Saturday, 6 October 2007

Golden autumn day part two

So, we went to Colby Woodland Gardens in search of a golden autumn and found it, of course. Colby is such a beautiful, peaceful place to visit. It has a calming influence on all of us, save for Rosie, who has a habit of bellowing: "Hurry UP Grandma!" or " Can I have an ice cream NOW?" But that's excusable in a three-year-old.

Hannah filled her pockets with acorns. In the kitchen we have a small collection of acorns, peach stones, plum stones and conkers to plant. We also have last year's haul of acorns growing happily in pots. They are a couple of inches tall now. By the time the children are my age, they'll be big trees. I love the idea of planting trees for posterity. In the first house I lived in, a 1970s built house in a little hamlet in deepest rural Worcestershire I planted acorns in between Mum's roses. When we moved from there in 1975 there was a little oak sapling. I wonder if it is still there?

Colby Woodland Gardens were restored by a Mr Peter Chance, who donated them to the National Trust in 1980, which explains why we never went there as children, despite visiting Pembrokeshire every weekend to go sailing. Instead we went to the Malvern Hills, clambering up to the top of Worcestershire Beacon and rolling back down again. Then we'd have lunch at the tea rooms, which my childhood memory tells me were the Copper Kettle tea rooms, but I could be wrong on that. We used to have ham or cheese and salad. I saw them recently on television, actually, when Monty Don took his group of drug addicts there for a meal. The tables were in a long conservatory looking out at the view. On Monty's programme (Growing Out of Trouble) it still looked exactly the same.

I'm conscious, taking my little ones out for the day, that I'm forming their memories and I hope they will have happy ones of lovely, calm, family friendly Colby too.

I love the contorted branches of the old rhododendrons. They are quite Tolkein-esque. The sort of trees that would have alarmed a Hobbit, adventuring far from the Shire. Today I alarmed my girls by reciting Jez Alborough's Eddie's Teddy story and they got worried about bears in the wood. They're a bit young for Hobbits, yet, but I'll think we'll come back looking for Frodo and his diminutive pals when I've infected Hannah and Rosie with Hobbit-fever too.

We bought dolly mixture from the shop on the way out and headed home, stopping at Bethesda on the way to buy milk and double cream from the fridge in the farm's dairy.

On the way there we went to the garden centre at Tavernspite for sweet pea seeds. did I just get my seeds? No, of course not! I also got a tray of beautiful little cyclamen, a gorgeous variegated ivy and two packets of tulip bulbs. Hopeless!


  1. What lovely pictres, and sounds a lovely day!

  2. sounds a gorgeous place and that you are laying down lovely memories for your children. I am astonished now mine are adult at how much they remember and how the camping holidays, the times staying with grandparents, all the high days and holidays seem to have stayed with them.

  3. Beautiful pictures.

    Crystal xx

  4. What a lovely place and georgeous pictures.

  5. What a lovely idea collecting acorns etc to grow . . I know we grew various things with our kids, but have had to leave them all behind. Beautiful pictures.

    Yes we are all living the good old days . . now, but we just don't always notice until they have gone . .

  6. I find your blogs so soothing Mags - like reading a really good gardening/lifestyle book! Loved the pictures. I can't wait to introduce mine to the hobbits etc too - J is old enough, but his head is too full of Harry Potter to have room for anything else! I agree that you sound like you are laying down lovely memories.


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