Friday, 23 June 2017

Five on Friday at the Farm


Thanks for popping in, especially as it's Five on Friday link up time over on Tricky's FAST blog.

Our local pick-your-own fruit and vegetable farm has already been open for a month or so now, ready for the picking season.  I love visiting the farm with all it's space, birds and wildflowers, oh and the produce too!  If you visit regularly you can see the tiniest plant turn into a gigantic cauliflower or a shrivelled up splurge turn into a luscious juicy raspberry.  Each week new things are ready for picking. Let's see what we can find early in the season.

One - Strawberries

Well, of course!  You just can't resist those shiny, red fruits and always pick more than you should.

Two - Fields and Sky

Great coverings of clouds bellowed over the crops planted in stripes  on this visit.

Three - Broad Beans

Lots of broad bean pods stretched out like fingers. Yum! I love eating the beans inside raw, so tasty in a salad.

Four - Currants, Raspberries and all the rest

Dripping like jewels, the currants and the raspberries, have just come on-line - they are perfect for a fruit tart.

Five - Wildflowers

Something for the bees all around the edges.  Such a variety.

What a glorious time of year!  Have a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, 22 June 2017

Painshill Walled Garden


Welcome to the blog.

I really love a walled garden, don't you?  You know it's going to be good from the outside when all you can see are the high walls and a half open door.  All the sun's warmth gets trapped in those walls and the gusty wind controlled. They probably don't stop the slugs though!

Painshill Park's walled garden was divided into two by another wall in the middle, one side fruit and vegetables, the other flowers and a permanent marquee used for weddings. What a great spot for a wedding.

I hope you've enjoyed the trip to Painshill as much as I did.  Do pay a visit if you're nearby to help support the great restoration work going on, they could do with some extra funds.

I'll leave you with a statue of Bacchus who is awaiting the restoration of his temple.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Heading to the Gothic Tower


Thanks for popping in.

Painshill Park never seems to stop surprising, the follies are so well positioned that they are revealed slowly as you walk around this fine English landscape garden.  Next up is a mausoleum affording views over the River to a field full of cows that had obviously been lurking, waiting for me to spot them in such a pastoral scene.

Passing the cascade, we finally arrive at the five arched bridge that has been tantalising us since the Gothic Temple.  Look at that reflection.

We're not crossing over the bridge as there's a sign that says waterwheel which sounded interesting.  But hang on, what's that up the hill?

There's the waterwheel, how enormous! It was restored in 1987 and is one of the largest working wheels in the UK.  It was originally created to feed the cascade, lake and plants.

Desperate for a cup of coffee by this time, we've made a beeline for the Gothic Tower, missing out the Hermitage, for which the owner of the garden in the 1700s, Charles Hamilton, advertised for a hermit to live as a recluse there for seven years.  Before three weeks were out, legend has it that he was found drinking at the pub and was dismissed! Talking of drinking . . .

. . .  there's the café, phew!  There's another one right at the garden entrance if you don't want the long walk, or the climb to the first floor of the tower.

Suitably refreshed, it's time to bound up the steps to the top to admire the view, 99 steps from the bottom.  No need to feel wobbly at the top as the wide castellations stop you feeling that way.

We're now at the further most part of the garden and must head back along the other side of the lake, past the Temple of Bacchus which is being renovated . . .

. . . admiring the views . . .

. . . past the Turkish Tent we saw on the hill . . .

. . . back past the grotto . . .

. . .  and the Chinese Bridge.

I haven't mentioned the ice house, the keyhole plantation or the amphitheatre. So many fabulous places.  How they manage to keep the grass under control in such a huge place, I just don't know.  There are a lot of volunteers though.

There's one more hidden gem for you next time. I know, amazing isn't it!


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Crystal Grotto


Here we are again as happy as can be. 😊

We're visiting Painshill Park near Cobham and have just crossed the Chinese Bridge and are heading to the Crystal Grotto. Wow! Doesn't that sound amazing. With it being half term, they were running tours inside, what a stroke of luck.

If you zoom into the photos by clicking on them, you'll see the outside is made from limestone which is well weathered, brought to the site from elsewhere.

You can see through the archway over the lake to the other side and can glimpse the crystals hanging down inside, each of the calcite, gypsum, quartz and flourite  square crystals were fixed in place by hand.

Let's go in, being careful not to trip over in the dark or touch the crystals.  The darkness was all part of the experience.

The tunnel leads into the light filled chamber, where water trickles down creating a magical place, which turns into Santa's grotto at Christmas.  Light floods in through the archway overlooking the lake helping the crystals to sparkle. Pieces of coral and shell's decorate the chamber.

There were a few photos showing the restoration and how it was made as well as paintings of the original before it fell into decline and was abandoned.

How spectacular and such a lot of hard work to give all the visitors from the 1700s until now an unexpected and thrilling experience.

Crossing over another bridge, we're now at the head of the lake and ready to see what's round the corner. Next time!