Wednesday 23 May 2012

Did you see the butterfly fluttering by...?

Dearest readers,

I hope you are well and that you too are enjoying stunning 
summer temperatures wherever you are. 

We started our day today in our neighbouring town, Chippenham, watching the Olympic torch being carried a few steps closer to its final destination in London. Then back to business as usual with the younger generation safely deposited at school and us - supposedly grown up grown-ups - back to the computer screen. With a deadline looming, I shall today offer you something as unusual - for me - as a "Wordless Wednesday" and let these photos tell their own summer-scented story from a spot by the pond earlier this afternoon...

Did any of you experience a small déjà-vu just then? Well, you probably then saw this blog post...:

... from this very spot last year, also inspired by butterflies, 
that day expressed in the form of a scarf on the table, 
fluttering gently in the evening breeze...

Wishing all of you a sun-soaked, flower-picking, strawberry-tasting weekend! 
(I know, a few days to go before the weekend, but just in case I don't see you before...!)


Wednesday 16 May 2012

Coming back to... Castle Combe!

Most of us living in the south west of England have been rather starved for even the tiniest ray of sun lately, so when Saturday morning offered blue skies and a beautiful bright bulb high up above, we skipped out the door, hungry to soak up the light. Being a keen bluebell fan, I convinced the rest of the family that another walk in and around Castle Combe would be a rather splendid idea...

As you come in to this lovely village, you are met by a sweet sign, putting a smile on your face and invariably your foot on the brake. Just after we moved to the UK and went for spring walks in this area, I - with my Swedish default spring flower perception- , started oooh-ing from afar at the sight of what I thought must be white anemones (Sw: vitsippor). But soon the smell caught up with me and I realised the white carpet was wild garlic! Horrified and confused as my senses were, I did not know if I ought to stop and admire what my eyes were soaking up with delight, or follow the desperate instinct of my nose, which howled: RUN, RUN!

"Safe" in the village, some more olfactory-appealing flowers 
can be admired in well-manicured borders here and there...

 ... many a lieutenant's/bleeding heart pounding with feverish floral infatuation...

... and the golf course offering tranquility with its almost unnaturally green grassy hills.

And all of a sudden, there they were, the bluebells. Perhaps not a massive forest, but filled with an abundance of sweet little bluebell heads, watching carefully where this young gentleman would next put his feet, willing them not to crush their bowed blue little necks...

Watching the buds yearning for the same light and life as us light-starved humans, forcing their way through the thin, protective shell that was their guardian until they were ready to "fly", it is magical, is it not?! For many years, I rushed past this precious spring event (I still do, sometimes), but when you take the time to stop and really look, it is like witnessing the Maternity Ward of Mother Nature from front row seats. Awe and humbleness sitting right there beside us.

Castle Combe, a stunning, stunning little village, 
and one we love to come back to again and again! 
(You can find more blog posts and photos under Castle Combe in my Categories.)


Cesar's Trädgård

Today I would also like to draw your attention to another wonderful place in Sweden I myself dream of visiting one day. My dear blog friend Charlotta, with the blog Cesar's Trädgård (Cesar's Garden)  - and her family - share Voltaire's famous motto "Il faut cultiver notre jardin" ("Let us cultivate our garden"). They have strived to create a garden paradise focusing on an enhanced quality of life and the joy of growing things. Charlotta and her family welcome us all to be inspired by visiting Cesar's Open Gardens,  Cesar's Shop and their "farmer's orangery" in Älmeboda (between Emmaboda and Tingsryd in southern Småland, Sweden). Click on the company names above to read more.

Wishing you a fabulous gardening season, Charlotta!


Go Wild Landscaping

Do you remember the blog post a little while ago from my sister-in-law's garden? Since I posted that, I have learned that in addition to her own wonderful work with her garden, my sister-in-law also enlisted the help of garden designer Andrew Marshall at Go Wild Landscaping, so credit should also go to him for that gem of a garden. If you live anywhere in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire or Bucks., like what you see in my sister-in-law's garden and need a little help creating your dream garden, clicking on their company name above will take you to their website).


