Living A Dream-Meeting In Malvern

Sometimes dreams do come true. (Photo showing the crop of unfortunately named rapeseed, Brassica napus, the source of canola oil that was seen blanketing the hills and valleys of rural England as we rode the train from London to Malvern.)

Going there, to England, they speak the same language, sort of, has been a fantasy all of my life. Seeing the countryside and gardens in movies and magazine, it seemed the most perfect of places with its verdant lushness and tranquil villages. The opportunity presented itself in the way of a garden blogger meet up in early May. Who would have thought that jumping into the blogdom would have led down the primrose path to the magical land of myth and mirth? Dear friend and fellow innocent abroad Gail of Clay And Limestone begat the idea of making this journey together. Many thanks, Gail, for planting the seed of something that seemed an impossibility at first, then blossomed into reality. (Photo of a fallen tree carcass on the Heath at Hampstead during a tour by longtime friend Ralph who so generously put us up our first night in London. Thank you my dear friend, it was so nice to see you again.)

There were many astounding sights seen, so many that it will take several tellings to scrape just the surface of the experience. To begin, there was the Malvern Spring Garden Show where an international bevy of bloggers met thanks to the hard working VP of Veg Plotting and Helen the Patient Gardener. On the Meet At Malvern site, click on the photo on my sidebar to view it all, there is a Mister Linky of stories written by the attendees that will flesh out the show itself which can be retrieved by clicking here-Essentials #1.

At the show there were display gardens set up, full landscapes with hardscape and plantings. Ideas to take home were everywhere. Combinations of colorful flowers and foliage, leaf textures and the use of pathways and seating were well represented. Despite the chill wind and drizzle there were crowds of garden lovers taking it all in, as shown by the backpack toting, hooded Ewa of Ewa In The Garden, pronounced Ava, who traveled from Poland to join in the fun.

The event even drew British royalty. Princess Anne, daughter of Elizabeth, sister of Charles and the hardest working royal according to every single blogger under the monarchy, visited Deb’s display, surrounded by not so secret security, easily recognized by the scowls on their faces not to mention wearing ties. I was impressed by her demeanor, straight as a board posture and the fact that she carried her own umbrella. No, we did not curtsy, but we were asked to please step back as we inched forward to get a better photo.

Phytosanitation laws prevented us from buying plants to bring home, a dagger through the heart, but improper packing for the climate required Gail and me to purchase hand made woolens from the delightful Sophie of Wild Woollens from Dent, Cumbria, LA10 5QR, to warm our core(s). We both bought these stylish felted coats and matching fingerless gloves, donning them in the stall and feeling cozy for the rest of the day. We could barely try things on with the crowd of women doing the same in the small space. Sophie, seated, was very successful with sales that day I am happy to report. Her smile says it all.

In addition to the show gardens set up outdoors, inside the floral marquee were displays that took our breath away.

We were just going to walk through this large tent on the way to pick up a free book from Wiggly Wigglers for which we had been given a coupon. There was no sense looking at the plants for sale since none could be brought home. That idea was soon rubbish, a favorite word in the UK, when our attention was snatched by a display that featured carniverous plants that are native to our part of the world. We then slowly looked around to see fabulous flowers featured inticingly in every direction.

The combinations were smashing and the plants were on offer for sale in smaller pots at each stand.

Warmed up, free book in hand we went back outside and discovered yet more displays. This raised bed of alpines was an idea that could be easily copied. Logs surrounded a scree type planting of small specimens. This could be done on a smaller scale, a way to grow these treasures no matter what type of soil one has. Gail points to get our attention. (The variegated plant in front is not part of the planting)

Art rendered in wood, metal and stone was featured prominently. The flying dragon at the top of this display caught my attention. You might notice the image in the mirror of the photographer in action. The lavender raincoat will never be worn in public again, subjugated henceforth to the gardening gear peg in the mudroom. Gail said at least she could always spot me in the crowd of black and tan raincoats worn by everyone else. It was the only color available in my size is the only defense.

