With this basket....

A basket of roses tucked outside the David Austin display
of heavenly roses at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.
With this basket, I do say....have a wonderful day.
Jeanne xxx

Isabella Plantation....you move me

 If you were with me today,
we would have stopped in at Isabella Plantation
in Richmond Park, London.

It is just as well that you were not with me as 
I got lost....and did the loopty loop several times
around the 8 mile perimeter drive.
That happens to me a lot. :)

It really wouldn't have mattered 
because Richmond Park is a site to behold, 
50 ponds
550 acres of woodland
11 gates (I now know them well)
Seven car parks (know them by heart)
20 mph speed limit (oops)
Two 18-hole golf courses
Four rugby pitches


650 deer
150,000 trees
1,350 species of beetle
750 species of butterfly and moth
450 species of plants and ferns
400 species of fungi
130 species of bees and wasps
119 species of birds
and two Shire horses ( I thought the same thing)

I eventually found my way :)

Isabella Plantation dates back to 1637
and is filled with many of the specimens listed above.
In bloom at Isabella Plantation throughout the year...
Spring: camellias, magnolias, daffodils, bluebells
azaleas and rhododendrons.
Summer: Japanese irises, day lilies, candelabra primula,
flowering straz trees and fragrant magnolia.
Autumn:  Fothergilla, Japanese acersa and tupelo trees are ablaze in colour.
Winter: Witch Hazel, Mahonia and Rhododendrons 'Christmas Cheer' 
are in bloom with early camellias.

With this knowledge, I embarked on a stroll, with friends, around the Plantation. 
My only regret was that I was doing it midday, not the best light for this amateur photographer.
Alas, I persevered, knowing that I could come back, on my own,
when the timing and lighting would be just right.

 We passed thru the gates, in and out again

and then a thought crossed my mind...

Is it possible that Philip Treacy drew his inspiration 
for Princess Beatrice's hat from Isabella? 
(Imagine the gate photo upside down.)

With that thought in mind, you and I would have left for
 Pembroke Lodge to have a coffee.

 We would have admired a spectacular view and 
would be happy to spend several hours doing so.

The only problem with me is that I am easily distracted.
While my friends were looking out, I was zooming in.
How could I resist?

I so admired this woman below...she has great sensibilities.
Hat, portable chair and a bag filled with
plenty to keep her occupied.

Ah well, there is always next time.
I am bringing my hat, chair and carry all.
Care to join me?

Isabella Plantation photos~me
Princess Beatrice, here.
Information on park

Travel Notes: Loire Valley, France

The elegant chateau and town of Saumur in the Loire Valley, France
Photo copyright Jean-Daniel Sudres

We have planned a two week holiday in the Loire Valley this summer.
I normally start to think about a trip a few days before we go which leaves me 
very anxious once we arrive. I always wish I had read up a bit more.
This time, I plan to do it right.

We have our accommodations sorted. Mr. H had an agenda, 
which was to get as far away from the crowds as possible.  
Quality Villas came recommended to him. He found a chateaux 
and after much discussion with the owners of the house, a deal was struck...
 the donkeys could stay. This seemed to be a deal breaker for him 
although lord knows why. I think he may have second thoughts when the 
chorus starts in the morning. I am a little anxious about this one.

I plan to fill in the gaps with things to see and do on this page. 
If you have any suggestions, I wholeheartedly welcome them. 
If you are planning a trip yourself, stay tuned. More to follow.
I just needed a starting point and now I have one.

Jeanne's Travel Notes: Loire Valley
From Anthony Peregrine of The Sunday Times: 
Six recommended chateaux
Chambord, Chenonceau, Chinon
Amboise, Clos Luce and 
Villandry and Chaumont for keen gardeners.
Chateau de Chambord
Photo copyright Patrick Giraud

Ornamental Gardens of Chateau de Villandry's

Le Pot de Lapin
35 rue Rabelois, Saumur
Tel: 02 41 67 12 86

La Table de Bergerie
La Bergerie
49380 Champ Layon
Tel: 02 42 78 30 62

Restaurant Le Gambetta
12, rue Gambetta
49400 Saumur
Tel: 02 41 67 66 66


Have you been to the Loire Valley?
If so, any suggestions?

 Travel Notes on Venice, here.
Images via Bugbog

A Singular Beauty in an English Garden

I was standing in front of this enormous building below wondering how I could 
capture the beauty in one small detail. By the entrance, trailing up and past
this lamp, a singular beauty with a trail of followers behind.

If you have not stopped in to Collage of Life to read
about the beautiful gardens at Loseley Park, you can do so here.

