Month: May 2017

The Click Tick List – Update on Gardens We Have Visited

When I was writing the post about our visit to Chenies recently I realised it had been quite a while since I updated the list of all the gardens we have visited in my quest to photograph 100 gardens from the book.

So here is an update.

Quarryhill Botanical – California
Filoli – California (Read about our visit here.)
Cornerstone Festival of Gardens – California
San Francisco Botanical Gardens – California
The J. Paul Getty Museum – California
The Getty Villa – California
Fairchild Botanical Gardens – Florida (Read about our visit here.)
Vizcaya Museum and Garden – Florida (Read about our visit here.)
Ca  d’Zan Mansion – Florida (Read about our visit here.)
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens – Florida (Read about our visit here.)
Edison and Ford Winter Estates – Florida (Read about our visit here.)
The Frick Gallery Garden – New York
Central Park – New York
The Huntington, California (Read about our visit here.)
Hearst Castle, California
Sunset Magazine Garden, California (no longer open to the public)
Oakland Museum of California, California


Kellie Castle

Chirk Castle

Belsay Hall
Scampston Hall
Studley Royal Water Garden
RHS Harlow Carr
York Gate Garden
Brodsworth hall
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.)
Painswick Rococo Gardens (Read about our visit here.)
Borde Hill (Read about it here.)
Chenies Manor (Read about our visit here.)

That makes a total of fifty. Halfway there!

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




Photo a Day – Week Eleven

Lets do some more!

Got out the big camera again this week and loved the textures in this photo.

Having fun with quadcopters……

Got together with friends for pizza and I was so pleased with myself for ordering no cheese on half of mine. I would do it again too because although cheese is delish the non-cheese half was just as good!

A big order pf photographs arrived. Week In The Life™ and Project Life® and some for layouts. Yay!

It was rainy and dull so decided to change our walk and go to the park instead. It was so green and lush and made for a lovely change in our routine.

Had the big camera out again with the 100mm lens and snapped this fella.

We are in full gardening mode here and someone was waiting patiently for Gav to come back into the garden after working out in the wood.

And there goes another one.

The Click Tick List – Photograph 100 Gardens – Chenies Manor

On our recent trip south we made time to go and visit another garden from the book. And what an unexpected treat it was.

Chenies Manor is a Tudor Grade I listed building complete with an amazing garden. We were delighted to learn that Buddy could come into the garden with us and that the annual Tulip Festival would be in full swing.

We started in the vegetable garden a place close to our hearts and found one of two mazes.

The weather worn cold frames gave us ideas for our own so watch for more building before next spring.

The must have self timer shot.

We entered the garden through a couple of courtyards under a brick archway and then we were here with this lawn where the surrounding borders had been planted with white Tulips and blue Myosotis (forget-me -nots.) It was a simple design but packed a beautiful punch.

The on to the white garden.

Vistas appeared everywhere.

And I admired the architecture of the building. Love me a chimney pot!

The Tulips kept coming in all shapes and sizes.

There were also dramatic sculptures too. And stunning topiary everywhere.

Onto the sunken garden.

Must remember this planting combination.

We were intrigued by these parts of the house that stuck out???

Clever groupings of plants with a collection of vintage watering cans.

A really beautiful place to spend an afternoon.

And of course another one to tick of the list. That makes fifty! Woot. Only fifty to go then……



The Breakfast Love Affair Continues – Scrambled Egg and Quorn Sausage Pittas

Recently Gav and I have been trying to watch what we are eating. A big holiday is on the horizon, one where swimsuits will be needed, so an attempt at a bit of weight loss is a must. When we try to cut back we often substitute bread with pitta bread. Not sure if they are less calories but somehow feel better for you. Pittas also make me want tons of salad to stuff them with so that’s healthy right?

Anyway the reason I’m mentioning the pittas is because when I came to make breakfast the other day there was no bread. But no worries I used the pittas instead and they worked out great.

Also new to us were the Quorn sausage patties. They worked great too with the scramble and just a few sliced tomatoes.

Overall the lack of bread made no difference and we ended up with a new go to breakfast concoction. Perfect!



Photo a Day – Week Ten

Another week.

Starting off with a photo of Gav sorting out the lawn in the front garden. This is the year all the jobs get finished……Well that’s Gav’s plan anyway!

He got a helping hand in the planting.

Our version of Taco’s.

Had lots of good weather recently and I caught this lovely Clematis as the sun was setting.

A walk to Canal Gardens.

You have to use your strawberry bowl when you eat strawberries right?

Our neighbours honey bees swarmed and settled in a branch overhanging our garden. Gav was thrilled to put on a protective tunic and help gather them back again. I have shown the pictures to my colleagues at work and most are horrified that we can be okay with living so close to thousands of bees. I tried to calmly point out that no bees no food!

There we have it, a pretty normal week with a big finish.

Bloom 2017 – Be Bold

There is no wonder that Spring is many people’s favourite month. It starts of slow, subtle and gentle with snowdrops and daffodils. And as the temperature gets a little warmer we are hit between the eyes with a riot of colour as tulips and wallflowers and flowering shrubs come along.

It seems fitting. A spark and then fireworks to wake us from the winters slumber and prepare s for the summer to come.

And a regular as the Spring flowers is my glee at seeing the Viburnum produce those tight green pom poms of delight. I look forward to picking them every year but I have to be quick because the develop and change into these. My goodness that was a long time ago!

