick look around the house 🏠, far smaller than I had imagined 👧, with lots of exciting artworks 🎨, and we learnt a bit more about the very intriguing Bloomsbury group.  We then cycled 🚲🚲back to Lewes via the main road (there is a cycle path, although it cuts off abruptly just before reaching Lewes, we were slightly perturbed 😳).  And the a train 🚂 💤 ride back to London.It was a super day 😃, and very sunny 😍, and it was really quite excellent to be in the countryside 🌺🌿🌳.Alice xxxI am wearing hush Dolman Sloppy Joe, hush Leggings and Reebok Trainers.img_1208img_0855img_0858img_0859img_0861img_0867img_0886img_0884img_0874img_0887img_0894img_0892img_0895img_0896img_0898img_0911img_0914img_0919img_0924img_0925img_0926img_0941img_0943img_0947img_0948img_0951

Tresco in a Coco Fennell Dress

Some photos for Monday 💕💖😃They were taken on the walkway to the bird hide on Tresco, in the Scilly Isles.I am wearing a Coco Fennell dress -  I am a big fan of Coco's dresses, they are super cute and fun, and she makes them all herself - I currently have my eye on her Pineapple dress 😍.  And her instagram is a must follow 😘Alice xxxPhotographs taken by Emily BrayIMG_6186IMG_6171IMG_6175IMG_6184IMG_6197IMG_6209  IMG_6216 IMG_6218  IMG_6220 IMG_6221

Tresco Abbey Garden

So when we were in Tresco we also took a few photos in the Abbey Garden 🌳.  This garden is one of my favourite places, you can wander about and get completely lost, and you continuously come across more and more exciting flowers and trees🌺🌴.  Due to the climate (it doesn't get too cold) they can grow all sorts of tropical plants, there are palm trees galore, and many bright flowers, and ferns.We took some photos - and I have to admit, I think the yellow Zara dress 💛 is great, but the blue Toyshades sunglasses 💙 and topknot are a little harsh with the outfit.  The shoes are my Topshop pompoms shoes 🔵.  But it was fun, and the yellow dress worked wonderfully, and we got some lovely photos of the garden 🌳.Alice xxxPhotos taken by Sarah BrayIMG_9985 IMG_9994 IMG_0002IMG_0019IMG_9980 IMG_0033 IMG_0041


Hydrangeas 💐 are maybe one of my favourite flowers, and they are coming into flower right now at High Beeches Garden.  I like that whilst the rest of the garden is almost completely green, you turn a corner and are suddenly presented with all sorts of blues, purples and pinks.  And the most exciting thing about hydrangeas are their variation in colour.  The flowers on just one plant can be pink, purple blue and yellow, and when you stand back from the plant, it looks almost as though they have been painted on, by someone wishing for a tree with flowers in all their favourite colours.  When you get close the petals on each flowerhead are just so perfectly arranged.  Right now as they are  flowering, you get to the see the whole process from buds, to small flowers to complete flowerheads.The flower pigment variation is due to the presence of aluminium ions in the soil.  Hydrangeas are hyper-accumulating and they are able to take in the aluminium ions in the soil, which are either available or tied up depending on the soil pH.  An acidic soil (pH below 7) will usually produce blue and purples flowers, an alkaline soil (pH above 7) will produce pink and red flowers.   Changing the pH tends not to make a difference to the colour of the flower - the soil needs to contain aluminium ions.  Most hydrangeas are actually white, it is only some species, most notably Hydrangea Macrophylla that is affected by the aluminium ions.  And they can also be also bred to a certain colour.I really love this variation of colour in nature.  I think colours are never better than when they are completely natural, and I find it so exciting that this one plant produces all sorts of pinks, purples and blues.  So I took many photos, and I hope you enjoy them 😊.Alice xxxIMG_8816 IMG_8817 IMG_8884 IMG_8819 IMG_8820 IMG_8833 IMG_8834IMG_8842 IMG_8844 IMG_8846 IMG_8847 IMG_8849IMG_8857 IMG_8859 IMG_8860 IMG_8864 IMG_8865 IMG_8868 IMG_8870 IMG_8871 IMG_8874 IMG_8880 IMG_8881 IMG_8883IMG_8877

