Category: Gardens we’ve visited

The click tick list – Photograph 100 gardens – The Huntington, CA, USA

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What with one thing and another my great plans to share some of the gardens we have visited in my quest to photograph 100 gardens from this book have fallen by the wayside. But I’m here to put that right with another installment of floral delights.

The Huntington, Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, to give its full title, are in Pasadena, California and we visited last year on our US trip. The creator of this place has done an amazing job at combining architecture, artifacts and gardens into one pretty wonderful place.

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We concentrated on the gardens but did go into two of the art galleries and saw beautiful paintings.

In the Library we saw the first folio edition of Shakespeare’s collected plays, the Gutenberg Bible and the Ellesmere manuscript of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales among other rare exhibits.

The gardens are split into several individual spaces including the Japanese garden, Rose garden and Desert garden. Each spectacular in their own way and they lead you gently through gallery building to another.

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They also serve ‘all you can eat’ afternoon tea in the building above. We had booked ahead to secure a spot for this delight. It was indeed a delight and I’m surprised we managed to continue our tour of the gardens what with our full tums!

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I had the macro/100mm lens on my camera for most of our time there and because of that I managed to get a couple of close up Bee shots.

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Worthy of a place in the book of gardens to see we really enjoyed our afternoon exploring this garden.

The click tick list – Photograph 100 Gardens – Sissinghurst

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One great way to cheer yourself up in the winter is to think about the gardening season to come. And I’m doing that but I also thought it would be good to share some of the gardens we have visited over the years.

And let’s not forget that all of the gardens go towards crossing off one of my list items too.

I thought we’d start this foray into gardens with one of the most famous.

Sissinghurst Castle and Gardens

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We have visited this amazing garden three times now the last visit was June 2015. We were away camping and late one day we decided to make the hours drive for a visit. The country roads took longer than we had expected which meant that we arrived late and only had about an hour before the garden closed.

As we had Buddy with us, who isn’t allowed in, we took our whistle stop tours alone. Me first, then Gav. So the downside was that we didn’t have much time but as you’ll see from the pictures, the up side was that we were virtually alone! In this garden that is a tricky feat to achieve.

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There is something for every aspect and everyone in this beautiful place. Meadows, formal areas, mixed borders, rose gardens, hot gardens and of course the famous white garden.

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To see the amazing rose arbor in full bloom you have to visit in June. When we went it was only just coming into bloom. But even without the roses the white garden is a stunner with formal brick paths, box hedging, quirky pots and such a vast array of white plants used so cleverly.

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I was interested to see that out of all the photographs Gav and I took, separately remember, we only duplicated one scene actually standing the exact same spot!

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You can tell who took which as he’s taller than me so gets a different angle on all those hedge tops but I was lucky enough to get a little of that golden evening light in my shot.

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They excel at everything here but one of the clever design features are the vistas that are incorporated into the garden.

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And playing with texture. Stone, rustic old brick, a wooden gate and a punch of hot pink.

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It is one of my favourites and if you ever get the chance, in June, or at anytime a visit is more than worthwhile.

The click tick list – update on the gardens we have visited

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As you know one of the quests on my list is to photograph 100 gardens from this book. I started to write about some of them and have posted a couple of visits here, but I wanted to have them all in a list so I know where we’ve been and I can make plans to cross off a few more.

Here are the ones we have been to so far.

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Quarryhill Botanical – California, USA
Filoli – California, USA (read about our visit here.)
Cornerstone Festival of Gardens – California, USA
San Francisco Botanical Gardens – California, USA
The J. Paul Getty Museum – California, USA
The Getty Villa – California, USA
Fairchild Botanical Gardens – Florida, USA (read about our visit here.)
Vizcaya Museum and Garden – Florida, USA (read about our visit here.)
Ca  d’Zan Mansion – Florida, USA (read about our visit here.)
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – Florida, USA (read about our visit here.)
Edison and Ford Winter Estates – Florida, USA (read about our visit here.)
The Frick Gallery Garden – New York, USA
Central Park – New York, USA

