Today’s weather was dull, dry, and warm.
This afternoon we ventured into the forest, finding ourselves in MacPenny’s Garden Centre where Jackie shopped for a climbing hydrangea and sat in the car with her puzzles while I wandered around the open garden.
Offering free access all the year round with proceeds of donations dedicated to the National Garden Scheme, I have to say that this splendid facility was looking very much in need of care. A notice at the entrance warns of uneven surfaces which need negotiation, but my impression is that these are more precarious, the steps lacking handrails once in place.
It is of course comparatively early in the year. Last year I spoke to a gentleman volunteer who was tending some of the beds. Today there were heaps of compost awaiting spreading, but no real signs of activity.
Nevertheless shrubs such as camellias,
and magnolias bloomed happily, while
snakes head fritillaries flew the flags for smaller species.
A small tree I didn’t recognise
bore pendulous fruit.
One was never very far from a bench
or steps, most of which I thought best avoided.
Paths wound around and between banks offering vistas on different levels.
Rotting stumps made offerings to the garden ecology;
a probably currently redundant hose lay coiled on a leaf-laden path;
branches of naked trees writhed against the skies.
Any readers concerned about my safety may be reassured by the walking stick that Elizabeth gave me for my birthday last year which does wonders for my balance.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-filled toothsome beef pie; roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes de Bourg.