Sunday, 1 June 2008

The Grand Tour ... part 2

After the kind and lovely Kim et famille had chaperoned Mr Custard and I around the various Open Houses of Brighton and given much of their time and wonderful company we left Brighton feeling buoyant though weary about the legs. Charmiane our loyal sat nav lady... took us on a rather convoluted route towards our next destination on the grand tour.. Midhurst.
En route. we stopped at an inviting village inn, in the pretty village of Poynings . I realised at 2.30 p.m that we had not eaten that day and I was running on empty so we re-fuelled at a pretty village inn and set off into the stunning south downs listening to Charmiane telling us in a controlled but clearly irritated voice.. that we should have turned left not right at the previous junction.
Oh well... nay mind.. it is good to get lost sometimes... great discoveries are often made without a map or guide and I love to explore unknown territories.
We arrived in Midhurst by late afternoon and checked in to our hotel.. a place that held fond memories for us from a previous visit... a long story but one I would love to tell one day!
The events of the day had caught up with me and I suddenly felt exhausted .. so quickly fell asleep whilst trying to read what was left of the Saturday Telegraph after Mr Custard had practiced his origami on it!
That evening we dined at the local Loch Fyne restaurant on a delicious supper of oysters and salmon and then took a gentle stroll around the city limits (!) of Midhurst.. a very pretty Sussex town with a wealth of history and attractive half timbered houses and the indigenous local flint and red brick.
I can't believe this is the only photograph that I managed to take but I loved this vintage sign..
The day ended on a slightly eccentric note... sitting up in bed eating tiramissu and watching the mildly disturbing and yet hilarious Eurovision Song Contest... enough to send anyone to sleep..
Sunday morning.. awoke to the sound of rain but this did little to dampen my growing excitement for our next and last destination on our mini grand tour.. a place of fairy tale memories that stretch back at least 40 years... wonderful WISLEY.
When I lived in Berkshire it was just a hop and a skip to visit this mecca of the plant world and my father being a passionate gardener who inspired in me a love and lifelong appreciation of gardens.. would regularly take me to the RHS headquarters at Wisley.
So here I was... some years hence arriving at Wisley with two vivid snapshots from my childhood.. the long perennial border that I loved to run along and of the house.. a stunning tudor style house which I presume houses the administration offices for the RHS. ... a noble cause.
As we had set off early we were probably the second people to arrive and judging by the size of the car park I was pleased that we would not be wading through a sea of people to enter the gardens.
The weather was wet and the light dark and murky but this didn't stop me from snapping away at every step and turn..
It is a fantastic feat of landscaping and planting with an enormous wealth of plant species and trees set in the Surrey countryside and only a whisper away from the M25... though you would not know it... peace and beauty reign within.
The rockery was a vague memory of mine... climbing the cleverly designed steps, abundantly planted.. so beautiful.. and immaculate... hardly a weed in sight.

These photos are for dear Sal... who yearns to return to Wisley..
I will leave you here to take the tour as my words could never do justice to the beauty of this place...

A field of Alliums stunning and inspired!

Enter the glass house for some outrageous plants...

The Doll's Slipper Orchid..



The scale of some plants was truly amazing...

Such wise words from Leonardo...



A passion flower curtain...
Passion flower beauty..



Cottage garden plants..
And finally.. rendezvous with a memory... the long herbaceous borders...FAB!!!!!

This weekend was perfect from start to finish... meeting my dear friend Kim, acquainting with some of the finest countryside Britain has to offer and my long awaited rendezvous with Wisley.. Phew... a bit of an emotional roller coaster but one I would happily do every day of the week.. given the chance!

17 comments:

Ragged Roses said...

Absolutely stunning Michele and thank you for having the same music to accompany it - just perfect! You didn't tell me about the tiramisu in bed - sounds like fun, I bet Terry Wogan would have approved! Wisley just looks wonderful, oh to be able to peer out of a window and see those alliums. A very special weekend.
Kimxxx
The smoked salmon from Lloch Fynne is fab!

Simone said...

