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 further, why I also have a love for photography. I
remember spending the birthday money I was gifted at the age of 13, on my first Canon click and shoot camera. The excitement of having those images developed - opening up that
envelope and seeing a more tangible form of that moment clicked ages ago. Some photos great, some not so much ('How did this blur occur?') I feel this especially when I see these
snaps of my 27th birthday. Here's 28 and 29 happened this year...that post is also on the way! Chronology - who's got time for that. Mixing it up a little. Sis took me for a lovely birthday
breakfast at Cosy Club in the morning (sharing pancakes and Eggs Benedict is our specialty), where vintage decor and sewing-related furnishings caught my eye.
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 was the 'syringa palibin' - aka lilacs, which excited the scent sense. Cue searching for said shrub in online
garden shops, in the days that followed. 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, thoughts of creating a water feature in my own garden heightened. Or,
small scale is just as idyll 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 with yellow faces. Wonderland, here we are. Now, the blue poppies
were surprising and surreal. An immediate thought was of course, planting some. An evening with Monty Don on Gardener's World revealed that the Himalayan Poppy is very 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 evening are usually spent watching what green feats
are blossoming in many a different plot around the United Kingdom. Love it.
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.
Gazing towards my feet, fern fronds sprawled onto the path, sprouting in hearty bunches. There's something prehistoric and enchanting about ferns, almost as if they've been here
since dinosaurs roamed. I purchased a beautiful one from Kelmarsh Hall two summers ago, which provides great texture amongst other foliage. Another leafy plant which I'd
embedded in the soil is the Hosta. They showed good promise of growing, yet their leaves proved 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. Back in this garden, as if it couldn't be get more captivating..
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. Nonchalant steps
and their 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... Ah, they're just showing off
now. I have a definite new love for the flams. Some were in the pool having a little dip. where these two gems opted to have a casual standing siesta. I could happily fill this post with
flamingo photos. I mean, look at them! 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 (matched the flamingos). It was also 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. You've still gotta stop to smell the roses once in a while. I've planted two rose bushes in my own garden. I know summertime has come around around when
velvet red roses have unfurled and are surrounded by bees. I find there's always a floral flurry to get lost in.