Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


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Early Doors

We were down in London last weekend. We took some time out to visit Kew  Botanical Gardens, it was three days after my annual pass expired. Sigh.

As we renewed the pass one of the staff commented ‘You’ll need that, you’ll be wanting to come to the orchid festival’

Yes, I thought, that’s why we’re here today. 

It starts tomorrow’ she continued. I was crest fallen, I’d really been looking forward to seeing it, I’ve often managed to ‘just miss’ finding out about  exhibitions, I’d never managed to arrive before one started before! I really should pay more attention…

And whilst the staff were in the throws of the final ‘set dressing’ of the displays, we could still access the glass houses, so all was not lost.

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a floating wheelbarrow, how cool is that. Some of the displays certainly took me back to my days worked as a florist (this one reminded me of a funeral tribute we made for a traveller family, it was so big that after we’d finished it we realised we couldn’t get it up the stairs from the basement workroom!)

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The scent of this stephanotis, was a flash back to the 1970’s and many hours spent  as a junior  florist wiring the individual florets to be used in bridal bouquets

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And there were delicately strung dried helichrysum blooms, waiting to be artistically draped, what a labour of love.

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But enough of them, we’re here for the orchids

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we were not disappointed,

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they were everywhere even strung from the roof.

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Another floristry flash back, cymbidium orchids, the ‘go to’ flower for the mother of the bride in the 1980’s, not one bloom but two, as my colleague used to say, ‘that’s not a corsage its a ‘bustenklamper’.

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I think this slipper orchid was my favourite

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Or was it this one? I like growing orchids, it always seems like I’ve achieved something clever when they flower, although it’s not magic on my part,

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I do tend to guild the lily a little sometimes. But the greatest orchid thrill was the wild orchid that randomly, just popped up in the lawn a few years ago,  sadly it’s never made another appearance.

We may have missed out a little on the final flourishes of the festival, but that really didn’t matter.

* Early doors


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Sharp

A sharp frost and a foggy morning, and more than a little black ice.  I must be getting to be a grown up, because I chose to travel the road more travelled, not less, where I could be more confident of some salt on the road. I managed to find some pretty things though.

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These burrs look much more attractive on the plant, than they would entangled in Spud the dogs fur.

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The seed heads of the cow parsley looks poised for the insertion of ice diamonds

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Tight Fit

A second belated post from our weekend, back in November in the Yorkshire Dales . We went to

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There was still snow about.  Yorkshire drystone walls have different coping stones than Derbyshire walls

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You don’t often see paved foot paths around here either, we were glad of them though, it was very wet and muddy.

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The stile however posed a bit of a problem for Spud, they are obviously built for Yorkshire terriers, or maybe Whippets, but not Springer spaniels

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Poor Spud, he needed a lift.

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the local  working dogs have got it sussed though. Gates open for them.

Hitching a ride


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Gale Mill

Dark and Satanic*, or Warm and Welcoming?

I can’t quite make my mind up. This is  the wonderfully restored and  preserved, Gale Mill in the Yorkshire Dales;  it was late  afternoon in November  and the light was fading.

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There had been heavy rain the day before, and the river was thundering by.  The roads were awash.

Rivers were not to be messed with.

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And then there was the snow, we’d chosen quite a high route to get to Gale and Hawes, but traveling in the campervan, we decided discretion was the better part of valour, turned around and took the low route instead!

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In the end the snow didn’t become a problem, but the local highways department were in a state of preparedness…

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I was glad we were in the campervan and not camping!

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I’m also glad we spent money on  a diesel heater for the van,  rather than spending the money on a van in any other colour than white, which comes at a premium. We were snug as bugs.

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* Dark and satanic mills, might not be what I always thought they were!


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All Loved Up

It isn’t very often I get out my florist wires and ribbons these days, but I had a lovely time a couple of weeks ago making bouquets for a wedding.

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I used beautiful blue love-in-the-mist,  which I’d grown grown from seeds that Flighty kindly sent me,

The brief had a lovely relaxed, country feel about it. I’d masses of hydrangea’s in the garden, which were just the thing

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For the  ceremony, which was outside, in a stunning location. 

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There was such a wonderful vibe about the place during the preparation, everyone beavering away, hanging bunting and paper lanterns, assembling luscious cakes, the band doing sound checks and banter.

Someone even managed to find time to get the kettle on

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Wonderful.

Ladies and gentlemen; the bride and groom ( Photo Credit Phil Sproson).