Your heart is certainly at Wisley isn't it? I love the Leonardo da Vinci quote. Thanks for giving us a peek into your journey.

BeachysCapeCodCupboard said...

How stunning! What a fabulous treat to revisit a favorite spot! I love all your photos, but it was the photo of the glass house that really transported me back to England... the looming sky, the lush green grass... apart from my native New England, YOUR England is the spot I've been to most on this earth, and I just love it! Hubby and I went there quite often until we started our (what has become large) family. We kept saying we'd return once the toddlers became a little older, but we kept having kids and there was always a toddler! lol We've already started dreaming of returning now that there doesn't seem to be another little one in sight and the last of the toddlers won't be one for much longer! =)

Sal said...

Ahhhhhhh...fabulous!
I long to return and even though Rosemoor is not that far away from me,it is Wisley that will always be in my heart!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE LOVELY PHOTOS,MICHELE!I will look at them daily ;-) Sal

Sal said...

P.S. Note to self...must pick the right moment and tell 'DH' that a 'Grand Tour', like Michele's, is very necessary to my well being!;-)Sal

Dana Jones said...

Those purple alliums look like giant purple polka dots on the landscape!

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing. Your posts make me want to visit! And I am not even the traveling kind. lol!

Chelle said...

You always seem to be able to enjoy these lovely weekend getaways. You are such a lucky lady. I look at your pictures and drool, and even dream about the possibility of a weekend getaway here in Texas. You make me so envious. So many beautiful things to take in, I bet you still could not get your eyefill of them all. Thank you for sharing such lovely pictures and a wonderfully eloquent re-tell of your adventures.

Vintage to Victorian said...

What a wonderful grand tour! Thanks so much for sharing it all with us.

Cathy said...

Sounds like the most perfect weekend. I am so envious of your trip to Wisley - my best friend and I have been desperate to go for years and keep promising ourselves a weekend away together to go, but it hasn't happened yet. Glad you had such a lovely time, even if it was an emotional rollercoaster - sometimes those are the best times.
Cathy X

Vanessa said...

Wisley looks absolutely fantastic, you lucky buggar. I bet it was like dejavu at times walking around for you.

I like your decodence in bed eating tiramisu, I have to say I sent hubbo out for a McDonalds once at midnight and we sat and ate it in bed, once sense good another sense bad.

Vanessa x

LiLi M. said...

Wow it's like if you were able to take pictures of a garden in Victorian times (think time capsule)...you have just captured that atmosphere so well. Thanks! I love the quotes in this and the former post!

carolyn said...

I adore heracious borders...

Nonnie said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend. You made me feel quite nostalgic as it's been ages since I've been to either Brighton, Midhurst or Wisley and they are all places with fond memories for me. How lovely to get to meet Kim too. I was amused that you give your satnav a name as we do to. Ours is Doris. I joke that she is Simons 'other woman' as he doesn't like to go anywhere without her! I'm coming round to her charms a little as she has got us out of some 'almost lost' moments lately, but I find her voice so irritating that I find myself shouting back at her a lot and I am a map lover so she hasn't become my best friend just yet. Thanks for sharing all your lovely photos with us and glad you had a lovely time. x

Garden girl said...

Beautiful photos Michele, I really fancy a trip there one of these days as well. Love the look of that cottage garden!x

Vintage Amethyst said...

How lovely, such beautiful photos.
I like the sound of you sitting in bed eating tiramissu and watching the Eurovision Song contest! Giggle.
Love Alison x

Rubyred said...

What a fabulous trip!I bet you were exhausted after all that fun!
love the photos,especially the passion flowers.I've recently bought one,can't wait to see how it does in my garden!

LOUISE said...

Thanks for the lovely walk around Wisley Michele. It is outrageous that I live in West Sussex, yet have never visited. Why I don't know? We always arrive early to get a headstart around visitor attractions too, much better for the photo opportunities. You have reminded me that I must scatter a few more alliums around the garden this autumn, I didn't have nearly enough this year. I know your pitstops very well, Midhurst is lovely and Poynings hold a very large carboot sale which I have been to a few times. I wonder where Charmiane will lead you to next? x