The quote 'we write to live life twice' by Anaïs Nin comes to mind when I look back at the pages of my blog. It captures why I write and why I also have a love for photography. I
remember purchasing my first Canon camera at 13. The excitement of having those images developed - opening up that envelope and seeing a more tangible form of a moment clicked ages ago. I recall many a photo of lilies. Some photos were great, some not so much ('How did this blur occur?') I feel the former when I see these snaps of my 27th birthday.
After choosing to throw caution to the slight rain splutters, we made a visit to Coton Manor in Northampton. Visiting gardens is one of our favourite ways to spend summertime. We've
luckily had a chance to visit a fair few in the past years and I have to say, this is one of my absolute favourites. The rockery at Lamport Hall was memorable for sure, as well as pensive
pond moments at Cottesbrooke Hall. Here, it was the beautiful mix of flora and fauna, if not for a particular long-limbed creature I anticipated seeing.
I could wax lyrical about all the blooms here for a while...so I'm going to. Flowerbeds edged along the length, with hazy purple irises sitting comfortably. Fluid lines of the flowerheads
reminded me of Van Gogh's brushstrokes. There was a fragrant burst which past us every time we were in a certain vicinity. Stepping back and forth to catch the aroma again, we were
able to narrow in on which shrub it was. Each variety was labelled, where it turned out to be the 'syringa palibin' - aka lilacs. Cue searching for said shrub in online garden shops, That, and about 20 other plant species (slight exaggeration...only slight).
We sat on the lawn by the khaki-coloured lake, absorbing our zen surroundings. It was looking a little touch and go with the weather, although the sun emerged at just the right time.
Those jungle vibes came through with giant palms arching extravagantly out of the water. At times like this, I have thoughts of creating a water feature in my own garden. A
small scale version is also an option, like this microcosm you could hold in your hands. The most striking ducks with Mondrian-esque markings drifted through the chocolate waters.
The variety of flora continues. Creamy pansies smile in clusters and paper-like petals thread daisies together. Wonderland, here we are. Blue poppies were surprising and surreal. An immediate thought was of course, planting some. Monty Don on Gardener's World revealed that the Himalayan Poppy can be fussy with the soil and conditions they are in. Not one to be deterred, I may find them in a flower patch close to me soon. Yes, my Friday evenings are usually spent watching what green feats are blossoming in many a different garden.
Past the archway and fountain, we ventured into one of the most beautiful gardens. A layered landscape with pockets of colour and shrubbery. Glancing around, it was a case of
wanting to visually take in everything, from every angle. Speckles of white and fuchsia stood out against the verdant backdrop. Fiery yellow blooms sparked alight from one corner,
adding to the mottled drama. A perfectly paved path winded into the distance, marked by giant conifers. This was one garden I didn't want to leave.
Fern fronds sprawled onto the path, sprouting in hearty bunches. There's something prehistoric and enchanting about ferns. I purchased a beautiful one from Kelmarsh Hall two summers ago, which provides great texture amongst other foliage. Another leafy plant which I've embedded in the soil is the Hosta. They show good promise of growing, yet their leaves prove a bit too delicious for nearby critters. How to keep them at bay? I'm on the search for environmentally and bug-friendly repellents. Any suggestions are welcome.
This wonderfully dreamlike scenario. Carefree flamingos were happy to strike a long-stemmed pose. Even as you came in a little closer, they were completely cool. They have nonchalant steps and a relaxed demeanour - almost as if they're saying 'Here, feel free to capture this angle.' When they came together to make a neck-curving heart...a definite new love for the flams. Some were in the pool having a dip. where these two gems opted to have a little standing siesta. Talk about a haven for beautiful birds.
Wisteria draped along a wall length of the manor. I bought a wisteria plant around 2 years ago, which sits small and proud in a green pot. It's yet to show any signs of being such an
expansive, all-encompassing formation. Deep soil, many a year and patience should do the trick. From the garden shop here, I chose a climbing sweet-pea as my birthday plant, which happened to be a vibrant pink/orange shade (matching the flamingos). It was coincidentally named the 'Happy Birthday' variety on the tag - couldn't have been more fitting.
Taking life with a plate full of petals and a small side of thorns. Because, well, that's just the balance that it is. Make sure you've got your gardening gloves on though. Those thorns can
have some cutting power. Still, you have to stop and smell the roses once in a while. I've planted two rose bushes in my garden. I know summertime has come around when
velvet red roses have unfurled and they're surrounded by bees. I find there's always an abundance of flora to get lost in.