All good things must come to an end…

…and so it is for my flower blog after nine years of posting photos from the world of flowers and plants and gardens and the insects that live in them. My first post was on April 2nd 2013 to celebrate the 100 years of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and as a memorial to my dad who was born on 6th April that same year – 1913. Sadly he didn’t reach that milestone, but he was fortunate to accompany me to those gardens in 1977.

My blog developed over the years though in that first one the visitors were few and often posts only had one or two comments, if any. Joining in with photo challenges is a good way to meet like-minded bloggers, though you do need to make the effort to visit their blogs and comment on their posts, not just sit back and wait for people to visit you.

The first ever challenge that I joined in with on this site was the April A-Z one in 2014, my subject was of course flowers. That year my stats grew from 3,665 to 6,880, almost doubling. And 2015 was to see the views increase even further, reaching 12K. My subjects have been Flower Portraits, Garden Portraits and a new series that year on Trees. On September 29th that year I published my 500th post.

In 2016 I reached the highest ever views – almost 20K and was probably due to the fact I hosted my own challenge on this site – Garden Photography. Bloggers really do love a challenge! This was still considerably less than my Bench Challenge which I ran during 2015 on my other blog – Travel Words. That was such a successful challenge and attracted 33K views.

From 2017 onwards publishing posts on this blog reduced as did visitors. In main because I started a new blog when I moved to Cornwall and with little travel outside the county most of the gardens and flowers were posted on that blog. In 2017 posts dropped to just over 100 and views were down by 50% – though considerably helped by joining in with the Squares Floral challenge and my own Alternative Advent calendar.

During 2018 I ended my regular Macro Monday posts on Monday 22 October having reached 100. It seemed like a fitting place to stop after beginning that series back in August 2015 when I bought my new macro lens for the Olympus camera. Posts were down again that year, but views actually increased to 13K.

The sweet years were between 2015 and 2018. During 2019 I wasn’t posting much at all and still not visiting any gardens outside of my home county of Cornwall. Spiky Squares Challenge in March was an opportunity to share some more of my flower portraits which helped to boost visitors to the site, but well down below just under 9K.

I took a break from publishing anything on the site during 2020. Due the pandemic and several lockdowns it was obviously going to be another year of remaining in Cornwall and even local gardens had issues with being open and allowing visitors. I returned to the site briefly in 2021 when I did have some fresh gardens to write about after visiting Somerset. Once again Squares came to the rescue in July when the focus was on trees, but even then I could find my enthusiasm dwindling.

So after nine years of blogging about plants and gardens and nature all around the world it is time to close the door on this particular potting shed and bid farewell.

I thank everyone who has followed me and supported me, particularly all those who have left me comments and engaged in conversation, and participated in my challenge. I thank all of those people who have hosted the many challenges that I have engaged with. Cee in particular was a great help in the early days of my blogging journey with her many photo challenges. Festival of Leaves hosted by Verena and then Dawn, Squares by Becky, Flowers Over Flowers by Nalinki in 2015 and Fountains by Polianthus in 2016. All of whom have enabled me to share my many photos on this site.


The site will remain up as long as WP allows and will continue to be a source of information about the many gardens and plants I have photographed, though I might find time to purge some of the older and less beautiful of those!

And though this blog has reached its final post, I can still be found blogging on Cornwall in Colours and Travel Words for now so I hope I will see you over there sometime.

I shall end with this quote from one of my favourite garden designers:

“I try for beauty and harmony everywhere, and especially for harmony of colour. A garden so treated gives the delightful feeling of repose, and refreshment, and purest enjoyment of beauty, that seems to my understanding to be the best fulfilment of its purpose; while to the diligent worker its happiness is like the offering of a constant hymn of praise. For I hold that the best purpose of a garden is to give delight and to give refreshment of mind, to soothe, to refine, and to lift up the heart in a spirit of praise and thankfulness.”

~ Gertrude Jekyll (Wood and Garden)

Ciao, Jude xx

Sunday Snippets

A hot summer’s day, lying on my back on the grass watching the clouds pass by. Creating daisy chains to encircle my neck and wrist. Finding them shrunken and brown on the dressing table the next day.

Picking buttercups and holding them under your best friend’s chin to see if she liked butter.

Buttercups and Cow Parsley

Hardly daring to breathe when trying to sneak up on a butterfly.

Taking a woodland walk in spring and trying to identify the new leaves bursting out.

