The Darling Buds of May
Walking along the serpentine grassy path through the Secret Garden, the remaining cherry blossom has descended to become a swiftly diminishing carpet of pink and white petals under my feet as it is gradually blown away in the spring breezes.
In contrast, on other walks, there are now clouds of apple blossom, pink and white and quietly buzzing with the sounds of the many bees drawn to the sweet nectar. The songbirds perform longer and more complicated songs in the morning but I owe them a thank you at evensong too.
“Blossom by blossom the spring begins” wrote Algernon Charles Swinburn, Victorian poet and novelist. In his day, people might have been more aware of the seasons than many today. The blossom of prickly blackthorn is long gone by now but hawthorn has taken it is place with a mass of white blossom which will overwhelm any glimpse of the leaves or spiny, prickly branches.
Hawthorn in particular has ancient associations with May Day (1st May) which, in the country calendar marks the point when spring becomes summer. Hawthorn flowers traditionally adorned May Day garlands as well as the wreath of the “Green Man”. You are not supposed to bring it into the house but you can use the haws in jellies or salads, and in folklore it was where the faeries lived. In fact, the site of Westminster Abbey was once called Thorney Island after the sacred stand of thorn trees which grew there.
The east lawns beside the Castle are expansive and lead the eye serenely towards the pillared folly “Jackdaws’s Castle”. For all the beauty of the Castle’s parklands, I’m often asked why there no gardens? Part of the answer lies in the fact that there is a maze of, I hope, charming gardens, sheltered in the lea of the land to the south west, just not right by the Castle.
However, once, there were gardens next to the Castle and the grassed east lawns are quite recent. In the 19th century, an extensive mass of beds and formal walks, began near the Library windows. In the last five years, I have often spent winter afternoons removing the brambles and bringing back some of this lost garden of azaleas and specimen trees which are hidden at the far end of the lawns. Now, in early May, the blooms of yellow, red, peach and pink, orange, white and mauve shroud the shrubs leaving only a few leaves to be seen. Gloriously clashing and scented, they are in fact rare Ghent azaleas introduced from North America in 1734. The Azalea pontica or luteum (yellow and highly scented) dates to 1806 whilst other hybrids include ‘Ignea Nova’, ‘Coccinea Speciosa’ Narcissiflora and ‘Gloria Mundi’.
Another ten days though and the glory will already be fading. As Shakespeare put it:
“Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:”
All gardeners know that seasons pass which reinforces the sense of fragility and transience. It is indeed a “lease” and, at a time when we are least able to walk in, and with, nature, much of our “chatter” from our homes is about the life cycle of seasons, the spirit of nature and the pace of the earth. Whether it is a new found delight in birdsong, or an appreciation of clean air and waterways, I hope attention to lifestyle and policy can help direct us in strategies to promote such balance and peace. For every optimistic thought, there has been much sadness for us all, whether through empathy or experience and we will need resilience and pragmatism to understand what growth should mean in the future.
As we are spending so much more time in our homes at the moment, one rather sweet TV series to look at is the very English “The Darling Buds of May” set in 1958. It follows the life of the Larkin family, with David Jason starring as Pop Larkin, full of madcap innovative schemes to earn money none of which was ever recorded, let alone accounted for properly. Luckily, Cedric the tax inspector falls in love with his daughter Mariette (Catherine Zeta Jones) and thus begins a charming tale about an eccentric family. It is set in the garden of England, Kent, full of apple blossom and promise.
Everything is so beautiful!!
I just happened upon that TV show and it is very sweet!
It is sweet, and I might try and find it again!
I watched that show. It was my favourite.
With a grateful sigh I have just finished reading your colorful description of the parkland and shrubbery at Highclere Castle. In my mind, I can picture the area and take a deep breath of thanks for the mental scenery. Fortunately, during this unsettled time, gardening for me is like teaching a small baby new steps and new words – so much potential, literally blooming slowly, and sometimes coming “home” to their birthplace year after year. Thank the good Lord for the calm of the garden, the song of the birds, the peace of the earth. Thank you for helping us settle ourselves as we begin the week following the Sabbath.
