Six word Saturday

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What to do when seeking inspiration?

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

For me, it usually means a trip to my photo files

On a recent visit to Durham, I decided to seek out Old Durham Gardens.  I had known of the existence of these 350 year old gardens for a long time, but they’re a little off the beaten track. When I arrived, on a warm and sunny Wednesday morning, I discovered that the gardens only open between 2 and 4pm on Thursdays and Saturdays in Summer.  After initial disappointment (and a peer through the gates), I discovered that there was more than enough to keep me happy from the outside.

Fragments of colour were everywhere

Fragments of colour were everywhere

The old walls themselves are full of characterful whirls and sworls, causing the eye to drift from the gentle planting.  The place has a past and the walls reflect that.  In the 12th century this was a rectory.  The walls were added in the 1700s to enable the cultivation of south facing fruit trees, and in the 1750s music concerts were held within.   Glamorous times were ahead when the gardens were owned by an artist and icecream maker, Victor Mazzini Walton.  The gardens were described in 1921 as having tennis courts, putting green, running track and a tea garden, and dances were held at weekends.

After the Second World War, Mr. Walton sold up and the gardens fell into decline.  Happily, in 1985, Durham City Council purchased Old Durham and began a programme of restoration.  When this lapsed, Friends of Old Durham was born and the gardens today are run by this group of volunteers.

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After wandering the boundaries, it’s down the steps, and a gentle meander back to the river.

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Always a source of inspiration!

Always a source of inspiration!

I hope you enjoyed my Saturday amble.  Next weekend I’ll be in Bristol for the Hot Air Balloon festival and I suspect I’ll be too busy to join you.  I hope so, anyway!

Meantime, there’s Cate at Show My Face to visit with your six words.  I was browsing my photos wondering what to show you today and looking for inspiration.  I think I found it.

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132 comments

  1. Ahh Jo, how I love English gardens at this time of year, and even if you couldn’t go inside, I would have never have known from your gorgeous photos 🙂 Beautiful close ups, love how vivid the colours look of the flowers against the wall. A breath of fresh air on this grey, wet Tuesday morning 😦 Yay, you got to go to Bristol and the hot air balloons at long last! You were only an hour away from me, but I was in London for the Bloggers Bash! Wasn’t sure about going at first, but glad I did. Hope you had a fantastic time, as I’m sure you did. Did you go up in a balloon? Braver than me if you did, I can’t bear heights and I couldn’t do it :/

    1. Hi Sherri! The balloon fest is this weekend, starting Thursday and I’m up, up and away early doors at 8.30 that morning (but with Easyjet- not in a basket, unfortunately 😦 though I have been described as a basket case before, I believe!) I thought the 2 events coincided so I did not approach you to arrange a meeting, as I knew you were a nominee. Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

      1. Have a wonderful time Jo! I look forward to all your amazing pics and so happy for you. Happy travels whether by plane or basket and we’ll have to plan that tea in Bath for another day. Look forward to it 🙂

  2. VERY lovely gathering of photos, Jo. I love the wall all by itself. I thought at first it was dried mud. Then I put on my glasses!! Lesson learned. Hot air balloon sounds good. Can’t wait

  3. And now I’m here at last, Jo. I see what Paula means about the fabulous walls. They give the plants such a dramatic backdrop. I’ve always rather yearned for a walled garden. All the things one could grow in such a sheltered space.

    1. You’re obviously much more green fingered than me, Tish! I’m only good at looking 😦
      I seem to be running faster and faster today and getting absolutely nowhere! My head’s full of Bristol and balloons. A lot of hot air, in fact! 🙂 Hopefully I’ll get chance to come over and have a look at yours before I float away. Thanks, again! 🙂

    1. I would like a project to be committed to, Pauline, but I don’t know of anything local and because I don’t drive it’s not so easy. I should try harder! 🙂