Giverny – France
Vilandry – France

Cambo – Scotland
Kellie Castle – Scotland

Chirk Castle – Wales

England

Belsay Hall
Scampston Hall
Studley Royal Water Garden
RHS Harlow Carr
Harewood
York Gate Garden
Brodsworth hall
Chatsworth
Clumber Park
Biddulph Grange Garden
Upton House
Coton Manor Garden
Ickworth House (read about our visit here.)
Snowshill Manor
Hidcote Manor Garden
Audley End House
Sissinghurst Castle Garden (read about one of our visits here.)
Walmer Castle and Garden
RHS Garden Wisley
Royal Botanic Gardens Kew
Nymans Garden
Great Dixter
Wakehurst Place
Wrest park
The Manor, Hemmingford Grey (read about my visit here.)

That’s forty-three. Only fifty-seven to go then….

There are a couple of gardens I am sure we have been to but every time I look at the photos we have and try to tie them up with images of the gardens on the web I get really confused….. They are Waddeson Manor and Wimpole Hall.  Guess keeping records would have its benefits!

And still worthy of a visit but not in the 1001 book –

  • Mosely Old Hall
  • Coughton Court
  • The Courts
  • Nunnington
  • Calke Abbey
  • Benningborough
  • Little Moreton Hall

It’s good to get them all down in a list. Now to keep adding….

Click tick list – Photograph 100 gardens

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More Florida gardens. After Miami we headed up to Orlando to the house we had rented for the rest of our stay in Florida.  But as we were so close to three more gardens from the book Gav and I went on an overnight trip down the Gulf of Mexico coast to see them.

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota.

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Amazing views and amazing plants.

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The gardens hold a huge collection of orchids and also epiphytes. These are plants that grow on other plants but non-parasitically.

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They conjure up a prehistoric feel.

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There were some visitors from the nearby Hudson Bayou.

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I cannot resist a duck. Especially a baby one.

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Looks like the fish can’t resist either.

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We also found a great tea house, situated inside the gardens, serving samples of tea from all over the globe and the lady serving the tea that day was from England! We had a good old chat about what she was doing there and her love of Florida.

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Then we went for lunch and a friend joined us…….

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Eeeek!! We went into the cool air-conditioned cafe to escape the local wildlife.

And after a cool down we set off for another wander.

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What’s this?

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Yep. A coffee plant. Amazing!

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We made a whistle-stop visit to another garden listed which was part of the Ringling complex. The house and gardens are called Ca d’Zan.

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A very impressive house set in landscaped Italianate gardens.

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The next day we went to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

Here I am stood next to a statue of Edison. And those trees behind us are actually just one tree! A Banyan tree.

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The one here was planted in the 1920’s and is thought to be one of the largest in the continental USA. A sight to see the Banyan tree sends down tendrils that when they touch the surface of the soil become another trunk.

There were great views here too.

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Although the grounds are beautiful you can’t forget who owned and planted these gardens as they a dominated by a huge Ficus tree. Ford and Edison along with another neighbour of theirs were searching for a domestic rubber source. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that another friend of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford was Harvey Firestone.

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History and beautiful gardens and of course more ticked off the list.

Click tick list – Photograph 100 Gardens – Two Miami Gardens

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Here we are with an update to the list.

When we decided to tag along with my sister on their trip to Florida one of the first things Gav and I did was peruse the ‘1001 Gardens to visit before you die’ book to check out how many I could cross off. We were thrilled to find six potential places to visit.

First up were the two gardens near Miami. Here is the Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden.

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It was such a hot day, weren’t they all? Yes. But wandering around a garden in the heat, even wearing my ridiculous hat, was a struggle for me and poor old Gav was fed up of me whingeing about half an hour into our visit.

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I think the quality and quantity of the photos suffered because it was so hot. Did I mention that?

Anyway we did wander and see some beautiful tropical plants and amazing views.

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The also have a butterfly house and we had a quick look inside.

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It was also Bee day at the garden and we brought back a delicious jar of avocado honey.