That night we were treated to a potluck dinner at Helen’s lovely home. The happy faces of newfound friends are even more wonderful than the flowers, gardens and art seen at the show. Thank you all, it was the greatest of pleasures to meet you.
(seated on floor from left: me, Sally the Constant Gardener, Victoria of Victoria’s Backyard. On sofa from left:Claire of Plant Passions, Yolanda Elizabet from Bliss, Helen the Patient Gardener, Ewa of Ewa In The Garden, Michelle of My Horticultural Ramblings. Standing from left: Lia of Midnight Brambling, Zoe formerly of Garden Hopping, Karen of An Artist’s Garden, Gail of Clay And Limestone, Elizabeth of Welsh Hills Again, Denise aka Easygardener of Greenforks, Michelle of Veg Plotting.)

So ends the first leg of the journey. There is more, much more to come as the intrepid travelers representing the USA went touring the gardens and countryside of England.

There is a permanent page on the sidebar containing the links to the England posts as well. Click England Trip-Two Innocents Abroad to view it.

The England trip posts:

Touring With Friends-Ledbury And Hampton Court Castle, Herefordshire

An English Country Garden-Stockton Bury

Batsford Arboretum With Victoria

Victoria’s Leap Of Faith

Sissinghurst Part One

Sissinghurst Part Two

Great Dixter-Finale


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46 Responses to Living A Dream-Meeting In Malvern

  1. Do we in the UK say ‘rubbish’ as a descriptive word more than you in the US?

    Love your images Frances – it amazes me how different things catch everyones eye – and I particularly like the picture of the white wisteria

    There is nothing wrong with the lavender raincoat –

    Hi Karen, it was lovely to meet you and everyone. We don’t say *rubbish* at all here, lol. Thanks for the kind words, your own images set the standard. There are so many pictures to go through, 822 in all, we can only chip, chip away at organizing them into small vignettes of the trip. Seems like we quite lucky with that volcano action! πŸ™‚

  2. Joanne says:

    Gosh I hadn’t realised there were so many of you met up. Some lovely photos thanks for sharing them. What a pity I didn’t go and meet you all. I have been rather behind with gardening and blogging recently.
    I have recently just lived my own dream and visited Monet’s garden something I have wanted to do for many years, it did not dissappoint.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. I am sorry you were not at Malvern, but it sounds like your own trip was very satisfying! πŸ™‚

  3. gittan says:

    Oh Frances, it must have been great to visit England, Malvern and to meet the other gardenbloggers. I can’t tell you how bad I wish I was there! I wish I had understood that it was in England when you mentioned it the first time. I couldn’t amagin that you where going to England for a meeting =) That’s probably why I thought that Malvern were somewhere in the US. I’m so glad that you did get there since it was a dream come true for you. And I’m looking forward to see more from your visit. Next time there’s a meeting I’ll make sure that I get things right “s” So maby we’ll meet somewhere, sometime… that’s something to dream about my dear friend / dubbel Kram gittan

    Dear Gittan, it was a fabulous meet up in so many ways, but would have been even better had you been there. It was a long way to travel, but worth it for the realization of a life long dream. May we meet someday, somewhere as well! πŸ™‚

  4. gardeningasylum says:

    How lovely when improper packing leads to a shopping opportunity! Though it’s a cash crop, the hills of rape are just stunning this time of year. Looks like a marvelous time was had by all.

    Thanks Cyndy, what an astute observation, lol! The yellow flowers en masse where noticed at every stop. The Brits didn’t seem to even notice it, but Gail and I were mesmerized, especially from a moving train. England was beautiful and the people were fabulous! πŸ™‚

  5. patientgardener says:

    I loved meeting you and Gail as well as all the others. I especially enjoyed our day out on the Saturday. Hopefully we will all meet up again one day

    Dear Helen, you were so kind to put up with us, thank you. The Johnstone Tour was a high spot of the trip. Until we meet again…

  6. Darla says:

    This amazes me on so many levels. To actually meet and visit with such great gardeners while visiting some of the most beautiful garden displays. It appears you were surrounded by Royalty of the garden variety… I’m sure it was an experience etched in your heart and mind forever.