  4. Well you certainly managed to get some lovely shots of the gardens Jo even if you couldn’t go in! I use photos as my inspiration too – they are a wonderful way of reminding me of all the many things I’ve done and can feel grateful for plus now I’m blogging they provide inspiration for posts too! Hope you have a nice break down in Bristol and enjoy some time off (I don’t know how you manage to fit everything in with all the posts you do and replies to everyone so enjoy a well earned break!) 🙂

      1. I can well imagine it – with modern technology we are all so accessible 24/7 and sometimes we need a break. Still the beauty of the blogging is that you can set your own agenda and posting schedule and if you need to wind it down a bit for a little while your readers will understand! 🙂

    1. This was about 3/4 weeks ago, Cathy, and it was lovely. We had to be in Durham because Mick was getting some car repairs done, so we used the time rather nicely, and then I met up with my friend Lynne for a picnic (and wine 🙂 ) on the river bank. The weather’s changed a lot since then.
      Today has been jam packed full of washing/ironing/cooking Sunday lunch and watching Rafa. Got James packed to go back to Leeds and I’ve just sat down with 5 mins to myself. 🙂 Happy Sunday, Cathy! All ok with you? I’ll try and get to you later because I haven’t even decided what walk to do for tomorrow’s post yet. Better get to it! 🙂

      1. All is well; I’ve just been busy getting Alex moved to Richmond and trying to get organized around here! This place falls into disarray when I’m gone. I wonder why? Glad you had a nice picnic (with wine!) on the riverbank. xx

  5. I snatched a quick look at this on the way to bed last night, and lay under three doonas and the full moon holding the images of flowers against that beautiful stonework in my mind. I’m so glad you couldn’t get into the gardens. I like the narrative structure of this post – the ending those wonderful reflections.

    1. 3 doonas!!! Still bitter cold then? I never associate that with Australia. Perhaps I’ll stay here, after all 🙂 🙂 Goodness knows what this winter will have in store for us! Hibernation might be a plan. 🙂
      Lovely gardens-I’m glad you liked them! We were there about 4 weeks ago and I’d quite forgotten about them. It was part of a wonderful day when I left Mick at the Botanic Gardens (to follow, whenever I can fit it in 🙂 ) and met a friend for a picnic by the river.
      I was sitting staring at the screen and thinking ‘goodbye six words- it was fun’ and decided to have one quick look in my photos first. This was the result 🙂 Funny old life! And, thank you…

      1. Maybe our doonas are a bit threadbare. One belonged to my mother who died 20 years ago. Cold at night, but warm as spring during the day.
        I’m eager for the Botanic Gardens.

      2. You’ll have to wait, lovely lady 🙂 I have no sure idea yet what I’m doing for tomorrow’s walk and then that’s it for a week. My Inbox is overflowing despite my best efforts and I need to spend some time looking at Bristol and what I hope to do there. Not blogging while I’m away, partly because I need a break from it and partly because I’m staying with friends and have a full agenda. 🙂

    1. Thanks for that, Sue 🙂 This almost became my last 6WS because I’ve had a deadly dull week and couldn’t think what to post. (can’t possibly admit that in 6 words, can I? bad for the image 🙂 ) Anyway, ‘inspiration’ struck. 🙂 How’s Mum- has she settled to the new place?

      1. My Mom will move in October so this was a trip to help with packing. When I returned I helped Dave’s Mom move and she is doing so well. Wonderful to see her positive attitude!

      2. Unusual that you’ve got them both at the same stage of life, Sue. I can’t imagine anyone better suited to helping them cope with the move than yourself 🙂

      3. It is quite the coincidence that both de used to leave their long time homes within such a short time frame. So proud of them for making the decision while they are healthy and happy rather than being forced to do so at a later time. You are so sweet Jo. I’m doing what I can to be helpful in the transition.

  6. Your post was my inspiration for gardening tomorrow – wow, if only we had gardens like that in North Texas in the summertime. Wonderful post!

