The message went something like: ‘there’s a plant fair coming up, and it looks like it’s the last one of the season we will get to, do you fancy a road trip?’, I knew that it was exactly what I needed and the journey was planned.
The day arrived and we set off northwards to Felley Priory which is about 45 mins from home. We aimed to arrived fairly soon after opening time but not dead-on opening time as, quite frankly, I’m not of a mind to queue. We wandered in and immediately my eyes fell upon an Impatiens sodenii and a purchase was made. I just had to have it. Gardening chum muttered something about it being easy to take cuttings from and I have taken the hint.
We then made it into the plant fair proper. I love this plant fair, the range of nurseries is one of the best in my opinion. We did the usual browsing, commenting routine, then Gardening chum shrieked, and I do mean shrieked and broke into an unseemly run ‘Aspidistras!!!!!’ was the cry and I followed in hot pursuit. Here I have to dial back to part of our car-conversation where I blamed gardening chum for my recent aspidistra purchases and said there was now one I needed/had to find. If there was to be another french purchase (not a euphemism) then if she let me know we could share the cost of delivery. Fast forward to the shrieking and the running.......
Yes, the aspidistra of my heart’s desire was there: the very beautiful elatior ‘Asahi’; sitting there on Bob Brown’s Cotswold Flowers’ stall. Well it did not sit there for long, it was grabbed and in my hands in a blink of an eye. Shortly followed by Aspidistra elatior 'Lennon’s Song’.
I stopped and breathed. Gardening chum made her choices and we merrily paid for our plants. We were so happy I cannot begin to describe it. We could have gone home there and then as we were just over the moon.
We did not go home there and then. We wandered the rest of the stalls like circling sharks and I made a small purchase of Drimiopsis maculata and gardening chum swooped on a stall of plectranthus and other desired beauties then it was time for tea and cake.
Following the very good cake, we made our way into the gardens. We realised that for no good reason we had never actually seen the gardens.
What a huge mistake it is not to visit these gardens.
There is a madness of topiary (collective noun - promise) and it was exceptional topiary. Beautifully crisp and well maintained.
We stood and admired this dual row of pleached trees that we failed to properly identify. They had rather large berries and looked just stunning. It is simple elegance.
The garden is made up of ‘rooms’ and none of them are particularly large, which I always like as it is almost a collection of ‘back garden’ sized areas that means you can get inspiration from them; the space is translateable.
We then collected our purchases from the plant-creche and made our way home. It was exactly the day out I needed. A good chat and catch up with a friend, a sunny day, plant purchases, a good garden and cake. Happy days are made of this.