    Thanks Darla. You have described it perfectly, almost too wonderful to be true. Seeing not only gardens, but the beautiful English countryside, meeting the kind and gracious people whose blogs we read and some new to us was embedded into my psyche to be remembered with great fondness forever.

  7. Les says:

    I’m envious of your trip. No country does garden show like the Brits. I was fortunate enough to see the Hampton Court Flower Show back in 2000. The displays were unbelievable, but the pavillions were SO crowded as it was pouring the whole day. I was not happy having to be shoulder to shoulder, butt to butt with so many people, pushing my way through in order to see things. On top of that my camera broke that day, so I was in a bad mood. A trip to the Australian wines tent lead to an attitude adjustment and I enjoyed the uncrowded outdoor displays without worrying about the rain.

    I hope there will soon be more posts for your viewing public to enjoy.

    Thanks Les, it was a trip to be envied, each part of it. We were lucky in that the day we were at Malvern, the crowds were not bad at all. We were able to be inside the tent and look at each display easily. I have heard the Chelsea is crowded like the way you describe Hampton. Malvern is lesser known, up to now! so there were fewer people, thank goodness. Glad you were able to have that attitude adjustment! There are many more posts to come, you will be sick of looking at them. πŸ™‚

  8. steve says:

    Well, what a delicious visit – not only to those amazing displays (especially that very active carniverous-looking one, lol – (it looks like it was raining upside down!) – but also to see all the lovely ladies who comprise so many of the blogs I visit. Thanks for the treat and a thank you to the gals who posed so demurely! It is patently obvious, Frances, you had the time of your life. No wonder.

    Thanks Steve. It was a trip of a lifetime, for we are not good travelers, so glad we made the hop across the pond. US native plants were well represented at the show and at the large public gardens we visited, displayed in interesting combinations that I have never seen before. More of that in future posts. πŸ™‚

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    What a wonderful start to your trip. All of those alpine plants are so sweet in that planting. It is fun to see all the gardeners in the last photo. To put a face with the names I have seen over and over again. I bet it was torture to see all of those beautiful flowers and not be able to bring some home. You will have to scour the nurseries here in the states for some of them. I love your rain coat by the way. I think it is beautiful. They needed something cheerful to brighten up that dreary weather you ran into.

    Thanks Lisa. As for not being able to bring plants, or even seeds home, yes, it was painful to say the least. I have some lists of plants to search out, and many photos with the name tags shown, an excellent way to remember them. Thank you for the raincoat remark, but I felt dorky in it. Seeing that raincoat in many of the posts of the UK bloggers even drives the need home further to get a new one, in a neutral color. πŸ™‚

  10. Randy says:

    So jealous that you got to go to this magical place! The American carniverous plants did seem to steal the show!

    Rain we have rain! The peas are blooming like crazy and this rain could not have picked a better time! One inch or more is expected, considering we have got 1 inch in the past 45 days this is great!

    Hi Randy, thanks. It was a trip to inspire jealousy for sure. Glad to hear your peas are doing well, ours are as well. Hooray for just enough rain, but not too much! πŸ™‚

  11. Rose says:

    Frances, Thank you for this wonderful first look at your trip to Malvern; I devoured every word and checked out all the familiar names to match up with faces I had not seen before. What fascinating displays–I’m convinced the Brits are head and shoulders above us when it comes to gardening. I’m so glad you were able to live your dream, complete with a royal sighting, no less! You don’t know how much I wish I could have gone–if I had, I would have been wearing a lime green raincoat:)
    It’s another rainy day here, so I hope to have time to check out at least some of the other Malvern posts. This is a trip you’ll remember for a lifetime!

    Thanks Rose. We would have been a colorful blast from the US in lime and lavender! lol The UK gardeners do have the combining of plants and design thing down pat, way ahead of anything I have ever seen here, except maybe the Lurie. Of course that was a European designer as well so there you go. πŸ™‚

  12. I’m glad you had a great trip! I think the hardest thing to do would be to not be able to bring the plants home.

    Thanks Dave. We would have brought plants, or at least seeds home if the penalty was not so severe. It wasn’t worth the risk. Photos and lists will help us find those treasures. πŸ™‚

  13. So glad you had such a wonderful time. The plants were wonderful, but the thing I enjoyed the most was seeing all the people who’s blogs I have been reading. Pretty good looking bunch of women.

