Garden blogging

Friday Flowers and a farewell for now

I started blogging as a challenge in January 2011 and didn’t expect to go beyond 6 months.  Unexpectedly I fell in love with it, or perhaps it would be fairer to say I became besotted by it.   It became like an all consuming love affair and I have spent far too much time blogging to the detriment of everything else.  I spent more time indoors at my pc, editing photos etc than I should have been in the garden – maybe that is why it is not really up to scratch this year.   I have decided that whilst my blog and I are not going to part company completely, I need some time without it to get back the equilibrium, and do a spot of housework at weekends!

I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has followed my blog and those who have dipped in and out making the occasional visit.   Thank you for stopping to leave comments, all of which have been much appreciated and valued.

I will write once in a while, it maybe only once a month, but I want to get away from the feeling that I need to write a post for the blog.  I will post just a photo once in a while as it is photography that I don’t want to have a sabbatical from.

Meanwhile I leave you with a small selection of the flowers in the garden for my final Friday Flowers post.


If you want to be happy for a short time, get drunk;

Happy for a long time, fall in love;

Happy for ever, take up gardening. 

Chinese Proverb


When art becomes part of the garden

It is only recently that I have taken a fresh look at art in the garden and the difference in how it is displayed.   Is it a garden with art in it, or art in the garden?    I think there is a big difference.   Let me explain.  Several years ago I paid a visit to West Dean Gardens, with someone who was not really a gardener, let alone interested in gardens.   At the time West Dean were exhibiting a variety of sculptures around the gardens.   My companion was quite rude about the fact there was art in the garden and couldn’t see its place, commenting that art should be in an art gallery.   The problem, I suppose, was that it didn’t blend with the surroundings, the sculptures were placed in the open, with the gardens being used as a backdrop.   I enjoyed looking at them and tried to uphold the idea of displaying art in surroundings other than indoors.

Gardens are used a lot for displaying pieces created by local and national artists and the way they are displayed is important.    Obviously, as art is seen differently by us all, the manner in which we view it is a matter of taste also.  I have come to realise that I like seeing art within the garden, strategically placed to become part of the garden, rather than standing alone as in an outdoor gallery.

So what has made me think about art in the garden?   A few weeks ago I stayed at The Mill at Gordleton near Lymington in the New Forest.

The privately owned hotel is a 400 year old mill set in two acres of garden with a river running through the grounds.  It is here you will come across some interesting and varied pieces of art.  They are unusual and different and rather than being “set down” in the garden,  the sculptures have been used within and have become part of the garden.

I am not in a shape or form an expert in art and the comments I make below are purely my own personal opinions but I would be interested to know what you think about art in the garden.

I liked this bronze straightaway and found it fascinating the way a face is nestled within the flowerbed.    When we sat in the dining room at breakfast and looked out at this part of the garden, it can be seen at the end of the garden.   I can imagine it is quite a talking point over dinner and breakfast by many.

This chandelier made from Recycled glass, plastic and copper  hangs over the river and is viewed from the bridge.  Initially I didn’t like it but sometimes art grows on you and the more I walked passed it the more I liked it.  I suppose because it was not  what you would expect as you cross a river.  I began to see how clever it positioning was, amidst the trees.

I thought the oversized stone apple and pear were ideally positioned next to a tree as though they had just fallen from the branches.  Ok, a stretch of imagination but isn’t that what art is all about?   They look so smooth, even now I feel I want to touch them.

An amusing piece of art which is used for a purpose.  This is a gate I would have in my garden, just to make visitors smile.

  • Tree Fountain – Julian Bailey

There is a lot of garden  to wander around at The Mill, and as you cross one of the little bridges over the river you arrive at a tranquil place to sit, either with a cup of tea in the afternoon or a gin and tonic in the evening.

Here you will see the Tree Fountain, which also lights up at night.   Another beautiful setting for a clever piece of sculpture.

These are just a sample of what you will find as you walk around , I could fill this blog post with many more, and if you are interested take a look at  Art at The Mill.

Just one more though.  As we sat outside, overlooking the river, eating the most delicious lunch, we could see a number of  insects happily sitting around.

As you look around you will find lots of  these sculptures made from recycled metal, all carefully placed so they don’t look out of place.

We had a lovely short stay at The Mill at Gordleton.   Maybe I have seen to many episodes of  The Hotel Inspector,  there were one or two things that I don’t think would have passed muster, such as the mucky grouting around the shower and an old sponge left in the bathroom bin.  I would have liked a bowl of  fresh fruit for breakfast instead of the various pots of dried fruit for the “make your own” muesli, but  if you are a cooked breakfast person you would be spoilt for choice and I was reliably informed the scrambled eggs, bacon and sausages were excellent.

The upside was that the staff were exceptional, friendly and helpful.  We were greeted by Liz, the owner, who clearly is very hands on and made us feel very welcome.   What more could one want?   I also learned that you have cucumber with Tanquery gin – now that is not something many bar staff  would  know!  It wasn’t a cheap weekend but The Mill at Gordleton  is definitely one place I will return when I am in need of a chill-out weekend.