Beautifully stated! Thank you for today’s post…wonderful!
Good Morning Lady Carnarvon,
Beautifully written and so exquisite. I can almost smell the fragrance of the blossoms across the pond. Thank you for reminding me of the beauty of spring, God’s blessings that hope springs eternal !!!
It does spring eternal. Faith Hope and Charity
Beautiful flowers remaining to us that life is precious and short and we have to be kind to each other… I never received answer from you on my letter ,dear Lady Carnarvon,but I am still appreciated you for all your work you doing to keep this incredible place so we can see it’s beauty at least on the photos..Margaryta Yermolayeva,the artist.
Thank you for the pleasant and poetic description of garden blooming. It turns colourful all sad and grey moments we are living in this period of health emergency.
Another informative, insightful peek into the ever changing seasons at Highclere. The Ghent connection was most unexpected, very interesting. Thank you for for sharing your home, history, and delightful gardens with us.
Thank you for sharing the images of your wonderful gardens.
Hope you try and have a stroll down to the Airman Statue on Friday and reflect etc.
Do you experience deer and pheasants in close proximity to the castle, that is if you are up early enough?
There are animals everywhere – there are few fences which helps all wildlife. I am filming from the airman for Viking TV this Friday – I am “At home” for them live 7pm GMT every Friday
Thank you for this springy post this morning. What a cheery and colorful start to the week. Because we have been staying home all this time, it has been a treat to walk in my backyard and savor the sounds and sights of spring. On a beautiful, sunny afternoon this past weekend, while I was walking in my yard, I spotted an apple blossom in the corner. I had no idea that we have such a lovely tree in our yard. I could not help but stare at it, but I had to enjoy every moment because before we know it, the flowers will fall, and the tree will be bare again. The birds singing outside provided the perfect accompaniment. Your posts remind me to enjoy such simple pleasures, and I hope to visit magnificent Highclere Castle in the near future. Yes, I will check out “The Darling Buds of May,” the perfect addition to my at-home entertainment lineup this month. Thank you.
I am hoping for many apples!
This was very enjoyable to read, as it triggered a memory of a poem I learnt in my childhood. ‘Home thoughts from abroad’ by Robert Browning. A very beautiful poem.
Beautiful pictures and stories as always, love getting your emails, they brighten up my day!! Thank you for keeping in touch with us via your website, much appreciated. When you walk around your garden describing it to us, it feels like we are right there beside you, you make it come alive.
I love seeing your beautiful home on Downton Abbey, hope to visit next time I make it home for a holiday. I have reread some of the books on the family, and always enjoy them, look forward to new ones. Take care and stay safe.
Thank you so much – you too
Good morning! What a sight for sore eyes to see all your lovely flowers in bloom, we are still a few weeks away from real spring
weather. I well remember the “Darling Bud’s of May” what a delightful series. My husband had a crush on Mariette, he compared her to a ripe peach, ready to be plucked!
Wishing you a lovely, safe day.
Mariette was so pretty!
They brighten up my day too.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
What a wonderful time of year here in Arkansas. I can only imagine the beauty unfolding on the Highclere grounds. I’m sure the morning and afternoon walks have been a refreshment to your spirit as you take in all the sights and sounds of Spring. The photos you shared were beautiful.
All the best to you and your family.
Happy Monday, Lady Carnarvon!
Such beautiful photos of your azaleas! They are native to my home state of North Carolina and other southern US states; they’re even here in Texas garden beds. I’m glad to know you enjoy them – they’re one of my favorites. And your bloom colors are gorgeous!
Azaleas in the spring will always hold lovely memories for me. As a child, our extended family would drive into the Appalachian Mountains and picnic in an open spot. We’d spend hours getting to run around in the sun playing games with cousins, and have lovely vistas of blooming rhododendron and azaleas of all colors to admire. That, along with small peaks, rolling hills and valleys of lush green, bright blue skies and puffy white clouds strolling by. It was so wonderful!