Woodland Walk

Smiling at butterflies performing their dances around the garden, never pausing long enough for a photograph.

Drowsing in the heat of a hot summer day, listening to the buzz of bees, the thrum of beating wings and the occasional thud of a bird landing on the fence. Allowing the cares of the world to drift away. Momentarily.

The golden-yellow flowers of the golden gorse with their distinctive coconut-scented perfume 

and the heady sweet scent of Shakespeare’s “luscious woodbine” fill the air on the heathland in summer.

Silenced by the beauty of a wild flower meadow.

A wild flower meadow plot

Making rose perfume in a clean jam jar. Which always turned out to be brown.

Romantic Roses

Celebrating Mother’s Day in the UK.

Tulips in the Eden Project Mediterranean Biome – Thursday 24 March 2022

Vernal Equinox

To celebrate the arrival of spring in the northern hemisphere, here are some of the flowers in my garden this week.

Helleborus niger, commonly called Christmas rose or black hellebore

The sap is rising, bees are waking up and buds are bursting.

What a difference a week of sunshine makes.

Species tulips – Sylvestris

Let the longer days begin!

Sunday Snippets

I have lived in over 30 homes during my lifetime, not all owned by me. From Yorkshire in the north to Cape Town in the south. Not all with a garden. But each one holds a memory.

One of those white sugar-cube houses on the water was mine, for a while.

A front garden planted with potatoes – that was my dad’s way to break up the clay soil – and a skinny beck running by at the bottom of the garden with a rhubarb field on the other side meant summer holidays walking around with a stick of rhubarb in one hand and a paper cone of sugar in the other. Life in the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’. Now a housing estate.

An escapee rabbit found nibbling the neighbour’s cabbages. Who came bounding back home when his name was called. Bobtail, in case you are wondering.

A staghorn tree – brilliantly red in autumn; finding grass snakes coiled beneath a stack of empty flowerpots; huge caterpillar moths with fake ‘eyes’; pruning a hedgerow of roses which were later removed and a dwarf conifer hedge planted instead (now over 2m high because no-one has trimmed it); creating a spring garden with shrubs like ‘Bridal Wreath’, mock orange and lilac and cherry blossom; planting spring and summer bulbs; screaming when huge Parktown Prawns¹ jumped out of the pile of leaves. Sowing far too many seeds.

Ludlow Courtyard Garden

My spotty dog, digging a hole so deep in the lawn that the baby fell into it.

Leaving my dad’s irises behind when I moved.

Falling in love with tulips.

Collecting beautiful bespoke hanging baskets dripping with fuchsias from the little independent nursery down the road from where I worked in Sheffield. Every year for six years.

So many plants. So many seeds. So many bulbs. So many containers.

Terracotta Pots

So many memories.

(¹large crickets)



Sunday Snippets

I love the idea of a ‘lost’ garden. A secret garden. Hidden behind a crumbling wall covered in ivy and honeysuckle with an old door faded and peeling with creaking rusty hinges.

And inside, a garden full of wonderment. Ox-eye daisies with eyes to the sky, tumbling roses wrapped around ancient apple trees, wild wisteria and untamed clematis. Overgrown herb beds full of bees amidst tall grasses. And a decaying potting shed or abandoned greenhouse waiting to be discovered and repurposed.

A garden waiting to be tamed.

Sunday Snippets

By the time I was five years old I was living in my third house. A typical red-brick semi-detached 1950s house with a tiny front garden, a driveway leading to a garage and a small back garden. The first home I remember.


My father gave me a small flower bed in which I could grow seeds – direct sowing. I’m sure he never grew anything in seed trays. The first flowers I ever grew myself were Marigolds (Calendula), Nasturtiums and Cornflowers. The sort of annuals that are fast growing, important for young children so they don’t get fed-up waiting for the results.


He grew vegetables at the back of the garden, but I also remember deep red Peonies and borders of Wallflowers and Sweet Williams and Sweet Peas. Scents of summer from a childhood garden.

Sunday Snippets

I don’t remember my mother ever doing any gardening whatsoever. She could be found outside lounging in a deckchair with a book or magazine though. Nor do I recall houseplants or flowers in the house, other than the birthday or Mother’s Day bouquets. She was highly suspicious of any of my childhood pickings, forbidding lilac or cow parsley (commonly referred to as ‘Mother Die’ – folklore suggests that your mother would die if the plant was taken indoors) to enter the house.

