Simply Heaven

For my mum's 70th she had a list of gardens which she wanted to visit. I gladly jumped at the chance to go to Giveny with her (Dad and my Aunt) in France (aka Monet's Garden) after all who could resist the lure of such iconic water lilies but also on her list was Great Dixter in East Sussex. I'd heard of it's owner, Christopher Lloyd, mainly as Mum and Dad had lots of his books, but wasn't prepared to fall in love with one place quite so much. 
You may recall last year  I went back with my photo buddy Sophie and luckily she too fell under Dixter's spell. It now seems to be an annual pilgrimage for us as we found we both wanted to go back this year. I watched a documentary a couple of months ago on BBC Four and actually found myself yearning to revisit. So enjoy a riot of colour. Luscious borders to melt your heart and some close ups of just a couple of the stars...

And finally this is a sneaky shot of the fabulous Fergus Garrett who I spotted in the gardens. He is the Head Gardner who worked with Christopher Lloyd before he sadly died in 2006 and now looks after Great Dixter which also provides training to young gardeners. We spotted him three times during our visit giving guidance to the gardners whilst saying hello to visitors. 
We're hoping to go back soon so watch this space! And if you can go visit Dixter, it's food for the mind and soul and who knows, like me, you might leave a little bit of your heart there. 

Sensational Butterflies

I've been dithering over buying a new lens for a while now and on Friday, after speaking to some fellow photographers for their advice, bought a new marco lens. And it arrived on Saturday. I was so excited I picked it up and rush out to the Natural History Museum's Sensational Butterflies exhibition. I've been a couple of times before but have always been frustrated not to have the right lens. But no more! Oh yes I was on a roll:

 I was so pleased with the results and can't wait to tackle flowers, products and portraits in the next couple of weeks! What do you think?

Queen Elizabeth Park

Last weekend O.H. and I went over to East London to see the Olympic Park. Now we avoided this whole area during the Olympics in 2012 as I hate crowds but now that the park has re-opened we thought we should check it out.
Now this is Stratford. You pass this to get into the park. To me it's a little soulless but I keep forgetting that the area was developed initially for a specific event... 

So this is the swimming pool. It was huge, you could say it was Olympic size.... 
The Orbit by Anish Kapoor. Now I'm a big fan of Anish Kapoor's stuff but this left me a little cold. We did think about going up it but baulked at the £15 entry fee...
Now I was disappointed that although billed a 'park' there was not as much green as I was expecting but there were pockets including this area in front of the Stadium which will soon become the home of West Ham. 
 I was blown away by this hill of orange poppies which was just magical. I've never seen orange ones before and they just left me entranced. 
This is the velodrome both outside
and in (though not much going on)
There was quite a lot of sculpture dotted throughout the complex. I really liked this using a red telephone box. 

And the mirrors used on the bridges which criss crossed the waterways. 
And there were several of these mirrored spheres which were fun.
And there were quite a few patches of flowers 
I loved this combination of grasses and alliums in front of the velodrome 
And more of the wonderful poppies - so Wizard of Oz... 
And oriental poppies too
And how's  this for trying to liven up a concrete area, geraniums sprawling out as far as the eye can see. Love it!

So that's that. Our first visit to the park. While we both agreed it was nice with all things that are new, especially involving a garden, take time to establish so we probably won't be going back for a while when hopefully everything has had time to settle.