Phlomis russeliana is the plant I think of when I remember the Cambridge Botanical Garden - it was the first picture of the first plant I saw on the first day of the tour.
We started out with a guided tour through a remarkable collection of trees and woody plant material - much of which originated in North America.
For those folks who wanted to head out on their own, they'd check out this map showing blooms & plants of interest and where they'd find them.
There was a Cornus with flowers that were bigger than a man's hand.
Aesculus californica - that I could probably render dead in one season.
A very Arts & Crafts water feature.
A darling head gardeners cottage - complete with fireplace where he could survey his large kingdom while keeping warm and toasty.
Wonderful greenhouses - with all kinds of tropical goodies:
So many Echium, so little time:
Here's a close-up of this party plant.
The on-purpose dry garden.
I liked this combo so much, I could have got out a spoon. The Penstemon is 'Garnet' - not sure of the Salvia, but I'm sure there are many that would work here.
And after our tour, many on the bus tore to the back of the gardens to find the Herbaceous borders - they weren't quite in full glory, but even without all the bloom they had something we'll never have....a fabulous old building behind them.
I've seen Knautia combined with yellow - it blooms at the same time as all the yellow-daisy-like plants - I like it with the silver and blue.
So very pretty. One of those moments when the wind was blowing just the right way for the photo.
Two rather rude plants.
Such glorious soft colours.
As I was walking by the little covered seating area - I heard a Dad say softly to his daughter - I wish Mummy could be here. Let's hope that mum was at Tesco doing the groceries, rather than gone altogether.
And as quickly as we got there, saw the gardens, had our lunch, took our photos - it was time to go and move along to Cambridge where we, like the rest of civilization and those who were not quite civilized, took a punt on the River Cam. Was it touristy - yes, but a brilliant touristy sort of thing you must, must do it if you have the chance. Where else can you float down the river in a boat that seems to have been built out of ancient plywood and play grown-up bumper cars while seeing some of the most incredible school buildings on the face of the earth? For those of you who are inclined - have the champagne - something we didn't do, but would definitely recommend.
Can you see the traffic under the bridge?
I believe I count 6 punts here....
A view from the river & a bit of our able seaman Matthew.
This is a summer job that really gets you into great shape.
More lovely old buildings.
and a few of my fabulous colleagues from the tour. From here it was out of the boat, onto the bus and back home for dinner - a splendid day.