Old boathouse Rode Hall

Rode Hall View. Walking down from the hall to the lake. At the end of the pathway is this old boathouse. I didn’t get a look inside so I don’t know if there is a boat in there or not. There’s a lot of moss growing on the roof, so it might be quite damp in there. At least there is a life saver ring on the back of it, so if anyone fell in they could be rescued.

Daphne

I didn’t know what this bush was but it has a lovely scent and was growing in places around the grounds of Rode Hall.

I has to ask one of the gardeners there what it was. She was very helpful in explaining what it was. When I got home I looked it up online: Daphne odora, winter daphne, is a species of flowering plant in the family Thymelaeaceae, native to China, later spread to Japan and Korea. It is an evergreen shrub, grown for its very fragrant, fleshy, pale-pink, tubular flowers, each with four spreading lobes, and for its glossy foliage. Wikipedia

Please note. I’ve been told they are extremely poisonous.

Odd Rode, Church window

One of the stained glass church windows at Odd Rode, it’s opposite the exit from Rode Hall. We came out of the Hall Gardens because the queue for the tea room was too long. The church was open for refreshments. We popped in and were made very welcome. The church was designed by Gilbert Scott. The same architect designed St Thomas Church in Penkhull. Sorry I forgot to make a note of the name of this church. We called in for scones and coffee. Very nice and friendly.

Why does everything look like a painting in the UK?

This question from an American friend made me laugh, then think. I guess the answer is that some of the subjects I take photos of are picturesque. That is to say, fit the ideals of what a painting should look like. But I guess I cropped this to improve how it looks, and I chose to take a photo of it. I saw other views that I could have photographed that would not have looked as nice.

Rode Hall Snowdrop walk

Rode Hall is a small stately home on the borders of Staffordshire and Cheshire. It’s on a lane running between two major roads, one of which is the A34, which is in England.

Each year they hold a Snowdrop walk at about this time. The weather today was cold, crisp and bright. The various varieties of snowdrops glowed in the sunshine.

We had a very pleasant walk along a pathway to a lake in the grounds below the hall. Then back along the path a short way and up the small hills around the grounds of the hall. Finally we visited the walled kitchen garden with glass houses full of award winning vegetables.

I took lots of photos and I will post more on other blog posts. It wasn’t expensive. The only thing was there was a massive queue for the tea room but we ended going off and getting refreshments at a local church.

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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It must be spring soon?

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Buds are bursting on the bushes, leaves are slowly unfurling. Each tiny leaflet a herald of coming spring. A few crocuses and snowdrops are out. Rode Halls snowdrop walk, which is an annual event round here, is advertised on Facebook. Life moves on. The water from the storms is soaking the ground, and where there are trees and gardens the water is sucked up to swell the buds. Where there is concrete and bricks it washes down and floods out from the rivers.

The weather is on a knife edge, will it get to hot again this summer? Will we have floods or drought? Will warmth spread through the land gently or will we have fires on heaths and moors and in woods and forests. Our climate is in balance no more. It is up to us to do something to help it fall back into that balance of nature that is gentlest for the world. If we try hard I hope we can.?

Rhododendrons are out.

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This is an image from Rode Hall that I photographed a couple of weeks ago. As you can see the rhododendrons are in full bloom. These showy shrubs originally come from the far east, China I think? They are grown for their flowers which can come in a variety of colours.

They do spread though and can shade out native plants which is why they are sometimes drastically cut back in wooded areas, allowing light to penetrate the canopy of leaves.

I must visit the Dorothy Clive garden soon. They have a large and mixed collection in their quarry garden. They are in the countryside west of Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Six trees painting

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Inspired by the Rode Hall bluebell walk we did a week ago. The vertical trunks that were so evenly spaced with the darker fence in front made a striking photo. I’m not sure if I’ve managed to capture that here. Bluebells are a difficult colour to capture. I tried mixing ultramarine with white, then when that didn’t work I used a bit of deep magenta, and also pale Windsor violet. I used a bit of metallic blue to give them a sparkle.

The trees are mainly sap green with yellow and white added.

About 12 x8 inches, acrylic on canvas.

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