    Thanks Valerie. It is the people that draw our interest as well, and they are a lovely bunch! πŸ™‚

  14. nancybond says:

    What a wonderful time you must have had, and thanks for sharing your photos. It’s so nice to put faces to names. πŸ™‚ I love the first display photo, the one with the clock.

    Thanks Nancy, we really did. The white confection of a garden display was just drippingly sweet. Not to everyone’s taste, but I loved it as well. πŸ™‚

  15. Gail says:

    Frances, I’ll never forget this trip and the wonderful freinds we left after too short a time. It was a dream come true….and we did well together. I was telling Mr I about the twin beds with animal print comforters and for some reason he fell on the floor laughing! Btw, Rubbish is a great word and I am embracing it myself. The raised log alpine garden is so do-able~must get the plants. I have lovingly put my new woolens away till next winter, xxxgail Beautiful photos!

    Yes, dear friend, it was the trip of a lifetime. Mr. I might also think it funny that I was assigned the bed below the low beam. I did hit my head twice on it. Thank goodness for Sophie’s Wild Woolens! And thank goodness for you. πŸ™‚

  16. James A-S says:

    Frances, it was a delight to meet both you and Gail. I am sorry that i couldn’t spend more time with you and the other bloggers but (unlike others who got to look and things, buy woolens and eat biscuits) some of us had to work all weekend!
    Glad you had such a good time: please come back again soon.,

    Thanks James, we feel special to have received one of your famous hugs as well. So sorry you had to work, but it looked like you were having such fun while doing so. Thanks for the biscuits. πŸ™‚

  17. Hi Frances – its so good isn’t it to put a face to a name. I’ve been following the Mr Linky posts on Malvern and am really glad that you got home on time as its so difficult to predict with the ash cloud whether flights are leaving the UK or not. I knew you would love the floral marquee – some of those displays can be breathtaking.

    Thanks Rosie. Meeting the people behind the blogs is the most fun. We learned that in Austin and Chicago as well, the gardens are nice but secondary. Gail and I were extremely lucky with the timing of the visit, that volcano was kind to us. The floral marquee was great, especially since it was warmer and drier than outdoors. πŸ™‚

  18. Jenny B says:

    Smashing post, Frances! πŸ˜‰ I am hoping you will do a post on the use of pathways and hardscape. I am trying to work out pathways in my own garden, so that is of particular interest to me. I can tell that “The Two Innocents Abroad” had a wonderful time. I know the friendships that were forged at Malvern will be lasting.

    Thanks Jenny. For some good ideas on pathways and hardscapes, check out the Gardening Gone Wild design series.

    There was certainly plenty of hardscape and pathways in the gardens we visited in England, but I am not sure how many photos were taken of them. We were distracted by the plantings. πŸ™‚

  19. Thanks for sharing! It all looks so wonderful. Even the shopping for coats looks like fun. And the floral displays, and Lady Slipper Orchids! Wow! And I’m sure the best part was finally getting to meet some of our favorite UK bloggers.
    BTW – I’m assuming you mean the hills were covered with the flowers, not the oil. ;^)

    Hi MMD, thanks. You were missed at Malvern, your name came up several times as one who was wished to be met. You would have loved it all, including the Sorority House where we stayed. And yes, there were flowers, not oil on them thar hills. Ha-yuck. πŸ™‚

  20. Hi Frances and Don, missing you both a lot. It’s wonderful to see your words on and pics of the Malvern experience. That group photo is going to be famous, don’t you think?

    How did the Faire garden fare during your absence?

    Hi YE from Don and me. The group photo came out so well, a treasure for always of the great time we had. The garden was very glad to see me, as I am sure was yours and the Bliss team. My bloom day post explains it well. πŸ™‚

  21. Layanee says:

    What great pictures and fun stories you have. I cannot wait to hear more.