As always, thanks for sharing your home. I hope to come visit someday.
The first day of the week comes along with your next post. It is a description of natural beauty as in fairy tales, but you live it in reality and try to perfect it more. Congratulations on your work and passion!
Great story. I love May also because of all the blooms and newness of life. It is also my Birth month. May 29th. I guess I too am a, “Darling bud of May”. Have a great day.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Your Photos of the flowers in bloom are exquisite…. I love the cherry blossoms in April in England they are unforgettable…. and the apple blossoms too! We were enchanted by your secret garden on our walk after touring the castle…. I felt like Elizabeth Bennett exploring Pemberly….so beautifully peaceful.
Here in our Sonoran desert in Scottsdale we are in full desert bloom. The citrus trees for begun to flower, oleanders profuse in pink and white blossoms along with the fuchsia bougainvillea bushes towering over our garden walls…of course our allergy season is at its height with the endless tiny yellow flowers from the Palo Verde trees…
leaving a yellow carpeted path across the valley.
It sounds beautiful where you are !
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I remember seeing the azaleas on the left side of the view, and walkway, to Jackdaw’s Castle and remarking to my daughter about how beautiful they were. Some looked almost like small delicate orchids.
Thank you for the wonderful musings of the fleeting joys of Spring. The gorgeous photographs will remind us long after the blooms have faded. And I agree that human impact on our fragile environment must be examined.
Hope you are all healthy and well. Thank you.
Charlotte Merriam Cole
Thank you we are all well – all best wishes to you
It was 1 year ago we were in England for a wonderful 3 week holiday which included a visit to your beautiful home. This was what I wanted to do to celebrate my 60th birthday. We had been planning to come again – now. We love walking the many paths of England. Instead I am enjoying reading your wonderful Monday morning journal entries that transport me back there. I love all those azalea names and colors. I can almost smell the luteum!
They have fantastic Autumn colours too
Good morning lady carnarvon. Yes it is a beautiful time of year and right now I sit on my back porch in the afternoons and when the breeze picks up I have a huge row of French lilacs going across my backyard and the fragrance is just overwhelming. My irises are blooming my daffodils are done and all these other tiny little flowers are popping up and they are beautiful. I can only imagine what your garden and grounds look like there. Thank you for the pictures and have a wonderful day
We have see some beautiful irises – my husband loves them – they are always new groups ..
Thank you for this lovely post. I am a New York City girl who, during this pandemic, find myself in Louisiana enjoying its flora and fauna and musing on it. While fascinating, it is lovely to read about spring blossoms that I am more accustomed to, from cooler northern climes. Thank you.
The swamp azaleas in southern New England are not yet in bloom. They are so sweet scented and so delicate looking. You might could come and see them some spring!
I would love to-
Lovely imagery of your gardens at Highclere Castle. I haven’t seen “The Darling Buds of May” but it sounds like a remake of a 1959 a Debbie Reynolds and Tony Randell movie “The Mating Game”, also a charming tale of antics set in farm country.
Thank you for the lovely photos. At first it sounds like early Spring is the right time to visit, then I re-read descriptions of the Summer garden and I think again. Here in Montana, we are very far behind you in our garden, with bulbs just starting to open, leaves opening on native trees. The cherry orchards which are well known along the lake are now in bloom, though, and our lawn has turned green again. My daughters and I were booked on a Viking tour late summer which ended up at Highclere. We were so saddened when all that was postponed, but we’ll be there in 2021. Will you be offering the extensions to Highclere through Viking again next Summer? Please say “yes”!
We are offering Viking extensions and have already pencilled them in for Viking for summer 2021
Ohh did that phrase “Darling Buds of May” catch my eye. I loved that show. And the garden of England was my grandfather’s home in Tenterden, Kent. Thank you Lady Carnarvon for this. Stay safe and keep these fun articles coming.