Last, but not least, a warm thank you for visiting and for all your kind comments. 
I apologize for being so absent on your blogs and I hope that 
I will one day be able to come and "see you" and say hello.

Wishing you all a fabulous rest of this week!

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Great Chalfield Manor - Part II

Welcome back to part II from the gardens of Great Chalfield Manor.

(Please click on the horizontal images to see the whole image. Part of them are "cropped" when viewed here.)

The lovely things about gardens like these, is that there is something for 
everyone to explore. Here, my oldest son is running after his little brother, 
who has already managed to hide inside the yew tree "room".

There are four "tree houses" like this here, where four clipped yews have grown together 
and then been hollowed out inside, creating a little "room" and a tunnel to walk through.

If we turn around, we will see that my son started his sprint down by the Apple House...

... and a well-manicured border of lovely tulips...

...and other petal beauties as well, this one looking as if made of silk.

Oh yes! Stone wall + door in wall a little ajar = an exciting, inviting, FABULOUS feature!

The plant sale in the manor courtyard offered many temptations,
and resisting this gorgeous girl was particularly challenging!

Well, calling this "Niagara" (and they do!) may perhaps point to a hint of hybris, 
but then again, aim for the stars!

That's all from Great Chalfield Manor for this time, 
but I have a sneaky suspicion there may be more visits, 
more flowers, and more photos one day....


Lantliv på Holm - A Lovely New Shop and Web shop!

Camilla, a dear blog friend of mine has followed her dream and just opened a country style interior & life style shop in her own barn. She sells beautiful decorative items, and for those of us how live too far away to visit the physical shop (in Kärna, north-west of Gothenburg, near Marstrand), we can visit the Lantliv på Holm web shop. At the moment, the web shop only works for customers from Sweden, but Camilla is happy to send items to clients abroad, if you place your order via email instead (Contact details under "Kontakta oss" in the menu).

Best of luck with your fabulous shop, Camilla!


Thank you, kind, kind readers, for all your lovely comments 
on my previous blog posts. You brighten my days!


Ps. If you feel you recognize the views from Great Chalfield Manor, you may have seen them in movies like "The Other Boleyn Girl" or the BBC Television adaptation of "Tess of the d'Urbervilles", which were both filmed here.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Great Chalfield Manor - Part I

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you.... the SUN! 

After weeks of rain clouding the sky and my temper, the light returned to the West Country today. I dare guess that it was not only my soul that shrieked with delight, and for all the visitors at the annual plant sale at Great Chalfield Manor, this weather certainly was a welcome surprise.

Please click on the horizontal images in this post, to view the entire image 
(the right-hand side is somewhat "chopped" otherwise).

Great Chalfield Manor is a historic English country house, built in the 15th century. 
(Read more about Great Chalfield Manor herehere or here.)
The fact that it is just down the road from us and this is my first visit, 
is as surprising as it is scandalous!

(The black "dots" in the grass above are black tulips.)

The gardens are a mix of formal borders, lawns and shaped yew trees, 
and more informal areas, like this lovely wild flower meadow 
in the apple orchard at the back of the house.

This is a beautiful Medieval house with a high wow-factor, 
and the wisterias, rambling roses and other climbing beauties 
hugging its exterior, marry these ancient walls so, so well...

Some gardens just have that special little extra... 

... that thing which makes them a meditative, tranquil and soul-nurturing place to be...

... and would not life look rather lovely if contemplated from this bench? 

And what would an old English garden be without its lovely stone walls?

I  love the dual character of these gardens, for example here where we stand in a formal, 
"clean-shaven" spot, looking out into the orchard and the tall grass of the wild meadow.

And yes, I confess to having been a little snap-happy on this lovely sunny Sunday, 
so I have split the photos into two blog posts not to exhaust you...

But, for now, I wish you a lovely start to the new week 
and hope your paths take you through some wonderfully wild meadows!