Apple tree

In my friends garden

This is a thirty eight year old apple tree that he planted in his garden. It’s huge!

The limbs are massive

It has been a very fruitful year for some fruit trees.

I was amazed, the tree is covered in huge cooking apples. My friend said he weighed one of the large ones and it was over 900 grams. It was a fantastic visit. Seeing someone else’s produce. He also has a small pear tree that is covered in conference pears.

He also has tomatoes which I’m jealous of because I didn’t get any this year!

Sketch in courtyard

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This was a quick sketch I did in September 2017. We often visit places and instead of taking photos I sometimes just sit and sketch, it’s relaxing.

This was at Rode Hall in a courtyard by the barns. The main barn has been converted into a cafe and coffee shop, with lovely hot food too. I hope that once the lockdown is over we will be able to visit again. The gardens that surround the hall are beautifully set out. There is a snowdrop walk down to the lake and pathways through wooded areas as well as more classically arranged bedding areas. There is also a walled garden that is full of colourful beds of perrenials.

They also run a farmers market on the first Saturday of the month (not sure when that will be on again).

So, when you finally get to go out why not think about visiting. On the A34 North of Stoke-on-Trent. You turn left in Rode Heath at the sign.

Note limited opening. Check first. There are details on the Internet. Also note that there is a one way system in the grounds so you come out on the same road but further along it when you exit.

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Finding a calm view

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Waterfall at the Dorothy Clive Garden.

This was taken about this time last year. We had driven out to visit the beautiful garden on the border of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.

The garden is in a steep slope with colourful flower borders filling the air with scents of summer. But before the summer show I am drawn to the quarry garden at the top of the site. This is filled with flowering rhododendrons, under planted with spring flowers such as bluebells. At its centre is a little dell where a waterfall cascades down into a tranquil pool. You can follow paths up to the top of the waterfall where you will find a full sized bronze stag sculpture looking out magestically over the quarry garden.

Other pleasures include a magnolia walk at the back of the garden, this is behind the quarry at the top of the slope. Here you can see the surrounding countryside.

There is another dry garden, with a laburnum walk arching over the path.

When lockdown ends I think this will be one of the first places I visit.

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Flower portraits

Just a few pictures of flowers from the garden today. This way you don’t see all the trees and shrubs that get in the way of them.

They are, red calla lily, osteospermum, lily, pink hydrangea, rose, pink convolvulus, buddlea, pelargonium, monybretia in bud, monybretia in flower (not sure of spelling), blue hydrangea, geranium.

I’m doing a few flower paintings and these could be subjects. I hope you like them.

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Rode Hall snow drop walk.

Gallanthus, the Latin name for Snowdrops. They are out in force at Rode Hall gardens near Scholar Green, on the North Staffordshire/ Cheshire border. It’s off the A34 between Stoke-on-Trent and Congleton. The snowdrops are in flower right now and you can buy little bags of them (in the green) wjuch means you get bulbs with the leaves and flowers and you plant them directly into the ground under trees so they can spread out. They have many different sorts of the flowers that brighten the grounds of the hall. The snowdrop walks are on till March 3rd? And open till 4pm.

We walked through the grounds and gardens of the hall. Winding paths lead through bushes and trees, up and down little hills and slopes, past pools and woven willow sculptures down to the lake at the end of the longest path. There you can see a wooded island where Herons are starting to nest. I got blurry shots of four herons flying around the tree tops.

Back up past the hall we had a meal and coffee at the cafe and then on to an old barn to see an Exhibition by three local art groups that is on till the start of March.

It’s great to get out into the world and see it changing. The snowdrops were in such great clumps on the ground that it truly did look like they were patches of snow under the bare trees. It’s a great place to explore.

 

Sculpture at Trentham Gardens

We visited Trentham Gardens yesterday and it was great to see so many statues at the park. Many were fairy sculptures, several were new (at least to me). The only one that I think had always been there was the sculpture of Medusa being killed by Persius. I can remember seeing it before the Gardens were sold off. Now there are so many more sculptures there. Many of them are of fairies holding dandelion seed heads. There are also wildlife statues including owls, mice, slugs, frogs and other animals. I had a lovely afternoon taking photos of them.

The day was rather overcast and the flowers were past their best but there were also a lot of shapely seed heads to enhance the view. We don’t go to the gardens very often, perhaps once or twice a year. But it is worth visiting.

2017

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Ceramic head made in 1980s

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Bridge at Biddulph Grange

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Tree root

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Phone error…….

These photos were all taken in September 2017,

Starting with a ceramic head I made in the 1980s at a pottery class. It has lasted through many years and many plants. This year its just planted up with lobelia, but the fuschia that was in it in 2017 was spectacular.

The second photo is part of a Chinese bridge at Biddulph Grange gardens. A wonderful garden owned by the National Trust at Biddulph, North Staffordshire. The garden is split into different areas including one based on Egyptian architecture, a Swiss cottage, an ancient grotto, and the Chinese pagoda garden. It’s a fascinating and beautiful place to visit.

One of the odd things they have there is in picture number three. This is an upturned tree root that is covered in moss, there is a whole section  of them lining the steps down to the grotto, the trees must have been huge before they were hewn.

The fourth photo is a phone error. Probably because I had too many images on my phone, so two photos of daliahs are grouped with the hedges of the daliah walk at Biddulph. The picture is totally random, and the colours just happened.

So, I hope you like these.

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