Saturday, March 25, 2017

First Butterflies

The warm weather over the last two days has brought the first butterflies to the garden.

 There were two Commas flitting around each other and settling on both heather and rhubarb.  I'm assuming there was a male and a female but I don't know which is which.
 

 The rhubarb seemed to be the favourite resting place.


Talking of  firsts, it looks from the growth on the rhubarb that the first rhubarb crumble of the season is just around the corner. 

Friday, March 17, 2017

Five on Friday

We've had such a lovely few days at the beginning of this week, some gardening has been done, walks have been taken and washing has dried outside.  We'll soon have to give the grass areas in the garden their first cut.

Here are five signs of Spring that have filled me with joy this week




1.  Daffodils - everywhere, in gardens, on verges, in woodlands, on city roundabouts. Everywhere you look are wonderful,  bright, cheerful yellow daffodil heads bobbing in the breeze.  Bunches in the supermarkets ready to take home to add cheer to a windowsill, table or dresser.


 2.  Frogspawn in the pond - one of the sure signs for me that Spring is really here at last.



3.  Birds pairing up, the wood pigeons and collard doves wake us each morning, magpies fly overhead with bits of twig in their beaks, the birds at the feeders take food away for their mates, the hedgerows are busy, the air full of bird noises.


 4.  Sheep and lambs in the fields - we spotted the first little Jacob lamb at Trentham on Wednesday and the lambing shelter was set up ready to receive some more.


5.  Birds nesting in gardens, woodlands, meadowland and on the waterside.


Joining in for the last time with Amy at Love Made my Home for this week's Five on Friday.  Thank you Amy for all you have done for us with Five on Friday we've had some wonderful times with you and everyone who has joined in and made some lovely blogging friends too

Next week we'll be moving from here


to our new hosts at the FAST blog below

http://www.fastblog.es/?m=1

so click on the link to discover more

Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Cassandra Room

Inside Wollaton Hall, just off the Great Hall you can find The Cassandra Room.

This room is dedicated to Cassandra Willougby who first came to Wollaton at the age of seventeen to help her brother Francis restore his family's inheritance.

Cassandra, her elder brother Francis and her younger brother Thomas were the children of Francis Willougby (then spelt Willughby) and his wife Emma Barnard of Middleton Hall near Tamworth in Staffordshire.  Francis was a noted naturalist and ornithologist and he worked with his children's tutor John Ray on the published works Ornithologia and Historia Piscium.  Francis died in 1672 and later his wife Emma married Josiah Child, Governor of the East India Company.  The three children moved away from Middleton Hall, Josiah Child became their step-father and guardian and benefited from their inheritance until they became of age.  The elder son Francis moved away to live with his aunt and then to the family property of Wollaton Hall.  When he was 19 he asked his sister to come and live with him there.  She arrived at Wollaton, aged 17,  with her pet magpie and great hopes for the future..

Sadly, Francis Willoughby died in 1688 aged only 20 and Cassandra's younger brother Thomas went to live with her at Wollaton and they set about restoring the old hall which had been damaged by fire in 1642, when Sir Percival Willoughby lived there.
 
As well as playing a great part in the restoration of Wollaton Hall, Cassandra also took on the organisation of her father's natural history collections and also wrote the history of her family.

The room, created jointly by  Nottingham City Museums and Galleries and the Dragon Breath Theatre, tells the story of  the first hundred years of Wollaton Hall. It is very much an interactive exhibition, with objects than can be handled, wearable costume and gorgeous paper sculptures by artist and set designer Trina Bramman.

Cabinets of Curiosities which can be explored.

Above Cassandra's father  Francis Willougby the Collector, the wording is...
'My father Francis, the Collector. Here are found some of my father's collections of nature, mathematics, games and curiosities, organised by my brothers and myself.'

Replica period costume

There is a table full of little  paper sculptures

which as well as telling  the story of Cassandra's family and its connections with the locality

 are also meant to engage the visitor in how they feel about their own family and how important family is.


Were you wondering what happened to Cassandra?   She stayed at Wollaton until she was about forty three years old when she married her cousin James Brydges, Baron Chandos. She became Lady Chandos on her marriage and later in 1717 the Duchess of Chandos.  She died in 1735 and is buried at St Lawrence's Church, Whitchurch in London.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

The Camellia House

On Tuesday we went over to Nottingham to visit a friend who is in hospital there after heart surgery.  We were early so we dropped into Wollaton Hall and Deer Park for a look around as it seemed a long time since our last visit.

 After looking inside the Hall where the Natural History Museum is housed and lunch in the coach house we wandered into the formal gardens drawn in by the sight of the glass house.

The Camellia House at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham is one of the earliest cast and wrought iron glass houses in the country.

It was built in the early 19th century c. 1823 for the Willougby family, owners of Wollaton Hall.

Until recently it was in a poor state of repair, the low pitched roof lights were so fragile they couldn't withstand the weight of heavy snow, or harsh gusts of wind.  It was in such bad conditions that it was listed on English Heritage's 'Buildings at Risk' register.

To complete the repair and renovation of the Georgian Camellia House the restorers completely dismantled the structure when 6,500 panes of glass were removed.

The iron framework was cleaned to remove years of dirt and corrosion, the floors were lifted and underfloor heating ducts rebuilt using traditional methods.

It is all looking very splendid now

The camellias are looking well and happy in their new home.

The Camellia House was built with a special heating system which is no longer used as at the time the family were collecting Camellias it was thought that they needed heat but in fact they are quite hardy.

I'll show you what we found inside this wonderful building, completed in 1588  from designs by architects John Thorpe and Robert Smythson for Sir Francis Willougby,  in my next post.


Saturday, March 04, 2017

In the Garden

The sun was out this morning so after a quick trip to the supermarket to buy a few items - mostly for the cat - and whilst biscuits were being made in the kitchen, I decided to do some clearing up in the garden.

I pulled the garden wheelie bin from out of its winter hibernation place where it has been tucked away behind the garage next to the water butt.  Collections start again next week and we had plenty of leaves, twigs and cuttings to fill it with.

I managed to take all the brown heads and stems from the Sedums which had been left in situ all winter.   Also the straggly, damp and decaying tendrils from the hardy geraniums. 

It is still quite flooded around the pond and parts of the lawn are still waterlogged but there were little signs of Spring and new growth around the garden.

 Some of the little Tete a Tete daffodils were coming into flower. 

 The Marsh Marigolds were in flower in the pond

 Wild Garlic was appearing under the hazel tree

whilst up above the Wild Garlic Hazel Catkins were dancing in the breeze

In the raised bed the bright red sticks of the Rhubarb could be seen

The Heather is looking lovely at the moment

as are the little Violas in their hanging basket

The leaves of the poppy Patty's Plum have appeared, I thought we'd lost this during the winter.

I love the delicate colours in the Lungwort

and also in the unfurling petals of the Wallflowers

All too soon the sun disappeared and the Spring like warmth went with it. Time to clear up and go back inside but it was good to get out in the garden again, just for a short while.