Autumn weekends can be so lovely. This weekend was one of them. As a birthday – not just a big birthday – a massive birthday treat I was taken to Oxford for the weekend by two of my closest friends.
Lunch at a mighty fine hotel, a day at Blenheim Palace and then supper with more friends in Woodstock.
Yes. Woodstock. And yes. The friends I went with soon got feed up with my childish comment ‘ you do know ‘ I’d say ‘ by the time we get to Woodstock there will be half a million strong’ …. it wore thin after a while. Unlike me.
Lunch was amazing. Glorious food. Plenty of wine. Too much cheese. Can you have too much? Yes. Definetly. The need for a walk around the garden after lunch at Le Manoir.
It’s interesting to see how the gardens at hotels with restaurants work. Here there is a glorious kitchen garden – an amazing array of veg which is used in the kitchens. Together with flower beds and lavender paths. I’m glad to say that my lavender paths in Spain could compete. They have trimmed theirs back which I will do when I am back in Spain in two weeks time.
The greenhouses are open where you can wander in and look around. What I loved as well is that most things are labelled clearly so you know what you are looking at. A bonus for a novice gardener like me.
There were some pretty interesting things around. I had never seen snake gourds before. These ones hanging down from the greenhouse roof like well. Snakes. I hate snakes. Though at first I thought they were cucumbers. But. They were clearly labelled!
There was a great display of gourds and chillis in the garden teaching space. Amazing colours. Great shapes.
The flower beds were interesting too. We had missed the best as you’d expect as Autumn falls. But there were still some intersting plants and grasses flowering. We didn’t fully explore the gardens to be fair but what we saw was great. An excuse to go back? A long wait until my next significant birthday.
It was a great contrast of a weekend. Lunch at a 2 Michelin star restaurant and breakfast at a Premier Inn.
A short drive after breakfast to Blenheim Palace. An imposing palace – birthplace of Winston Churchill and where he proposed to his wife. At this time of year the rooms on view of the palace are limited – in summer you can also view the private space. I will be back. I’m nosey. But the rooms are glorious. The artwork amazing. But I wouldn’t want their heating bills.
I imagine the rose garden in full bloom is awesome. Planted with just a few varieties. Iceberg. Peace. Royal William. A pink I didn’t get the name of. The first two grown in my parents garden in the 70s. Not these roses obviously. But they grew these varieties. I suspect that the ones here weren’t bought at Woolworths gardening section though.
My mother would have had a field day. I’ve mentioned before. She was an avid deadheader. She would have been in her element. I know it’s the end of the season but there were a lot of buds still there and if the frost stays away … at some point I guess they will need to refresh the beds. A lot of dead wood. Hopefully the pruning will cut it all back.
The feeling of a great TV blockbuster drama unfolding as you walked around. The boat house. The lake. But I wasn’t about to do a Mr Darcy and emerge from the lake all moody. And wet. I don’t do wet. I’m someone who has to change his swimming trunks as soon as I get out of the pool. I can be moody. But not in a Mr Darcy way. I guess more Grumoy than D’Arcy.
These were great big pots. Filled with black grass. As a friend on Instagram said ‘ I’m not sure about these. Look a bit like toupees’ – looking at them again. She’s right! But they did look great and I guess are pretty easy to manage.
By the time we got to Woodstock – I didn’t say it again. Honest. I won’t say it now.