Tresco Abbey Gardens

Today we had a tour around the Tresco Abbey Gardens with Mike Nelhams the curator, which was fascinating.  The Abbey Gardens are really quite amazing - due to the unique climate (it doesn't freeze, or at least it's not supposed to, and it doesn't get too hot) they are able to grow all sorts of plants from all over the world.  So sitting next to each other are plants and trees from South Africa, New Zealand, Chile and Burma.  There are all sorts of weird and quite wonderful things - and it does feel very tropical, there are palm trees galore.  In 1987, and in 1991 the weather was unkind to the garden and they lost a lot of trees and plants and have been replanting since then - it is a 'heavy planting' so the beds are full of all sorts - a camellia next to a giant dandelion, surrounded by many aeomiums, under a Norfolk Island Pine.The puya was in flower which is the most amazing dark turquoise, I have never seen flowers quite like them.  The sparrows are quite taken with the pollen of these flowers, and sometimes you see a sparrow with an orange head, having got a little bit too intimate with the pollen of the puya flower.Thank you for showing us the garden Mike!Alice xxxIMG_8266 

A Visit to Savill Garden - Talking with Will Stanger

This weekend I went to Savill Garden where I met Will Stanger and we spoke plants and went for a wander around the garden.  What I enjoyed most about my visit was talking to someone my own age who is completely passionate about all things garden and plant related - I really learnt a lot!Will is at Savill Garden on the 3 year PGG (Professional Gardeners' Guild) Gardener Traineeship Scheme.  Prior to this he took his National Diploma in Horticulture (triple distinction), a BSc (Hons) in Green Space Management at Writtle College, and then went on to do an MA in Historic Design Landscape - he got a 1st in both.Once he graduated and started to look for work he came up against the 'you need experience first' problem.  Will has been gardening since the age of 6, (he really has - one of his first memories is planting a pansy at nursery school and taking it home) and then he started helping his Mum is the garden, moving on to the gardens of Aunts and Great Aunts, and people in his local area, and he funded his MA working for Moors for the Future on micro propagation.  This still wasn't enough to land him an actual job,  so after a lot of probing he found a place as a volunteer at Trelissick Garden for 6 months and then spent 6 weeks volunteering at RHS Rosemoor.  He was then pointed him in the direction of the PGG Traineeship scheme, which he is almost half way through - this year he is at Savill, and he spent last year at Thenford House in Lord Heseltine's arboretum, next year he is off to The Garden House is Devon to experience working in a smaller garden.I asked Will what he enjoys about the horticulture, and he said what he loves most is that there is always something more to learn - it really is never ending.  He enjoys the anticipation of watching something you have planted grow.  And he likes the creativity of gardening - I enjoyed the idea of destructive versus creative - the ripping up of plants to make way for something new, and combining colours, and textures in the new design.  He doesn't have a favourite plant - for him this is apparently this is like asking if you have a favourite child!At the moment, at Savill Garden, he turns up for work but he doesn't usually know what he will be working on, it is only the season or the weather that gives an indication -  today weeding, tomorrow he might be mowing.And in between the physical work there are often demos on 'how to graft a magnolia' or 'seeding' and he says he always attends, just in case he learns something new, or a better way of doing it.  He also tries to learn 5 new plants a week and is really interested in the ecology of planting - how to make the planting more sustainable and the plants easier to look after, and at the same time improving the aesthetics in the garden design - he admires what Piet Oudolf has done with the New York high line.After he has finished his 3 years, he is interested in going to New Zealand for a year, there are lots of exciting things happening there including magnolia cultivars being bred.  The end plan is not clear yet - we spoke about the career opportunities for gardeners - Curator of a botanic garden, Head of Green Space Infrastructure for a region or country, Head of Parks and Gardens for the National Trust - or perhaps a dedicated Head Gardener creating the '8th Wonder of the World'.It was also really interesting talking to Will about his MA in Historic Landscape Design (I took at module on the 'Eighteenth Century British Country House', and we touched on the gardens and landscapes of these houses - but not nearly enough) and we spoke at little about development of the garden from the Romans to the present day.  Will is all for changing gardens -  preservation of design is not always a good thing - you can at the very least incorporate contemporary elements.  We also touched on the significance of gardens and, whether the people who walk round them notice the symbolism and if they should even be expected to.  Apparently Stowe had the first ever garden guide book (so you knew which temple represented vice and which virtue).  And we spoke a little about the garden as a business and how the reasons people choose to visit a garden has changed and is changing.  And most importantly whether there will be a place for these beautifully curated green spaces in the future - if it is sustainable.On our walk around the garden we spoke about planting beds at different times of year - do you want a bed in which everything flowers in one week - or a variation, so that there is always something in flower.  And I had a little recap on species, varieties, cultivars and hybrids - I am getting there!  And excitingly, there is still so much more to learn.  Thank you for showing me around Will, it was a wonderful afternoon.Alice xxxPhotos taken at Savill Garden:IMG_7637 IMG_7691 IMG_7639 IMG_7640 IMG_7641 IMG_7642 IMG_7643 IMG_7645 IMG_7647 IMG_7648 IMG_7650 IMG_7657 IMG_7660 IMG_7663 IMG_7690 IMG_7671 IMG_7672 IMG_7674 IMG_7675 IMG_7678 IMG_7683

