26th August 2018 One more T. family excursion on the schedule. After another Waitrose breakfast, another rainy day, C. this time, escorted me on my third day of the West Midlands garden tour. It was all roses at David Austin.
This was a bit of a pilgrimage, as Elaine, friend/garden partner/once client, and I have started a rose garden, on Elaine’s plot of land; 61 Austin roses for a cutting garden. Our plan is to trial them and hopefully sell to local floral designers, principally Erin of Camas Designs in Friday Harbor. I’ve always loved the Austins anyway so visiting the display garden was on the list.
Very fun to see the gardens, all walls, paths and pergolas, dripping with rain and its softness upon the plants. I loved the species garden. I was surprised by how compact the whole garden was; it was comfortable and good to see so many of each variety and some nice companion perennials. It was gorgeous in the rain, and not busy..
The shop is enormous and I could find not one post card with a picture of Austin roses. Curious I thought. Tea followed. Not the funny high tea on the right side of the cafe, with the tiered trays of choices. We opted for ordinary tea, coffee, scones and clotted cream on the left side. Quite satisfying and a chance to catch up on each others lives; eight years to tell. A real treat. I dragged C. around the nursery buying plants for R. as a way of saying thanks for the spare room and lovely company. C said I shouldn’t buy too many as R would be embarrassed. R confirmed this later that day. I bought a Ceratostigma willmottianum, Geranium ‘Rozanne’ and one other thing.
The day ended with helping a pile of ginger and calico kittens learn to lap, seeing the cattle, sheep, horses and bees, making and eating a delicious lamb stew and plums, figs and blueberries baked with C and K’s honey and bay leaf. Oh..and too much cake. My inability to keep up with the cake and chocolate will ultimately determine my entry into this family. I’ll keep trying.