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Manual Death in the Physic Garden (Star Gardens Mysteries Book 1)

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The location was chosen due to its proximity to the River Thames. River access also allowed plants arriving from around the World to be introduced to the British Isles via the Garden. We were all giddy with excitement on our last and most glorious day of the tour. Our intrepid tour guide Carolyn Mullet, who is an amazing designer in her own right made sure we all felt truly spoiled on this trip and today was no exception! Though we were all bundled up in May, it was classic London gray weather. Nothing was going to stop us from enjoying this amazing day.

Crystal Gardens

We had a fabulous lunch in the Physic Garden before heading out either for formal tours or independent exploration of this historic location. A most excellent send off to the extravaganza that lay ahead of us. I took particular note of the artistry in how they displayed and used all manner of plants here. There were an enormous number of details to take in during this short time we had to explore in this extraordinary city garden.

One of my favorite spots in this garden demonstrated the context of where we were standing so beautifully; right smack in a busy and dense neighborhood in London only blocks from the River Thames with both row houses and high rises all around us. And yet here we are in a garden that is hundreds of years old and still going strong. Take note of this garden art and the medical symbology here, you will see it again in an amazing garden at the show!

Page Of Swords And Queen Of Pentacles

The staff is said to have been that of Hermes, the messenger of the Greek gods. Historically, serpents and snakes represent fertility or a creative life force. As snakes shed their skin through sloughing, they are symbols of rebirth, transformation, immortality, and healing. The ouroboros is a symbol of eternity and continual renewal of life.

I was beyond shocked to see this incredible Echium not just existing, but blooming in May in cool, damp London! Intimate, shady paths wound through parts of this garden that featured shade plants and a fernery right behind me.

Handsomely handcrafted waddle fences of different heights, styles, and materials confined various groupings of interests and plantings within the garden for study. In a garden that has a very specific focus and intent, design with floral focus in mind was mostly understated. Our time was VERY limited, so we had to scoot through this garden in time enough to go stand in line for our check-in time at the Chelsea Flower Show. We walked just a few short blocks from the Chelsea Physic Garden to our staging spot for the Chelsea Flower Show, but what a view on our walk along the river.

The photo makes it look SO peaceful when in fact it was nutty bananas with traffic and humans. Something THIS show does that is unusual is that when you get your tickets to the show, you are assigned an entry time. So, you get in the queue and wait your turn for entry. Our time was later in the day as the light was fading and this photographer was panicking. But, as you can now see, we made it in! Now you just have to stay tuned for the final chapter that covers this incredible one of a kind show!!! Not many gardening books are as adorably friendly as Organic Gardening Hacks, Eco-Friendly Solutions to Improve Any Garden , but then you likely have never encountered a gardener like Shawna Coronado either.

This book is filled, front to back with charming and colorful graphics that are eye-catching without being childish, colorful but not cartoonish. Even going so far as to mention getting a soil test if necessary and consulting an arborist before digging if the safety of valuable tree roots is concerning. It would make a smart gift for the organic gardener in your life!

When I travel, I am at least as motivated to capture shots of fascinating architecture as much as fantastic gardens. Our fantastic CarexTours guides thankfully had us staying here at the Ettington Park Hotel near Stratford-Upon-Avon in Warwickshire for two nights last spring because I think I would have thrown a fit otherwise. This grand building deserved the attention. I only wish I could see it again in summer. We arrived in the late afternoon on a typical spring day in the UK, gray, sprinkling, chilly and windy. Once we were all given our rooms it was time to do a bit of exploring while dinner was being prepped.

The view from our dining room was looking toward the remains of this once private chapel for the family who originally built this incredible property. The hotel and recently undergone a major renovation and they did a wonderful job bringing this folly back to life. Though it was still quite brisk, you could feel spring and I bet this garden get more beautiful by the day! The color of the wisteria blooms was incredible against the warm golds of the local stone used to build this enormous building. Hotel guests having fun goofing with this photographer while waiting for dinner service to begin!

Can you imagine the time and level of attention to detail that each doorway took to make? It was truly a reflection of wealth, power, and devotion to the church and state. Visiting the ruins of the former chapel was in and of itself spiritual. Maybe it was just me, but in the quiet, all by myself, it was like you could physically feel the history all around you.

I could have photographed it for days.


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There was a tremendous amount of history here. This was a space where children were laid to rest.

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I realize these are a bit challenging to read, but if you can, take the time to try, it will be so worth it! Incredible details like this were everywhere inside the dark chapel area. Epic Cedar of Lebanon standing guard near the chapel as we look back toward the hotel and a ray of sun! Heading away from the hotel to the back of the property, we were told there were even Roman ruins here at one point too.


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  • This path I followed took me past the employee living quarters and the old tennis court behind this wall. Forget me Nots abound! On top of one of the maintenance buildingsā€¦. The copper alone must have been quite something! Night time fell and she lit up like a fairytale castle.

    Off to bed and the next incredible place we visited! Stay tuned! I was incredibly impressed and felt it was a truly life changing experience! Upon arriving, you have no idea the delightful spectacle that awaits you through the beautiful gate.

    Gardening Mysteries

    Our tour group came in through the larger gates on the entry drive. This fantastic color was only mildly foretelling of the visual treat we were in for during this lovely visit. I could have photographed just THIS for half the day, there were SO many fantastic details to take in and it was so neat and tidy! Then you turn and take in the incredible old country home before you.

    Her interest in focusing on perennials rather than the tradition of roses and shrubs became the theme of the garden.

    Crystal Gardens

    Keeping certain larger formally clipped, traditional shrubs for the effect of defining spaces served this garden very well! The blending of two seemingly distant trends in the garden of traditional, old world and the new ways of using practical sedum for color, texture and low maintenance beauty were magical! The deep borders displayed voluptuous colors in both flowers and foliage and were incredibly well designed.

    Combining both old world planting style with 21st century ideas came together expertly. Drifts of spring perennials and bulbs worked together in harmony. I would have loved to be able to see this garden in fall too!

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    Renowned for the formal parterre garden of clipped boxwood and yew, it also had a quite graceful, casual flair as well. Far from the house, this portion of the garden featured more demure color. This clematis must really be a sight in summer!