This week’s Six comes courtesy of RHS Wisley. I was finally able to go and stay with my mum last weekend now that lockdown restrictions allow overnight stays outside of your household, so last Friday I trundled down to Hampshire with much excitement. O
On the Saturday, I’d requested a trip to Wisley, having never been before, and there we also met my aunt, uncle and cousins and their families. A very special day being the first time I’d seen them all in a very long time, and, in fact, in the case of my oldest cousin’s baby and youngest cousin’s partner, the first time I’d met them at all! We were really lucky that the weather behaved and was glorious all day.
Before the troops arrived, mum and I wandered around the tree section of the gardens. It was nice to see some more unusual trees, and it’s from here that my first point comes.
I completely forgot to take a photo of the label so I can’t tell you exactly what this is, but it’s some sort of pine. If you would care to zoom in on the photo, you’ll see that it looks like it’s made of hundreds of palm trees.
The next thing to catch my eye as we strolled round the pond, was this rhododendron.
It’s hard to see without much for perspective in the photo, but it was huge! At least ten feet tall I would guesstimate. Such a cheerful pop of colour as you exited the predominantly green tree section.
As we continued, we came across the shady garden and we wandered around looking for ideas for the dry and shady part of my garden. There must’ve been some sunny areas because I snapped a pic of this beautiful peony.
We have peonies in our front garden which gets direct sunshine for a good proportion of the day, however ours are herbaceous peonies and this was a tree peony. Ours are late this year because of the cold April and May but they’re about the burst open any. minute. now! I think tree peonies can cope with less sun than herbaceous, but not the complete absence of sun that our shady patch receives.
The next two pictures are from the glasshouse. Phew, it was hot in there. Perfect for the exotic, tropical plants that reside under its glass roof, but not so good for us humans, especially not when you still have to wear a mask inside! Still, it was worth it to see the unusual plants from far flung lands.
The first is a succulent called Setosa Minor.
A relatively standard, non descript succulent looking at its leaves, but just look at the gorgeous flaming flowers. Stunning!
Next up is plumeria Pele Firestorm that was always going to catch my eye given my propensity for grasses and grass-like plants.
Just beautiful. I’d love one of these in my garden but it likes it hot hot hot which here, unfortunately, it isn’t! I can’t even have one indoors, because it would inevitably suffer from feline chewage!
Finally we strolled out of the glasshouse, via the ice cream van, and took in the rest of the gardens. My final point is this lovely fluffy specimen.
This is Pulsatilla Vulgaris. A most unfortunate name, although, apparently vulgaris means common and not, as it sounds, vulgar. It has purple flowers, but I think these seed heads (I assume that’s what they are) are just delightful.
So there you have it, a round up of my day at Wisley. I could’ve taken millions of photos, but I preferred to just soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the plants without looking at them through a screen. With that in mind, I shall finish here and step away from the screen for now. All that remains, is point you, as ever, in the direction of the Propagator, and wish you a very pleasant weekend.
I’ve missed a couple of Six on Saturdays and haven’t seemed to find the time to write any other time for a while, so I thought I’d use some of the bank holiday to write a quick catch up on the last couple of weeks.
My new love of Lego continues. I succumbed to ordering 4 Privet Drive, the house that Harry Potter lives in with Aunt Petunia, Uncle Vernon and Dudley and it’s fab. You can make Hogwarts letters come flying out of the fireplace like they do in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Ron’s blue Ford Anglia really does pull Harry’s bedroom window out as it does when Ron, Fred and George come to rescue Harry in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. You can even open up the side of the house to see inside the cupboard under the stairs which was Harry’s bedroom until he went to Hogwarts.
I also treated myself to a newly released set – Winnie the Pooh’s house in the Hundred Acre Forest.
The attention to detail is fantastic. Pooh bear can sit on the log outside his house and inside he can look in the mirror when he can do his stoutness exercises and obviously there are honey (hunny!) pots galore.
I’m super excited that Lego have just announced some new Harry Potter sets being released on 1st June. I’ve already ordered the Hogsmeade set which includes the Three Broomsticks pub and Honeydukes sweet shop, but I can feel a couple more purchases coming on!! Honestly, we need a bigger house so I can have a Lego room.
We could also do with a teddy bear room! I treated myself to a new bear called Theo last weekend when I went to Webbs garden centre.
He’s currently living on our bed. I did buy some lottery tickets this past weekend thinking that we could see if our neighbour would consider selling us his house so we could make a Lego room and a teddy bear room and a gym. We did win, but I don’t think he’d sell it to us for £30!
My actual reason for going to Webbs was to choose some plants to go in Granny’s pots that I inherited. I tried to choose plants that either had a relevant name or that I thought Granny would like.
