Good Morning Daffodil!

I stepped out the front door this morning and noticed a winking of bright yellow to the left side of the walkway… A little daffodil had bloomed overnight and was greeting me !


I also notice a couple of the hyacinths are about to burst open in bloom… WooHoo!


Hope today is the start of a wonderful week for you!!

Thursday Door – Wyndcliffe, Chepstow

First order of business – Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Visit Norm 2.0 for more doors and details.

Second on the docket – My door this week is from our trip to Wales last year. We had a plan to visit the Gardens at Veddw one afternoon, and have tea with the owners, Charles Hawes and Anne Wareham. The Mrs had discovered a nearby Sculpture Garden during her research phase, so we planned to visit there in the morning. We arrived at Wyndcliffe Court Gardens, near Chepstow, in Monmouthshire, Wales late morning. Clouds were building, and it started to rain so we stayed inside for just a bit waiting for the rain to ease up before we began our tour of the gardens. There is a wonderful little summerhouse, and photo one is of the doorway on the upper level…


On the lower level on the back side of the house is what I surmise to be some sort of Hobbit Door. (The Mrs insists it is a window, but since this is my Thurs DOORS posting, it is a door for today…)


Following our tour of the gardens, we sat on a very comfy sofa next to the fireplace and enjoyed tea and scones while the rain tapped on the windows…


Note #1 – The china pattern of that little teapot is the same pattern as my mother’s china set!!

Note #2 – I just found out today that Wyndcliffe Court Gardens permanently closed their doors on 25 September, 2016…

Note #3 – After enjoying our tea, we went and spent a wonderful afternoon at Veddw!!


Impending Bloom!!!

Last week, while taking my morning coffee down at the dock, I noticed 2 things (actually, maybe more than 2, but only 2 that are noteworthy). One of the purple lilac bushes was just starting to re-bloom (for the third time this year!). And the chrysanthemum bush closest to the water was just about to bloom… see, Impending Bloom!


This past week, The Mrs and I took a mini-vacation to celebrate our 10 year anniversary. We spent 2 nights and 3 days at Starved Rock State Park  outside Oglesby,  Illinois. We hiked, and we ate, and we drove a bit, and hiked some more. And ate more… Then we drove to St. Ignace, Michigan and took the ferry to Mackinac Island, MI. We stayed at a B&B on the island for 3 nights and 4 days. We hiked, and we ate, and we rode bikes a bit, and hiked some more. And ate MORE…Then we drove back home to Springfield, Illinois in 2 days, getting back about 3-ish yesterday afternoon.

The really exciting parts about all this? Firstly, I got lots of pictures of some really great doors that I will be posting for Thursday Doors!! And secondly, I will make three different postings this week to cover the three phases of our trip… In between these postings this week I may hike a bit, and eat a bit… you know the routine  🙂



Memories of Veddw

It is a cloudy, drizzly, and earlier this morning, foggy day, plus I am fighting the cold that is floating around, sooooooo… it is a good day to sit at the computer and reflect on our trip to Wales last August. I had started doing a chronological recap of our trip, but got so busy with other things that I stopped  after writing about our trip across the pond by ship. The Mrs has been keeping up with the journey on her site, and has posted a few entries about our visit to Veddw, an extraordinary garden located in Monmouthshire, Wales, UK. I feel motivated to jump into MY reflections about this day of trip even though I am due to write about our hike on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path…

When The Mrs & I decided last year that we wanted to spend a walking holiday in the UK, we finally settled on  somewhere in Wales (I have ancestral ties there but had never been there). And we started walking seriously (sorta) to get conditioned for our upcoming hike. I also started researching the internet to find out everything I could about hiking in Wales. And I came across the blog of a gentleman who had extensive experience hiking in Wales… Charles Hawes – Walking The Blog. I contacted Charles with many questions about the “best place” to hike in Wales and what equipment/gear would be suitable for our trip. In the exchanges back & forth, I felt I got to know Charles well, and appreciated his candor and wisdom. Turns out he and his wife, Anne Wareham, live on a property called Veddw, and they have created a wonderful and unique garden space on the property. The Mrs & I discussed visiting Veddw during our holiday after viewing their website, and we both felt it was REQUIRED!

So, after we finished walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path over a period of a week from Dale north to St. David’s, and then 4 days in Ireland. On Sunday, August 23rd, we visited the Gardens at Wyndcliffe Court, near Chepstow and Tintern first thing in the morning, in a fair bit of drizzly rain… We had tea and cake in the wonderful Tea Room, snuggled up nicely next to the fireplace.860


The Mrs next to a sculpture…

Then, we headed off for Veddw as the sun broke through the clouds…


They have their very own highway directional signage!!!

The Little White Car is our Wales rental car… Note the high-tech signage … I think Charles posted that just for us, knowing that we Colonials easily  get lost & confused…


First view of Veddw… and the view they have of the countryside is below…


I took 32 pictures of Veddw…. hardly enough!!! But The Mrs took bunches more (plus video) and she is posting photos on her blog (here) . I will try not to post duplicates of her pics… and I am not going to post all 32, either. I may refer to her pics in some cases (kinda like back-story, or He-said/She-said).




The reflecting pool… so COOL!!!! Anne discusses the challenges of getting the reflection to “work” in her book, The Bad Tempered GardenerSpeaking of her book, we bought a few copies of her book while at Veddw and had her sign them (some for gifting, some for keeping!)  I love the interplay of the organic curves of the hedges and the linear boundaries of the pool and paths…


The recurring poetry of the curve of the hedges echoes throughout the garden…



The Mrs had a couple pictures of the thistle plants on her last posting, and said how much she loved these… But in her photos you couldn’t really get an idea of the SIZE of these plants… as you can see, they are much taller than she is!!

I love this little pebble/water bowl with Charles’ and Anne’s names on the rim….


One more endearing photo of The Mrs….


And finally, a picture of Grace with Charles as we were saying our goodbyes…


At one point during our visit, it started to rain and so I scurried down to the house and sat on the sun-porch with Charles & Anne chatting while The Mrs continued to wander the garden taking pictures…  Charles then invited us to stay for tea, and I graciously accepted.  I assumed he actually meant tea, although from my time in Australia, I knew the in the Queen’s English, tea usually refers to dinner/supper.  A little while later, Charles said he just wanted to clarify that he meant just tea, not a meal, and explained that one time he had invited some other folks to stay for tea, but they expected the full tucker! I told him it was understood, and we were more than happy to just have tea… and biscuits!


It was then back to our B&B,  Parsons Grove Holiday Cottages

Grace’s Blog about Veddw

I’m guessing only a small handful of people will have any idea what the title means… Charles? Anne? John?  Did anyone make it??

The Mrs posted a blog entry about our visit to what WE consider the coolest and mostest wonderful garden IN THE WORLD…. Veddw, in Wales.

Here is the link to Grace’s blog posting about Veddw

Note: this is her third posting all  about the same day, presented in bite-sized pieces.  So, Charles, make sure you check out Part One…. Grace has gotten into the lavatory pictures groove and has an OUTSTANDING offering!!!!!