Friday, July 31, 2015

It's Pimm's O'clock

Prior to traveling to England, Susanna was looking forward to a daily Pimm's Cup.  Pimm's #1 is a gin based liqueur that has been around since 1850's.   

Served mixed with lemonade or sometimes ginger beer, it is muddled together with trims such as orange or lemon pieces, mint sprigs, fresh strawberries or raspberries, cucumber and other fruits. No two alike!

Every pub owner offers a Pimms cup with their own special twist and it was fun to try them all!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Old Manor House, Halford

Our first Bed & Breakfast lodging was the Old Manor House, a 16th century house located in Halford, Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire on the edge of the Cotswolds with beautiful gardens and a high level of quaintness every direction you looked! Located about an hour and a half from London, it is a mere 7 miles from Stratford-upon-Avon. We spent three nights here and enjoyed a fabulous English breakfast each morning.
At one time, these stalls held horses. They have been turned into storage areas now.

This was the 'brew your own tea' setup that was stationed in the hallway outside of our rooms.

 Within walking distance of the B & B was The Halford Pub where we relaxed for the evening. On our stroll back, we found the iconic English Telephone Booth for the obligatory photo op.

Back at the B & B, what caught my eye was the owner's amazing collection of assorted tea caddies.

These beautiful English treasures were once used to keep the loose leaf tea under lock and key because of the high cost of tea at the time.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hidcote Manor Garden, England

Probably, my favorite garden on this trip to England was Lawrence Johnston's Hidcote.  A meandering and wandering garden of about 30 different garden "rooms", with each area hidden from the next.
There was a little bit of English Weather rolling in as we began our garden time but fortunately, it rolled past us. This garden took 30 years to create into the great garden.

Lawrence Johnston enjoyed plants growing into a jumble, flowering shrubs mingling with roses, climbers scrambling over hedges.  He would bring back unusual specimens and mix them in with formal terraces and features, calling it an "Arts and Crafts" style garden.
This oversized spoon and fork announced the entrance to the café.

Hidcote is maintained by the National Trust. Prior to going to England we joined the Royal Oak Foundation which is the USA affiliate of The National Trust. This gave us free entry and free parking to all National Trust Properties. We visited at least four National Trust properties which made our tax-deductible membership in the Royal Oak Foundation worth every penny. 

This Circle was made with boxwood and yew.  Both growing into each other and trimmed to reveal different textures and height.

Getting harder and harder to finds plants taller than Angelica!
The Fuchsia garden. 

The Gardener's Potting Shed, exterior.
Potting Shed, interior.
(Click on the photos to make them full screen.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Gypsy Wagon, OR, 'Quick, get your camera!'

We had our Sat Nav set on "fastest route" which would occasionally take us on a hidden (and even narrower) back road. In doing so we saw a few sights not normally in the travel brochures, like this fabulous gypsy wagon complete with solar panel and outdoor kitchen. We quickly snapped a photo and moved along.

On another driving adventure, we found ourselves headed down the narrowest passageway imaginable. Once you mastered a trick or two, you really could convince yourself that two vehicles would be able to pass each other. Our fearless and intrepid driver maneuvered several tight spots, not only on the open roads but in parking lots, too!
Special thanks and high five to David for getting us around and about England!

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Barnsley House

We picked up our rental car, bid farewell to London, and headed out to the English countryside challenging David's adventurous driving skills. Our first stop was The Barnsley House, a Cotswolds country retreat and the personal gardens of Rosemary Verey. Rosemary was a prolific garden writer and garden designer from about 1970 to 2000. She wrote numerous books such as The English Country Garden and she designed gardens for many including Elton John and  HRH the Prince of Wales.
The Barnsley House is currently a hotel and spa but fans of Rosemary Verey may come and visit the gardens which continue as she originally laid them out.

This was our first day driving out into the English countryside and it was fun to get to see such a lovely home and garden.  We arrived early and stretched our legs walking the garden.

The house was originally built in 1697 as a Rectory.
The veggie garden with rhubarb and such gorgeous large garden cloches.
The poppies were just a wee bit past but there were a few flowers still hanging on.


To visit the gardens, one must pay an admission or be a guest of the hotel or restaurant.  We were here on a Sunday and chose to have Sunday luncheon here at The Potager restaurant.

Isle of Wight tomato, ricotta, pinenuts & croutons
Beetroot carpaccio, goats curd, apple & hazelnuts. Really, too beautiful to eat!
Seasonal Soup of Tomato, Basil, Radish.

Serenity and beauty around every corner.