Herterton Country Garden ~July 2022 ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

I know y’all were taken with Frank and Marjorie’s story last week, though I condensed 50 years into a couple of paragraphs so touched on not much more than an inch of it. They come across in Frank’s book as two lovely people, loving each other and their garden and home. I took a phone shot of them from the book, taken in 1994, they’d be in their 50’s here,under the arches of the byre, and sitting next to the falconer statue.

Frank & Marjorie

I took a fair few shots of some of the flowers on display, with some interesting (I think anyway) factoids.

Foxglove (digitalis purpurea)
The term digitalis is also used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides, particularly one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus. Foxglove has medicinal uses but is also very toxic to humans and other animals, and consumption can even lead to death.
Japanese Anemone (anemone hupehensis)
hupehensis, which means “from Hupeh province, China”, refers to a region where the species is known to occur. So that makes sense 🙄.
Astrantia (astrancia major) ~ the great masterwort, native to to central and eastern Europe.
The plant also produces an essential oil that can be used in herbal medicines.
Persian Cornflower (psephellus dealbatos)
a species of Psephellus native to the Caucasas Mountains and Turkey. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental perennial.
Purple Toadflax ( linaria purpurea ‘Canon Went’)
It is native to Italy but it can be found growing wild as an introduced species in parts of western North America. In the UK it is regarded as something of a weed, spreading readily on stony waste ground and walls, although it is tolerated for its attractive, long-lasting flowers which are very attractive to bees. This plant is poisonous to livestock, but in a recent study conducted in Italy the plant was found to contain a compound exhibiting antifungal activity, making it a potential natural and ‘green’ anti-aflatoxin B1 agent suitable for use in the food industry.
Martagon Lily, or Turks Cap Lily (lilium martagon)
is a Eurasian species of lily. It has a widespread native region extending from Portugal east through Europe and Asia as far east as Mongolia. It  is highly toxic to cats and ingestion often leads to fatal kidney failure.
Purple Viper’s-bugloss, or Patterson’s Curse, (echium plantagineum)
It is native to western and southern Europe (from southern England south to Iberia and east to the Crimea), northern Africa, and southwestern Asia (east to Georgia). It has also been introduced to Australia, South Africa and United States, where it is an invasive weed. Due to a high concentration of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, it is poisonous to grazing livestock, especially those with very simple digestive systems, like horses. When eaten in large quantities, it causes reduced livestock weight, and death in severe cases, due to liver damage. It can also irritate the udders of dairy cows and the skin of humans. After the 2003 Canberra bushfires, a large bloom of the plant occurred on the burned land, and many horses became ill and died from grazing on it. Because the alkaloids can also be found in the nectar of it’s flowers, the honey made from it should be blended with other honeys to dilute the toxins.
poppys in the wildflower garden

And we saw some butterflies

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
The red admiral is found in temperate regions of North Africa, North and Central America, Europe, Asia, and island regions of Hawaii, and the Caribbean. It resides in warmer areas, but migrates north in spring and sometimes again in autumn. Red admirals are territorial; females will only mate with males that hold territory. Males with superior flight abilities are more likely to successfully court females. They are the Tom Cruise of the butterfly world. It is known as an unusually calm butterfly, often allowing observation at a very close distance before flying away, also landing on and using humans as perches.
A small tortoiseshell, or angelwing. (Nymphalis) and a Red admiral.
Today, the anglewing butterflies are found only in the northern hemisphere. Carl Linnaeus described the first members of this group in 1758, and it has since become clear that anglewing butterflies evolved from a common ancestor. During winter months, in latitudes with snow cover, all members of this group hibernate as adult butterflies During hibernation, hidden in various shelters, the butterflies are dormant. The camouflage provided by crypsis (the ability of an animal or a plant to avoid observation or detection by other animals)is advantageous to hibernating butterflies. Potential predators will have difficulties in seeing the dormant butterflies. With their wings closed, exposing only the ventral cryptically coloured underside, they blend in with their surroundings.

More pictures taken with my film camera at

OK school’s out 🎓 😊 Stay tooned for next week!

Birkheads Secret Gardens ~ May 22 ~ part 2

On with the flowerfest!

