Category: The click tick list

The Click Tick List – Visit 30 of the 50 USA States – Update

Crossed another six states off my list. Woo hoo. That’s what happens when you do a long drive….. If we’d have had time I would have driven a few miles north and a few miles south to cross a couple more off but it was all too packed in to take those detours. Still six in one trip is pretty good!

Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana!

That brings my total to nineteen. Just eleven till I reach my target of thirty.


The Click Tick List – Experience a Total Eclipse

The main reason for our holiday to the US was to see the Great American Eclipse of 2017. Seeing an eclipse was on my list and we had been planning to see the 2017 one since 1999 when Gav and I had travelled to Cornwall in the UK to see the one that grazed this country. Of course being the UK it was cloudy!

Anyway we had better luck this time and let me tell you is was pretty awesome! Because we tied this in with other destinations on our holiday we decided to stay in the Tennessee area. We were fairly well organised and booked our hotel back in January.

I still spent a great deal of time worrying that the weather wasn’t going to be kind and that we should have gone further west over towards Oregon. In fact the one thing I didn’t really think about at all, the traffic, caused us the most problems. But we made it into the totality area with time to spare and opted to watch from an abandoned supermarkets car park. We even parked up nearby some very well equiped folk who rigged up these viewing devices.

You can see in the shots above how the moon has started to cross in front of the sun.

And here is one of my family getting ready but hiding in the shade. It was very hot!

It’s hard to explain, hard to put your finger on why an eclipse is so amazing. All of the things that happen as the moon makes it way across the sky, the eerie light, the quieting of the birds or in our case the noise of the ciccadas as they sang out becasue they thought it was getting dark! The sudden onset of what looks like a sunset and then the moment of totality. Wow! I mean really wow.

This photo is the best fuzzy crescent any of us managed but you can just see the pink tinged clouds as the light is fading.

It is one of those things that is, as I’ve said, hard to describe you just have to experience it to understand its true beauty and effect.

And then of course you can breifly remove your eclipse glasses and see the corona. The photo above was with the big camera and does not do it justice. All around me in a carpark full of strangers there were oohs and ahhs as the light faded at last and we saw that glowing circle of light.

We had over two minutes of totality in the location we picked, another reason we went for this area of the country. It was a great two minutes. Truly something I’ll never forget and of couse now we are planning the next one!



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




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 Click Tick List – Visit the Top of the Rock

We have been away for a few days. I had a big Birthday last week (insert the scream emoji!!) and Gav took me to New York City to soften the blow. He knows how to make me feel better.

We had an eventful few days in the big apple what with Storm Stella swooping by but we didn’t let her dampen our spirits for too long and I needed to get something crossed off my list.

The day after the snow came I was out of our hotel early and at the Rockefeller Centre for the doors to open up on the trip to the Observation Deck. It was 8am and there were just a handful of folk waiting with me for the ticket booth to swing into action.

In fact as it happened I rode the elevator to the 67th floor all by myself and apart from a couple of security guards was alone up there for a while, it was amazing!

And the weather cooperated with me. The views were stunning, clear as far as you could see and the ground lightened by the snowfall. Here we are looking uptown to Central Park and beyond.

Towards the Hudson River and New Jersey.

And towards the East River.

The architecture was impressive.

As was the snow still clinging onto the building.

And my favourite view. Downtown to the Empire State Building, Times Square on the right of the picture and way off in the distance you can just make out the silver sliver of One World Trade Centre (Freedom Tower.)

That view right there, wow. It sends a shiver down my spine. It makes me want to live in the city so I could see it every week. It makes me thankful that I rode to the top of the rock. It makes me happy that I had a sunny morning and a clear view and the place to myself for ten minutes.

It makes me thrilled to have crossed it off my list but I will be back, one day I’m sure because it was just awesome!



The click tick list – photograph 100 gardens – Borde Hill


Another beautiful garden visited, photographed and crossed off the list.

Borde Hill Garden


When we visited they had an exhibition of sculptures and the owl was one of my favourites.

It was a hot day so it was a good job we were allowed to take the Budster in with us. Below is the old potting shed. A derelict building now full up with plants and shrubs and little trees. Really loved the bricks against the greenery and that stone floor.


Some exotic borders lushly planted.


And roses galore complete with hidden arched seat.


Sumptuous Italian garden with box hedges and planters all round a sunken pool. It gave us a cooler spot to sit a while and soak up the quiet beauty.


Here’s another view of the pool from further back.


An amazing long herbaceous border contained by that stone wall.


A truly wonderful place full of little details and unusual features and a stunning house as a backdrop.


Recommended if you are ever in East Sussex.


Some links to other gardens we’ve visited – here, here, here and here. Also a 2014 list of the gardens we’ve seen so far.

The click tick List – Photograph 100 gardens – Painswick Rococo Garden


We have a long weekend here in the UK. Gav and I will not be venturing on a visit to any gardens as we are too busy with our own but I thought it would be good to carry on the sharing of gardens we have visited that also count towards my goal of photographing 100 gardens from this book.

Painswick Rococo Garden

We visited this garden in March 2015 so were too early to enjoy the extensive kitchen garden but there was still lots of interesting things to see.


Architecture plays a huge part in this place as there are at least four little buildings tucked around. All original structures from when the garden was made in the 1740 they are beautifully built and decorated.


The pond is perfectly placed so it reflects the garden and makes all the buildings seem more impressive. That white structure which is referred to as an colonnade exedra was designed for people to talk and mingle and it is both strange and striking.


There is also a sense of humour here with these giant conkers.


And lovely carvings.



And we even got to take the Buddles in with us.


Overall a joy to wander around and of course to cross off the list .


A note about the gardens we’ve visited and the click tick list.

Over the last twenty years Gav and I have been to visit many a garden. I am blogging about these visits rather too slowly but hopefully I’ll get there and have a catalogue of them all for reference and to share their beauty.

Since I drew up the click tick list we have concentrated on visiting gardens that appear in the book but there are plenty of gardens that are worth a visit that don’t appear within those pages. In this post I share where we have been (up to Feb 2014) and mention a few of the gardens not in the book.

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


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.


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.



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!








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.



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

The click tick list – visit Sutton Hoo


When I made my list a few years ago this place must have been in my mind. It’s funny how our brains work isn’t it!

I remember seeing the very famous helmet in the British Museum. I also remember wondering why they had taken the treasure away from the site and yet at the same time thinking I’d never get to see the place, where one of the most significant Anglo-Saxon discoveries was made, because it was such a long way away.

However, I still put this down on my list. I thought it was worth a visit.

When Gav and I were thinking about places to go for our recent week off work I suggested Suffolk. Somewhere neither of us had been, we could stay by the coast and I could at last visit Sutton Hoo.

And I did.


In 1939 the fourteen burial mounds were excavated. They found many a robbed out trench but they also found the imprint of a 27 metre long ship and at it centre a burial chamber full of treasure dating to AD early 600 and including the famous helmet, a huge gold brooch and exquisite craftsmanship on everything that was found.

The site is now managed by National Trust and the burial mounds are a short walk through a wooded area from the visitor centre.


There isn’t much to see as they quite literally are mounds of earth but I still enjoyed my wander around this historic place and the museum that is also on site.


I learnt a few things and of course got to cross something of the list!

The click tick list – Photograph 100 Gardens – Sissinghurst


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


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.


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.



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.


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!


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.



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


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







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