    Thanks Layanee, you would have loved it. More to come. I still have jet lag, or something, very tired. πŸ™‚

  22. Dear Frances, thank you for wonderful time we spend together – it was a great pleasure and despite of beautiful gardens and wonderful gardening show, wonderful people I met are first in my mind, when I think ‘Malvern’. This was such spirit up-lifting experience!
    Thank you again for laughing so much with me πŸ™‚

    P.S. British cold and weather caught us πŸ™‚

    Dear Ewa, it is you who should be thanked for making the trip such a treat. I loved your sense of humor, and it was the people we met that will always be remembered first and foremost. You looked so cute in your hooded jacket and backpack! πŸ™‚

  23. Lona says:

    Oh, what a wonderful trip you are going to have.Meeting fellow bloggers is an added plus too. It is going to be so fun to enjoy the journey with you. Have a blast and soak it all up.

    Hi Lona, thanks. The trip is over now, we are back home safe and sound, thank goodness since that volcano is acting up again. It was wonderful to meet so many and see the gardens that have been studied in books and magazines for my entire life. πŸ™‚

  24. Victoria says:

    Dear Frances, I feel very honoured that I played a small part in making your trip such a success. VP, patientgardener and I are meeting up with some other bloggers at Rob’s shop ahead of Chelsea next week; it will be so odd not to have you two there. But we’ll raise a glass…
    Love, Victoria xx

    PS: Missing Don!

    Dear Victoria, it is you who should be thanked and showered with hugs and kisses. Spending time with you and your family, seeing your lovely garden and getting in to see a closed to the public Great Dixter made the trip that much more. Do have fun at the next meet, and so kind of you to think of Don! πŸ™‚

  25. Cameron says:

    FranceS–i see you gals learned to travel without proper clothes for the climate so you could have the perfect excuse to shop.

    i am watching the BBC and they just reported on the unauthorized photos you took of the princess.

    You know I am joking….I love reading about your visit and glad you had such a great adventure.

    Freda in France

    Hi Freda, you are on to us, don’t tell The Financier and Mr. I! lol You did give me a scare with the unauthorized photos as well! I might have to change my identity to escape detection if they come looking in Tennessee, but feel fairly secure in obscurity here. I envy your travels in France. Gail and I had actually contacted Rob in Dordogne to be ready for us in case the flight was diverted because of the volcano. What an adventure that would have been. πŸ™‚

  26. Sounds like you’ve had a great time, even braving the English weather, although it’s been unseasonably cool over much of western Europe to be fair.

    Malvern’s a show I must go see sometime but unfortunately it coincides with a busy time for me here in France as we get everything ready for the new season.

    Hi Rob, thanks for being ready for us! lol Malvern was a fabulous venue, lots to see and not as crowded as the larger shows. Meeting the others made it a perfect trip all around. Maybe someday we will be able to see your lovely spot as well, I would love that. πŸ™‚

  27. Frances, I think I can take a breath now. Whoa, what an amazing time y’all had. I wish I were there. No, really, I do. However, I’m so glad you can bring your experience back to me and everyone else virtually. “Oh, to be in England . . .”

    Dee, you would have loved it! You must go someday, and I recommend going when there is a blogger meet up, the best of all possible happenings. πŸ™‚

  28. Cinj says:

    Wow Frances, it looks like you and Gail had quite a wonderful trip. I would love to visit Europe someday myself. I so jealous!

    Hi Cinj, so nice to see you here, thanks. Do go if you are able, it is the most beautiful place and if you love gardens, the most perfect spot. All the books and magazines are spot on with the way it looks, simply amazing. πŸ™‚

  29. Pam/Digging says:

    Americans always dress colorfully, so don’t be shy about your lovely lavender raincoat. I like it. It does look cold there; glad you found the felted wool coats. I chuckled over the picture of you in the hollow tree, Frances. I still remember how you climbed into the giant birdcage sculpture at the Wildflower Center for a photo op at the Austin Spring Fling. I think you have cat-like tendencies.

