Cusworth Hall, Doncaster – New Trees, Autumn Sunshine

The loveliest house in Doncaster and a park that is continually being improved since its prime restoration between 2003-7, Cusworth Hall is a grade 1 building designed by James Paine between 1749-1752, becoming a council run museum in 1967. On the last day of October with temperatures achieving the unheard of heights of 19 degrees Celsius we visited our local park. I was most struck by the planting of a wide variety of trees that has taken place over recent years. So today’s post concentrates on these though first an image of the house in its surroundings.

The first of the new trees, shedding its red leaves
A conifer specimen with a sad history. Twice a year it is decorated with flowers, toys and cards in memory of a young child. Then before the items deteriorate they are tidied away by the family.
Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ has a fresh, chalky white and crisp peeling bark

I remember when this small copse was first planted. Trees grow up, or I get older.


Blackpool’s Stanley Park, October 15th 2016: "The UK’s Best Park"

The 390 acres that presently comprises Blackpool’s Stanley Park was officially opened in 1926. It serves an important role in my family’s memories given that my wife is a Blackpool girl and this was where she spent many happy days of her childhood, including her time at the now demolished Collegiate High School for Girls, the park being a convenient hideaway for lunchtimes. We brought our children here on numerous times before our move to Yorkshire. Now on a very wet October morning we revisited. It has scarcely changed. The link above is to the Friends of Stanley Park from which I learn that this venerable park has been just been voted “The UK’s Best Park” for 2016 by “YOU!”

The Rose Garden was originally designed by Thomas Mawson in 1926 and completely renovated in 2006 
David Austen Roses make up the main planting though Autumn perennials were conspicuous
The Historic Art Deco café is worth the visit on its own

The bandstand is in the distance and the benches are just as we remember them
Clock Tower
Stanley Park Lion

The following images show the care taken of the bowling greens where the grass had been properly spiked but the gardeners not quite having finished sweeping up the plugs of earth.

Cherbourg’s Municipal Greenery

The end of October and not a hint of sunlight. A grey day but brightened up by the smart market and people. Oh, and the sheer neatness of the place with its stone buildings and, even at this late stage in the year, some pleasing herbaceous planting to grace the walls and squares.

Napoleon is celebrated in these parts

Cleethorpes in Bloom, Kingsway Gardens, 30th August, 2016

In the years that I have been visiting Cleethorpes, our nearest seaside town, I have been impressed with the efforts of the local council to clean up their act. The place is spruced up beyond recognition. This is nowhere more apparent than in the landscaping. So here is a series of images showing Kingsway Gardens, the landscaped strip of land that runs parallel to the main beach. Formal gardens can look great if properly planted and maintained, a feature of  Kingsway. Also prominent are the various sculptures integrated into the arrangements. On Monday when we visited the gardeners were raking over clean beds and adding fertiliser for next Spring’s bulb displays. So it’s back to the 30th of August.

Japanese Anemone Art

At this time of year the Japanese Anemone is a special plant, my own leaning being towards the white varieties. Here the Nottinghamshire artist, author and blogger, Ann Mortimer, captures the lush simplicity of the bloom completed in less than an hour!

Of course, the pink varieties make a good source for the artist as this watercolour from David Harmer demonstrates. David has his gallery in St John’s Village near Woking,

£250 will secure this delicate arrangement by well known Berkshire artist and author, Judith Milne.

You won’t be able to purchase the original but Van Gogh painted his bold still life, “Japanese Vase with Roses and Anemones” in 1890. It is possible to purchase the print however.

Working in southern Ontario, Marike used a palette knife to create this “mess“.

Cleethorpe’s Saltmarsh

Promise of sun all day persuaded us to travel to Cleethorpes for a long walk along the beach. The saltmarsh has been pushed back from encroaching on the sand in the town but with the seabirds wheeling like starlings in the sky, clear, bright sunlight all day, the saltmarsh has an invigorating beauty.

Newby Hall, Butterflies and Late Dahlias, Sunday 25th September 2016

I note that some scenes from the ITV series, “Victoria” are being filmed at Newby Hall. We visited the North Yorkshire house and gardens on their last opening day before the long winter break. Situated in a prime English rural setting beside the River Ure, the house was unexpectedly delightful, a home as well as a museum. But it was the herbaceous borders we had come to see. First off, the border displays of Dahlias are a feature of the gardens though I wish they would name the individual varieties.

More on the marvellous herbaceous borders later. First is the Comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, so-called because of its white comma shape on its under wings. Here I photographed it as it fed on a cosmos flower.

This is one of those unusual stories of a once rare butterfly making a come-back. The second Peacock Butterfly is feeding on brick. Well, resting in the warmth of our splendid Autumn.