The journey from York to My Flower Patch Sara's local train station in Wiltshire took six hours, but it went pretty quickly and the journey was mostly peaceful. I listened to the MiniDisc I'd compiled before I went away, forgetting how random it was (Bonnie Tyler followed by Elvis, anyone?), read my book, and fell asleep. I journalled and sketched as I waited to change trains in Reading (the York to Reading train was the slow one - it would have been quicker to go into London and then out again, but I was on a budget!).
Sara met me at the quiet train station, and we went to the local Indian restaurant to order a takeaway. There was a bit of a wait - since it was one of the few places open on a bank holiday Monday, everyone seemed to eating there - but it gave us time for a drink and catch up! We went to her house, gifts were distributed (Betty's tea for her and her husband, Sara's beautiful flowers for me), and the three of us ate dinner and chatted.
The next morning, I met their son again. He had, understandably, forgotten meeting me a few years ago in London. As I had breakfast with him while Sara got his things ready for us to go out later, he asked me if I wanted to take a photo of him to show my family. It was the sweetest question! I got my camera and returned to find Darth Vader. He asked me if I would like to have the rest of my breakfast with Darth Vader and there was only one answer to that!
We went to the flower patch with Sara and their dog, and I finally got to see the fruits of Sara's hard work! It has been lovely getting to know her through Twitter and her visits to London, but I really wanted to see her flowers in the flesh. It was a beautiful, sunny day, which made for a lovely day out, but rather overexposed photos. Here are a few pictures of the patch, but they don't do it justice - I was oohing and ahhing as soon as we walked over to it, and didn't know where to look first. At every turn there was something new, and the scent of mint as soon as we walked through the gate was amazing. I just can't imagine the amount of work that goes into creating and maintaining a flower farm like this - it's incredible.
The pollinators love her flowers, as you can see here. One minute I was trying to take a photo of a scabious, and the next minute I'd be distracted, chasing after a butterfly. I got very excited when I saw this green butterfly on a zinnia - I think it's a Brimstone. We don't see many of these in London!
There is grassy space next to the flower patch, where we played Frisbee and attempted archery. Here's an action shot of Sara channelling her inner Katniss Everdeen.
I can't explain why exactly, but strawflowers make me smile. Maybe because I've never grown them, rarely see them, and love the papery feel of them.
I adore pink scabious.
Astrantia are so delicate and pretty, they even look beautiful when they haven't opened up.
We went back for lunch and then for a drive to Avebury, with my hosts giving me a guided tour of Wiltshire and pointing out some of the white horses. We were able to see up close Avebury's stones that make up its stone circles. I like the one that looks like a horse.
Sara and I didn't really get the hang of hide and seek.
And did I mention the superhero who was with us? It was a scorching hot day, but Spiderman kept his outfit on, opening gates for pleasantly surprised visitors, and leading the way for us.
In the evening, Sara and I went to the flower patch, leaving Spiderman with his father. She asked me what flowers I wanted to cut for us to play with the next day, and I couldn't decide. The only thing that hurried me was the fading light, and the phone call from Sara's husband telling us it was time for tea! It was kind of like playing outdoors as a kid, when the kids on my road would have so much fun playing on our bikes or on the swings, that our parents would eventually have to come outside and call us indoors before it got too dark. There is something blissfully childlike about being in a flower field and knowing you can play with flowers. Less childlike, but much appreciated, were the gin cocktails that were waiting for us along with a delicious dinner when we got home!
In the morning, like a kid at Christmas, I went to Sara's workshop to see what was there - and saw the flowers that Sara had carefully taken back on a wheelbarrow and unloaded.
We played with flowers, grappling with the rain and a poor child who wanted us to play with him instead. I was a bit overwhelmed by the huge variety of things we'd picked, so I overthought and wasn't too pleased with my efforts. Oh well - it's good to practice for nothing in particular sometimes, and it was nice to use lime green physocarpus instead of the usual dark foliage I tend to use. Sara adores cleome, so I had to include some of hers!
Sara did a beautiful bowl arrangement using nasturtiums and berries.
And I'll finish with more florist shoes. (I feel like Gretchen in Mean Girls, trying to make fetch happen.)