This isn’t a walk so much as a wallow in flowers at an Open Garden event last weekend. I did propose a walk to nearby Witton Castle, but ‘someone’ was feeling lazy, so we opted to loiter instead. Hillside Cottages are in the quintessentially English village of Low Etherley, a few miles from Bishop Auckland, in County Durham. A look over the garden wall will show you the lie of the land. Calm and pastoral.
I love nosing around a garden. My plant knowledge isn’t huge, but I do enjoy identifying a friend or two. Small explosions of colour lure me into the borders. Rich plum, ‘poke you in the eye’ orange and soft pink mingle with the green.
There are two gardens, side by side, quite different yet so harmonious that the division between them is little more than a gap in the adjoining hedge, which I initially fail to spot. The first swathes gently down the hillside, beds and borders speckled with colour. The lady owner is obviously a lover of tulips, with all their nuances, subtle or flaunted. Poker straight or curling seductively.
I can hear the sound of pipes, and rounding a corner I come upon the culprits. I don’t pay them the attention that I should, because I am beguiled by the rhododendrons. In the most glorious colours, the sun sparkles through them, bathing me in radiance.
This is the very best time of year, and life burgeons all around me. I almost miss the delicate lemon magnolia, opening to the sun’s caress, high above my head. Tea is brewing, alongside an array of homemade cakes, but first we must round the pond and slip through the fence to next door.
A sense of humour prevails in next door’s garden, where another pond winks at me in the sunlight.
This garden feels much more enclosed, and you wander beneath tall pines, seeking out quirks and fantasies. By a summerhouse the owner lounges benevolently in a deck chair, chatting to some older ladies. Probably they supervised the baking.
Don’t you just love the dog’s expression? And what might these two gardens have in common? Wait for it…
Scintillating rhododendrons, of course! I’ve never been able to resist them. I hope you didn’t mind me taking it easy this week. This is the time of year when traditionally I share a few gardens with you. I have a much more energetic one lined up for next week.
Wait a moment, I can hear you saying… what happened to the cake? I can assure you that my rhubarb cake was moist and delicious, but there were no seats left, so I had to eat it perched upon a wall. Not conditions that are compatible with cake photography. Sorry!
Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk? It will be a Bank Holiday in the UK, but I’ll still be out and about. After that I’ll be taking a break for my visit to Poland. Many thanks to you all for your walks and for your great company.
Although I’m a sun worshipper, I love a moody sky. Enjoy a cliff top walk with Suzanne :
Jackie never needs any encouragement to eat and drink. Join her for a cuppa?
I’m offered all kinds of walks. Janet has some beautiful sculptures to share :
And Drake, often one to surprise, takes us to a tobacco museum!
Adventures in sand, water and caves with Liesbet. This lady likes variety :
Or take a stroll with Pauline and Jack. They make such delightful company :
And speaking of delightful, a certain Mrs. Farrell has been busy on our behalf :
Denzil offers easy walking, not far from Brussels. Sounds good to me :
It’s surprising what you can do, if you really try. Georgie was walking in a good cause :
Meanwhile Eunice has taken a leaf out of my book this week, with a really beautiful Open Garden :
Finally, an Australian Autumn, where Rosemay finds what it takes to tire the grandbairn out :
Yet another lovely morning here! I’m starting to take it for granted. Let’s see if it holds for the Bank Holiday. Meantime, have fun, and take care. See you next week!