Now back to where I started and the whole point about this post.  What is your  view of  using art in the garden, either as an  exhibition or integrating it into the garden as part of the design?

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Flowers, Photo challenge, Photography

Combining Daylilies with a Photo Challenge

As you know every week I enter into the Weekly Photo Challenge run by The Daily Post by WordPress.   Even with a sense of disloyalty, there comes a time to look around at other photo challenges.   The saying “A change is as good as a rest” rings true.

There are certainly a lot of photo challenges about, but there is one blogger who I visit regularly who runs a Weekly Sunday Post.

Jake’s blog  JakesPrinter  is a fascinating and clever,  which is not surprising as Jake is a graphic artist and photographer.

I have chosen the challenge on Jake’s blog this week because it is CLOSE UP and as a lover of macro photography I felt inspired.  That in itself is a relief, because my blogging enthusiasm has dried up over the last week.

This post has also given me the opportunity to include another idea for a blog post I had a few weeks ago and until now haven’t taken it any further.  So I am going to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

At the end of July I went to the New Forest and while I was there I paid a visit to Pollies Lilies and met Polly and her husband Terry.  They run a Daylily specialist nursery and I snapped away at the very many varieties of daylily,  but failed to make a note of their names.

Polly and Terry have the National Collection of Daylilies and I had no idea there were so many varieties:  short, tall, rounded, ruffled, doubles, spider, early, mid and late.  The colours range from white to burgundy and any combination in between.  I have one orange double daylily in the front garden and once a flower has died and dropped off it throws out new flowers and continues that way for months.

Daylilies are a flower that some people just won’t have in their gardens, and a bit like Marmite, you either love or hate them.  I love them and will certainly have a few more in my garden for next year.

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited

Garden visiting

Furzey Gardens: Developing independence and skills for the learning disabled.

I had never heard of Furzey Gardens in Hampshire until this year’s 2012 Chelsea Flower Show, where they won a Gold Medal for their Garden, designed by Chris Beardshaw.

The Minstead Training Project is a sister charity to Furzey Gardens.  It provides residential care and horticultural training to young people with learning difficulties.   It is these young people who  help tend the garden and were involved with Chris Beardshaw in making the award winning Chelsea Garden.

When you visit The Furzey Gardens Charitable Trust you will find 8 acres of woodland walks, full of  interesting  plants  and trees.    It is clearly a garden that delights no matter what time of the year you visit.   The garden has a great display of all year round colour, with rhododendrons in February and March, a mass of spring flowers, the azaleas in May and the  many trees and shrubs  in the autumn.

My visit was in the last week of July and like every garden in the UK, due to the wet summer, it was lush with foliage.   Furzey Garden is on a hillside and the ground was a bit wet and boggy in places along the paths, so we had to be careful where we walked.

It was clearly a popular spot for families and although there were signs asking parents to keep children with them at all times, it was very noisy with young children running around the garden and calling each other, which I found slightly annoying.   Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against children in gardens but to me it did detract from what is a gentle place in a peaceful setting.

All around the grounds are 30 little fairy doors to find and explore and there are also tree houses and wooden walkways for children and a crawl tunnel, swings and an old boat all added to the childrens’ playground sounds.     Their mothers seemed quite content to sunbathe on the patio outside the cafe, whilst their children shrieked and played.

However, from a child’s point of view I could well see the fun they were having chasing and hiding among the shrubs and trees.

At the top of the hill,  by the entrance is a 16th Century Cobb Cottage which is believed to have been built in 1560.   Here you can find the well-tended vegetable garden also crammed full of flowers.  This was typical of an “olde worlde” style cottage garden and something that I would like to try and develop in my own garden.  I love the idea of dahlias and hollyhock growing alongside beans and carrots.

I have a learning disabled brother, now nearly 60, who loves gardening, and I felt a sense of sadness that nothing like this was available when he was young.    As I walked around I thought how much  he would have loved it here and how important places like this are to help develop self-respect and independence along with giving young learning disabled men and women  the opportunity to learn new skills.

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Flowers, Friday Flowers, Photography

Friday Flowers

Last weekend I spent a few wonderful and happy days in the New Forest  where I visited some interesting and thought provoking gardens.  Lots of notes and photographs were taken so watch this space for reviews to follow soon.   Meanwhile, as a taster, here are a selection of flowers for FRIDAY FLOWERS  to whet your appetite.


There was such a wonderful array of Day Lilies, these a couple of my favourites.


The vibrant colour combinations were breathtaking.


Clever companion planting.


Everything I imagined it would be.

Have a great weekend everyone, and fingers crossed for some decent gardening weather.   Oh, if you were wondering what the tall grass with the pink flower is, we did too and had to ask one of the gardeners.   He said they were Fairy Fishing Rods, and when we got home and Googled it we found the proper name was Dierama or Angel’s Fishing Rods.   I think I have found another plant on my “Must have list”!

© Hurtlingtowards60 and Hurtled to 60 and Now Beyond. ©AarTeePhotography Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author is strictly prohibited