Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Trip to England -- Travels Near and Far

For my post for Travels Near and Far, a brand new blogging meme hosted by Beth at Beyond the Garden Gate, I thought I would go far, not only in space but also back in time, to a trip I made to Leicestershire, England several years ago -- in late June, 2005, to be exact. My mother-in-law (who has since passed on) invited me to visit her (without my husband, her son), for a week. Some of you may remember I posted previously about her influence on my life and about her garden here.

One of the treats MIL planned for me that week was a trip to see the University of Leicester Botanic Garden. I apologize for my poor photography skills. My photography and the primitive point-and-shoot camera that I was using at the time can not do justice to the beauty of the garden. Despite that, I hope you can get the flavor of the place.

MIL (in the green skirt) and her neighbor, who accompanied us, admire a perennial border.

Contorted Filbert/Harry Lauder's Walking Stick

Gunneras get huge there too!

On another day, MIL and a friend took me to a local, very posh hotel restaurant called The Orangery at Kilworth House. We had an excellent meal, although I can't remember now what I ate. I wish I had pulled my camera out to photograph the meal and the interior of the restaurant, because it was quite amazing. I think MIL might have been appalled if I had photographed my food.

Kilworth House

The Orangery from outside

After our meal, we strolled the landscaped grounds.

And on yet another day, we took a trip to an amazing nursery, Woodlands Nursery and Garden Centre. This was the first time I ever saw a nursery with a restaurant/cafe inside. In England, just like in Washington state, the nurseries are open year-round, and so it is cost-effective to have a cafe inside where you can take a break from shopping and have a bite to eat. At the time of this visit I was living in Massachusetts, where the nurseries close for a good 5 months of the year.

This little faux ruin was for sale at the nursery. I'd love to find something like this here!

They had a wire frame to make a chicken topiary

They had some marvelous roses.

I'd like to make a bubbler like this for my back porch.

They also had some lovely statues.

As well as a selection of Tillandsias in tipped-over pots with little ceramic figurines.

And others in saucers planted in fine gravel.

At the time I loved these, but now they are just a little "twee" for my taste.

Except for maybe this fairy.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this trip to England with me! Check out Beyond the Garden Gate and see where others are waiting to take you!