Then we hot  footed it (pun intended!) up the coast to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

On the drive through the outer suburbs of Miami we passed through some amazingly beautiful streets and neighbourhoods with tree-lined roads right up to gates, no pavements and the houses beyond, if you could see them at the end of the driveways, were huge and impressive.

Vizcaya is a complete contrast to the Fairchild gardens.

Built in 1910 it is mock Italianate with european style gardens.

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Set on the edge of Biscayne Bay it is serene yet dramatic in its setting. We did go into the house something Gav and I are not often interested in but it had to be done and was very interesting. Then out into the garden to seek out shade and grab some photos.

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Both these gardens were lovely but I did prefer Vizcaya. I think Botanical gardens are necessary and interesting but they are not my favourite. And the hard landscaping at Vizcaya elevated it to a whole other level it was really so well done.

I’ll have to count up but these tow must bring my total to about forty photographed from the book so far.

Gardens visitied – Filoli, CA, USA

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Maybe it was because we were on holiday and the weather was perfect but this garden, nestled in the hills of California 30 miles south of San Francisco, has to one of my all time favourites.

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It was a true delight to visit and soak up that Californian sunshine. And of course get a self timer photo.

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Gardens visited – Ickworth

Ickworth is a National Trust property near Bury St Edmunds. The day we chose to visit there was an event going on and it was really busy. We don’t usually do busy but we parked the car in the reserve car park and headed towards the house and garden.

We are garden people and very rarely go into the house that may be attached to a garden we want to see. Looking back I think this house would be worth a visit but we only went in the gardens. We had Lewis with us, it was 2007 and we decided to whizz around the garden separately while the other held the pooch and avoided the crowds watching a re-enacted skirmish……

The gardens are described as Italianate. The building structure and light colour is used to its fullest against the dark green topiary.

We do like a bit of topiary but I certainly am a cottage garden fan so this wasn’t high on my repeat visit list but it was stunning. Glad we got a sunny day where the backdrop of the architecture leant itself so well to the blue sky and green of the garden.

At the front of the house was a herbaceous border and I got just one blurry shot of a daisy.

So there we go. Ickworth. And of course one towards my 100.

Gardens visited – The Manor, Hemmingford Grey

I read about this garden somewhere, perhaps in the yellow book and really wanted to go and see it. And as I’ve been sorting photos out for writing about all the gardens we have visited over the years I discovered it’s in the book too so counts to my 100. Yay.

Set on the banks of the Great Ouse you approach on foot along a path by the river. The start of a ramshackle brick wall and then a glimpse into the garden.

I knew before I visited that the garden had once been owned by Lucy Boston author of the Green Knowe children’s books, so I think I was expecting it to be magical and dreamy and there are parts of it that fit that description perfectly.

There were also a traditional cottage style borders, an amazing beautifully sculpted topiary chess set and roses galore.

Absolutely worth a visit and if you like old houses as well as gardens the Manor is supposed to be the oldest inhabited house in England dating back to 1130.

Gardens visited – recording where we’ve been

About two years ago Gav and I headed for a day out visiting a garden in North Yorkshire. After an hours drive we arrived and looked dumfounded at each other. We had been there before and forgotten we had. No matter we are National Trust members so entered the garden for free and enjoyed a revisit.

Four months after that it happened again. We turned up at a garden we’d seen before. Clearly some sort of record needed to be kept. Not just to stop us revisiting places, we often do that on purpose, but just so we know where we’ve been.

So I began to wade, and I mean wade, through folders of photos trying to pin down which garden was which. I made a few Photoshop templates for a title page, photos page and map of the garden location and had every intention of making a scrapbook album all about the  Gardens we have visited.

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I spent perhaps three weekends editing and sorting photos and then I got truly bored with the process.

Fast forward to today. As part of my click tick list I want to photograph 100 gardens from this book. I wanted to keep going with the album idea and I thought it would be good to blog about all the gardens too.

So I am starting to do just that and as I write about our visits I’m going to add them here on the blog. I can use the writing within the physical album too.

So basically I hope you like reading about gardens as there are quite a few…….