Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cambridge Botanical Garden & Punting on the River Cam

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.

This was the area of the garden where the species were planted together - hellish for maintenance I'd guess - might as well draw a map for the bugs - here be all the rose-type-things you'd like to snack on.  But very interesting when you want to contrast and compare within a family.  As you can see, this wasn't the only beautiful sunny day they've had - the grass was looking quite beige.

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.

Our transport.

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.

The library.

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.


Gail said...

A punting we will go~Barbara, what a fantastic tour~The weather looks delightful and those garden scenes are inspiring. Too bad I live in the south and so many of those lovelies would not be happy campers. gail

Barbarapc said...

Gail I think about those gardens every day - and how our blistering cold followed by shivering cold would do them in as well - nothing like a temperate climate for beautiful gardens.

Christine B. said...

I could do with a head gardener's cottage but the greenhouse was bigger than my house and garden combined. Humbling indeed for the person or persons in charge of tending all those beauties in residence.

I've always wondered just what a punt looked like (having heard of them from the Mary Poppins movie). Our "punts" here in my area of the world are called canoes and don't look nearly so romantic or relaxing to ride in.

Christine in Alaska

Barry said...

Ah, the grand tour continues with punting - how fun! The gardens are most delightful! I too love the Knautia with the silver foliage, must remember this combo for customers - and I laughed out loud at the comment about the 'two rude plants!'

Cleary sage has a wonderful propensity for popping up willy nilly, but to this day remains a personal favourite. I think I would have a hard time separating fact from fantasy and would want to grow one or two of everything after touring England.

Barbarapc said...

Christine B - thanks for your comments - was amazed at what could be grown in Alaska when I visited. The closest we get to punting is when our canoe is stuck on a rock.
Barry - I'm trying to keep myself out of the nurseries for the next little while until my mind settles down. I'm really looking at that grass out front like its days are numbered.... Have an upgrade of my new design software and thinking that maybe a new design on the computer would be the way to assimilate all the information that's scooting around my brain at the moment. Too many plants, too little time.

Knatolee said...

I love Cambridge. And I want that gardener's cottage!!

Jennifer said...

Wow! I had to run back through the posts. What beautiful gardens you have seen. I love the water feature and the bed of lavender in this post. I also love the pink rose (the one your husband liked) in the previous post.

Anonymous said...

Punting & University are what Cambridge is well known for.. But didn't know of the lovely fauna there! Will definitely try to capture that!

Thanks for sharing! :)