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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Bluebells at Rode Hall

Rode Hall is a beautiful place and the gardens are blooming with bluebells. The last day of the bluebell walks is today. 8th May 2019.

There are other plants on display including rhododendron, campion, tulips, and even some narcissi that are still flowering.

The hall is open on Wednesdays and Weekends. They have a farmers market which I think is on the first Saturday of the month? They have a good tea room that offers hot food, cake and drinks. They are having a plant collectors fair on 27th May. (Bank Holiday).

Rode hall is off the A34 North of Stoke-on-Trent at Rode Heath. It is along a road on the left hand side and is signposted.

Look again

When you visit somewhere it’s always interesting to look at odd little views, like the cupola seen through a broken window of a derelict green house, or mirrors placed under helibores so you can see their open flowers that usually hang down and hide their beauty. Smoke coming out if the little gift shop chimney (the shop had a warm wood fire burning in the hearth) a picture of a small pool. The fountain was not running. A sculpture of a jumping fish, a grey handle on a grey background. Light through the clouds and a curved turf covered roof to some sort of culvert.

Why not look at those odd sights and take a picture, they may not make a perdect composition but they may spark some thought.

Old barn

Interesting architecture at Rode Hall. I didn’t take many photos of the buildings but these are pictures of one of the barns next to the car park.

This building we think was a shipon, a building with animals underneath and hay in hay loft above so the animals could be fed without having to ship it in. The hay also helped to insulate the lower floor.

The walls are brick built with lime rendered walls inside. I didn’t look closely at the bricks but you can tell their age by their size. Small thin ones are tudor. Larger ones are less old but still hand made and then you get machine made ones which usually have the makers name stamped on them in the dent on the top and bottom so they can take more mortar and hold together better.

I like the posh round windows under the eaves of the barn. You an tell someone had some money to build it.

These buildings are used for the farmers market at the hall which I think happens on the first Saturday of the month.

 

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.