Monday, 16 March 2015

This Weekend

Another busy week, and I was lucky enough to have a lovely Mother's Day yesterday. D bought me a gorgeous bouquet of spring flowers consisting of hyacinths, tulips and daffodils.

B and J, who are both away at university, got together and organised a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to me. I've never had flowers delivered before and it was very exciting, I can tell you.
How well my offspring know me! Flowers are definitely the way to my heart.

After a very lazy morning we decided to use our membership of the National Trust and set off for Tyntesfield, a recently-opened property. We were members a few years ago when our children were much younger, and enjoyed visiting lots of fascinating and beautiful places, However, as they grew into teenagers they became quite bored with these kind of trips and so we stopped renewing our membership. Now we're at the stage where D is happy to bring along a friend, or P and I can go together when we have a free day. Despite the fact that spring has sprung, it was a very gloomy and cold day. Never mind - these pretty primroses and daffodils cheered things up.

We arrived mid-afternoon and tickets to see the house itself had sold out, but everything else was open. We were a bit disappointed, but will go earlier next time. It didn't matter, though, because there was still lots to do and see. We spent time in the cafe as it was quite chilly, and sampled this delicious Earl Grey Tea Cake.

The house is mainly Victorian in a Gothic style with lots of turrets, gables and chimneys - quite eerie in places.

We walked around the grounds, admiring the architecture and imagining ourselves bygone inhabitants of the house taking an after-dinner stroll on the terrace.

Sweeping vistas came into view.

Many of the trees were covered in mistletoe. Winter has pared them down to an outline and the parasitic clumps of mistletoe are very easy to see.

Into the orangery, and in its comparative warmth these troughs of deep pink hyacinths perfumed the air very strongly.

Many pots of citrus trees were fruiting and looked so exotic on such a dreary and cold day.

Plants evoking warmer, brighter climates made me wish for my own orangery.

Back out into the gardens again, and I started to notice the flowers.
Camelias, with their glossy leaves, members of the tea family.

Anenome flowers, delicately balanced on slender stems with feathery foliage and inky dark centres.

An ornamental quince, pinky-scarlet against the day's grey, muted background.

Next the kitchen garden, unexpectedly large, with huge tracts of bare, neatly tilled soil ready for planting.

I'm not a vegetable grower myself, but loved the straight, regimented rows of lettuces in front of these beautifully fan-trained fruit trees. There's a neatness and order about a well-organised kitchen garden which I find very satisfying.

A door in a wall leading out of the garden, so reminiscent of Frances Hodgson Burnett's 'The Secret Garden' - I half expected to see Dickon or Mary through the door.

"She held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door that opened slowly - slowly. Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight. She was standing inside the secret garden".

The soil looked so bare, but someone had been there planting, and things were starting to grow underground.

As we wandered back through the estate, more blossom and flowers caught my eye.
Incredibly fragrant viburnum, the colour of strawberry milkshake.

Groups of daffodils, their bright yellow flowers aglow.

Delicate wintry blackthorn blossom, always a surprise on a cold, grey day.

The first primroses I've seen this year. This yellow is my favourite shade, pale and milky - how I love them!

Finally as we left we passed a beautifully twisted tree, some kind of thornless holly perhaps?

It was a good afternoon and a lovely Mother's Day. I am indeed very lucky to have enjoyed such treats, and it was good to get out into the countryside and breathe some fresh air. Hope you had a good weekend too x


  1. What a lovely Mother's Day you had - flowers, lovely architecture, a secret garden and Earl Grey tea cake too! Riches indeed. Hope the rest of your week lives up to it. x

  2. Your photos are stunning and the flowers so beautiful. I love the photo you have taken through the window and the one with the door to the Secret Garden, I love that book too. What a lovely way to spend Mother's Day. xx

  3. Wonderful day you seemed to have .... we see spring is in the air ....Thanks for sharing your day and those beautiful pics ! Have a lovely day !

  4. Love all these beautiful flowers... oh and I wish I could have some of the cake. YumYumYum!

    Take care
    Anne (Crochet Between Worlds)

  5. What a wonderful Mother's Day trip with fabulous photos! x

  6. That's a lovely garden you visited. My camellia has decided not to flower this year so it's nice to see some pictures! Fascinating to see the mistletoe clumps as well; when you see it at Christmas time you never think about how it grows on a host tree. Thanks for sharing! xx

  7. Gorgeous camellias and flowering quince, they are two of my favourites. The cake looks pretty good as well! We went to Tyntesfield last Easter, it was really busy, but we did enjoy it. What beautiful flowers from your children, lucky you. I'm glad you had such a lovely weekend. CJ xx

  8. Such beautiful pictures! I would love an orangery :) it looks like a wonderful Mother's Day x

  9. Your flowers given to you for mother's Day are lovely. I am just like you and love having flowers for Mother's Day! The Earl Grey cake looks delicious. What a shame you didn't spy Dickon or Mary in the walled garden! I love that book. Sarah x


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