a way of life...

Month: April 2018

Dunsborough Park Annual Tulip Festival 2018

For four days in April, Dunsborough Park, a romantic idyll in the heart of Surrey, opened its gardens to the public for its Annual Tulip Festival. I popped along on Saturday the 28th, as this was the last opportunity to see the flowers in all their glory.

Annual tulip festival

Despite the dreary April weather the colours and varieties couldn’t help but lift my spirits.

With bright yellow blooms, named Big Smile, I couldn’t help but raise a grin.

Bright Smile

In the Cutting Garden bed after bed contained densely coloured groups of plants. All with their own name tag so that they were easy to identify.

World’s Favourite

Looking at this mass of red petals with yellow tips (above) it was easy to see why this particular tulip was called World’s Favourite.

Orange Emperor

Orange Emperors and Purple Flags added a regal air to the whole proceedings.

Purple Flag

My favourite, however, was the delicate creamy pink of Sorbet. They looked good enough to eat.


In the Dutch Garden perfectly manicured lawns and immaculately clipped Box hedges showed even more  blooms off to perfection.

Path leading to the Dutch garden

The grey overcast sky did not appear to deter enthusiasts. Some even wrapped themselves in blankets to enjoy a cup of tea and home made cake. On this occasion the refreshments were provided by Ronald McDonald House Charities

Perfect parterre

Issued on entry, and armed with a printed description of the gardens and a list of all the tulips, visitors were well informed as they meandered through the individual “rooms”.

Panoramic view of the Dutch Garden

The Dutch Garden “has a spectacular display of tulips in the Spring and is planted with annuals after the tulip bulbs have been removed, though some beds are reserved for peonies.”

Plant Sales

Inspired by the stunning grounds and magnificent display of around seventy different varieties of tulips I stopped on my way home and bought this lovely bunch from Waitrose.

Soft pastel shades of tulips and apple blossom

Coupled with apple blossom, gathered from my own garden, I decorated our dining table with these soft pastel shades to chase away the grey skies.

Dunsborough Park Gardens will open again on specific dates during the summer months.

For more information visit www. dunsboroughpark.com

Weather for leather

The wet weekend forced me to find tasks indoors rather than spend time in the garden. In fact it was the perfect weather for leather as I set about incorporating some rather tired furniture into our house.

The furniture in question was purchased from Heal’s nearly twenty years ago and had reached the end of its corporate life. Unceremoniously it had been condemned to life in a storage container.

Never one to miss the opportunity to restore an unloved and previously owned piece of furniture I set about my rescue mission.

Rallying some muscle, and the use of a van, I removed the furniture from the container and brought it home.

My aim was to rehouse the two seater sofa into our small front room which, until now, has been used as a study. Homing in on the trend to have a “snug” I envisaged the sofa being used as a warm and cosy corner to read, or to catch up with missed TV programmes on the iPad.

None of the furniture I recovered was in a bad condition. It was a little tired, a little worn, and a little dusty. Nothing that some TLC couldn’t remedy.

Donning my Marigolds and digging out my Renapur leather cleaning kit from the cupboard under the sink I set about my work. 

  • Wipe clean with a damp cloth
  • Apply leather cleaner with a sponge
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Wait to dry
  • Apply balm

What could be easier?

The results were stunning! Scuffs and scratches virtually eradicated, and a lovely rich sheen bringing the old sofa back to life.

A Herdwick fleece from Neptune and a scatter cushion from Joules added the finishing touches.

Driven on by my success I set about the armchair and footstool which had also been part of the original set of leather furniture.

These are now proud occupants of our sitting room, giving it an air of sophistication which it had previously lacked.

The end result was really pleasing as both rooms now share a common theme which gives the house a much more cohesive look and feel.

The only thing left to do was to put my feet up with a good book!

Easter Garden

The terracotta planters that I filled with bulbs in the autumn provide a colourful display  in our Easter garden.

Tubs overflowing with narcissi provide a cheerful greeting as we step outside the back door.

Combined with these deep blue hyacinths the yellow narcissi add a ray of sunshine to an otherwise wet weekend.

I love the scent of hyacinths. I find it very evocative – a reminder that winter is coming to a close and making way for springtime.

These beauties have been confined to the garden as, delightful as I find their perfume, others find it overpowering in the house.

I couldn’t resist bringing these specimens indoors to add to the silk flowers, candles and bunting in our guest room.

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