The Worst Blogger Lives!

I’m still the worst blogger. I don’t have time to post any England pics.  But I just wanted to post a quick update.  I’m feeling much better.  No fever since Wednesday and even that was very mild but best of all the headaches went away yesterday and so far I don’t feel like they will be back today.  So any brain tumor/meningitis worries are slowly diminishing and this hypochondriac is happy and relieved.

I’m still behind on the work I’m doing but I wanted to just do a quick post on the seeds I started last night.  I finally got around to sowing the succulent seeds I ordered from Silverhill Seeds in South Africa. Sown late last night 6/25/11 were Dactylopsis digitata, Titanopsis primosii, Euphorbia cooperi, Lithops optica v. rubra, and Cheiridopsis purpurea.

The seeds were sown in cactus mix. I mixed sand in the seed packets to help evenly disperse the fine seed and then enclosed them all in a zip lock baggie and put them on a heat mat. They should germinate pretty quickly.

The last succulents I sowed I was pretty successful with so I’m hoping these will be the same.

These little guys were sown on 1/16/11. From left to right they are Mitrophyllum dissitum, Lithops sp. mix, Frithia pulchra, and Cheiridopsis cigarettifera.

Look how cute the Frithia and Cheiridopsis are up close! Growing plants from seed is so satisfying. Getting them to live to blooming size will be even more satisfying.

Sorry for the quality of the pictures. I just snapped them quick with my phone.  And now I’m back to playing catch up.  Hopefully soon I’ll have some new seedling pictures to share and I promise I’ll get some England pictures up soon.

Worst Blogger Ever!

That’s me.  The worst blogger ever.  I promised lots of pictures of my trip but it has been ages since my last blog post. In my defense I’ve been very sick.  Apparently my little trip to England almost did me in.  Nothing too dramatic.  Just a mild but almost constant fever and headaches for almost two weeks.  Chills, sweats, and just a general feeling of total crap so it has been difficult for me to muster the enthusiasm required to write about gardens.  Or even think about gardens.  Or England.  Now I equate it to “the place I got the plague”.

But two doctors visits and a blood test later and so far most of the scariest things seem to have been ruled out and the past three days I’ve been feeling better.  My father thinks it was just a bug that I picked up that was prolonged by jet lag.  Anyway fingers crossed that I am in fact better and as soon as I catch up on some work I’ll be back to share some of those cool garden pictures.  The gardens really were lovely and I did have a nice time with my family.

Home Sweet Home

Got in last night and now I’m getting over jet lag and some sort of bug I picked up the last few days so I am a bit feverish and achey.  So it may be a few days before I can do any substantial updates.  My twelve day trip to England was a big success. Not only did I get to visit a ton of great gardens and see the Chelsea Flower Show but I also had a really nice time with my family.  Since I usually only see them once or twice a year this was a really big bonus to the trip.  They were pretty tolerant of all the gardens I dragged them to.

The final list of places we visited is:

  • Chelsea Flower Show
  • Beth Chatto Gardens
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
  • Cotswold Farm
  • Snowshill Manor
  • Hidcote Manor
  • Stonehenge
  • Hestercombe
  • Knightshayes Court
  • St. Michael’s Mount
  • Lanhydrock House
  • Eden Project
  • Barrington Court
  • Lytes Cary Manor
  • Clivedon
I have several thousand pictures to go through and lots to think about so as soon as I am feeling a bit better I’ll get to work.  Off the top of my head I would say the gardens I most want to go back and visit again are Lytes Cary Manor and Clivedon but really most of them were fantastic.
click image to enlarge

This is one of the grand herbaceous borders at Clivedon, originally designed by Graham Stuart Thomas for the National Trust in 1969. There are actually two huge borders facing each other on a vast lawn in front of the house. One with a hot theme the other with a cool theme but there was some sort of construction going on in front of the cool themed border so I couldn't really get close to it. This was also our last day. Since Clivedon is only about a half hour away from Heathrow I had garden visits planned right up until the last minute so we didn't have much time to explore. This hot border is so big and impressive I don't really feel like I missed out that much.

St. Michael’s Mount

Today we visited St. Michael’s Mount which is in Marazion just outside of Penzance.  Since we could see it off in the distance my brother and sister thought it would be a good idea to walk there.

If you look in the center of the picture the little rock jutting out of the water is the tiny island that St. Michael's Mount is on. When the tide is low you can walk over a causeway to get there. But when the tide is up you have to take a little boat.

I was against walking. It was hot and sunny. It got up into the 80's. And I thought it looked further away than it was. But I was outvoted.

OK so I am going to be a bit of a drama queen but I was miserable. It was so far away and I was hot and tired before we even got there. We made a few wrong turns and headed inland accidentally wasting more time. I tried not to be too grumpy.

We finally arrived! As you can see there were lots of beach goers and even some girls on horseback. This is the warmest part of mainland England with almost subtropical temperatures. They rarely have frost and it almost never snows here. The water looks like it belongs in the Caribbean and they can grow plants that you would find in much of coastal California.

Once you get to the castle the gardens are on cliffs that you access through a series of tiny staircases. Not the best choice of garden to visit for the elderly or impaired. The ice plants were in full bloom and created beautiful sheets of pink below the castle.

This post was a little longer than my last few but still a teaser post. I’ll post more about St. Michael’s Mount next week when I am home.  You’ll have to come back to see the amazingly awesome plant that I saw in bloom for the first time ever.

For our return to the hotel I insisted we take a bus.  My old legs were tired. I did get my revenge though.  Both my brother and sister got nasty sunburns. I’m made of swarthier stock so I was fine.

Off to Eden Project today. Or maybe some smaller gardens.  We haven’t decided yet.




Hestercombe & Knightshayes Court Teaser

Today we said goodbye to our father in Oxford and drove down to Penzance.  On the way we stopped at Hestercombe and Knightshayes Court.

Hestercombe House

Knightshayes Court

We made it to Penzance in the early evening. So far it seems like the exact mix of charm and camp that I was hoping for.

View from the front porch of our bed and breakfast in Penzance.

More to come on these two gardens in a few days.  Now it is time for sleep. Tomorrow look for a teaser post on St. Michael’s Mount.


Cotswold Farm, Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Teaser Post

Since I don’t have time to do proper blog updates I figure the least I can do is give little teasers the next few days.  Today we were in Oxford and took a drive north.  The first stop was Cotswold Farm which is basically a big petting zoo with some rare breeds of typical farm animals.  My sister just finished her second year of Veterinarian school so she wanted to check it out.

After that we headed to Snowshill Manor and Hidcote Manor.  All three were very close to each other and just a little over an hour north of Oxford so if you are in the area I highly recommend checking all three of them out.

This Buff Orpington Rooster at Cotswold Farm seemed to enjoy having his picture taken.

The well court at Snowhill Manor.

Hidcote Manor

Tomorrow my father heads back home and my brother and sister and I will drive down to Penzance after stopping to see a few gardens on the way.  Hopefully I’ll have time for another teaser post tomorrow night.