    Hi Pam, thanks for the moral support about the silly raincoat. It is easy to spot in all the photos, one of a kind, so to speak. I like to show the size of things for perspective for photographs. And I am reincarnated from cats, it has been said by family members. lol πŸ™‚

  30. joey says:

    A true delight sharing this trip with you, dear Frances. (It would be a dream come true for me!) So appreciate the time it took to organize this … you are a dear and delighted you had such a fabulous time … how could you not, traveling and giggling with Gail πŸ™‚

    You are so sweet Joey, thanks so much. I do hope you get to go someday, it is well worth the effort and treasure to see the sights and meet such friendly folks. Gail is the perfect companion for me, I can get shaky sometimes and she calms me down. πŸ™‚

  31. Lola says:

    Beautiful. The life time of life times. I’ve wondered how it looked & now I am seeing it through your eyes.
    I wondered about you getting into things–like the cage in Texas & now a log. lol Great adventurous. I use to do things like that.
    Go girl.

    Yes, Lola, it was something that might never be able to be experienced again so we had to make it happen. Well worth it. Thanks for your support! πŸ™‚

  32. Jean says:

    Oh, I can’t wait to hear the rest of the trip report! It looks like you all had so much fun. And you came back with quite a few British slang words I see. πŸ™‚

    It was incredible, Jean. You should try and go the next time, you won’t be sorry! There will be several posts, for we saw many wonderful things and took a whoooooole lotta pix! πŸ™‚

  33. Grace says:

    Hi Frances~~ I’m glad to hear you and Gail had a nice time across the pond. Love the raised Alpine bed!!! And unfortunately Lamium orvala remains elusive in these parts.

    Thanks Grace. That log alpine bed was such a simple idea, certainly doable. I haven’t tried to locate the Lamium, and was surprised it even was a lamium with flowers so large and it was very upright in growth habit. Maybe someday, we will keep searching. πŸ™‚

  34. Wonderful photos Frances and how you dared to get “too” close to a Princess! I love it! Great that you were able to buy the warm clothes and to have so many warm and loving women around you! I love seeing all those smiling lovely faces and link them to their blogs I have been reading for the last year and more. Your lavender raincoat … from what I can see is fine and goes well in a garden I should think. It is hard to stand out from others though… when everyone else is wearing black. It is touching to read that this trip was a life dream and that you and Gail are such great travel companions… that is truly a gift to have someone kindred traveling with you. I love the white wisteria! Terrific post!

    Hi Carol, thanks. What do I know about royal protocol, just an American! lol Meeting the UK and European bloggers was the highlight of the trip, they were so friendly and welcoming. I didn’t realize about the raincoat until the photos from others started showing up and it stood out so, not in a good way either. Oh well, it kept me dry anyway. Gail is truly a gift, from blogging no less. Who knew the things that would arise from that humble endeavor? πŸ™‚

  35. Thanks for sharing all your joy and happiness.

    Thanks for stopping by, Donna, glad you enjoyed seeing Malvern with us. πŸ™‚

  36. Hi Frances,
    I’ve been looking forward to your review of the trip with Gail. What a ‘smashing’ post highlighting that amazing flower show. It makes me wonder where all those plants are grown in such a cold climate? Greenhouses I suppose. They certainly gussied up those displays as if they’d been there all along. Fascinating. What a great experience to meet with blogging friends from across the pond. Always nice to see happy faces together.I know you two had the time of your lives living the dream. Thanks for sharing with us.

    Thanks Meems. They are grown in greenhouses, I believe, for it was quite cold there. It is interesting, one day it is a grassy fairground, in a week or two there are fully landscaped gardens inside and out. Chelsea is the same way on a bigger scale. Meeting the bloggers was the high point of the trip. I thank Gail for enabling me to make this journey of a lifetime. πŸ™‚

  37. I remember flying over France before, and everything almost everything below was just huge blocks of yellow rapeseed. Quite beautiful to see.