So delighted to hear that some “American” flowers are gracing the gardens. Here in Pittsburgh we have been enjoying wave after wave of flowers from the earliest crocus the daffodils and jonquils to blooming plum, pear, cherry, and peach trees. Now the azaleas are bursting from their winter slumbers with glorious colors flashing pink, red, orange, purple, and white. I join with you in enjoying the spring other than the pollens which tickle our noses to sneezing and cause us to rub our eyes incessantly. Here and there roses are beginning to bud and the German iris are bursting forth with flags of color. The leaves are unfurling bright green new leaves and the rains have kept everything well watered. Sadly much of this can only be glimpsed from our windows due to the stay at home orders due to the Covid-19 pandemic. I think spring is trying to comfort us this year by being especially lovely.
Looking forward to your future postings and enjoying the taste of your gardens in my first bottle of Highclere gin.
Rev. David Eichelberger
Thank you and do tell me what you think of the gin?
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you so much for the wonderful pictures and explanation of the varieties of Azaleas. If one has the opportunity to drive through the American Smokey Mountains in the Spring, they will be treated to an explosion of color from the Red Bud Trees , Rhododendron and Azaleas. We have driven the route between Florida and Ohio many, many times. It is a beautiful sight, but I have never witnessed the colors of Azalea you shared today. Just beautiful…
Florida is slowly opening up again. Everyone is speculating if this is a good idea or not. Since I have no power to change this decision, I’m just spending this Monday in our little home and reading my favorite blog, and hoping this finds everyone in our Monday Family doing well.
Now I’m going to do a search for the TV show you suggested. I have watched every episode of the British Antiques Road Show, Cruising The Cut, Escape to the Country, and George Clarke renovation shows. The Darling Buds of May will be a welcomed addition! Thank you for telling us about it.
Blessings to all!
I really enjoyed the series and hope you do too!
I just finished reading the Secret Garden and I love how you describe all your lovely gardens – Happy you have them to enjoy your walks – your writing is very soothing – keep up the good words!
Hello Lady Carnarvon,
Your gardens are lovely and I also am pleased to hear about azaleas especially heavily scented ones, as ours are colorful but not so fragrant. We used to make Hawaiian style leis by simply pulling the stamens out of the azaleas and stringing them together for a necklace. How perfect that would be with your scented azaleas. Thank you as always for another charming peek at Highclere life.
Thank you Audrey.
I forgot to mention we just watched the movie you mention here not too long ago!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I enjoyed this week’s blog especially since I am not able to have my own space for planting beautiful flowers I love. Even though the apartment I recently moved to is landscaped beautifully, there is something about digging and planting and watching beautiful buds opening that gives a sense of beauty. Our ladies group was at Highclere at the end of winter and missed many of these.
Thank you for sharing!
Thank you – I hope you will come back at a different time of year!
As always, your writing so beautifully describes my most favorite time of the year. I currently live in Las Vegas Nevada and “who would ha’ thunk it?” but Las Vegas has a beautiful spring season. Not quite as rambunctious as other parts of the country but beautiful nevertheless.
Thank you for sharing your God given talent and sharing your life with the rest of the world
Spring time is certainly a brief explosion of color and life……with or without hoards of people to enjoy the sight. I remember watching the TV show The Darling Buds of May… Stay well
Ah….the Darling Buds of May.
Loved that show.
And, for giggles, The Last of the Summer Wine.
Not much has been blooming as of yet, here in the upper Midwest. So the lovely photos of your beautiful flora has warmed my chilly heart.
I love the very names of the TV programmes!
Once again a great and uplifting read, and such fabulous photos to further cheer us all up in such strange and frightening times. Thank you for spending so much time to continually write such splendid pieces and spread positivity in your writing.
Dear Lady Carnarvon
Thank you for the beautiful imagery in your blog this week, The apple blossoms look amazing. I am wondering if the cherry tree is ornamental. How wonderful to cook with the produce. Happy Monday to all. Kindest regards.
The cherry ornamental – although the apple trees are not!
Oh, you outdid yourself today! Your blog brought tears to my eyes. Every good wish for you and yours during this self-isolation. (You write wonderfully.)
this is so lovely and relaxing…eases stress just to look at it. i love nature to be among it……love the woods also …a gentle stream trickling past……..thankyou….take care….
