Sunday, 19 May 2013

Sweet Sunday

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.

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. 




  1. What a breathtaking place and a perfect spot for celebrating being a mother! I long for a garden gate, one day.......

    1. Keep weaving your wishes and intentions, Tracey - it'll happen. You know it :)

  2. i feel like whispering. as if i speak out loud it will break the spell i'm under!
    i loved this vicki. and your telling of it while i walked was like treading through a live story book of the other people. you know. the ones i've always known are there.
    thank you for this!
    i'll visit often. love. xo

    1. Come, stay a while whenever you like.
      The fae folk know you, little wren :)

  3. Oh wow, Vicki. Thank you for posting. I am a fellow hills dweller and I have not heard of Cloudehill before. How on earth could that be???!!!

    So your post is like a twofold gift. I got to dive into your lovely pics and prose, all while knowing that this awesome place to explore is 15 minutes down the road. I am soooooooooooo going to go visit there! :)

    1. Hi Sue! Thanks so much for stopping by. Lovely to meet a fellow Victorian – and here on the mountain too :)

      Yes, take a drive to Cloudehill - you won't be disappointed, I promise :)

      If you choose to go on a weekend, go early, before the crowds. It'll feel as though you are the only person around, especially in the wild.
      And, allow yourself at least a couple of hours to take it all in.
      Even then, it'll call you back again.

  4. Cool, thanks :) Sigh. If only I could go early before the crowds. I got a little jealous of you recounting you and your hubby going for an early morning bike ride. That's my aim ... well, the bike riding with my partner is - the early morning part is maybe pushing it a little for this night owl, but I would take a bike ride at any time of the day. Unfortunately, with my health in its current state (CFS and adrenal fatigue and pyroluria) I have a post-exercise crash when ride. One day. One day!!!

    Thanks for the tip about Cloudehill. Sounds like a weekday visit after lunch might have to be the ticket.

    1. Yep, a visit after lunch on a weekday would be perfect too!

      I'll be posting about my bike soon.
      I'm sorry to hear about your current state of health. Can you drive your car - with bike/s on board - to a place where you can get in even a little ride?
      I'm sorry, I don't know about pyroluria, so perhaps suggesting a ride is out of line on my part.
      But, we know of a few nice places that would be gentle - without the hills.
      Hills, I avoid them and leave them to my hubby, he's a big strong-legged guy who loves to grind up the punishing ones around here, like the 1 in 20 - gah!!
      Not me. There are some damn fine trails that are easier for us non-masochists :D
      And, being a night owl too, I can tell you how much I often don't feel like hitting the trails with my (early bird) man. Eyes with heavy lids that feel like sandpaper :)
      I'm usually glad I've gone when we get home though.

    2. Yeah, it must feel amazing coming home after a ride in the morning. Beautiful!

      Riding for me is out at the moment but definitely not on hills. One day though!! It's a great way to get around. I'm hoping when I get to a better level of health to be able to ride the Warburton Trail with my partner and then venture further afield after that. Such a cool way to see the countryside :)

  5. What an amazing place. Oooh and aaah. And yes please, photos in Spring would also be wonderful.

    I smiled at your excitement at the kangaroo and her family. I have done exactly the same thing. I see kangaroos quite often and they ALWAYS make my heart sing.

    I am so very glad that your mother's day was full of love and magic.

    1. Isn't it funny, our excitement at our wildlife?

      We used to rear orphan joeys when we lived on our property in W.A. And, even after all these years, it's still a thrill to see them bounding by :)

  6. Vicki, thank you for this wonder-full, beautiful post. Kangaroos, a magical autumnal garden where the old ones still dwell, purple pixies and blue fae, marvelous statues...I don't think it gets any better than this. I want to live there! There is no public garden in Southern California to compare with wondrous Cloudehill. Thank you again for taking me with you on this visit...I can't wait to go with you on the Spring tour!

    Blessings, Victoria

    1. I came back to say that I forgot to say I LOVE YOUR SHOES! :)

    2. I'm so glad I can share it with you Victoria.
      All aboard for the magical tour bus back to Cloudehill in Spring :)

    3. Sorry for the late response to my shoes - I do LOVE them. They're like tall laced army boots - but in funky purple :D

  7. hi. Thanks for visiting my blog. I really love these garden photos. I've never heard of Cloudehill before today.
    What a wonderful way to spend a day, wandering through there.

    1. Hi River, welcome.
      Yes, it is a beautiful place to while away time in the most wonderful way :)

  8. Thank you for another Beauty Safari, Vicki! xxxj

    1. You're welcome jaihn.
      The "safaris" do get a little long sometimes, but I hate to leave out some great pics from my jaunts :)
      Glad you like them tho!

  9. love it, love it, love it all. from ur friend out west...Luisa

    1. Hey lovely!! SO good that you are finally here!

      Hugs to you way across and down below xxx


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