The Wildflower Meadow

This weekend we spent some time in the wildflower meadow 🌸🌺🌷🌾at High Beeches Garden.  The meadow has been there for at least 145 years, most likely longer and it is a natural acid wildflower meadow.  The natural 🌷🌾 part is important - it has been growing all by itself for all these years - the only help it has had is being cut once a year, and the hay removed 🌾.  Many wildflower meadows you see and hear about now have been purposely planted (rumour has it Prince Charles 👑 carefully cultivates his at Highgrove), but the one at High Beeches grows every year, without any help at all and is really quite magnificent.I love it most at this time of year, as it is completely covered in ox-eye daisies 🌼 - I always associate June with daisies 🌼 (my birthday is today - hurrah! and June and my birthday mean the daisies  are out.  But I actually know very little about the rest of the flowers 🌷 and grasses 🌾 that make up the meadow (there are 45 wildflowers and 12 grasses!) so we went on a little wildflower hunt through the meadow, Pip and Barney 🐶 came too.In between Pip and Barney 🐶digging holes where they weren't supposed (there was a stern telling off) we found a number of quite delightful flora 🌷🌻.  So I know the daisy 🌼 - the ox-eye daisy or leucanthemum vulgare is a larger version of the common daisy, and I can recognise the sunshine yellow of the buttercup 🌻.  I also recognised the purple of the clover 🍀 flower once it had been pointed out, and there are many lovely little purply orchids  🌷- dactylorhiza fuchsii .Other wildflowers we discovered were the knapweed centaurea 🌺(I have looked at these for years and have had no idea what they were) and the same goes for the little yellow, common birdsfoot trefoil lotus corbicula 💐 (I think quite a hard name for a very charming flower).But the yellow rattle rhianthus minor 🌱 is completely new to me, and so was the common twayblade listers ovata 🌾.  There really are all sorts, and it can be very easy to miss them - but we did spot the tiny lesser stichwort 🌸.I have to say we didn't even begin on grasses 🌾 (I have some vague grass knowledge from Pony Club - the times when it was raining and we sat inside and learnt about things our ponies were and weren't allowed to eat) - and grass is for another day.The meadow is changing all the time and is really very beautiful - do go and see the daisies 😍🌼!And if you want some more information have a look at High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_7448IMG_7426IMG_7370[1]IMG_7435IMG_7450IMG_7433IMG_7431IMG_7438IMG_7432IMG_7390[1]IMG_7436IMG_7444IMG_7440IMG_7451

The Bank Holiday

This bank holiday I was in the countryside and it was sunny ☺️.  We did countryside 🌳things such as walking to the pub and drinking pimms 🍹, eating lunch outside 🍴🍻, having tea outside ☕️🍰, going for another walk 🌲, losing the dog 🐶😳, finding the dog 🐶😃, having some more tea 🍰☕️.  It was a very good weekend.  On Monday I went to watch the polo 🐎at Guards Polo Club (thank you Alice and James 😃) and I wore my new Maruti ankle boots I am so pleased with 😘 (I found them in the Clapham Junction TK Maxx, last Thursday 😍).Alice xxxIMG_2550IMG_6640IMG_6963IMG_6972IMG_6999IMG_7080IMG_7022IMG_7020IMG_7026IMG_7030IMG_7044IMG_7064IMG_7070IMG_7053IMG_7074IMG_7052IMG_7082IMG_7083

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Last week I went to Chelsea Flower Show 🌸🌺🌹🌷 for the first time. The sun ☀️ was shining which was a good start, and we spent a couple of hours enjoying the garden 🌳 and floral displays 🌷.  There is so much to see - and there is an incredible range of flowers - a whole stand haphazardly spilling over with all sorts of fuchsias 🌺, another filled with huge palm trees 🌴, another filled to the brim with lupins 💐.  Some are carefully put together without a leaf out of place 🌿, other displays wilder, almost out of control 🌾.  The miniature gardens are really delightful 💐 - some of them definitely belong in fairy tales 💘.  And people do all sorts of clever things with their displays - I really enjoyed the hanging flowers 🌹.  Some of the displays do seem as they have been created with instagram 📱 very firmly in mind (I instagrammed a fair bit 📷).Everyone at Chelsea was dressed in pastels 💛💚 (it's spring, almost summer ☀️), and I even had an ice cream 🍦 - the kind that aren't 99p anymore.Alice xxxIMG_6793IMG_6790IMG_6797IMG_6800IMG_6810IMG_6867IMG_6818IMG_6820IMG_6823IMG_6824IMG_6825IMG_6829IMG_6831IMG_6832IMG_6836IMG_6843IMG_6849 IMG_6855IMG_6860IMG_6868