While “home alone” during this pandemic, it is pure joy to read your blog and see the wonderful photos of May flowers at Highclere. I love the way you take us on your walks around the grounds of the castle, it is so pleasant to be with the Monday Family! I hunted up the TV program: “The Darling Buds of May”, YouTube has all the episodes, so I am going to sit back and enjoy the week down-on-the-farm in Kent! Thank you, and hoping all at Highclere are well and staying safe.
Wonderful and I might watch it again – good for the soul
Lady Carnarvon, your lovely words and photos take me back to my visit to your beautiful home three years ago when you welcomed and kept us enthralled as you spoke about the castle’s history from the magnificent staircase. It was a peak experience for this avid Anglophile, who lives in northern California. Now I re-visit Highclere each time I see the Downton Abbey movie. Many thanks to you and the Earl for sharing the splendors of Highclere Castle with the public. I hope you and all the staff and volunteers are keeping safe, well, and happy in these challenging times.
All the best,
How kind you are – it is good team ..
The Darling Buds of May is a really feel good series. I would recommend it to anyone.
I love this time of year. This year everything seems more beautiful or have we more time to stand and stare?
My Daughter and I are looking forward to visting when you are able to open your doors again.
In the meantime we will try out the Gin.
Stay safe everybody.
I have had a gin and tonic this evening- it is clear and cool .. must help!
Hello Lady Carnarvon and all the Monday family from Orange, Australia.
It is just coming into winter for me, lots of beautiful autumn coloured trees and carpets of leaves of every shade on the ground. Where I live is quite high in altitude and we get four very distinct seasons and I am sure God flicks a switch almost to the day to change from one to the other. We will get some snow soon, not lasting more than a few days, just long enough to enjoy the beauty of it before it fades.
I bought the Darling Buds of May series and you have reminded me to get it out and take another peek back in time. Pop was quite a character especially when he occasionally kissed Edith the town spinster, Mum who cooked up enormous amounts of food which was always eaten with gusto, the Tax Inspector who married Mariette and the delightful hoard of children who appeared from everywhere. Yes, my viewing for this week will be The Darling Buds of May.
Hopefully we are starting to get through this dreadful virus and soon to return to some kind of “normal” life. It really doesn’t matter where the virus came from, pointing fingers never solved anything and retribution is wasted after the event. What is essential is that we find how to prevent it happening ever again and all power to the wonderful scientists doing research all over the world. In the meanwhile I hope everyone stays safe and I pray every day for those who have been infected and those who have lost family and friends.
I saw a TV video of you and your husband investigating cocktails Lady Carnarvon, a very interesting pastime and I enjoyed it very much. Be well and thank you for your Monday cheery emails. 🙂
Thank you and the Darling buds of May was a cheerful series – we need it!
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Thank you for the beautiful pictures and blog, I have Rhododendrons and Azaleas in my garden, they are so beautiful as is the blossom, it’s a shame it doesn’t last longer, and have you noticed, as soon as it blooms, strong winds suddenly appear. My mum informed me (over the phone) that she had been watching The Darling Buds of May last week, it’s on ITV3 in a morning. Such a happy and get away from it all show.
I am trying to enjoy the moment.
Dear Lady Carnarvon,
I LOVE your blog! The beautiful pictures and your artistic way of expressing your self.
Thank you so much!
So enjoy your vignettes from Highclere Castle. It appears that you are enjoying warmer weather and spring blooms, while in the Chicago area we are not quite to that point yet. Tulips and daffodils are in bloom though. A positive from this stay at home mandate is that there is the opportunity to spend more time tending our flower garden and it is bringing a lot of pleasure. Even though they are hard to find in this crisis some days, isn’t it nice when there are positive experiences to share? Keep writing your positive and hopeful blog. It brings joy to many!
