Blooming Marvellous

A trip to Bodnant Garden in North Wales has been on our wish list since we began to reclaim our overgrown garden. After all, we reason, any plant that can thrive in the foothills of Snowdonia must stand a fair chance of surviving our hilly, windy site overlooking Cardigan Bay. My expectations aren’t high so the admission price makes me draw a sharp breath for what I’m guessing will be a line up of the usual floral suspects, but I very quickly realise what a magical garden Bodnant is. It’s true there are some wonderful and exotic specimen trees and shrubs, but as we wander round looking at some glorious planting I start to feel much more hopeful about what we can achieve in our very ordinary plot (albeit without a team of hard-working gardeners and volunteers). It’s a truly uplifting and inspiring visit and the weather is perfect too.

This group of day lilies caught my eye.
I'm finally convinced that a well-chosen grass looks spectacular!

Hot planting by a cool pool.

Looks who's through the archway.

I’ve found a stonking Travelzoo bargain in the area but when we check into Carden Park Hotel, I’m dismayed to find a noisy conference in full swing just below our window and wonder if that’s why we’ve got such a good deal. We are greatly cheered up when, a few minutes later, the whole circus packs up and peace descends. Our stay is brilliant; polite friendly staff, a very relaxing atmosphere, fabulous food and a good swimming pool to work off all those extra calories.

The following afternoon it’s my dear school friend Julia’s birthday celebration where I make up one of her ‘Sweet Sixteen’, the women Julia says are special to her for their association with different aspects of her life. Julia’s very kindly treating us to afternoon tea at the DoubleTree by Hilton. It’s a lovely occasion and Julia’s thoughtful, moving and eloquent speech brings tears to my eyes… but Julia, we are the lucky ones to have you in our lives. Thank you!

And from one celebration to another… my younger stepson, Tom, and his fiancee Amey will be getting married this weekend. Try to relax, you two, and enjoy every moment - time flies.


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