Tag Archives: Flowers

Magnolia Plantation

Magnolia Plantation is a mere twenty-minute drive outside of Charleston and it’s known for its beautiful gardens.

When you pull up, you coast down a long drive covered in old oak boughs draped with Spanish moss.

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Drive

Magnolia Plantation Spanish Moss Big Tree

Peacocks greet you on the front lawn of an old plantation house.

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Magnolia Plantation Exterior Front

Magnolia used to be a rice plantation. The property backs up to the Ashley River, which was used to flood the fields to create the standing water needed to grow rice.

Reverend John Drayton inherited the property in the 1840s. It surprised me that he was a man of the cloth. As the tourguide gestured proudly to Drayton’s large Old Testament book commissioned from a London press, I couldn’t help but picture some creepy old villain, hunched over his Bible reading Exodus verses as enslaved labourers were being whipped (or worse) just outside his door.

I really struggled to separate the beauty of this property from its sinister history. I wonder if that’s what Drayton’s wife tried to do when she arrived at Magnolia from her hometown of Philadelphia. Legend has it that John built all the gardens on the property to please his out-of-town bride. There’s really no denying the refined allure of the landscape here.

Magnolia Plantation Exterior Rear Backyard

Magnolia Plantation Porch Bench

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Standing

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Path

Magnolia Plantation Long White Bridge Pond

Magnolia Plantation Hedge Garden

The gardens remind me of the kind of Romantic landscapes you’d see in a Pre-Raphaelite painting. The kind of place a melancholy maiden might sulk around in a bohemian gown writing love letters…

Or maybe just prance gaily through a hedge maze!

Magnolia Plantation Garden Maze

The azalea bushes weren’t yet in full bloom, but there were plenty of exquisite flowers peeking out everywhere you looked. We toured down paths in every which direction, getting lost in the extensive grounds.

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Magnolia Plantation Daisies

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Spanish Moss

Magnolia Plantation Red Bridge Gold Sandals

Magnolia Plantation Bag

Magnolia Plantation Peacock Fan

Part of our admission ticket included a walking tour of the swamp. So with some trepidation, we ventured in…

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Magnolia Plantation Swamp

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Path

Magnolia Plantation Swamp View

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Egret in Flight

The swamp is such a fascinating eco-habitat for so many creatures – especially birds. We saw egrets, red-headed woodpeckers, cardinals, and some others that we couldn’t identify. I would love to go back sometime with a pair of binoculars. It’s a bird-watcher’s paradise!

Thankfully, we were able to get close to some cute creatures in the swamp.

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit

This little marsh rabbit was not afraid to strike a pose for the camera!

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Photoshoot

Magnolia Plantation Marsh Rabbit Swamp

By the time we left, it was starting to get very muggy in the swamp – it’s definitely not a forgiving climate in which to live! But this was a truly special place to visit and appreciate nature in one of its most enchanting forms.

Magnolia Plantation Swamp Bench

We left feeling completely swamped with lots of great memories!

Poppies & Lavender

England is officially in bloom! And what a gorgeous weekend for putting the top down and cruising the back roads – taking in the sights and smells of summer blossoms.

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We passed this field of poppies – too beautiful not to stop. These red poppies are the English remembrance flower – used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in battle. So although the poppies are strikingly pretty, they also evoke a tiny pang of sorrow.

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Cotswold Lavender in Snowshill produces some of the finest lavender products in the country. With the fields in peak flower, it was an opportune time to stop in and stroll through the brilliantly colored meadows.

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Lavender has such a calming effect on me, and the gift shop sells little sachets of dried lavender for £1.99 to take home! They also produce lavender oils, body creams, and even a slumber gel to rub on your temples before bed for a good night’s sleep.

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Feeling blissed out, with our clothes and hair lavender-scented, we stopped at the Norman Knight pub to beat the summer heat with a cool drink. A shaded picnic table awaited us in the garden, where we plucked little sprigs of lavender – the perfect hat accessory!

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Norman Knight

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On the way home, we picked up groceries for lunch – including a few savory treats from The Cotswold Cheese Company in Moreton in Marsh.

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We enjoyed the rest of the evening’s dwindling sun on the lawn with a glass of wine – playing a few games of giant pick-up sticks.

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As a wise man once told me – when the sun smiles on England, it’s the greatest place in the world.

A Very London Birthday

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I just celebrated a very London birthday. The perfect London birthday, in fact. Me and my love – and my city, faithfully waiting outside my door with its party hat on to help me celebrate.

It started with flowers… simple and beautiful. My favorites – peonies! What is it about flowers that make a girl go ga-ga?

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Lunch at a London institution – The Ledbury. A jewel in the crown of British fine dining, everything about this Notting Hill landmark exudes luxury and taste. From the parmesan tarts with radish, to the Dr. Heger wine decanted tableside, through to the final course, I didn’t want my birthday lunch to end. We stretched it out as long as we could, over almost three hours – they had already started ironing the tablecloths when we finished our coffees.

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Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops | Tokyo Turnips, Seaweed Oil and Frozen Horseradish

Ceviche of Hand Dived Scallops | Tokyo Turnips, Seaweed Oil and Frozen Horseradish

Cornish Turbot | Broccoli Stem, Crab and Black Quinoa

Cornish Turbot | Broccoli Stem, Crab and Black Quinoa

Cheese Trolley

Cheese Trolley

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Alphonso Mango | Citrus Curd, Burnt Meringue and Kaffir Lime Beignets

Alphonso Mango | Citrus Curd, Burnt Meringue and Kaffir Lime Beignets

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I couldn’t resist a spot of shopping as we promenaded down Ledbury Road. Can’t show you yet – but no doubt it’s going to be my summer showstopper!

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A few cheeky drinks at the pub with friends for the road…

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So thankful for friends and family near and far, a hunky man to spoil me like a princess, and another storybook London dalliance!

Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show used to signify the start of the English summer season, the first in a series of social events that took place within reasonable reach of London to keep people entertained while Parliament was still sitting. There isn’t much of an English society scene left, but the Chelsea Flower Show is said to attract more FTSE 100 chief executives than any other social event and draws thousands of visitors through each year.

This year was the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, and last Monday night was its Charity Gala and Auction Preview.

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hosp1Enjoying the Garden Terrace hospitality suite.

After a chilled glass of champagne, I needed to check out the shops!

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shop7This grassy tote certainly fits the Chelsea Flower Show dress code.

My wonderful RHS guide took me on a whirlwind tour of the pavilion and the show gardens –  the highlight was walking on the gold medal-winning Centenary Garden.

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gard1If this is the start of the season, it’s going to be a lovely summer!