Just then... when Niki comments on my blog (thank you kindly!) I come up with our next details about the journey:
on Saturday morning, after having had a delicious Full English cooked breakfast at the B&B, we hit the road to see Niki in her fantastic shop!
As you can imagine, it took us a while to carefully chose our purchases whilst taking the car's capacity into consideration. Those pictures do not show the reality (did I mention that I change camera hopefully this week? ). If ever any kind reader is in Niki's area, just go there and have a look yourself! It is such a unique experience, I know you won't be disappointed! Her blog is one of my preferred on the side bar.
However, we had to leave as the snow came our way - people in Ashwood Nursery accused us of having dragged it with us all way from Belgium.
John was there, together with his dogs Poppy and Daisy (those names can only happen when you are a gardener ;-) ) and he took the time to explain us the details of his private garden.
The garden goes alongside with a canal and also in the garden itself are several water features.
As it was all covered more and more in snow, we could only guess where were the ponds.
John's garden is a nice discovery and had some stunning details. All the different bark colours and shades gave it interest in the winter scenery. I found myself in a male garden, does this sound strange? The focus was on trees and shrubs but this was my first apprehension. The garden opens 6 times a year for charity fond raising (mainly for guiding dogs) and it must be great to be able to see it in all other seasons as one can feel that it must be totally different then.
Snowdrops gave in in the cold.
John told us that he loves the yellow/golden pines - sorry, I forgot the botanical name.
Poor dog had compacted snow between the paws but John soon got them out.
Wee cyclamen coum tried hard to resist against the conditions.
We left then to pay a visit to the glass houses and other parts of the nurseries.
It was almost cozy inside among the flowers and without the wind chill.
I have been in Ashwood Nurseries before, in 2006, when my son worked in Rugby. But it was in December, before the helleborus season really started. So I was really surprised by that enormous selection of different plants, especially helleborus. One of those came back home as a gift from my friend :-). Thank you!
Special snowdrops were also for sale and my friend had to make a phone call to a "Galanthophile friend" who perhaps wanted some. I could not believe that out of that selection of more than 20 different species, only 5 came with us! All others were already in her possession :-O.
Are you as inspired by those examples of winter bloom? I loved the arrangements with dwarf iris and wicker basket and roots!
Ashwood has also a huge display of Steiff teddies - but, why not?
I loved the "monthly bears" like the April bear on top right with its cute spring flower dress.
Nobody can resist from the offers in the tearoom.... As you can make out from the picture on the lower left, there had been plenty of tempted guests before us.
We later headed to Coventry and decided to visit Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday before going back to Dover.
In order to not to leave always food on the last pictures:
It got colder and colder in our part of Belgium and this last Saturday night it had minus 19°C. This very unusual guest must have stayed overnight with the horses. I wonder if it got that tiny mouse which was running round and had been ignored by the cat.
It was strange to see it fly noiseless around the horses' heads and than sit down again to check the situation. Once I opened the stable door, it escaped into the bright blue and icy air.
Sorry for the bad quality of picture - did I mention that I want a new camera? ;-)