Friday, June 24, 2016

Additional Comment
The Art of Country Living

Thank you once again for a trip of a lifetime. Our trip to the gardens and manor houses in the Devon countryside was magical. Kaye

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Japan Trip--In Progress
June 14, 2016

Live from Kyoto Japan.  The Geisha family make-up session.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

England Trips - May/June 2016
London & the Chelsea Flower Show
Art of Country Living

 Off to Chelsea Flower Show Gala
What a glorious trip we had to England, replete with fine weather!  The Chelsea Flower Show, now 140 years old, was our anchor and how it has changed over the years.  Garden designers came from all over the world, as well as manufacturers of garden supplies.  New garden displays took on new themes including a "Slave Garden" giving a visual of human trafficking and domestic slaves.

Another important visit close by and giving perspective on Chelsea was the Chelsea Physic Garden. Those gardeners called the physic garden the "real garden" as contrasted to the Chelsea "fake gardens".   Originally an apothecaries garden, it is the second oldest botanic garden in England.  I enjoyed learning that the tobacco plant was used to treat swine flu.  It was there we heard the Chelsea designer gardens had plantings from various zones all blooming simultaneously none of which would ever bloom at the same time or in a similar clime.  That bit of information made those designer gardens at the Chelsea Show more "fantastastical"!  As one head gardener said, "plants are like guests invited to a party.  You don't put some with others..."

On the countryside trip to Kent and Devon, the top choice was Pashley Manor Garden, privately owned by the Selleck Family.  There were 800 years of gardens here and a showcase for David Austin Roses in the walled garden.  What I found interesting was the history of the Pashley sheep.  They fed on the roots of the trees (Pashley is actually an arboretum too) and as a result produced a very high quality of lanolin.  The sheep wool made for wonderful birds nests as well.  So everything is thriving at Pashley!

Then there were the private visits!  Minnie Churchill, Liz and Johnny Astor, the Cliffords and the Arrans.  Oh I can't forget Sir Benji Slade who hosted a fabulous lunch in his garden with so many of his eccentric friends.  Be sure and notice the fabulous hat on the table in the photo with Kaye and Sandra with Benji. 

The Arran's, Castle Hill, a palladian country house, was the best.  5500 acres of parkland and gardens all with fabulous vistas from the patio. (Be sure and note that photo below.)  And their dining table was exquisite. We enjoyed formal dinners, beautifully served by Robert and Garry, footman of the old world.  I couldn't help but notice their perfect deportment in service to Lady and Lord Arran.

The Art of Country Living unfolded in spontaneous moments...the pets at each household, the portraits of the pets, pets at the tables!  The passion for gardens...creating  new birthday gardens for milestone birthdays!  Neighbors bringing shrubs, and other plant material to place in the new birthday gardens...the art of the picnic...champagne served in the beautiful garden follies, and, much much more.

This was not a cookie cutter trip, or even a custom trip.  It was a discovery trip where something new unfolded every minute!  It took a cast of characters to make it happen!


Pashley Manor House and gardens, 
a favorite for everyone, including Patti

Curt giving scale of a huge oak at Pashley Manor.

Linda with Minnie Churchill at Chartwell.

Sir Winston Churchill.

Lunch at Astor Estate--note wisteria in background.

Susie at Sir Benjamin Slade's Maunsel House, Devon

The Art of English Living includes special pets.  
Nancy & Page in Castle Hill dining room.

Caroline--Best guide in England 
in the gravel garden at Beth Chatto's Garden

Beth Chatto's Garden, Essex.

Kaye & Sandra at Ben's surprise luncheon.
I just want to share that I read "1000 Places to See Before You Die" and there were THREE on the list which we had just visited in the past seven days!  It listed the White Gardens at Sissinghurst, the Lake at Stourhead with its pavilion, grottos and folies, as well as the seaside walk through the Valley of Rocks to Lynton in Devon.  For those who did Chelsea flower Show, that was on the list as well.  What was not included (but would be for anyone fortunate enough to have stayed there), I would add our fabulous stay at Castle Hill with Lord and Lady Arran.  It was the true PRINCESS experience if there ever was one.  You have provided life's memorable moments once again.  Thank you so much for organizing these wonderful opportunities,  We are so lucky to be your friends.

Susie at iron gate.

Private lunch at medieval gatehouse in East Anglia.

Kaye in a world of rhodies.

Lady Nell in her garden.

 Nothing like an English garden in Devon.

Patti in the world"s smallest elevator in London's largest museum. 

Ceramic or glass installation for a show at Royal Hospital.

Tea for three at a lovely private home in London.  
Nancy and Page with surprise guest.

Sue, Curt and Vicki with the Queen at Pettifers' party.
What was not to love about this trip?/  London is a most-engaging and fascinating city and visiting it in the spring for the Chelsea Flower Show and tour of gardens in/around the city was a wonderful experience!  As has been true for me with Art of Travel trips, three times now, I can only be awed by and applaud Susie for finding her travelers THE BEST guides and experiences and helping us wend our way around new environments in as comfortable a manner as possible.  Caroline was a font of knowledge about her country, city and historic, and current personages, and I especially enjoyed her version of the TOP 10 at the British Museum, an add-on that several of us enjoyed before the actual tour began on Monday, the 23rd, else to start contemplating that daunting institution?  I left the tour half-way through, but can say that visiting the flower show and seven gardens was enough stimulation to last for quite some time.  Prince Charles' country estate, Highgrove, and the Chelsea Physic Garden were my personal favorites, though all was GREAT!  Fun to be with congenial fellow travelers and the Kensington Hotel at the corner of Queen's Gate and Brompton Road, was a lovely small hotel.  There was not enough down time to even write postcards, but would rather be experiencing and enjoying at the end of the day! I had a perfect return from the black cab, Heathrow Express and the flight back. Very great way to get to/from Heathrow.

Tommy Clifford at his private Ugbrook Chapel.

Curt and Vicki.

Curt and Vicki with designer of Harrods' garden.

Which way smartie boy?

Finale on Devon coast with naturalist guide, 
Richard--notice Wales faintly on the horizon.