Anyway in this arrangement they are still wonderfully green and mix so well with the rich purple, ref and blues.

In the mix are Tulip Queen of Night and Black Parrot, Erysimum Blood Red, Cerinthie major and bluebells.

Loved this one it packed a great punch and gets me excited for the flower season to come.

52 Stories – Number Forty Seven – How Much Do I Love Cherries


Welcome to another story, it’s been awhile.

How much do I love cherries


Here is the story from this page –

It seems that I like them quite a lot. We had stopped in the quaintest little rest stop on the way from Fresno to Palo Alto. The scenery was beautiful and the road windy and high up. I got a shock not only at the price of the cherries I picked up but at the cool temp too. ‘Casa d’ had the monopoly on the food, cafe, wine, gifts… but it was worth the stop just to see it and to see Gav’s face at the cost of the cherries!

Did I get the story down? Would I add anything more?

Overall yes I did tell the very funny story of the cost of that bag of cherries. Perhaps I could have elaborated and said that I expected them to be cheaper because they are harvested right there where they were for sale. But overall I’m happy with this one. And I loved using the actual receipt as part of the design of the page.


52 stories is a series (or adventure) in my story telling. Can I get the whole story onto a layout? Am I telling the stories I want to tell? Read the inspiration post here.



Photo a Day – Week Nine

Here goes another week and this week I though I’d do a theme. Flowers, trees and gardens from our travels and home.

Apple blossom and a blue sky what could be better?

Pinkbells and Bluebells.

A section of the famous long border at Great Dixter. And that house as a backdrop….swoon!

A stunning display of Tulips at Chenies Manor gardens.

Back home and our little path and bulbs.

Close up of one of my favourites. Knautia flower head all waiting to pop with colour and attract the bees.

Found a teeny artichoke amongst all that grey green foliage.

And there we have a floribunda week!



The 100 Day Project – 100 Brushscript Quotes

Phew…… I am just over a third of the way through this project! 100 days is a long time! I’ve been sharing my quote each day on Instagram and you can find me here over there.

I may have rambled before about my attraction to this art form before but thought I’d go over it again as I try to cement ideas in my head.

It all started with Kal. She doesn’t really post there anymore but that is where I found her many years ago. She is over here on Instagram.

I have tried her way of writing before.

I also found Amy through scrapbooking and a few years ago she started writing in watercolour brush script. Her style is completely different to Kal and they are both different to what I imagine that kind of writing to be. Mostly you find, if you look on You Tube, a perfect ‘copperplate’ style that is written to a formula. Neither of these artists write that way and I don’t want to either.

I want to try to develop a style. My style. And I think by writing for 100 days I may get there.

So far I am loving it. Up until day six I didn’t practice before I put brush to paper I just wrote the quote. Of those first few some were just a mess that looking back I don’t like very much.

Lesson number one then? I do need to ‘warm’ up before I write each one simply to get the movement flowing and to keep up the practicing. Lesson number two? Keep varying the size and style. I have tried to write differently but am drawn to the loopy writing more as you can see.

Lesson number three? Slowly does it. Now here in lies a problem. I have no patience. I want to take up the brush load it with colour and write. But I have found that if I slow down I can better judge the letters and where exactly I want the brush to go. I have also found that the way I hold the brush makes a difference. Straight up or like a pen and you end up with a different look.


I hope I’m getting better. Well I think I am. I have developed certain letters that were a problem to start with like ‘b’ and ‘y’ I like my ‘f’, ‘h’, ‘l’. Some are still tricky like ‘s’ and ‘m’ but I keep trying.

A few days ago I started with movie quotes and I’m loving that twist.

Generally I am writing them all in a book. I thought the idea of having all of them together would be kind of cool. I have done three ‘loose’ and may do more perhaps on different paper like the one in the first photo.

The paper in this pad I’m using is not watercolour paper but is slightly thicker and more textured than printer paper. I’m using a set of proper watercolour paints and a cheaper, chalkier set that I got from Hobbycraft in the UK. I use a fine water-brush for convenience and the bristles are very controllable.

I’m not sure I like the way my style is developing but I’ll keep going and see where this adventures leads me!


Go here to find out more about the 100 Day Project.

Bloom 2017 – Zing, zing

Every year in the autumn I plan and ponder and make lists of tulips I want to plant. When the bulbs arrive and I cast a glance about the garden I can never seem to find a spot for them, unless I’m planting within one of the cutting patches that is.

Gav often comes to the rescue and plants pot after pot up of these spring beauties.

A wallflower from last year flowered at the right time to team up with these bright and cheery tulips which was lovely to arrange with and smelled great too. I have to admit that I’m not sure of the names of the tulips apart from the lily shaped one which is T. Ballerina, one of my favourites and seems to come back.

Mixed in with this arrangement are two types of euphorbia, another fav of mine, E. griffithii ‘Fireglow’ and E. oblongata. You need to sear the stem ends in boiling water for 30 seconds to stop the milky sap leaking into your vase. The sap is also an irritant so best wear gloves when picking. The wallflowers (Erysimum) are the variety E.cherii ‘Blood Red.’

Love the photo above with the vase and all the other Tulips in the cutting patch.

Since I took these photos I’ve been on a Tulip Day (another birthday gift!) I’ll be back to share that amazing day and the wonderful photos of Tulips soon.