    1. It’s quite funny Mary, because our own garden is currently undergoing renovation! It used to be a peaceful space to sit in but since we had new fences put in, much of the planting was wrecked. Mick’s reworking it and currently I sit beside huge bags of compost 😦 I think I’ll have to move to Durham 🙂

      1. 🙂 so funny. Our local rabbit destroyed so much of our garden that it’s not even close to being what it used to be. Yeah for Mick, before long you’ll have a gorgeous place to sit again – Durham is wonderful though, so I’ll second that!

  7. It had to be water with you :). These wall fragments look amazing. I hope that Tish gets to see them. Will you be hopping on one of these hot air balloons or just watching them from the ground?

    1. Just watching I’m afraid. 😦 It’s an expensive game riding in a balloon. But it’ll be a great weekend. I’m seeing a friend from way back, who lives in Bristol, and meeting up with Viveka of My guilty pleasures. Hope you’re being restful? 🙂 My best watery post for ages was Seaton Sluice. Horrible name but wonderful water.

    1. This was the outside of the wall, which was planted with a border, Mlissabeth. There wasn’t much to see within the gates so I didn’t mind too much that it was closed. 🙂

  8. Oh you clever thing, combining the two challenges so effortlessly 🙂
    I’m always popping up at places only to find I’ve arrived on the wrong date or at the wrong time 😦 but I am glad you found plenty to occupy your camera – I’m not inspired to join in this week, seems a little too similar to the recent muses theme and anyway I have to go and sort out some roses 😀

    1. Mick knew these gardens were closed but they were in an area of Durham we didn’t know well and it made an interesting walk. I left him at the Botanic Gardens afterwards and went for a picnic by the river with my friend who lives in Durham. It was a lovely winey afternoon 🙂
      I had no idea what I was going to post this morning but when I spotted these I thought I might as well use them and it didn’t work too badly. They were going to be part of a walk post but I have a couple in hand. No idea what Monday’s will be! 😦 Not Moors!

      1. If this ever makes it into a walk, I will do! Or maybe even if not. I left Mick in charge of the camera! I had intended to stay but the picnic opportunity was too good to turn down. We’ve been before but not for quite a long while. It’s rather nice- if you Google Botanic Gardens at Durham you’ll find it. 🙂

    1. Full of hot air, Sue! That’s me 🙂 I had a wonderfully wrinkly, sad old poppy I was going to dedicate to you but it’ll have to sneak into another post now 🙂

  9. That’s Inspiration in a lioely nutshell! I wanted to touch the Iris leaves; they were so transparent I felt like I was seeing the cellular structure.

    I’m finding on my walks now that I sometimes decide ahead of time that I will seek individual plants, blooms or a single grass stem or I will be content to see the macro view. Possibly because I walk the same trails often and need to mix it up to keep them interesting. Establishing a different purpose at the outset has added some ‘awareness’ as well.

    Can’t wait to see your posts after the balloon fest. Those are almost more color than one can take in. Have fun!

    1. Thanks, Sammy! I’m really excited about it. 🙂
      I don’t much like repeating walks but it’s sometimes unavoidable. Camera in hand is always a help for me.

      1. Hello, Jo! Things are great here, thanks for asking. 🙂 I hope you are having a wonderful summer and I can’t wait to see some photos from your next weekend adventure!

  10. Your photos so often point our attention to small beauties. That’s one of the benefits of photography, helping us appreciate details we may otherwise miss.

    Good for you in finding the pleasure of your trip outside the gate. I like your positive attitude.

  11. What a wonderful place! I love the stone wall and that one last bloom is gorgeous! Hope you have a splendid time next weekend!

  12. Lovely impressions, Jo. Seeking inspiration, I often choose your way and look through my photos. Wishing you a wonderful Saturday!
    Dina & co x

    1. It’s a lovely trip down memory lane, Dina, and I often remember things I haven’t posted about- like this! 🙂 Thanks a lot! Wishing you and the ‘family’ a happy weekend 🙂

    1. That’s a good question! My gardener husband is in our garden fighting with a trough so I don’t have the expert on hand. I thought it was some kind of cactus but I’m probably way off mark. Our Jude will sort you out an answer 🙂 (incidentally, Mick just came in and said yes- a form of artichoke 🙂 )

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