Frothy cow parsley

I wonder why? Did she dislike flowers? I wish I had asked her. And her with a flower name too. Iris.

Garden Portrait: Barrington Court Garden

The Kitchen Garden

Barrington Court  gardens were laid out in the 1920’s by the Lyles to a structured design influenced by Gertrude Jekyll and the Arts and Crafts movement – especially evident in the graceful Lily Garden.  (click on the link to visit my previous post)

The former bullstalls (Buss-stalls)

My second visit to this garden was at the end of the very cold and wet May this year (2021) and it looked very different to my visit in early June 2009 when the garden was full of late spring and early summer flowers, including many roses, peonies and oriental poppies. Lockdown has caused a lot of havoc to our lives including the National Trust gardens which rely on a lot of volunteers to keep the grounds looking good. The house and the restaurant were also closed. Being late afternoon the grounds were very quiet, which I like. Not much has changed apart from the opening of some artisan workshops housed in old farm buildings.

The White Garden with a Dancing Faun statue

The garden is divided into several sections with the ubiquitous white garden, which was not looking its best, partly to do with the lack of staff over the past 15 months and partly to do with the cold and wet spring. I’m sure it would have been better during the summer when the roses and lilies were in full bloom.

Weathered Pergolas support wisteria, clematis and honeysuckles and I love the silvery grey oak wood frames around the doorways in the walls.

I also find the various patterned brick paths delightful  – they might inspire some of us at home if we have a spare pile of bricks! (I unfortunately don’t)

There is a central pool garden with surrounding beds of annuals, pansies being the flower of choice with Azaleas and Ceanothus shrubs providing colour on the mellow brick walls. William Strode built the new stables and coach house adjacent to the Court House. The building was originally an open U-shape and has the date 1674 in the brickwork. It now houses a lovely restaurant, unfortunately closed.

Pool Garden and former Strode House (now restaurant)

The large walled kitchen garden was much more colourful that I remembered with wallflowers and Aubrieta lining the main pathway to the lily pond and the statues.

Lead statue of a centurion, on stone plinth

On this visit we were not able to get a leaflet about the garden, nor were there many signs around to give you some idea of what you were looking at. Hopefully once things are back to normal this will improve.

Lead fountain in the form of a boy and a swan.

If you are in the area (north of Ilminster, Somerset) then it is worth a visit to these gardens although many people have expressed disappointment with the house and restaurant being closed and the gardens not being in their former pristine condition.

There is no doubt in my mind that the gardens and parklands that the NT look after are of huge importance in a time when we’re most in need of recovery. Unfortunately Covid-19 has affected all of us and I think we should all be more tolerant and less judgmental and appreciate all the effort that goes into protecting and preserving these historic places. Rant over…

Jo’s Monday Walks

Wells Cathedral – Camery Garden

Archaeological excavations were carried out between 1978 and 1993 primarily on the cloisters at Wells Cathedral and the monuments that were hidden are now displayed on the outer walls. Due to Covid-19 restrictions and a one-way system it wasn’t possible on our visit to see everything, but we were able to step outside into the Camery garden which lies next to the cloisters.

The Lady Chapel is built in Decorated Gothic style.

Here lay an ancient cemetery and the foundations of a succession of demolished buildings, ranging in date from Roman to post-medieval including the late Medieval foundations of the older Lady Chapel, destroyed during the Reformation by gunpowder.

The area has been pleasantly landscaped with trees and shrubs and spring bulbs and there are several benches. It is a tranquil space.

Adjacent to the Camery are the springs from which Wells takes its name.  You can glimpse St Andrew’s Well through a window in the wall into the Bishop’s Palace Gardens, but there is no access from here. You need to cross the moat at the Gatehouse. The first mention of the ‘holy well’ and minster church of St Andrew is in A.D. 766. The springs in the gardens are fed by subterranean streams from the Mendip hills.

From Neolithic times the supply of fresh water attracted settlers and around 700AD King Ina of Wessex founded a minster church just south of where the present cathedral now lies.

I will try and write more about the cathedral itself on my travel blog in the new year.

A Week of Flowers: Day Seven

For a second year Cathy of Words and Herbs is hosting a Week of Flowers, inviting everyone to share some “extra colour and cheer” by posting one flowery photo a day, for a week.

Scented-leaved Pelargonium (November 17 2021)

And here are all the flowers from this week  which were found in the sub-tropical gardens during late November.

Thanks Cathy!