We went to Vietnam in 2010 and despite a few challenges it has got to be my favourite ‘overseas’ trip ever. Steve took this picture of a rooftop sheltered by colourful umbrellas in Hanoi.
Since this time of year is a bit dreary, I thought I would go through some of our old photos and blog places we visited prior to starting Garden Scout.
We visited Marrakech in 2009 and of course visited Yves Saint Laurent’s Jardin de Majorelle. It is a must see. Marrakech is a bit of an overwhelming experience, but the garden is a peaceful haven away from all the crowds and hassle of the medina. The place is visually stunning: the blue of the villa is an amazing backdrop for the various cacti species.
It feels like we’re very nearly there: the end of winter (hurray!). I have to admit that I find February the most wearying month, despite the signs of spring, because it seems to be persistently grey. I had been eyeing up the weather forecast for a few weeks and had spotted a sunny day on one of my days off, so I planned a visit to RHS Wisley in Surrey with my good friend Hayley.
I knew there would be lots for us to see at Wisley, even in winter. And there was: snowdrops, crocuses, hellebores, the odd daffodil. They currently have a butterfly display in the glasshouse (visit at lunchtime – the queue is shorter). The willow and dogwood stems were stunning as was this little Robin who sat on this tree singing for ages.
If you’re sick of hibernating, I really recommend a trip to Wisley. It’s about an hours drive from central London. There is a nice pub about five minutes drive from the gardens if you fancy lunch or dinner: The Anchor on Pyrford Lock.
Whilst I had the best of intentions to visit lots of gardens whilst in New Zealand, we were on the go so much that we really didn’t get much of a chance. However while in New Plymouth, Steve and I shot off on our own for a quick wander around Pukekura Park, one of New Zealand’s botanical gardens.
The Park has many features, including a 1930s tea house, fountain, fernery and glasshouses amongst native bush and formal gardens. We only got around a small section at the southern end of the park, but I was really very impressed by how beautiful it was and it didn’t hurt that we had glorious weather.
I love The Selby. What a surprise to see that he has paid a visit to Matakana and Puhoi, small villages north of Auckland and not far from where I grew up. They are really wonderful places to visit: Puhoi is now being marketed as a “historic village” and Matakana has been known as a foodie haven for a few years now. My Dad was telling me on my latest visit home that my grandfather used to help out at the Puhoi Pub. It’s not pictured, but it’s a sun trap and so full of character.