They took my breath away :)

Best wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Jeanne xxx

Monarch of the Glen

Dear Lads and Lassies!
I just have to send out a big thank you to those of you 
who put me on to the TV series, Monarch of the Glen.
I started this series earlier in the year and sat with tissue box in hand last night 
as I signed off on the very last episode.What can I say? It was a lot of fun :) 
My favourite character was Hector. 

For those of you who would like to rekindle the magic, here is a little
trip down memory lane for you. 

More on Monarch of the Glen, here and 
on Bogliedom, a devoted fan club to the show, here.

I managed to run thru the Doc Martin series as well and am eager for more!
Dear readers...more recommendations ??

Chelsea on my mind and a little Joni Mitchell

I have Chelsea on my mind, the Chelsea Flower Show to be exact. My catalogue arrived in the mail today. I have been eagerly circling, folding and marking the things I would like to see. In the spirit of the Chelsea Flower Show and just because I love Joni Mitchell....I bring you her 1969 rendition of Chelsea Morning.

Chelsea Morning

Woke up , it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words
It came a-reeling up like Christmas bells, and rapping up like pipes and drums

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
And we'll wear it 'till the night comes

Woke up , it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I saw
Was the sun through yellow curtains, and a rainbow on the wall
Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you, crimson crystal beads to beckon

Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
There's a sun show every second

Now the curtain opens on a portrait of today
And the streets are paved with passersby
And pigeons fly
And papers lie
Waiting to blow away

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I know
There was milk and toast an d honey and a bowl of oranges, too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses
Oh, won't you stay
We'll put on the day
And we'll talk in present tenses

When the curtain closes and the rainbow runs away
I will bring you incense owls by night
By candlelight
By jewel-light
If only you will stay
Pretty baby, won't you
Wake up, it's a Chelsea Morning

Where two Houses meet as one....

The Palace of Westminster is also known as Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace. The history of the building spans 900 years from the times of Anglo-Saxon kings. I have photographed it from many angles and never tire of finding new ones. If you would like to read more about Parliament's history, the Houses of Parliament ( House of Commons and House of Lords) and the role they play in British society, read here.

Londoners have been passing this statue of Richard the Lionheart ( Richard I) 
in front of the House of Lords for the past 150 years.

View from Victoria Towers Garden.

Students in study of The Burghers of Calais

A study in detail.

Victoria Towers Garden monument in shadow.

The Buxton Memorial Fountain.

Last but not least, Big Ben in all his splendour
in the wee hours of the morning.

Walking along the Thames in the morning light.


If you live in Monmouthshire....

If you live in Monmouthshire, I am very envious!! On June 18, garden designer, Arne Manyard is opening his garden, Allt-y-Bela for a single evening perfomrance of Romeo and Juliet by the Living Willow Theatre company. Guests are invited to bring a picnic to eat in the garden before the performance starts. A perfect summer's evening, rain or shine, is sure to be had. It sounds like heaven to me....Details, here.

Even better, various day courses 
will be held at Allt-y-Bela in June, including: 

The Scented Garden, on June 21; 
Topiary, Pleached Trees, Hedges and Knots, on June 22;
Orchards and Wildflower Meadows, on June 23. 
Course information, here

When I moved to England over a year ago, I enjoyed gardening
but never thought I would get quite so excited about it. When I
read about this event in House and Garden UK magazine, it was a 
'stop the press' moment for me. I just had to share in the hopes
that someone will attend and tell me all about it!

The garden designs of Arne Maynard are all inspiring.
Visit his website for more, here.

Details of event via June 2011 issue of House and Garden

Retreat, Paint and Sketch

Enter May and a view from my kitchen window. One of the nice things
about the warmer weather is the use of what I call our 'sunroom'.
I have a grand plan this month. It has been years, but I have unpacked
all my art supplies and moved them in. In between the gardening and 
other hustle and bustle of life, I plan to retreat, paint and sketch.
Fingers crossed that it works :)

Royal Academy of Arts...Watteau: The Drawings

Antoine Watteau

I went along to see the Watteau: The Drawings exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts. It is a major retrospective of Jean Antoine Watteau's (1684-1721) drawings. At first glance I wasn't sure what to think, but as I walked around and took in each of the drawings, many created in red chalk, I quickly appreciated the beauty in the detail.  The exhibit is an intimate account of the creative process that went into his work. The focus is on his drawings with one or two examples of his finished work. They fill an entire wall to ensure we appreciate evert little detail....and I did. You can see more examples of his work, here.

The exhibit is on at the Royal Academy of Art until 5 June 2011.
It is worth the visit :)

Images: 1, 2-5

Boys in white and a good chair

My son has taken up cricket... a sport I still don't understand.
He enjoys it and that's all that matters...well almost.
A good chair is essential too!

Jeanne xx

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