A grand day out

I spent my birthday at Chateau Bourdaisiere in the Loire Valley. For me it’s a perfect day out – a fantastic building, a wonderful restaurant, fabulous grounds & a super shop! My birthday is in August so if I’m in the Loire Valley, I’m likely to have great weather. Spending the afternoon sitting in their walled kitchen garden amongst the dahlia collection, drinking local chilled wine under a shade & eating delicious home grown food with my husband is a very happy experience. There are literally hundreds of varieties in so many shapes & sizes – all labelled & grown …

Chelsea week & lots of media attention!

    It’s been a pretty manic but really interesting week this week. It kicked off last Saturday with photographer Oscar Kornyei from Metro newspaper visiting. We are selling our house & Metro had decided to showcase our place as the cover photo for their property section. Jo Knowsley;  a journalist is delightful & was so enthusiastic about our house it was quite infectious! Having lived here for seven years I’d got used to our garden & had forgotten all the stuff we’d changed to make the house our own, but it came flooding back as we were chatting. Oscar took lots …

What an entrance!

As a garden designer I’m always looking for ideas & assessing what other folks & cultures have created. Ideas come from all over the place so I take photos on my travels to refer to when I’m looking for inspiration. An entrance needs to ‘set the scene’ & reflect ones personality or status perhaps. We’ve just returned from a super trip to Provence & I just loved it there. It was all so stylish, I fell in love with their style all over again as I do on all my trips to France. We were driving down a little lane & …

Can’t we too have stone pavements?

After tree buying in Sunny Autumnal Hampshire I dashed off for a few even sunnier days in Portugal for a quick break with my husband. Besides enjoying 25 degree sunshine & warm balmy evenings – yes in November lucky me! It was great to see & enjoy a different culture. We visited the newly built Paula Rego foundation with its fantastic architecture. She was a local girl (now living in London) & designed the place herself I understand – it’s gorgeous… Pictured here next to it on the right is a scientific research centre just up the road from us. …

A French tale

A French tale We’ve just returned from an eventful trip to Burgundy. The car died & we suffered a great deal of hassle but nevertheless, they are so right when they say how stylish the French are. Everywhere we went the landscape was so well considered & beautiful. My header photo is just typical of what I mean – four fabulous Acers mark the centre of the village & provide shade too for visitors & locals alike. Lines of poplars are everywhere which is of course classic French countryside but doesn’t it just look fabulous? We visited Fontenay Abbey built …

Further holiday thoughts…

Have you ever been to Morocco or Marrakech? I thought it a wonderful, fascinating place full of contrasts. Completely different in every way to other trips I’ve taken & I found it really inspirational. My husband proposed to me there so it’s pretty memorable for lots of reasons! Unspoilt is a ridiculously overused term I know but it is true for this place – just look at these two photos I took in the Atlas mountains. I enjoyed the simplicity & totally unspoilt almost biblical landscape. The architecture & style in Marrakech is very modest. From the hot dusty street, …

Thinking about a holiday?

All these holiday adverts on television have made me think about trips past & future. We love to go over to France with our dog Charlie by car & this colourful  post today is a quick trip down memory lane to revisit the wonderful gardens at Villandry in the Loire valley. We went about 5 years ago & I really fancy going again. If you haven’t been & love formality & topiary – go! It’s fantastic. Just up the road from Monet’s famous garden – quite a contrast & well worth the journey & of course the food & wine …