Flashback Friday #22

Garden Portrait: St Michael’s Mount

I have traversed to St Michael’s Mount several times over the years and even climbed up to the castle itself a couple of times, but I have never been to the garden as it is only open for a short time from the end of April until September. But this year I was there on the first open day of the season at low tide so that I could walk over the causeway connecting the island to the mainland at Marazion.

View back to the mainland and Marazion

It is the most remarkable garden exposed to gales and salty winds, but the Gulf Stream keeps the frosts away and the granite rock acts as a giant radiator – absorbing heat by day and releasing it at night creating a micro climate in which all sorts of  plants flourish from Mexico, Canary Islands, New Zealand, Chile, and South Africa.

The Laundry Lawn

The gardens are on the rocky slopes and are not easily accessible with the steep and narrow paths, steps and terraces and require constant maintenance and conservation to keep them in good condition. As you enter the garden on the east side  you follow an avenue of Cordyline australis with views over Mount’s Bay towards the Lizard. The Laundry Lawn is a place for relaxing, playing and picnicking. The steep bank to your right (see header photo) is part of the defences during the English Civil War and on your left is a Pill Box from the second world war. And as you reach this point, you see ahead of you the dramatic East Terrace, rearing up above your head to the east wing of the castle.

Now comes the difficult part. To reach the upper slopes you have to scramble up the steep paths where aloes and agaves rear out of the bedrock and exotic succulents cling to every crevice imaginable. Some paths have steep drops, some have handrails, others do not. Aloes flourish and on the top you reach The Tortoise Lawn where you find a Victorian well. Another pathway takes you into the Walled Gardens. Not only do you need good footwear, but also a head for heights as below you is the dizzying drop to the sea and above you rises the sheer sides of the castle.

Lower Terrace

A profusion of colour greets you as you move into the West Terraces. South African Osteospermum spread over the granite walls. I am taken aback as I only know these as late spring and summer flowers and it is still only April. Geraniums, pelargoniums, Leucondendrum argenteum and Aeonium rise up amongst Agave and Aloes.

Walls, Railings and Mount’s Bay

The planting on such steep slopes is overwhelming. I am lost for words as I look around me, not knowing which pathway to take. I have never seen a garden like this and I am stunned to think what I have been missing all these years.

And all the while you are aware of the great expanse of the bay, the endless sky and the incredible clear light and all the hard work that must go into creating and maintaining such a wondrous garden. It is magical.

View towards Newlyn, Mousehole and the Minack Theatre

A separate post will appear with close-ups of some of the succulents in this garden. It was just too difficult to decide which of my many photos to leave out!

And this is a birthday post for the OH who unfortunately was unable to access much of this garden due to the nature of the terrain and his vertigo. But he was very happy to test a bench for me and look out over the bay towards the Lizard peninsula whilst I meandered. (Between you and me I think he was grateful to have a rest )

Contemplating and bench testing in the former gun emplacement area

We first visited this unusual garden in late April 2015 when we just happened to still be in Cornwall on holiday when the garden opened up for the season. Usually we were either too early or too late. We have been back since, but this is my first impression. Originally written on my flower blog for my OH’s birthday at the end of May, this post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Flashback Friday #8

This is an old post from my flower and garden blog Earth Laughs in Flowers which was posted on this date in 2017, the first time I saw these appear in my new garden, and it is rather appropriate that these same little lightbulbs of colour are flowering once again.


And all the woods are alive with the murmur and sound of Spring,
And the rose-bud breaks into pink on the climbing briar,
And the crocus-bed is a quivering moon of fire
Girdled round with the belt of an amethyst ring.
~ from:  Magdalen Walks by Oscar Wilde

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A delightful and unexpected addition to my garden this month.


This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

Friday Flashback #1

This is the first post of 2017 from my flower blog “Earth Laughs in Flowers” which I ran from 2013 – 2020. Since then it has been in hibernation awaiting travels to new gardens. Which didn’t happen last year for obvious reasons and may well not happen this year, though I remain hopeful.

“I have been showcasing my new garden (2016) on my Cornwall blog this year, but for you lovely people who follow me on this garden blog here is a review of some of the delights that I found growing in my garden this year.