Thank you – there is positive news in small details
As today is my birthday, I would like to consider myself ‘A Darling Bud of May’. Thank you again for a wonderfully written post and beautiful pictures of blooms. Plus, now I know which direction the castle faces, could never quite get it right from the show.
Happy Birthday Stephanie!
Lady Carnarvon, your words and photos today were so soothing and calming for me. A feeling I have not had in a while in these trying times. Thank you so very much. It is such a great help. Best of health to you and your family. Sincerely Cheryl
Hermosa Nota, llena de vida, frescura y colores, la Primavera es mi estación preferida, sera porque nací en ella, tal vez. Así como el Otoño me causa tristeza,(los arboles pierden sus hojas), la Primavera lo contrario, esta llena de vida, brotes verdes, flores, los pájaros preparan sus nidos, cantan con mas fuerza, y esta nota describe eso.
Para despedirme, me quedo con este párrafo de su nota: “Ya sea que se trate de una nueva delicia en el canto de los pájaros, o una apreciación del aire limpio y las vías fluviales, espero que la atención al estilo de vida y la política puedan ayudarnos a dirigirnos en estrategias para promover tal equilibrio y paz”.
Wow, Dear Lady Carnarvon,
Such a beautiful reminder for me to see the Path through the Secret Garden especially in these times when we need to look after our dear elderly and vulnerable…
I walked through those lovely gardens with my Mum in April 2018 on our UK Trip, we had the most memorable day and enjoyed a wonderful High Tea… I treasure these memories so dearly with my Mum.
All the Best to you and all at Highclere, from an Aussie traveler… whom will travel again…
Thank you – take care too!
Thankyou for your lovely words my favourite on the estate is the monkey tree near the cricket ground and i still like to see one of these trees when we go out on trips out
Dear Lady Carnarvon:
I hope my belated comment finds its way to you.
I was not able to read your blog of yesterday’s date until late in the evening (Michigan time). I found the beautiful and colorful pictures of the blooming bushes, trees, and flowers most reassuring.
Also, your comment in Paragraph Four regarding the Fairies reminded me of a children’s book “Fairyopolis”. The journal entries for the month of May referenced a field guide to Fairies and the Lily of the Valley. My lilies are beginning to show its presence in my front yard garden.
Look forward to next Monday’s posting.
Until then, all the best to you.
Thank you so much
Thank you for another lovely blog post and the heads up regarding “The Darling Buds of May”. I had subscribed to Britbox just the day before and found the series. My wife and I watched the first two episodes yesterday and we are hooked. Thank you again.
Oh good – I might watch it again too!
What a beautiful blog posting. And I love Shakespeare’s comment about May. He, too, had a way with words. We would have been at Highclere this week however, this virus interrupted the trip. I do hope we can return one day and walk the gardens and enjoy the beauty that is Highclere Castle. Thank you for all that you do and for the cocktail parties. We shall print what you have posted and share with Randy’s Mother in Iowa. She is 94 and her memory is amazing. She remembers this week in 1945 in great detail.
Warm regards from California.
I hope that we can remember them and think about VE Day and where it lead in October. Our thoughts in 3 days time were for those who serve and save us and it seems all the more important – plus to share it virtually across an ocean.
Dear Lady C., Thank you for another beautiful post! I can’t wait to visit Highclere again. As usual, I’m planning my trip across the pond to include Highclere, and to all the readers of this post – please be sure to work a way to visit! This was my best stop in all of England and Scotland! The whole estate is infused with beauty. NJ
You are kind – it is so appreciated
Lady Carnarvon, I just wanted to tell you that I think you are a wonderful person. All what you do for Highclere Castle and it’s people, your blog and your charities and more. You truly are a flower that stands out. Cheryl
Thank you but I think and know I am no better than anyone else – we are all part of a garden. The thing about gardens and nature is their resilience and this world needs compassion, collaboration and we will also find resilience
Azaleas and especially the fragrant ones remind me of how fleeting the pleasures of nature are. My azaleas bloomed in February for just a few days and were glorious. The hedge is very green now; it shelters tiny birds. The adjoining hedge of holly is beginning to show berries. The birds are in for a treat eventually.
