Yesterday was EJ's birthday, so we went out for the day; his choice was Beaulieu again, to the car museum there; right up his and MrL's street! There's plenty of other things to see, though, so I was more than happy to tag along. The museum is within the grounds of the Abbey on the estate - so tehre are abbey ruins, the Domus (monks' living quarters). Palace house, Victorian kitchen, wool/weaving buidling ruins, Victorian gardens all to look at. At this time of year, not much int eh gardens themselves - lots of cardoons (did you know you can make bio fuel out of the seeds? Apparently so, but MrL yet to be convinced. I have one *enormous* cardoon in the garden which he hates with a vengeance for some reason. I don;t think it's tidy enough for him LOL), leeks, rhubarb just showing. Beds neatly dug over and compost spread, paths clear, structures up and ready for beans to come. Well - they do have several gardeners I should think, I told MrL, in response to his raised eyebrows whichw ere saying to me "Why doesn't ours look that neat, then?"
They have lovely Big greenhouses too, with venerable vines in; the one in the picture was planted back in 1870, amazing, still giving a good crop of grapes too. There were several lemon trees too, all covered in lemons; I'd love to have a go at one of those, but the cost of a decent size tree is a bit prohibitive at the moment, so I'll have to wait. There is an internationally famous citrus nursery in Dorset, though, so we might have a wander down to that some time and get fired up with a view to home grown lemon curd in the future:)
The lawns under the trees were carpeted in spring flowers - thousands of pale lavender crocuses mainly, the little daffodils still to come. Teh effect of it all was quite ethereal, but no phot would do it justice. One of my favourite bits of planting is in the moat around the Palace House - full of little spring flowers, looks like it is studded with stars.
I spent an hour knitting in the monks' herb garden - nice and peaceful, as in February there aren't too many folk about.
On the way home we stopped at one of my favourite little garden centres; they ahve a lovely shop as well as good plants - I could have spent a fortune in there, but didn;t. Some of Cath Kidston's wares were on sale, but rather pricy; her Washing Line range is very expensive - 5.00 for a bottle of washing up liquid! When you use as much as I do, then it's not a realistic option, is it? I bought a new address book, and a very simple grey metal tealight holder, plus soem spring flowers for the front garden which I hope to get in later.
There and back takes us right through the New Forest - lovely at thsi time of year; roads not busy, ponies strolling around safely, pheasants, cattle, cottages to yearn after............... We also go through the are where we used to live; I'm glad I don;t live in the village any more, though, it doesn't look that good at present, bit sad looking, huge amounts of traffic, new roundabouts, not what it used to be. They say never go back, but we had to go through!
EJ really enjoyed his day, and he's a pleasure to accompany on such visits, unlike a lot of 15 year olds!Looking forward to going back next year again.........................