Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Beautiful Village of Blockley in the Cotswolds, England II

Well, it took me much longer to continue my first post about our morning stroll through Blockley than I anticipated but finally, I am there.

You may remember that Blockley is the lovely village in the Cotswolds in England where we spent part of our vacation last year. We were in search for a place to have a traditional English breakfast and decided to walk to the local village cafe and had the great pleasure to explore the village on the way.



We were walking down the High Street in the direction of the village cafe and passed this incredible beautiful cottage that I couldn't take my eyes (and camera!) off. 



Isn't it lovely, like right out of a fairytale?



Looking down the High Street in the direction of the village center. This photo shows how narrow the streets are. The cars you see are all parked there. Only one car can pass in one direction. You can imagine that often you meet oncoming traffic in the middle of the road. If that is the case one has to back up all the way to the beginning or end of the row of parking cars. The locals are astonishingly good at this, but for my husband and me, it was often a "hold your breath" situation.



I loved the red poppies growing in the tiny traffic island that divided a small intersection. You can also see the traffic island in the photo above on the right side.



There was no shortage of possibilities to shoot romantic photos in Blockley!



One of the many "mini gardens" with climbing roses conquering the charming cottages.



This cottage looked like nicely renovated and very well loved. I could have moved right in. The green paint color in which the windows and door are painted was typical for the area and goes so well with the honey-colored Cotswold stone that most cottages are built off.



There was a gap between the houses which opened the view into the gentle hills of the surrounding beautiful landscape. So peaceful!



The village church of Blockley. The white van that ruined my photo belonged to a film crew. We obviously weren't the only ones, who had discovered the beauty of Blockley.



We couldn't find out what type of shop this really was, but someone made the effort to decorate the window with vintage packaging. One of the many charming details we came across in Blockley.



More honey-colored houses. I wondered if these were new or old. If they were new they fit in wonderfully with the old excisting ones. At the end of the High Street to the right, you see another white van from the film crew.



On our stroll along the High Street, we passed by many lovingly planted up old, maybe even antique, stone containers like this one. It wasn't secured in any way and I truly appreciate the fact that people in the English countryside are still decent enough not to steal them.



We finally reached our destination of the local shop and village cafe. Again I wondered if this was a new or an old renovated building? The village cafe and shop was a hub for the locals to meet and chat. Life seemed to go a bit slower in Blockley than we are used to...



Aren't these Whippets gorgeous? Such a quintessential elegant English breed of dogs.



We walked into the cafe, found a nice table, and took our time to study the breakfast menu. We were in the mood for a traditional English breakfast and decided to go with the local option: "Blockley English", which contained two fried eggs with two rashers of bacon, sausage, roasted tomatoes, black pudding, sauteed mushrooms, and one slice of toast, all for 7.95 pounds.

It also came highly recommended by our friendly waitress. I asked her what black pudding was, but she only said it was delicious, encouraged us to take it, and promised that she would tell us later.



This is what our breakfast looked like! It was heavy, couldn't be called exactly healthy but as described very delicious. The black pudding is the black patty close to the white creamer. As we were eating it, we still couldn't find out what it was made off. My best guess was black beans. 

When we asked for the check we called our waitress up on her promised to reveal the secret of the black pudding and she told us with a big grin on her face that it was made out of cooked pork blood, pork fat, and oats and sourced from a local farm. We swallowed a bit hard on this piece of information but had to admit it was tasty. Still, for me trying it once is probably enough, though!

After we finished our breakfast we continued our stroll through the village, there was still so much more to discover. Since this post is getting too long, I will blog about it in another entry hopefully in the near future.



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If you liked to stroll through Blockley with me and missed the first part of this morning walk, please click here to catch up.

Before I finish, I would like to mention that I am way behind visiting the blogs of you, my dear blog friends. Life has been super busy lately again and I just can't find the time right now. I hope this will change again in the next couple of weeks. Please bear with me, I am trying my best to catch up with reading your posts and leaving comments.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Christina




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - April 2017

Well, the first and only time that I participated in the famous Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day meme hosted by Carol from May Dreams Gardens on every fifteenth of the month was last year in March. The main reason why I didn't participate more often in this great meme is that for time reasons in general, I have trouble to get a post out on a specific day. This month the fifteenth falls on the Easter weekend on Saturday though, and therefore I have time to blog and thought I will give it another go.

So yesterday I ventured out with my camera into the garden to see what was blooming. In the middle of April my roses usually are reaching their spring flush peak, but this year they are a little bit delayed. I feel the same goes for many perennials, but there are still plenty of blooms of any kind in the garden right now.

Unfortunately, when I was done shooting in the front yard and got into the backyard a fierce wind was flaring up and I couldn't take any more photos, but let's see what I got.