One of my main reasons for wanting to go to this part of Spain was to see the Alhambra ⭐️.  You need to book very very early and we had not done this 😳.  Two weeks before we went, the kind man over the phone ☎️ tried to fob us off  with tickets to the Generalife garden 🌳'does this include entry to the Nasrid Palaces 🏤?' 'No' 'Are the Nasrid Palaces 🏤 the best part' 'Yes' - it is important to preserve.   After a fair bit of probing he did admit that the best way to get a ticket was to ring him the day before we wanted to go, as they always have tickets the day before ☎️.  I wasn't superbly happy about this, but we had no choice but to chance it.  The day arrived - I called up the lady 💁 in the ticket office - and NO tickets 😭.  Our only hope now was to go and queue the following morning (the ticket office opens at 8am, and she suggested getting there VERY early 😳).So I may have made Andy, Max and Laura wake up at 6am ⏰ to drive over to Granada to get into the disneylandesque queue so we could get into the Alhambra ⭐️ - sometimes it's important to do these things.  It was slightly drizzling ☔️ when we arrived at 7.30am ⏰there was already a monstrous queue 👬👭👭👬.  We split into two parties - 2 to queue for the actual ticket office 👭, and 2 to queue to buy tickets from a machine 👬, and drank some terrible coffee while we waited ☕️.  I am pleased to tell you we did get tickets - the ticket machine queue won and Andy and Max came back triumphantly 🎉.My two favourite parts of the Alhambra were the Generalife Gardens  🌳- the roses 🌹 were out and it had recently rained ☔️ and they are rather beautiful.And then of course the Nasrid Palaces 🏤 - there are just so many patterns ⭐️ everywhere, they are quite splendid.And they have a good gift shop 🏰 - I bought a glasses 👓 case covered in an Alhambra ⭐️ inspired pattern.  Andy suggested they should be selling Al - ham - bras 🐷👙 (that would be bras made of ham in a nice pattern) - sorry for giving your idea away Andy...I am SO pleased we made it 😍.  And I suggest you book in advance if you do decide to go.Alice xxxIMG_3170IMG_3171IMG_3173IMG_3174IMG_3176IMG_3177IMG_3182Photo 07-05-2016Photo 07-05-2016-2Photo 07-05-2016-3Photo 07-05-2016-5Photo 07-05-2016-7Photo 07-05-2016-8Photo 07-05-2016-10Photo 07-05-2016-11Photo 07-05-2016-12Photo 07-05-2016-14Photo 07-05-2016-15Photo 07-05-2016-16Photo 07-05-2016-17Photo 07-05-2016-18Photo 07-05-2016-19Photo 07-05-2016-20Photo 07-05-2016-21Photo 07-05-2016-22Photo 07-05-2016-23Photo 07-05-2016-24IMG_3191Photo 07-05-2016-27Photo 07-05-2016-28Photo 07-05-2016-29Photo 07-05-2016-31Photo 07-05-2016-32Photo 07-05-2016-33Photo 07-05-2016-35Photo 07-05-2016-36Photo 07-05-2016-37Photo 07-05-2016-38Photo 07-05-2016-39Photo 07-05-2016-40

A Riot of Rhododendrons

A quick interlude from my travels (there is lots more Spain to come!), but the rhododendrons are out and they are looking marvellous.High Beeches Garden has a huge array of Rhododendrons and what I love most is the contrast of colours - pinks, oranges,reds and yellows sit side by side - some with huge flowers, other absolutely tiny.Below are just some of the very many - they are all rhododendrons unless I have stated otherwise, and they are all in flower at the moment.Alice xxx Photo 15-05-2016-2Photo 15-05-2016-11 Photo 15-05-2016-6Photo 15-05-2016-8Photo 15-05-2016-10Photo 15-05-2016Pieris FormosaPhoto 15-05-2016-22Photo 15-05-2016-15Photo 15-05-2016-12Photo 15-05-2016-13  Photo 15-05-2016-17Photo 15-05-2016-19Photo 15-05-2016-20Photo 15-05-2016-23Davidia - The Handkerchief TreePhoto 15-05-2016-21

