Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A few days away

I spent the Easter weekend in the heart of the Mendips, North Somerset. This is where I have spent almost every Easter of my life, surrounded by one big family of all ages (some actually related and many not). I associate this place entirely with this time of year, although of course the degree to which the daffodils are out or the blackthorn is in flower depends on where Easter falls. This year the blackthorn was more and more in evidence as we made our way south and on the way back, after a couple of days of sunshine, it was out even more, looking like the hedges had been brushed with cream. And the verges were speckled with primroses.

Of course there was an Easter egg hunt...

...and there was lots of music, including three generations of my family
playing together with others and my daughter's first orchestral experience!

On our way home on Tuesday we stopped at Moseley Old Hall, near Wolverhampton, a beautiful Elizabethan house owned by the National Trust with a reconstructed 17th century garden, complete with knot garden, nut walk and arbour.

We've often stopped here for a picnic on our way back north after Easter as it is conveniently placed about half way home. Because of the way Eater shifts it means that the garden is in slightly different stages each time we come. Looking back through my photos I see we were here in 2004 with the tulips well out and fruit trees heavy with blossom. This week's visit seems timely though as I've been reading a lot recently about garden history, including the development of garden style around this period and how it changed through subsequent centuries.

Once of my strongest memories of this place is how the nut walk is carpeted with spring flowers and in particular with snakes head fritillarys. We were too early for them this week, or so I thought until I found one just beginning to unfurl.

As we walked round the garden we kept coming across a peacock and disturbing it from settling amongst the flowers of which ever bit of the garden he was in - quite an exotic mix: peacock with daffodils.

Although we'd only been away for a few days it seemed like everything in the garden at home had grown at least four inches.
The view out of the back of the house is dominated by a bright yellow forsythia, which brightens up even the dullest of days.

Thankfully the last couple of days have been sunny and mild and as I write this I have the glow of someone who has spent all day outside
and the slightly aching body of someone who has been digging out unwanted shrubs!

A walk in the woods yesterday revealed still wintery looking trees, but some really beautiful pink sycamore buds and pussy willows bursting with that same vibrant yellow as the forsythia.

Current listening: Bach's St John Passion

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