In the front yard, my two 'Climbing Iceberg' roses are in full bloom. Here you see the one on the left side of the garage. In the foreground, salvia 'Amistad', which is new to the garden, is showing off her beautiful large dark purple flowers, which emerge from almost black bracts. All in all a very showy salvia, that is visited by hummingbirds, which is lovely, but I have a feeling that it wants to grow a little bit bigger than I would like.



Looking at the left side of the walkway to the front door. In the foreground rosa 'Old Fashioned Girl', in the middle salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' has just started to flower, and in the background to the left, you see the same rosa 'Climbing Iceberg' that I showed in my opening photo of this post.



Salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue', here a close-up, is one of my favorite salvias. It stays mannerly in terms of its size, which is a big plus for a small garden and it blooms very prolifically once it is in full swing over a long period of time.



Martha Washington geraniums do exceptionally well in my garden, here you can see the variety 'Regal Elegance Rose Bicolor'...



...which is growing in a container near the front door.



Looking to the other side of the walkway to the front door, rosa 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' is starting to bloom in the foreground. In the middle ground, another salvia 'Mystic Spires Blue' is planted. And in the background rosa 'The Prince' has begun to open his flowers,...



...which are absolutely exquisite at this time of the year. Here a close-up.



Walking back to the front of the house my other rosa 'Climbing Iceberg' comes into view. These two roses have really done fabulously this spring and are completely smothered in blooms.



What is nice with the 'Icebergs' is that their pretty blooms...



...are also offering food for the pollinators because they show their stamens, which many of the modern Hybrid Tea roses don't. 



Also in the front yard, one of my favorite penstemons 'Pinacolada Violet' is blooming. It is part of a relatively new series of penstemons that have the advantage of an earlier bloom time and a well-branched compact growth habit.



One of my most beloved roses in the front yard is 'Charles Darwin'. If you follow my blog for a while you know that yellow is usually not my favorite color, but I have fallen for this more muted, pale tone. The flowers of 'Charles Darwin' are large and they come with a very delicious and strong fragrance.



Going into the back yard we pass by rosa 'Pierre de Ronsard', which is becoming bigger and bigger each year. Do you see how tall the newest cane from this year in the middle of the rose is? The rose has just come into bloom over the last days.



Here is a close-up of the top flower spray of the longest cane reaching for the sky. The very large and full blooms are just stunning and I am looking particularly forward to them each year. I think this is one of the best roses that the house of Meilland has introduced so far.



Rosa 'Captain Christy' is a weakling in my garden, but oh the subtle coloration of its exquisite blooms...


This photo was taken by my husband.

Ajuga reptans 'Catlin's Giant' is in full bloom right now and showing off its wonderful shade of clear blue flowers. I am amazed how well this plant is doing in my garden. I am not coddling it, as a matter of fact, it is growing in a very difficult shady position and yet it is able to bloom so profusely. For that reason, I intend to spread it around to other areas in the garden this year.



I will conclude with a shot of rosa 'Grandmother's Hat', which is at her spring flush peak right now. If you want to see more close up photos of her beautiful and fragrant blooms or other roses flowering in my garden, please click on my March Roses post.

That was it from my garden for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, please hop over to Carol at May Gardens Dreams after you are done reading this post and see what is blooming in her and other bloggers' gardens around the world on this lovely day.

One more thing: My blog has recently passed the 500.000 pageview mark! Truly a little reason to celebrate! Thank you so much for coming here to visit and comment, please know that I really appreciate it. This blog wouldn't be what it is without YOU! 

Wishing you a very happy and sunny Easter!

Christina

I am linking up to
May Dreams Gardens - Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day  //  Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It  //  botanic bleu - Monday Social  // Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday  //  Between Naps On The Porch  - Metamorphosis Monday  //  Coastal Charm - Show and Share  //   Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop  //  Sweet Sentcations - Celebrate Your Story  //  Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays  //  A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday  //  A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday  //  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup  //  21 Rosemary Lane - Share Your Style  //  Peonies & Orange Blossoms - Thursday Favorite Things  //  Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else  //  French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  //  Shabby Art Boutique - Creat, Bake, Grow & Gather  //  How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" - Pink Saturday  //  One More Time - Share It One More Time  //



Saturday, April 8, 2017

March Roses

To my surprise, in March there was still only a rose bloom opening here and there in my garden. After all the winter rains that we were having I had expected that I would get an early rose spring flush, but I was wrong.

Maybe I pruned a little late, but I believe that the main reason for the belated rose blooms is to find in the fact that I fertilized very late this year and that I didn't even get to all my roses even until now. Roses are heavy feeders and the lack of fertilizer might have prevented them from blooming as early and profusely as usual. Temperatures were relatively low as well in comparison to the previous years, so that might have been another contributing factor.

