Last Sunday still sits sweetly in my heart as I remember this Mothers Day.
It began early. A 7km bike ride with hubby at sunrise where, along the way, a mother roo was spotted with a joey in her pouch.
(apologies for the blurry image - I was too excited to hold still enough)
Back home, a quick shower, then out again for brunch with my boys at our favourite cafe on the mountain.
Afterwards, a special treat. A visit to
Cloudehill Nursery & Gardens
at the top of the mountain.
At any time of year, it is beautiful. But, for me, it excels in Autumn.
This is a wonderful place to visit. There is a fantastic range of plants, garden art, tools and accessories for sale.
Although, if you want to be truly inspired, you must pass through the garden gate
and go for a wander through the five acres, where garden rooms with living walls of green hedges and herbaceous borders reflect some of the finest gardens in the world - one in particular that comes to mind, is the beautiful Hidcote in the Cotswolds.
Fine examples of Japanese weeping maples, near-century old European beech trees, magnificent magnolias and Himalayan tree rhododendrons, give the garden an air of serenity and permanence.
Garden axis lead the eye through long vistas to focal points of interest.
Artworks and sculpture are displayed throughout.
There are many places to sit,
Secluded spots where you can take your shoes and socks off, wiggle your bare toes in the cool grass and lay back, bathed in soft golden light, savouring the peace.
As you turn seemingly endless corners and pass borders edged with tall, waving ornamental grasses and generous, billowy shrubs, you could almost imagine you were in a medieval garden.
Look carefully. Do you see? Could it be a trick of the light, or a purple pixie?
Gods and Goddesses are at home here in their Autumnal ocean.
The Maid, Mother and Crone are honoured in the seasons.
And the Goddess of Harvest resides within her potager.
On the fringe of the adjoining woods, words from scholars and bards of old provide pause for thought.
indeed it is
Soon, a dappled stairway leads you enticingly downwards, towards the woodland.
Deep within, you come across a walled garden, and a doorway where Pan, god of the forest, guards his domain.
Further on, earthen paths lead you to the wilder part of the adjoining garden
to the tangled wood.
Where faeries, goblins, sprites, trolls and creatures of the forest dwell.
They watch with glittering eyes as you pass by.
A flutter of movement from the corner of your eye, reveals... nothing, as you turn your head.
Seen, yet, unseen.
Seen, yet, unseen.
It is a world not unlike Froud's or Rackham's.
A sepia toned other-world.
Tread carefully here. This is an enchanted place.
Though tempted, take care not to wander off the path.
There is a living presence all around. Wonderous, magical. But, we don't belong for too long.
This is their home and we are welcome - for just a while.
One could spend a long time here. But beware. One day in this realm could be a hundred years in the "real" world.
What blue orb is this? Dust on the lens? Or, the pixie dust of a fern fae?
Following the sunlight, past the iron-arched glade,
and up the steps,
you return to the land of golden red and brown.
I will come back to Cloudehill in Spring. It is quite beautiful then too. If you like, I'll take you on another visit when the bluebells carpet the meadows with hues of blue as they kiss the sunny lips of daffodils.
And so, the perfect end to a perfect day was a plate of fresh, home made pancakes - courtesy of our boy, who can whip up a mean crepe - with maple syrup and ice-cream.