    Hi Sunny, thanks for visiting. It was just like that, huge blocks of brilliant yellow, almost surreal in the color carpet. πŸ™‚

  38. Hi, Frances;
    Was just over at Gail’s enjoying her Malvern photos so I thought I’d better scoot over here and enjoy yours, too. It sounds like you had a fantastic time! So nice to see the faces of the women who write these wonderful blogs.

    Hi Kate, thanks for coming over here as well. Meeting the bloggers was fabulous, but we already knew it would be from attending the flings in Austin and Chicago. I met Gail in Austin, so good things come from those meet ups. πŸ™‚

  39. kimberly says:

    What an absolutely wonderful vacation..and to spend it with a dear friend…you’ve made some wonderful memories! Thank you so much for sharing your time together. Gorgeous countryside, too! The first photo is truly amazing. The plant show seems fantastic…the carnivorous plants and other indoor displays are really show-stoppers!

    Hi Kimberly, thanks. Sharing this trip with Gail made it that much more special, it is true. We saw so many wonderful gardens and met the most gracious bloggers, it was something that will always be remembered with great fondness. πŸ™‚

  40. threadspider says:

    So glad you had a wonderful time-so sorry to have missed you all.

    Thanks Threadspider. I am sorry that we could not meet, perhaps another time. πŸ™‚

  41. Anna says:

    Enjoyed reading your post Frances. Love those felt coats that you and Gail treated yourselves too – wish that I had seen that stall too πŸ™‚ Unfortunately the rapeseed fields seem to have mushroomed in our countryside over the last few years 😦

    Thanks Anna. Those coats were just what we needed to warm us up, and will always be reminders of our time at Malvern, priceless! Do keep an eye out for Sophie’s Wild Woolens at other venues. I am sorry you are not pleased about the rapeseed fields, we found them quite beautiful.

  42. chuck b. says:

    What fun! I think we still have a lot to learn from English gardeners.

    Now what do I say to Gail to get you out to California??

    Oh Chuck, we would love to come to California, especially the San Fran area and your wonderful Bernal Heights. Such a shorter flight. I believe if you can host next year’s Spring Fling there, you would have a whole lotta visitors, including us! The English are so far ahead of us gardeningwise, it is remarkable. You simply need to go see for yourself. πŸ™‚

  43. VP says:

    Frances – I’m not a lover of the rape seed fields either, hence my not mentioning them.

    I’ve been at home pondering the words and phrases you and Gail picked up on and was thinking we didn’t discuss the use of the word ‘rubbish’ and here you are talking about it like we already had!

    It’s been great to relive the show through your eyes – I’m still waking up in a panic about it all, only to realise it’s all over 😦

    I’m still missing you and the rest of the sorority house loads. Being so far away from each other is rubbish. Thank goodness for the internet, though it’s not the same of course…

    Dear VP, another comment mentioned that the rapeseed fields are not highly thought of over there. We thought them lovely, but the name is disturbing. Canola sounds much much better. Hearing the word usage and accents still swirls through me head, I miss it so! And you all. Such fond memories, you made our trip miraculous! Thank you. πŸ™‚

  44. easygardener says:

    It was lovely to meet you at Malvern. I only wish we had all had more time together – everything was a blur and I am not at my best under pressure πŸ™‚
    Good to see that your plan not to look at plant displays lasted all of two minutes!

    Hi EG, it was so wonderful to meet you and the others. Getting to speak at length to everyone is always difficult at these types of meet ups we have found, but at least we met. The idea of not looking at the plants since we couldn’t buy anything was doomed from the beginning. πŸ™‚

  45. Hi Frances, just back from my holidays and catching up on how much I have missed. Much as I enjoy being at Kilbourne Grove in May, would rather have been with you! You trip just fills me with longing to be back there again, I miss it so much. Every where you go, stores, cafs, etc. there are beautiful plantings, the Brits are such a nation of gardeners. Wish it was more like that in North America. Thanks for sharing.

    Hi Deborah, welcome back. You are right about Britain, it was beautiful and wonderful and every kind of ful that can be imagined. I wish you were with us as well, it was the trip of a lifetime. πŸ™‚

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