Bloomin' lovely

Trip Start Mar 23, 2009
Trip End Jul 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , North Carolina
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gds
I have a dilemma with this blog; how can I possibly choose which piccies to include?  Pauline I hope you enjoy my choice. By the way I'm reading "The Orchid Thief" at the moment ( A fascinating read )As you are all very well aware, we like taking photos - I often think digital photography and 'burst' mode were invented just for us! If I tell you that we took over 500 today, some of you will just gasp, others will think we are mad and some of you might just understand. As we usually travel in the winter months it has been a pure joy to experience everything bursting into life, so I in particular was eager to see what these botanical gardens had to offer. They are relatively new (begun in 1997); the orchid house was only opened last year and as we walked up to the front entrance it was clear that the summer planting had been done, but we were too early to see it at its best. However once in the gardens there was certainly plenty to please the eye. All those things you read about in the gardening books, you know - about planning the colour palette of your beds and using plants to create structure are here. It looks so easy when it's all done and there are no straggly plants, no weeds and no gaps! 

I have to say it is a very 'accessible' garden in that the paths lead you to all the hidden little parts and patches of worn grass where people have stepped to get a closer look, there are picnic benches dotted about, a willow maze and a woodland trail. Seeing the transformation from wild to cultivated is remarkable. As we wandered through the Ribbon garden on our way to the Serpentine garden, Malc excitedly called me to come and look. Thinking he had found a particularly noteworthy bloom of some kind I caught up with him to see what all the fuss was about...
Well it wasn't quite a Dr Doolittle moment, but there stretched across the path in front of us was a long, long, black snake. His head was just disappearing into the growth on the left as his tail was emerging from the growth on the right! He was at least 5' long; slowly he slithered into the border, with an eager Malc following behind trying to get some photographic evidence... Just beyond us there was a family picnicking on the grass and it was all I could do to stop myself rushing over and warning them, people here tend to take these things for granted, so I didn't want to show my ignorance and as it happened when we found  one of the gardeners and asked him about snakes he said, " Oh yes, we have a couple who live here; there's a rat snake in the Ribbon Garden, we leave him be because he keeps the rodents down" ...well that's all right then! We wandered on, 'played' in some of the water features - which is encouraged by the way - and then ate our picnic lunch on the terrace, well away from the rat catcher.

The orchid house was definitely the jewel in the crown for me; what can I say other than the variety and the way they were presented was enchanting. What do you think...

 (take a look at the album for the rest)
There is also quite an impressive display of air plants too.

Of course all this comes with a good deal of hard work 

The gardens are available for private functions; as you can see they're not precious about the lawns! There is a wedding planned for tomorrow, so the marquee is going up and there is a rehearsal in the White Garden - how nice that it is so relaxed and so accessible.
A great day. Well by complete contrast we went to see the new Star Trek movie on the way back. I have never been a fan, but Malc has always enjoyed the series and I have to say I really did like the film ...go see it even if you're not a fan, it's a great movie. Tell me if you think the guy who plays Spoc is really Michael Phelps!
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