On the left of these first three pots is poppy Beauty of Livermere which I thought Granny would like. She was a very cheery person so the bright red of a poppy seems appropriate. She was also born between the wars so a poppy is relevant. In the middle is a fuchsia. My Grandad loved fuchsias and they remind me of visiting them both when I was a child. This fuchsia is one of six that arrived from QVC. Unfortunately they’d been tipped upside down by Hermes so I’m trying my hardest to help them recover. I’ve put a little fairy in the pot with this one, which was the worst hit, to watch over it. On the right is a patio rose called Sweet Memories.
On the other side of my raised bed we have, on the left, hebe Golden Pixie. Granny had a hebe in her front border which she told me someone reversed their car into. In the middle is geum Pink Petticoats which, again, I thought Granny would like. Finally on the right is polemonium Stairway to Heaven with obvious relevance.
I love how they look arranged around my raised bed, with the two lily pots at the head.
I also bought this rose …
… because it’s called Sheila’s Perfume – Granny was called Sheila. I haven’t decided where this is going to go yet.
While I was planting these up, I spotted some movement out of the corner of my eye so I went to investigate, and found this friendly little robin.
Now I know it’s not unusual to see a robin whilst you’re gardening, but I’ve never had one let me get this close and for so long. It really seemed interested in what I was doing. My Mum said it was my Grandad popping in to see what I’d done with his pots. They were his and Granny’s when he was still with us, and he was the gardener really, Granny maintained them after he’d gone, and now I’m going to continue doing that.
I also inherited this stool which makes me think of Granny and Grandad every morning when I get up.
It’s been around for the whole of my life, and I remember sitting on it when I was small enough to do so! It came from Kenya when my Great Uncle (Granny’s brother) was working there. It’s not worth anything to anyone else, but to me it’s priceless.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of crochet too. I finished my Picnic on the Beach blanket which was a cal (crochet along) by Coastal Crochet.
And I’ve made quite a bit of progress on my D’Histoire Naturelle blanket which is a Scheepjes cal.
I should now be doing the next cal which is the Picnic by the River cal also designed by Coastal Crochet, but for Little Box of Crochet. However, I’m being patient with that one because I’m busy crocheting something else which I can’t tell you about in case the intended recipient reads this!
Moving back to the garden, and it’s coming back to life slowly but surely. Everything seems to be taking longer this year, probably because it’s been so cold and dry. Here’s a collage of colour for you – Welsh poppy, geum Totally Tangerine, pieris in full on show off mode, honesty and two different erysimums.
Finally, I’ll end with some pics of our visit to Hoo Farm last week. We’ve been here a few times and it’s always a good day out. They have lots of animals, and many of them are rescues or old animals that are living out their last days in peace. They’ve also added a walk through dinosaur section called Hoo-rassic World since our last visit which was fun.
Right, I’m off to do some more speed crocheting as the decidedly autumn weather outside has put the kibosh on anything outdoorsy!
Some of you may recall our non-Jamaica party for two last May which I organised to take our minds of the fact that we were supposed to be jetting out to Jamaica.
When this holiday was cancelled, we swapped it to Orlando, and, as I type, we should be at thirty thousand feet drinking a gin and tonic on our way there. Even though it was cancelled a few weeks ago, I couldn’t quite bring myself to remove it from my phone calendar, almost as if that was accepting that we weren’t going, so this morning I’ve been assaulted by reminders!
I’ve no idea why it says Tuesday in the little box! Anyway, we honestly didn’t think, when we swapped to April 2021, that we’d still be in the situation that we’re in with Covid. April 2021 seemed so far ahead at the time, that we assumed the world would’ve beaten this virus by now, but onwards we battle!
As it turns out, maybe some things truly are meant to happen a certain way, because we wouldn’t have been going anyway. It’s Granny’s funeral on Wednesday when we’d have been three days into our holiday. Much as I love holidays, and Orlando in particular, I wouldn’t have missed this occasion and chance to say au revoir.
I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favourite photos and memories of our previous holidays to Orlando. There are a lot of photos, so I fear this may take me a while to narrow down to something manageable.
I’ll start with our first trip, and our first visit to Magic Kingdom. This was our very first day in Orlando and I absolutely had to go and meet Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
I was so starstruck!! This was at the Crystal Palace where you can eat as much as you want from the buffet and meet Pooh bear, Piglet, Eeyore and Tigger as they roam around the restaurant. Excited was not the word!!
Sticking to the character theme, on our third trip we went to Epcot for the second time and had lunch with Mickey Mouse!
Whilst we’re on the subject of Epcot, here’s some more Pooh bear spam!