Alpen Rose (rhododendron ferrugineum)
Common Knapweed (Centaurea nigra,)
fake heron surrounded by Boris’s Avens (geum coccineum) (there’s a joke to be made there I think)
a rather large peony
moss phlox and garden phlox combo.
faerie
Common lilac ( syringa vulgaris)
another peony
Broom ( cytisus scoparius )
Angel’s Tears (narcissus triandrus)

They’ve managed to have a Great Crested Newt or 2 in one of the ponds. This threatened creature has suffered a massive decline and is now legally protected. It can be easily identified as it is our largest newt and the males have vivid breeding colours. Not that you can see those on my rather blurry photo, but I’m including it anyway as they are rare as rocking horse poo due to young boys back in the day hoying them out of the water and taking them home in a plastic bag, where of course they died.

Great Crested Newt (Triurus cristatus)
Not a scarecrow. (non a cucumerario formido)

So that’s the end of our flowerfest, but stay tooned for whatever comes next.

ref: https://www.birkheadssecretgardens.co.uk/

Birkheads Secret Garden ~ May 2022 ~ part 1

I’m not sure why it’s secret, it’s on a map and everything. Anyway it’s a great place for photography. Started in 1978 when Christine and her Hubby moved into Birkheads, and decided to become self sufficient. They grew organic vegetables, fruit, kept ducks & bees and saw how the wildlife were attracted to their land. In 1987 they started to to make an environmentally friendly garden on a site that had been surface mined (opencast) for coal.  Most of the gardens have been created using recycled materials, paving, slates, wood etc. Garden features and sculptures are made from mainly recycled metal and driftwood, others have had a past life in some other place. They were one of the first Green Tourism Businesses to achieve a Gold  Award.

Sophie and I love visiting here, there’s always something new to see and obviously different times of the year have different flowers and plants for us to focus our cameras on. So here we have it, The Flowerfest! 💐🌷🌸

woody spurge (euphorbia dendroides)
Austrian Poppy (papaver alpinum)
lupin not sure which one.

We spotted some dragonflies gettin’ jiggy with it.

true love
orchid primrose (Primula vialii)
Lupin (lupinus polyphyllus)
Pencilled Crane’s-bill (geranium versicolour)
Columbine (aquilegia vulgaris winky)
Elephant Ears (bergenia crassifolia)
Broadleaf speedwell (veronica teucrium) & Green-veined white butterfly (pieris napi)

the gardens are potted with featured items amongst the flowers

?duck and white bells.
fossilised tree trunk 350 million years old, found when digging out the clay soil when they were making a new pond.

I think that will do for this week, we’ll have a look at some more flowers and features next time, and there will be a film on friday post to accompany this series. Stay tooned!

📷 😊

Raby Castle Revisited Again! – August 2019

The thing with some places, like Raby Castle, Alnwick Castle, and a few other sites not part of English Heritage or National Trust but run privately, is that you buy a ticket to get in to the place, which isn’t always cheap, but allows you to visit as many times as you like within a year of buying it. Raby Castle is well worth a few visits and though we’d been back in May, we wanted a return trip to do the butterflies in the beautiful gardens there, always a spectacle.

This year was the year of the painted ladies invasion. The butterfly migrates to the UK each summer where its caterpillars feed on thistles. Every ten years or so there is a “painted lady summer” when they arrive en masse and 2019 was it.

But it wasn’t all painted ladies…

Comma

Small white

Red Admiral

Peacock

Meadow Brown

and the ladies

and it wasn’t all butterflies..

Not sure if these are wasps or hoverflies and I didn’t hang about to find out! 🙂

I was amazed at how much pollen a bee can collect and still fly!

Ladybird

Geese

Raby has a wonderful herd of deer, and we were lucky to get close to these guys again

The chaps

there’s always one….

all pictures can be embiggened with a click
full album of pretty pictures HERE

stay tooned folks!

Raby Castle Revisited – May 2019

Back in August 2018 Sophie and I went off to visit Raby Castle and had a great time chasing deer around the place. When you buy a ticket to get in there, it lasts for a whole year, so we revisited in May when the spring flowers were popping up.  The castle itself is a grand castle, so much to see, so much history, and a deer park in the extensive grounds and I did a 7 part series on it last year.  The history of the castle, and the Neville and Vane families who held it, is quite fascinating, and for a potted version, you can read my original post HERE.

On this occasion though, we didn’t go into the castle, but spent the morning photographing flowers and a few other bits and bobs. So no more preamble, on with the show!

Iris

Pink and Blue

Iris to be and greenflies

I’m not great at remembering flower names

Big round things

Red-head

Clematis

Daisies, I think

The bonkers hedge

❤ ‘s

Peony bud

Floppy flower

An exotic flower in the conservatory.

So that’s all this time, though we’ll be back later in summer to do the butterflies.

