garden photography: urban spaces

garden photography: urban spaces

December is the month for Urban floral displays

(Flowers found in Urban spaces – a town square, a flower tub, a hanging basket, a floral clock or any floral display including a public park. And as we are approaching Christmas you could even share with me your town’s Christmas lights)

The Green Man of Norwich Cloisters
The Green Man of Norwich Cloisters

This is my last post in the Garden Challenge since next Sunday is Christmas Day. Continuing my journey up the east side of Britain in September, I was delighted to discover this pretty little cathedral herb garden in Norwich. The Benedictine monks grew herbs and used them daily for a variety of purposes; brewing, dyeing cloth, to give flavour to their bland diet and for medicinal use. Herbs would have been strewn on the cathedral floor too during worship to mask the odour of the earth floor and enhance an atmosphere of calm and contemplation.

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I wasn’t expecting to see much in the way of colour, but it was lovely to see how the garden was laid out and after the rain everything was nice and fresh.

I loved the pottery signs:

The garden has been recreated with herbs matching as closely as possible those which the monks would have grown. In particular, herbs important to Norwich. There is evidence of a tradition ‘physic’ garden in the variety of medicinal plants.

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Two box-hedged ‘knot gardens’ reflect the patterns of the stone tracery of the famous Norwich cathedral roof bosses.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd in keeping with the monks’ tradition of including a space for quiet contemplation there is a small area in the Herb Garden with benches where people can sit and rest.

No sitting for us however, for one thing the benches were wet and we had a riverside walk to complete before the day was over.

Do you have a town park to share? Maybe your town has won an award for its public planting?

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂

  • Create your own post and include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month. This is the final month of the challenge.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

This is my final post for the Garden Challenge, but you still have until the end of the month to post your entry. I hope those of you who have been following have enjoyed the various themes each month and I am especially grateful to every one of you who has joined in. Thank you all for the lovely likes and comments throughout the year. It has been a lot of fun for me and an excuse to feature something a little different on the blog. Only trouble now is thinking about what I am going to do with this blog next year. Any ideas?

Meanwhile I hope you have an enjoyable time, however you choose to celebrate this festive season, and I hope to see you all in the new year.

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garden photography: urban spaces

garden photography: urban spaces

December is the month for Urban floral displays

(Flowers found in Urban spaces – a town square, a flower tub, a hanging basket, a floral clock or any floral display including a public park. And as we are approaching Christmas you could even share with me your town’s Christmas lights)

My second urban space is also from my September trip along the east coast of England – the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds. The Abbey Gardens were created within the walls of the former medieval monastery and contain a mixture of bedding plants and quiet corners in which to relax.

The park was laid out as a botanic garden in 1831 and opened to the public in 1912. The best time to see it is spring when 40,000 bulbs are opening; we were there in early September when the planting is past its best, but it was still a colourful space.

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I’m afraid we got distracted by the abbey ruins and then the cathedral so I don’t have many photos to share. However I did want to show you the lovely bee friendly garden.

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The new colourful green feature underneath the mosaic was part of the Bury in Bloom to promote pollination with plants to attract bees and other insects. Creative group “The Crafty Foxes” also installed bees and ladybirds made from recycled cans by local children in the garden. It was part of the “Kids Crafty Can” competition in which children could decorate a can and plant a wild flower in it.

Do you have a town park to share? Maybe your town has won an award for its public planting?

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂

  • Create your own post and include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month. This is the final month of the challenge.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

garden photography: urban spaces

garden photography: urban spaces

December is the month for Urban floral displays

(Flowers found in Urban spaces – a town square, a flower tub, a hanging basket, a floral clock or any floral display including a public park. And as we are approaching Christmas you could even share with me your town’s Christmas lights)

Colchester’s Castle Park is right in the centre of the town. Dominated by the castle, it provides a wonderful green lung for locals and visitors alike. On a very warm and sunny September morning I enjoyed a stroll through this urban space – so put on your walking shoes and come and join me.