The Flower Show

The flower show -🌺 The Spring Ornamental Plant Competition 🌸- was a very early start - I met Mummy at 8am at Wisley on Saturday morning, to help with the final set up for the exhibs from High Beeches Garden.The set up had been going on the day before, so most rhododendrons 🌸 and camellias 🌺were already looking pretty good - there was some last minute cleaning of petals and leaves and general rearrangement going on.I have been to one of these before, quite some time ago - but was excited to go again.  It's a very friendly vibe, nothing like your village fair vegetable competition 🍆🍍🌽(not that I have ever been to one of these before) but I always imagine (mainly I think from Wallace and Gromit🐶) that the other competitive competitors are giving each others marrows 🍆 furtive glances over the garden wall in the week before the show, and that there is always the potential for night time sabotage - because, you know, it is important to win.However, the flower showing bunch are a friendly sort, and there was lots of chat about gardens, and the weather, and the early start and the weather.  It has been WET 💧💧💧 this year - you may have noticed, so this upsets the balance of the growing.  The magnolias are suffering big time, there were hardly any on show, and people have had to be a bit more inventive with what they are going to show.  The big gardens such as Exbury and Savill Gardens have lots of choice, it's trickier for us smaller gardens with less choice.  My favourite, possibly, are the small private gardens - the real plant enthusiasts who dearly love their plants, and are excited to get a chance to show against some of this big name competitors.So it was a nice morning, and we tidied up our rhododendrons 🌸, had a good peer at everyone else's exhibits, and chatted plants. We decided we had done the very best we could and went for breakfast altogether ☕️.Then after the judging 📝, we came back to the show and we hadn't done too badly at all - a number of first prizes for rhododendrons AND we came third in the big class.  Next was prize giving.  What I like about plant people 🌳👦👧 is you get the tidy tweed jacket wearers, and you get the 'I have come straight from my garden with mud everywhere' types.  But really all they care about are the plants.  The lady presenting the prizes was wearing a splendid jacket with large camellia flowers 🌺 printed all over it.I enjoyed myself immensely, and took A LOT of photos.  We weren't actually exhibiting camellias 🌺, but I got excited and photographed a lot of them, I just love how perfectly formed the flowers are, and they often have superb names ...... and of course I took photos of our rhododendrons too.I also took home a number of plants that didn't make it into the exhibit, and now our house looks like a small arboretum 🌳🍃🌿🌺... possibly my flatmates are becoming worried..... there is a story somewhere, I think by Gerald Durrell, one of his early memories of visiting an elderly lady, always in her bedroom, four poster bed and dressing table with mirror, and the curtains were always closed, and in the half light he could see the whole room was just filled with flowers and plants...  I haven't got to this stage, yet..Alice xxxIMG_4955IMG_4920IMG_5043IMG_4914IMG_4912IMG_4915IMG_4916IMG_4918IMG_4922IMG_4933IMG_4935IMG_4936IMG_4939IMG_4940IMG_4941IMG_4947IMG_4948IMG_4950IMG_4990IMG_4966IMG_4983IMG_4985IMG_4962IMG_4965IMG_4957IMG_4972IMG_4944IMG_4963IMG_4982IMG_4927

A Walk in the Garden

High Beeches Garden has just reopened after the winter, and we went for a walk round the garden to see what is in flower.  I am very good at mainly noticing Camellias 🌺 and Magnolias 🌸, somehow I always get drawn to them.  However, if you look past the flourishes of Camellia flowers there are rather a lot of other fun things to be found, in all sorts of colours.The Rhododendrons 🌺🌺are starting to flower and there are some magnificent ones - I always find it amazing the difference in size between these trees, there are absolutely tiny ones such as the Rhododendron racemosum, sitting right next to Rhododendron macabeanum, whose flowers I always think looks more like an animal than vegetable.I was particularly taken with the white star shaped flower on the Rhododendron quinquefolium ⭐️ and also the Grevillea 'Canberra Gem', which looks so pretty in flower, and seems so unexpected, the contrast of dark green and bright red ❤️💚.The cherry blossom 🌸🍒 is starting to appear and we found Prunus Sargentii, an excellent purply pink, and also the Montezuma Pine (such a good name) has cones on it 🌲😍.There is so much to see, and this is only the beginning - it will be in full bloom before too long 😊.If you want to read more about the garden in detail - the blog, written by Sarah Bray, has all sorts of details about the garden and the plants - High Beeches Garden blog.Alice xxxIMG_4715IMG_4735IMG_4645IMG_4627IMG_4658IMG_4701IMG_4709IMG_4697IMG_4718IMG_4726IMG_4738IMG_4686IMG_4746