What a beautiful posting. Your emotion shines through the writing; gardening reveals the soul of the one who cares for the earth. Bringing back gardens is always a task of love and connection. Maintaining gardens requires devotion to a larger and longer principle: we are here to care, cultivate, preserve the goodness for the generations to come. One of my gardening mentors was a Dr. Bevil; he planted pecan trees as a young doctor on his first property when he arrived in Texas. When he was close to 100 years of age, the trees were a full orchard and productive. Even though my family had the property at that time, the orchard was still known as Dr. Bevil’s Pecans. When asked if he wanted part of the harvest, he was grateful. That’s when I learned the lesson of planting and caring for the next generation. He said, “I never expected to live long enough to enjoy the pecans. I did it for the contribution I would leave behind for others to enjoy.”
I so admire your devotion to caring for the Highclere Estate; it’s more than creating a set for movies and customers to admire. Your heart and soul are intertwined with the destiny of Highclere. Your love for Highclere radiates with each post. Today’s poignant recitative in this time of pandemic as I rebuild my house into a home and restore my gardens captured my emotions completely. I’ve weathered the hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and deaths of loved ones within these last few years. And I continue.
Thank you for continuing to maintain our Monday Family of the Highclere Diasporo.
The flowers in your garden beautiful. Thank you for reminding me of The Darling Buds of May. One of my favorite shows of all times. I watch the videos every time I can, gives you hope and inspiration.
Thank you for your latest blog. It was nice to hear of the gentle spring in England. Our weather is patchy in Texas, but so far we have avoided the tornados…not so for many unfortunates north of of us. The temperature is already climbing to 100 F but with careful watering (we are allowed only two days a week for sprinkler systems) we can keep much alive. I am glad you have managed to clean out some really lovely shrubs . Hard work, I know, but worthwhile for the future. Hopefully you can take cuttings, especially from the American shrub. So many plants have been hybridized that they have altered substantially over the years after travelling across the Atlantic that it is important to have “originals”. I am still irritated by an expensive Felicitee et Perpetuee, (I was on a long waiting list), that has ‘Banksia’ leaves. It bloomed well this year for the first time…but no perfume. If it was a dog I would suspect someone ‘got over the fence’. Never mind, it is still pretty. But much has blossomed and been beautiful in a rainy spring. I had no idea that ‘May’ blossoms should not be brought inside.. but they do harbour enormous numbers of tiny insects. I hope you discover other old plants that have been ignored by the commercial growers. I wonder who brought the American shrub to England? It would be interesting and actually a delight to know more.
I am off to wrestle with my raised beds, we bought bags of soil and manure to feed them ( Nearest and Dearest not best pleased when I put them in the boot!) But hopefully we will have some aubergines later on. As everyone says here (from a distance!) “Take care and stay healthy” in this trying time., from Josee in Texas
Thank you for painting your part of the world in words! I still look at plants I bought with one label which are not … it is always the expensive ones. I have more papers on the azaleas I just have not pulled them together! I can never decide whether I should be out there clearing the bracken away or inside reading papers .. the answer is probably a cup of tea!
Lady Carnarvon, is Highclere Gin available in Canada? It is our 25th wedding anniversary today and it would be lovely to have a taste of your gin. Kind regards, Cheryl
I think we have fulfilled all the admin – https://www.highclerecastlespirits.com –
Lady Carnarvon, Thinking of Mothers Day coming up, my Mom passed away a number of years ago at rather an early age. She would say to my sister and I if things were not going right, No matter what life throws at you, find a way to have fun with it. It is something I will never forget. Cheryl
How wonderful are your words!! Thank you.
Sonja Lazik (from Germany)
Lady Carnarvon, I so love your Blog, Instagram and Website that I could make comments till the cows come home. On one of my comments this week I had said let me know if it is too many. You made no comment. I must have made 5 comments. Is it too much? As I will keep it to 1 for the
whole week. Kind Regards, Cheryl
Thank you I do not mind- delighted and I am beginning a podcast.