Most impressive are the entrance railings and gates. (Grade II Listed). which are late nineteenth century.

The Gates
The Gates

The dominating Norman castle.

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This bee display in front of the castle is very eye-catching.

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Castle Park was opened on 15 October 1892. It is divided into the Upper Park and Lower Park by the Roman Wall that crosses through it east to west. The park spans an area of 11 hectares and is listed Grade II in the English Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Importance.

View of the gates and war memorial
View of the gates and war memorial

Roses were still in bloom in early September

The site once formed part of the Roman City of Colonia Vitricensis and where a Temple of Claudius stood in honour of the Roman Empire until the city fell to Boudicca in 60/61 AD.

Later, in 1076, the Normans built a castle on top of the Temple remains and it was once used as a prison where those accused of heresy and witchcraft were held.

(In the early part of the 17th century, the prison was used by Mathew Hopkins, Witchfinder General, to interrogate witches – A sign of a true witch was a part of the body where the witch showed no pain (Witches Mark) One of his techniques was prick the witch with a pin all over her body – when the witch did not scream he had found her mark.)

The Normans also built an earth bank which covered the Roman wall and a ditch to enclose the Castle Bailey. This is now a flower garden.

The Ditch
The Ditch

In 1727 Charles Gray, a lawyer, antiquary and Tory Member of Parliament for Colchester, was given the castle and surrounding land as a present from his mother-in-law to form a large garden for his house Hollytrees. He remodelled the earth bank and created a tree-lined walk which leads to the summer-house in the form of a classic temple at one end and a stone arch at the other.

The Summerhouse
The summer-house
Stone arch
Stone arch

A path leads down to the Mayor’s pathway where the Lucas-Lisle Memorial stands. The obelisk is the first memorial in Castle Park, dedicated to two Royalist Officers, Sir Charles Lucas and Sir George Lisle who were shot during the siege of 1648 at the end of the Siege of Colchester. Constructed in 1892 on the site where the men are thought to have been executed.

The Obelisk
The Obelisk
North side of the castle
North side of the castle

A tranquil spot is the Imola Garden Pond where dozens of large Koi carp give pleasure to many visitors (NB: During the cleaning of the pond in November the fish were removed and transferred to a large container which was vandalised during the night resulting in the death of 45 fish including all of the oldest, rarest and most valuable Koi Carp that had lived in the pond for many years. A youth, who was drunk at the time, was later arrested and charged for the crime)

Bandstand
Bandstand

There is also a sensory garden and a dry garden within the park and in the Lower Garden, a model boating pond.

Sensory Garden Bench
Sensory Garden Bench

Hollytrees House (Grade I Listed Building) was built 1718 and the garden and Castle grounds laid out by Charles Gray c.1729. The garden to south front is enclosed by original eighteenth century railings and the house is now a museum taking in domestic life and childhood in Colchester over the past 300 years.

Hollytrees
Hollytrees
Hollytrees
Hollytrees

Do you have a town park to share? Maybe your town has won an award for its public planting?

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂

  • Create your own post and title it DecemberUrban Spaces
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month. This is the final month of the challenge.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

garden photography: big tree country

garden photography: big tree country

During November I want to see trees or leaves or anything found in a woodland environment

(this can include individual trees or leaves or woodland/forest views, fungi, wildlife or wildflowers – it can be of an autumnal flavour or anytime in the year, up to you)

I mentioned last week about Perthshire being the country of the BIG trees, so my final post for this month’s theme on trees is about the impressive giant Douglas fir.

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The tallest tree in the British Isles is a Douglas fir sited next to the Hermitage in Dunkeld which is 12 miles from Douglas’s birthplace in Scone, Scotland. Douglas was born in 1799 and was one of the greatest plant hunters of the Pacific and NW of North America.

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Many of our walks in the area took us through forests of these magnificent trees. Above and below are scenes from the walk to Bruars Falls.

