The Sock isn't at all happy and has the mother of all colds... it is already a 4 mansize tissue box job and now starting on the 5th. You will all have to wait for the Panto Part II because the Sock's eyes have puffed up so much it is difficult to see the screen to work on it.
In the meantime here are a few pictures of cheering colour from some lovely gardens the Socks visited in Oz.
Foxglove Spires is an Open Garden near the charmingly named Tilba Tilba on the New South Wales coast south of Sydney. The Socks hadn't really known what to expect from the scenery in this part of Australia and in fact parts of it were more like Devon which might explain the plethora of places offering Devonshire Cream Teas. (The Socks never sampled these but were assured that they did indeed consist of scones jam and cream but whether this was the proper clotted stuff or not who is to say? The Sock spent much of her holiday pondering the niggling question as to whether a) Devonshire actually existed - Surely it should be Devon? (Wikipedia has something to say on this for those of you who haven't already lost interest) and b) was the use of Devon/Devonshire Cream tea actually allowed when it wasn't manufactured in Devon?
But as usual the Sock has digressed, so back to Foxglove Spires. Against a backdrop of Tilba creek and mountains the gardens have been created over 20 years but look like they have been there for ever. Italaniate archways, mysterious winding wooded paths, a Beardshaw style ruined "garden folly" and more arbours than you could shake a stick at are all squeezed into a relatively small area, morphing into each other rather than being formal garden rooms. It is all exceedingly beautiful - nature has been given it's head to allow self-seeding and rambling with a certain 'unkemptness' that removes any hint of formal starchiness.
The Socks favourite part was the chaos of roses at the back of the gardens. The Sock isn't normally a great fan of roses , particularly not the formal 1930s style rose garden type but this was a joyous cacophony of colour more than enough to raise the spirits on what was a slightly rainy grey day. It is worth clicking on the pictures to enlarge for the full effect.
In the adjacent nursery and shop the Sock was amazed to find a whole section dedicated to twine!!!
They actually had the stuff that Sarah Raven sells and even allowing for postage from Australia it was still cheaper than hers! Knowing how interested you would be the Sock photographed some of the different twine dispensers although missed the best one which was twine on a 3ft stick! The Sock wishes she had bought some as she still hasn't got any garden twine but there was no room in the suitcase!
The Socks stayed at the charming Greengables B&B across the road from the gardens. There seems to be a lovely tradition in Oz where many of the B&Bs provide a hospitality bottle of 'port' for guests to have a quick snifter. After a lovely meal provided by the gracious hosts Phil and Stuart the Socks polished off the rest of the bottle with the help of a companionable young Aussie couple they were dining with . On visiting the excellent local vineyard Tilba Valley winery the next day the Socks learned that the host had already been in early that morning to restock it. Sorry about that Phil and Stuart - it was rather good although Australian ports seem to be more like moscatel than port in the Portuguese sense.