An English Spring

by Lucy Lee Jones on March 6, 2010

in Cotswolds, Daffodils, England, GARDENING, GARDENS, London, Sissinghurst Castle

DAFFODILS IN ST. JAMES PARK, LONDON
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DAFFODILS IN ST. JAMES PARK, LONDON

 

Four years ago during my Spring Break, plus a few days, I traveled to England with a friend. Although it was very cold, especially to someone fresh from Hawai’i, there was no rain for the three weeks we spent there.

These photos will be in three sections. The first group was taken in London, in and near St. James Park. As you can see above, the daffodils in England are a brilliant herald of Spring. They are some of the first flowers to be seen.

MORE SPRING DAFFODILS IN LONDON
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MORE SPRING DAFFODILS IN LONDON

 

They were in large clumps everywhere I looked.

ANOTHER VIEW OF THE DAFFODILS
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ANOTHER VIEW OF THE DAFFODILS

 

Of course, there were more flowers in bloom than just daffodils. Tucked here and there one could find these lavender beauties.

MORE LONDON BEAUTY
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MORE LONDON BEAUTY

 

Here is another view in St. James Park with its carpet of blooms.

CARPET OF BLOOMS
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CARPET OF BLOOMS

 

If you rest on a park bench by the river to feed the squirrels or have a cup of hot coffee and warm up, you will see the “old man willow.”

OLD MAN WILLOW
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OLD MAN WILLOW

 

This second section shows our drive through the Cotswolds, visiting such places as Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare country). Again, there were early blooms poking through the cold ground in little hidden spots.

EARLY SPRING IN THE COTSWOLDS
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EARLY SPRING IN THE COTSWOLDS

 

Of course, who among us doesn’t love the romantic sight of a thatched roof? It brings back memories of “Merrie Olde England,” doesn’t it? There are a few flowers blooming along the road in front of this home.

THATCHED ROOF COTTAGE
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THATCHED ROOF COTTAGE

 

Mostly we drove along narrow roads lined with bare hedges, and through the narrow winding streets of the villages.

ENGLISH HEDGEROWS
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ENGLISH HEDGEROWS

 

The fences were made out of the yellow limestone so common in Cotswold country.

LIMESTONE FENCES
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LIMESTONE FENCES

 

For the third part of our journey, we drove toward the English Channel and the White Cliffs of Dover. One of the English women I’ve come to learn about is the novelist Vita Sackville-West. A visit to her home in Kent (Sissinghurst Castle) took us through her “white garden,” even though very little was blooming. If you are interested in seeing her gardens in full bloom, go here.

 

The English spring daffodils were in full bloom here, too.

DAFFODILS AT SISSINGHURST CASTLE
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DAFFODILS AT SISSINGHURST CASTLE

 

And narcissus….

NARCISSUS AT SISSINGHURST CASTLE
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NARCISSUS AT SISSINGHURST CASTLE

 

In every corner of her gardens you are invited to rest and meditate.

A PLACE TO MEDITATE
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A PLACE TO MEDITATE

 

I love to fantasize about what it would be like to live in an English home like this one. I can imagine the novelist working out in her gardens (when she wasn’t writing), then sitting on the bench against a warm wall to view her results, cup of tea in hand.

HOME OF VITA SACKVILLE-WEST
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HOME OF VITA SACKVILLE-WEST

 

There are pictures of Sissinghurst in bloom on this website, as well as a different view of her home. I spied these blooms climbing up the end of her home.

CLIMBING VINES
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CLIMBING VINES

 

Sometimes you are left with the feeling that she has just paused in her planting. These beds are ready for the new annuals to be put out. Because her gardens and castle are part of the National Trust, I’m sure there are gardeners who still carry on her “white” theme each year.

BEDS READY FOR PLANTING
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BEDS READY FOR PLANTING

 

Here is another cluster of color along one of the winding paths.

CLUSTER OF COLOR
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CLUSTER OF COLOR

 

There was a moat that surrounded one area with a boathouse under the bridge. The boat was still there! In the background you can see the roof of one of the oast houses, used for drying hops to make their brew.

MOAT
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MOAT

 

I’d love to go back to visit Sissinghurst sometime when it comes back to life in the early summer. Someday I will get to do that.

A hui hou!

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