Anyhow, each rose that was opening was very well appreciated and here are some that I have captured with my camera last month.


Rosa 'Snowbird', an early Hybrid Tea rose, which I grow as an own-root is finally strutting her stuff and put out some nice blooms.



Same rose showing a more open bloom. Looks like she has the potential to be a good off-white rose in my climate.



You rarely will see a true red rose in my own garden, as a matter of fact, by now I have only two, which are both specimens of the Hybrid Tea rose 'Mister Lincoln'.



I am not a big fan of clear warm red tones, but 'Mister Lincoln' has a strong blue tint in his red which I like much better.



There are special occasions though, you know which I mean when it is nice to be able to cut a red rose from your own garden and give it to someone dear to you, so I keep the two red rose bush.

Thinking about it a bit more, my trouble with red roses is not so much the fact that I don't like them, at least the bluish red ones, but that I find them very difficult to integrate in a pleasing way into the existing color schemes in my garden.






But if you are looking for a red rose you might be very pleased with 'Mister Lincoln'. In my garden, he produces large, fat, dark red roses with an outstanding damask fragrance.



To me, his fragrance is one of its best features.



I think it is always so disappointing that when you get a red rose and you hold it up close to your nose ready to smell the wonderful rose fragrance and..., there is nothing, absolutely no fragrance to detect. This won't happen to you with this one!



All photos in this sequence are shots of the very first bloom of 'Mister Lincoln' this year. This rose is so beautiful that even I can't wait to see more blooms of him.



The next rose 'Marie Pavie', a Polyantha, is a very different kind. Don't you just love all the variety in the rose flowers?



Small, very blush buds open to clear white blooms with a strong fresh musk fragrance that wafts through the air. 



I just love the delicate blooms. 



Rosa 'Marie Pavie' was the first one to start her spring flush in my garden this year. You can see in the photo above that she is full of buds. Usually, this rose is very healthy, but this year she is showing some blackspot.  



Rosa 'Rhodologue Jules Graveraux', my favorite Tea Rose. I think everyone can see why!



Here is a bud shot of the same rose.



I love the very unique pale pink color of rosa 'Souvenir de la Malmaison', but the rose continues to be a very weak grower in my garden.



The image above shows a fully open flower of  'Souvenir de la Malmaison'.



Same bloom completely covered in water drops. I have never seen water drops clinging so densely to a rose bloom.



I realized that this year I am feeling particularly drawn to the very pale, blush pink roses. Rosa 'Old Fashioned Girl' is another good example for this color range.



Rosa 'Gruss an Aachen' is relatively new to me, but so far I like this rose very much.



She changes colors constantly depending on temperatures, sun intensity, and probably some other factors, which makes this rose quite interesting.



Here she is showing almost an apricot center.



The next set of buds had almost red petal edges and a hint of yellow color at the base of the buds. 



The main bud was opening into a light pink rose with yellow undertones in the center. There is something very special about this rose, which is hard to capture with the camera. My 'Gruss an Aachen' is still young, so as it matures I expect wonderful things to come. 



The last rose in today's post is 'Grandmother's Hat'.



This rose was found in California and is an absolute healthy reliable gem in my garden.



It has much of the Old Garden Roses character, which I am so enchanted with and blooms very profusely. It also comes with a strong pleasing fragrance.



'Grandmother's Hat' was, after rosa 'Marie Pavie', the second rose that had started her spring flush last month in my garden.

The lesson that I learned this year is that in my garden with my soil and in my climate roses need to be fed properly and on time. It really makes a big difference in the amount and size of blooms that they are able to produce and also in the blooming time.

Thanks for stopping by today! Wishing everyone a wonderful rest of the weekend.

See you in the garden!

Warm regards,

Christina

I am linking up to
Angie The Freckled Rose - Dishing It & Digging It  //  botanic bleu - Monday Social  //  Dwellings - The Heart of Your Home - Amaze Me Monday  //  Between Naps On The Porch - Metamorphosis Monday  //  Coastal Charm - Show and Share  //  Cedar Hill Farmhouse - The Scoop  //  Sweet Sensations - Celebrate Your Story  // A Stroll Thru Life - Inspire Me Tuesday  //  Savvy Southern Style - Wow Us Wednesdays  //  A Southern Daydreamer - Outdoor Wednesday  //  A Delightsome Life - Home and Garden Thursday  //  Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson - Share Your Cup  //  21 Rosemary Lane - Share Your Style  //  Peonies & Orange Blossoms - Thursday Favorite Things  //  Rattlebridge Farm - Foodie Friday and Everything Else  // French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  //  Shabby Art Boutique - Create, Bake, Grow & Gather  //  How Sweet The Sound - "Anything Goes" - Pink Saturday  //  One More Time - Share It One More Time  //