Stay tooned for next time when we visit the Bowes Museum.

Wallington Walled Garden ~ February 2019

Regular readers might remember my posts of the wonderful interior at Wallington Hall back in October 2018, if not, check it out HERE if you like. In February Sophie and I revisited the walled gardens as we had heard about the field of crocuses/crocusi/croci (whatever plural you prefer) on display.

On our way to the garden, we took in the view across the fields from Wallington Hall.

Misty Morning

There was a ‘plant some snowdrops’ thing going on where the public could help the gardeners populate areas with snowdrops, but there were quite a few parents and kids doing it, and we left them to it.

DIY Snowdropping

Snowdropped

Had a close encounter with a duck along the way

Ducky

and then we got to the crocus field

There were more in beds in front of the conservatory

and a lovely view of the crocus field.

We couldn’t resist revisiting in the conservatory

and then we walked back past one of the lakes

to have lunch in the cafe there

Waiting and Watching.

Stay tooned for our next adventure!

 

Wallington Hall and Grounds ~ October 2018 ~part 1

Sophie and I had a lovely autumnal outing to Wallington Hall back in October, chilly, but with blue skies and autumn leaves and colours everywhere.  Of course the hall has a history, so that’s up first.

The History Bit

Wallington is a country house and gardens located about 12 miles west of Morpeth, Northumberland, England, near the village of Cambo. It has been owned by the National Trust since 1942 after it was donated complete with the estate and farms by Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, the first donation of its kind. It is a Grade I listed building.

The estate was originally owned by the Fenwick family back in 1475. The Fenwick Baronetcy, of Fenwick in the County of Northumberland, was a title in the Baronetage of England. It was created on 9 June 1628 for Sir John Fenwick, of Wallington Hall, Northumberland. He sat as Member of Parliament for Northumberland and Cockermouth. The second and third Baronets also represented Northumberland in Parliament. The title became extinct when the third Baronet was executed for treason on 27 January 1697. The third Baronet, also a Sir John, was a Jacobite conspirator. I’m not going into Jacobitism here as it’s a very diverse and quite complicated political movement but basically a whole bunch of Brits aimed to restore the House of Stuart to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland. You can google it for further info. Back to Sir John.  He had succeeded his father to become an MP, and also later got to be a Major General in the army in 1688.  He was a strong supporter of King James 2nd, the last Roman Catholic King of England, who was deposed in what was called the Glorious Revolution in 1688, and succeeded by William 3rd, or William of Orange, as he was known, a staunch Protestant. Our Sir John remained in England  when William came to the throne, but had money troubles which led him to sell Wallington Hall to the Blackett family. Then Sir John decided to plot against William, insulted Williams Missis, Queen Mary, and was involved in a couple of assassination attempts on William.  Eventually he was nabbed, and was beheaded in London on 28 January 1697.

So on to the Blacketts. Also given a Baronetcy, they were a wealthy Newcastle family of mine owners and shipping magnates. They shared the Fenwick’s love of parties and Jacobite sympathies, but the Blacketts managed to avoid both financial ruin and treasonable activities. Sir William Blackett (1657-1705) bought Wallington in 1688 as a country retreat from the family’s main home at Anderson place in Newcastle, and knocked down the medieval house and pele tower that the Fenwicks had built, though he converted the ground floor into cellars, which still remain. The new building was quite basic, it consisted of four ranges built around an open central courtyard. The upper floor was reached by ladders and had no internal dividing walls.    It wasn’t meant to be a permanent home, but a residence for when the family wanted to have shooting parties for their poshknob pals.

The Fenwicks had also been known for their parties and hospitality, and the Blacketts followed the tradition. Sir William’s son took it to excess and employed six men simply to carry him and his drunken guests to bed after their grand parties. Upon his death he left debts of £77,000 and an illegitimate daughter, Elizabeth Ord. Wallington passed to his nephew Walter Calverley on condition that Walter married Elizabeth and adopted the family name. Walter agreed to this and in 1728 Wallington passed to the 21-year-old Sir Walter Calverley Blackett (1707-77). Surprisingly, and fortunately Sir Walter proved a better household manager than his uncle had.

He had the house completely remodeled, adding staircases and partitioning the upper floor into rooms. The gardens and grounds were extensively redesigned with the introduction of pleasure grounds, the planting of many trees, and the digging of watercourses and ponds. Sir Walter also built the clock tower which dominates Wallington’s courtyard. Amongst the many figures involved in the recreation of Wallington was Capability Brown who may have contributed to the work in the East and West Woods and was certainly responsible for designing the pleasure grounds at Rothley Lake. Sir Walter’s children died before him, so Wallington passed to his sister’s son: Sir John Trevelyan.

