Summer Sunshine- for anyone who needs some today

Not everyone likes winter. By mid January, we’ve eaten all the Christmas cake, planted all the bulbs, and start wishing for  sunshine and warmth.

Easton Walled Gardens can always be relied on to provide some sunshine. Just as temperatures start to tumble and frost and snow hit, they announce the winners of their summer-themed photography competition, Halcyon Days.

OVERALL WINNER - TessaSmith - Early morning Somerby.jpg

Tessa Smith from Somerby, Leicestershire, takes us to “Early Morning” in her overall, first prize-winning entry. We can almost feel the rising warmth at dawn and smell that fresh-new-day scent.


Geoffrey Leng won the Summer Life category with his photograph called “Fun in the Sun.” Brings back happy memories of family holidays and  time on the beach with my two  daughters. Hold on to those  heart-warming thoughts. They are so precious.


Karen Antcliffe won the Wildlife category with her entry called “Sitting Pretty.” I’m currently planning more flowers to attract butterflies to my own garden. One of the joys of summer.


Maralyn Smith won the Countryside At Work category with this striking image.It makes me want to join a photography course right now. There’s so much energy in this photo.

HC - EWG - Peta Banks, Grassy Terrace in the Evening Sun.jpg

Peta Banks  was highly commended for  “Grassy Terrace in Evening Sun” in the EWG category. This is a favourite view of mine. Mum and I have stood on the lookout platform and surveyed this scene many times. It’s a sight that makes the heart sing.

WINNER - Plant Portrait, WilliamCollison.JPG

William Collison won the Plant Portrait category with this fabulous close up. The flower looks like it has been sugar-coated. So beautiful.

There were well over 1,000 entries in the competition which was sponsored by Savills. The gardens, just off the A1 near Grantham have been restored over the past 17 or so years by the Cholmeley family. There’s been a garden on the site for around 400 years, and it’s  famous for its sweet peas in the summer, and snowdrops in the winter.

Ursula Cholmeley from Easton said :” We’ve had a fantastic response with entries from all across the country. The overall winner captures the peace and tranquillity of a summer’s morning. Something in the depths of winter, we can all truly appreciate.”

A gallery of the winning photos and runners-up will be open at Easton during Snowdrop Week from 11th to 19th February.  For more information about opening times and for travel directions look on the website at Easton Walled Gardens.

Hopefully these photos have helped to dispel any winter gloom. And if you are a keen photographer, why not send in an entry this summer. You never know,  you might find  your work appearing in the  annual Easton exhibition, and be £500 better off!

Day 23 of my #AdventCalendar for gardeners 

Remembering my grandparents. Amazing gardeners. My inspiration. They taught me to love nature. Sending my love to them, and to all of you today. I’ve grown paperwhite narcissi, red anemones, and chrysanths to go with the foliage from my garden and rosehips. My relatives are never far from my thoughts. 

WordlessWednesday. Walled garden doors 

Found at the National Trust’s Calke Abbey. We love the panel sides. Someone took a pride in this job. It’s right next to the Orangery, which dates back to 1777.

 How many gardeners have walked through this doorway into the walled kitchen garden over the past 250  or so years. It’s good to stop and ponder as we close one door on 2016 and think about opening new doors in 2017. 

Day 20 of my #AdventCalendar for gardeners- a visit to Calke Abbey. 

Mossy roofed potting shed in the walled garden at  the national Trust’s Calke Abbey. There’s a tiny bed in there for the garden boy whose job it was to keep the greenhouse boilers stoked. Alison and I have started a tradition to walk the gardens in the week before Christmas, and reflect on what life was like for the gardeners. Then there’s a food fair in the old riding school where we sample local honey, Leicestershire cheese, home made fudge and chocolates- and we stock up for the festive season. It’s rather a wonderful tradition to have started. 

The walled kitchen garden is looking beautifully tidy. The beds are mulched and weeded.  All set for the spring sowing season. Quite a cheerful sight to behold.

It’s nice to find something new in a favourite- much visited garden. This area was being excavated last time we stopped by.  What treasures  were under the mounds of earth, we wondered.  It looks like a boiler for the hypocaust heated wall. Isn’t it amazing it’s still here. And the beautiful  brick floor is still intact.

We mooched in the peach house. I think this blue paint  is my all-time favourite colour. I’d love to paint my potting shed the same hue. It reminds me of the Mediterranean.

We peered through the misty  peach house  windows. In the summer these open right up. There are deckchairs to sit and gaze at the wild flowers and waist high grass.

View of the peach house /orangery  from the church. We spotted these glorious giant white-painted cloches. And coveted them! 

A few ancient espalier  fruit trees  remain in the walled garden. We love their mossy-covered boughs. 

We hadn’t noticed this door in the walled garden before. In summer there’s so much to see. But in winter,  we notice the bare bones of the garden and home in on  wonderful details like this.

We’ve never seen the sheep grazing right to the house before. We like this seasonal change. The sheep set a scene that could easily grace any Christmas card. We just need some snow to complete the picture. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tour of Calke Abbey and the kitchen gardens. Do you have a garden that you love to visit as often as you can? Do you find new treasures each time you visit? Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to comment- so I know I’m not just talking to myself. 

Day 16 of my #AdventCalendar for gardeners. Spiders web in the middle of my pergola. Snow from last winter. Have a great weekend, all x

The pergola goes from the back patio to the corner of the house and then round to the front drive. On the corner turn, there’s a spiders web. It’s totally overgrown with ivy and Montana clematis at the moment. Another winter renovation project. I’m choosing lots of new climbing roses and clematis for the replanting.