Fabulous topiary. I think, of the Disney parks that we’ve been to, Epcot is my favourite. We haven’t been to Hollywood Studios because it seems to be weighted heavily towards Star Wars which we’re not particular fans of. Animal Kingdom is good and we enjoyed our day there because we got to see lots of animals and a couple of the attractions are really good (we went before the Avatar additions) but it’s not very Disney so probably Busch Gardens would suit us better (it’s on the list!) Magic Kingdom is awesome and I’m sure we’ll visit again, but it is more for the younger visitors while the young at heart such as ourselves would probably prefer to visit less frequently (but it should certainly be on the list for first time visitors in my opinion). Epcot, however, has a lot of Disney content to satisfy the child in me, but also has loads of other cool stuff. I guess it’s more educational with all the different countries represented. It also has possibly the best simulator ride in Soarin’. It galls me to say that given how much I love the Harry Potter simulators at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, but it may just pip them for the actual ride, but not the queue where Hogwarts and Gringotts beat it hands down.
I have to share the next photo which I took at Epcot because it makes me smile every time I see it. This is Bruce from Shark Tale and I didn’t notice that he was trying to eat that poor lady until I looked at the photos of the day back at the hotel that evening!
As I seem to have moved into talking about each park, I’ll move on to Kennedy Space Centre. We’ve been to Kennedy twice and it’s a great day out. It’s about an hour’s drive from the International Drive area, but it’s an easy drive. Kennedy is also a fairly educational day and there is much less emphasis on thrill seeking. Having said that, hubby did find himself in outer space on our last trip.
There’s a really interesting bus ride around the park where you see and learn a lot about space launches. You might even spot a ‘gator lurking in one of the waterways around the complex.
Moving on to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, which together make up my happy place! I just feel, as soon as I emerge from City Walk to either turn left for Islands of Adventure or right for Universal Studios, a surge of happiness and a weight lifting. It’s pure fun, escapism and excitement.
I’ve found it difficult to narrow down my photos of these two parks but I’ve just about managed. I’ll start with my two favourite rollercoasters.
On the left is Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and it’s amazing! It was new last year and we were really lucky that we managed to go pre-covid and ride it. We had to queue for two hours to get on it, but it was worth it. The queue was amazing going past Hagrid’s hut and with a view of Hogwarts for some time and then the actual ride was exhilarating. You sit in pairs with one on the motorbike and one in the side car. Hubby let me have the motorbike since I’m the main Harry Potter fan and it was great! At one point you’re speeding towards the end of the track with your heart in your mouth wondering how on earth this is going to end, and then you screech to a halt and go backwards before stopping in the dark forbidden forest and then free falling to the track underneath. Amazing!
On the right is the Incredible Hulk coaster. The queue is less impressive but is still Hulk themed and atmospheric but the actual coaster is brilliant. One particular part is my favourite – as you approach the end of the tube in the photo going relatively slowly, all of a sudden the Hulk roars and you’re propelled forward pushing you back in your seat and possibly evoking a completely unintentional squeal of excitement (or is that just me?)
There’s so much about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter that I love, that I can’t possibly show it all so I’ve chosen a few select photos.
Top row starting on the left is inside the Hog’s Head pub where we stopped for a gilly water, then Hogwarts Castle and Hedwig in her cage sitting on Harry’s case in the queue for the Hogwarts Express.
Bottom row left to right is the Hogwarts Express which is one of my favourite parts of the Wizarding World, the Leaky Cauldron where we’ve stopped for lunch a couple of times and the Knight Bus.
We spent my 40th birthday in Orlando and we splashed out and visited Discovery Cove which is completely different to the hustle and bustle of the other parks. Discovery Cove has a daily crowd limit of 1400 so it’s not busy (apart from the restaurant at lunchtime!) and is completely relaxing!
The day is quite expensive, but is all inclusive. You can arrive early and get breakfast, then you can go and get your life jacket or wet suit, snorkel and fish-friendly suntan lotion, and then you can grab a sun bed or you can go snorkelling in the Grand Reef with rays and tropical fish and a segregated section with sharks or you can float around the lazy river stopping off to wander through the aviary. At lunchtime you can get a yummy lunch before choosing how to spend your afternoon. You can swim with dolphins although we’ve chosen not to here and you can laze around in the deliciously warm water in the sunshine.
Sticking with the water theme and moving on to a different park but returning to Universal, is Volcano Bay. We’ve stopped at Cabana Bay twice, once with a volcano view which was so nice to wake up to.
This has been my screensaver on my work laptop for the past couple of years. That pool that you can see has a wave machine that starts every so often signalled by the drums and there are a couple of awesome water rides in the volcano. One is a trapdoor ride right from the top to the bottom and the other is an aqua coaster which is super fun. There are plenty of other water rides/slides in the park and probably my favourite is the lazy river from where you have a view of our hotel.
I think I’ve probably bombarded you with enough information and photos now, so I’ll finish, but I am getting hungry so I feel compelled to share one last photo which was my 40th birthday dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe on City Walk and is probably my favourite meal ever, and I’ve had it all three times that we’ve been to the Hard Rock! Behold, the chicken fajita!!