The Trevelyans were Baronets as well, and Wallington stayed in their family until 1942. The family includes authors, artists, MP’s and their history is far too long for a little blog post, but also quite fascinating.  Sir Charles, the 3rd Baronet was the last to live there. He was first a Liberal and later a Labour MP. He served under H. H. Asquith as Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education between 1908 and 1914, when, as an opponent of British entry into the First World War, he resigned from the government. In 1914, also, he founded the Union of Democratic Control an all-party organisation rallying opposition to the war. In the 1918 general election, he lost his Elland seat, running as an Independent Labour candidate, but won Newcastle Central for Labour in 1922 and held it until 1931. In early 1939, following Stafford Cripps and with Aneurin Bevan among others, Trevelyan was briefly expelled from the Labour Party for persisting with support for a “popular front” (involving co-operation with the Liberal Party and Communist Party) against the National Government. He was the last surviving member of the first British Labour cabinet.

He had 6 kids, the eldest being Sir George, the 4th Baronet. He was effectively disinherited when his Dad gave Wallington to the National Trust.

In 1925, George went to read history at Trinity College, Cambridge, in accordance with family tradition. Whilst there he began his 42-year-long association with the famous ‘Trevelyan Man Hunt’, an extraordinary annual event which involved a chase on foot over the wild Lakeland fells, with human ‘hunters’ hunting after human ‘hares’. This energetic event was started in 1898 by Trevelyan’s historian uncle G. M. Trevelyan and the Wynthrop Youngs, and still continues today, as a kind of hide and seek game without dogs or weapons. He also became an educational pioneer and a founding father of the New Age Movement.

Not sure why Dad didn’t pass on the Hall to George, perhaps George was just too busy to look after the place, another fascinating chap.

That’s the history bit done, I’ve cherry-picked  just to give some context to the pictures, but so much fascinating stuff that I’ve had to leave out! Never mind, google is your friend! 🙂

So on with the pictures!

Because the evenings were drawing in, Sophie and I decided to do the grounds first and the house after lunch. It was lovely walking through the woodland and by the lake.

On golden pond

 

The Japanese Maples were gorgeous

 

 

There’s always ducks.

 

We walked to the walled garden and huge glass house that are in the grounds.

 

 

 

there were only a few flowers left, grasping at the last piece of sunshine they were likely to have.

 

but plenty of berries

berry red

There has to be a  lichen shot of the day..

 

and it was good to find a coffee hut hidden amongst the woodland.

 

Also in the grounds, a giant compost-loo.  I immediately thought of Eddy  my living-off-the-grid guru pal and took a picture for his opinion.

Compost loo for giants and ladies with dogs.

I think that’s enough for now, as always, there are still more pictures to see, and next time we’ll have a wander into the glass house for some exotic blooms.

All pictures are clickable and embiggenable if your eyes are bad 🤣

Stay tooned goodly folk.

 

 

 

Stockton on Tees~ Butterfly House ~ Part 2

I thought I’d just do one more post from the Butterfly House before we move back into History and visit Raby Castle.

Part 1 HERE

I don’t know what make this little bird is, but he was flying about inside the butterfly house.

 

As well as butterflies, there’s a separate section for Meerkats and reptiles.

 

 

 

There are some lovely ponds and details

 

but I love the flowers and butterflies the best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think that gives you an idea of how lovely it is to spend time in the Butterfly House.

Click on any picture to embiggen it if you like, and stay tooned for Raby Castle and lots of deer!

Stockton on Tees ~ July 2018~ The Butterfly House

A little break from history and people. Stockton -on- Tees, not a name to conjure up images of steamy jungles or cocktails on the river boat. But Sophie and I know Stockton has an amazing huge glass building full of exotic blooms, plants and butterflies we just don’t see over here in the outside world. The chap who started it collected them from all over the world, and now they just perpetuate in Stockton, their ancestry is diverse, but these are many generations on so have British passports. 😀 😀

No funny captions, just some pretties to look at, so have a cuppa tea, (wine/whisky/etc) de-stress (Pete, Gary 😀 )and join me in tropical Stockton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

there, don’t you feel all lovely now? I always feel uplifted just looking at and thinking about the beauty of nature so I hope you did too. All are embiggenable with a little click.

stay tooned for a few more later on in the week.