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The Douglas Fir (pseudotsuga menziesii) is named after David Douglas who sent the first seed back to Britain in 827. Its botanical name commemorates Archibald Menzies who discovered the tree in North America in 1791.

It can be quite amazing walking amongst giants.

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If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂

  • Create your own post and title it NovemberWoodland
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in December.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.

This is your last week to share any woodland, tree, leaves etc with me as next Sunday we begin the final month of the garden challenge which is:

Urban spaces – a town square, a flower tub, a hanging basket, a floral clock or any floral display including a public park. And as we are approaching Christmas you could even share with me your town’s Christmas lights.

Thank you for all your very generous likes and comments this month, it has been a pleasure sharing with you some of my favourite tree photos and visiting your posts. I look forward to seeing what you have to show me in December.

garden photography: the Birnam Oak

garden photography: the Birnam Oak

During November I want to see trees or leaves or anything found in a woodland environment

(this can include individual trees or leaves or woodland/forest views, fungi, wildlife or wildflowers – it can be of an autumnal flavour or anytime in the year, up to you)

Recently we visited Perthshire – country of the BIG trees. More of those to come. We stayed near Dunkeld and Birnam, small communities north of Perth and where the nearest amenities to our holiday let were. On our final day, not wanting to drive very far owing to a 7 hour drive the following day, we went for a walk around Birnam which has a Beatrix Potter garden and exhibition and a walk in Birnam woods to the Birnam Oak. Now, you may ask yourself, what is so interesting about this oak tree that it has its own walk?

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No, not this one. This is a sycamore. Sycamores are non-native trees and this one is a mere youngster being only 300 years old. Home to 15 species of insects, sycamore produces a very white hardwood which doesn’t taint food so is excellent for chopping boards and rolling pins.

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In Scotland it is often known as the Bumming tree on account of the bees who love the nectar produced in spring and the noise of their buzzing and humming.  A more gruesome note is that it was also used as a hanging tree, the Laird leaving the corpse to swing in the wind as a warning to others.

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The Birnam Oak is old. A living relic of Birnam Wood a medieval forest that once grew alongside the banks of the River Tay. The wood was immortalised by Shakespeare in his play about Macbeth, King of Scotland. This oak has a massive girth of 7 metres (24 feet) and the first 3 metres (10 feet) are hollow. It is a rich habitat for insects and wildlife.  Although this tree is old it is not from the 11th century – the period Macbeth was set in – but it is one of the last trees of the famous wood which played a part in Shakespeare’s play.

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Macbeth, a general in the Scottish army, murders his way to the throne believing he is safe from defeat because of a prophecy made by three witches:

Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care
Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are.
Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until
Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill
Shall come against him.

The witches prophecy, Act IV, Scene I, Macbeth

Because it is highly unlikely that a forest (Birnam Wood) will walk up the hill to his castle (Dunsinane Hill), Macbeth expresses great relief.

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Tradition has it that Shakespeare was inspired to write the tragedy after he visited the area as an actor. Records show that a company of strolling actors were permitted to put on a play in Perth in 1589, but none of their names were listed.

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For those of you who are wondering how on earth a wood moves up hill (and who have neither read or seen Macbeth)

Scene IV: In the country near Birnam Wood:

Malcolm, Macduff and their army are ready to invade Macbeth´s castle. Malcolm tells his men to camouflage themselves with branches from the trees in the forest.

“Let every soldier hew him down a bough
And bear’t before him; thereby shall we shadow
The numbers of our host and make discovery
Err in report of us.”

Scene V: A messenger arrives telling Macbeth that Birnam Woods is marching on Dunsinane.

So there you have it. A post combining trees and Shakespeare!

If you would like to join in with Garden Photography then please take a look at my Garden Photography Page. No complicated rules🙂

  • Create your own post and title it NovemberWoodland
  • Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  • Add the tag “GardenChallenge” so everyone can find the posts easily in the WP Reader
  • Get your post in by the end of the month, as the new theme comes out on the first Sunday in December.
  • Please visit the sites in the comments to see what others are posting.