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So thank you once again for all your visits and likes and comments and I wish everyone a happy and healthy new year xx”

This post is a contribution to Fandango’s Flashback Friday. Have you got a post you wrote in the past on this particular day? The world might be glad to see it – either for the first time – or again if they’re long-time loyal readers.

And may 2021 be a much better year for everyone – happy gardening!

Time x Square

Time for another square month hosted by the lovely Becky. The photos don’t necessarily have to be of a timepiece, but are open to interpretation to reflect time in some way, or sayings such as ‘the passing of time’, ‘a stitch in time’, or time running away from you.

Day 23: One Day at a Time

Hemerocallis (daylilies) produce elegant, usually trumpet-like blooms in summer and are easy to grow in many gardens. Individual flowers are short-lived but each plant produces many flowers, so displays will last for weeks.

To join in with the Squares challenge please visit Becky for instructions. Remember the only proper rule is that the photo must be SQUARE.

December Squares | Day Twenty-three

Impressions

Yvoire – a floral medieval village in France on Lac Léman (lake Geneva)

I have no idea how I came to hear about Yvoire, maybe a search for gardens in the area when I was planning my trip to Geneva back in 2009. I always want to check out the gardens in a place I visit so do a search and then make notes of the ones I can fit in, including times and days open etc. When I discovered ‘Le Jardin des Cinq Sens’ (The Garden of Five Senses) was just a ferry ride from Geneva and the fact it is in a place called the ‘floral’ town then I had to make it happen.

The Gate of Rovorée (or Gate of Thonon) built into the ramparts of Yvoire.

I am not going to talk about the garden here, that deserves a post of its own, though if you click on the link you will get a sense of how it affected me. I will write a fuller post on the garden blog.

Yvoire is not all about this garden: the medieval centre is romantic and famous for its flowers, cobbled streets, town walls and a wonderful historic chateau (private) going back to 1306 and a time when Lake Geneva castles played an important role in protecting the strategic trade routes through the Alps and along the lake. Probably best to time your visit outside of peak holiday time as it can become very crowded.

Yvoire Castle as viewed from Le Jardin des Cinq Sens

As I leave the port along with many other disembarking passengers I debate whether to eat first or explore. When I notice that everyone was else was headed for the restaurants the decision was made. Explore.

Once I get behind the camera I am lost in the zone. My eyes flit from flower to flower. The heat brings out the scents, the bees are busy humming and the gentle trickle of water from the drinking fountains are all I hear. Most people are busy eating in the numerous eateries in the village so I am able to wander in peace. Murmurs of conversations blending into the background. I saunter along the lanes and alleys lost in the history and beauty of this place.

Yvoire Castle as viewed from the ferry port

Everywhere you look are flowers: hanging baskets, window boxes on every balcony, containers crammed into tiny nooks and crannies, flowers along the narrow lanes and steps leading to the marina, flowers on steps. Begonias, petunias, pelargoniums. A riot of colour. And then there are the colourful shutters: pale blues and greens, turquoise.

The streets and alleys within the medieval walls are lined with restaurants, bars, tea shops, ice-cream makers, creperies, boutiques and artisan workshops. The unusual onion dome of St Pancras was constructed in 1857, replacing the old campanile. It was eventually covered in stainless steel in 1989 and the top is covered with gold leaf coming from one of the last gold miller in France located in Excenevex, near Yvoire. The church itself dates from 1250.

The castle, although privately owned and not open to the public, dominates the village and is a must for photographers. The only question is where to take the photo(s) from. I try to find some unusual angles

Stepping outside the two gates I discovered more floral displays as well as sculptures, hotels and car parks and bus stops. By now it was time to visit that garden, before everyone else descended upon it.

Display outside the ramparts

I did finally have some lunch, a little late, but delicious all the same. And what better place than the Brasserie Les Cygnes (swans) in the ferry port where I tucked into Tarte à la tomate et au chèvre, salade mixte and a bier blond citron. Followed by a desert called ‘Baby Estelle’ consisting of pistachio ice-cream, fruit of forest sorbet and sauce and whipped cream. Well I had done a lot of walking. I enjoyed sitting on the upstairs terrace overlooking the port and the lake and reflecting on my day out whilst waiting for the boat back to Geneva.

The Old Port Yvoire

~wander.essence~ Prose