Monday, 23 May 2011

On the Way Home

On our way back from Hampshire we stopped in the New Forest to see the Rufus stone:

We got hungry near Dorchester and there being no services apart from a McDonalds we drove through the town-centre to look for a supermarket. The road passes very close to the Keep Military Museum:

Built from Portland stone in 1879 the Keep was designed to resemble a Norman Castle.

West Dean Gardens

Some other photos taken at West Dean:

I do love alliums and they look so at home amongst vegetables and herbs:

The thatched apple store in the wall surrounding the orchard is delightful:

The 300 foot long pergola is nearly one hundred years old:

During the winter 104 climbers are detached from the columns, pruned and retied - a massive job, but they do look beautiful

The view of West Dean College (formerly the house) from the arboretum:

Friday, 20 May 2011

West Dean Gardens - The Fruit Trees

The fruit trees at West Dean are shaped into some wonderful shapes.

Some grow up the walls in fans:


or s-shapes (I don't know the proper name for these):

others near the walls include four-winged goblets:

and pyramids:

In the centre of the orchard the trees are left to grow naturally:

In the vegetable garden the borders are divided by fruit trees trained as espaliers:

or in arches:

Monday, 16 May 2011

West Dean Gardens - the floral display house

The floral display glasshouse had some beautiful orchids in flower:

This one prefers cooler conditions and was in the fern house:

West Dean Gardens - the Glasshouses

On my birthday we visited West Dean gardens in West Sussex - a place we fell in love with when we visited the area in 2008. In addition to being home to ordinary gardens, parkland and an arboretum, West Dean has the most magnificent walled garden. It's divided into a number of sections including an orchard containing hundreds of local varieties of fruit trees, vegetable and fruit gardens and 13 beautiful glasshouses, each divided into two to give 26 different growing environments. Each glasshouse houses something different, ranging from grape vines to fig trees to chilli plants to spectacular orchids. Since we visited on a weekday this time we had the glasshouses to ourselves.

Since I took so many photos this will be the first of a few posts on West Dean:

A peach growing on the wall of a glasshouse:

This is a single grape vine:

An approximately hundred year old fig tree:

The chilli house:

Even their labels are adorable:

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Farlington Marshes

After dinner on Sunday we visited Farlington Marshes - a nature reserve on the edge of Langstone Harbour:

Actually we couldn't find it at first so we walked for quite a distance along the harbour wall to the East of the reserve before the heavens opened and soaked us. We dried off pretty quickly (apart from our shoes) while exploring the marshes:

We saw and heard lapwings, gulls, shelduck and other unidentifiable birds.

Many species seemed to favour the harbour wall, including a number of caterpillars, pale-coloured snails and plants:

I think this is sea kale:

but I'm not sure about this one:

We'd really like to return to the marshes when the geese are there. Every year around 26,000 brent geese (10% of the world total) visit the area. That must be an incredible sight.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Marwell Zoological Park

We had a fantastic couple of days away and now I have the big job of going through all the photographs I took.

We began by visiting Marwell Zoological Park. The enclosures for the animals were enormous and there were relatively few animals in them, which made them feel much more natural even if it limited the photo opportunities:

My favourite animals were the snow leopard, which I didn't get a decent photo of, the ocelot:

and the kookaburra:

The giraffes were particularly friendly:

and I don't think I've seen this species of lemur (alaotran gentle) before:

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Baking time

I'm afraid I haven't time to blog about all the things we've been up to recently, but it has been on my mind and I promise I shall return to blogging very soon.

We're off to Hampshire for a couple of days to celebrate my birthday, so thank you in advance to all those who sent cards and presents.

We've just finished making a birthday cake - something I haven't done in years. Since we don't have a piping bag for icing we made the dragonfly out of little jellied orange and lemon slices (I was pleasantly surprised to find that they were vegetarian). If the cake tastes good I'll post the recipe on Frog End Food when we get back.