UK 2016: Chelsea Flower Show

When planning our cruise down the Dalmatian Coast and parts of Italy, I allowed for a few days in Paris, (which I hope you  have enjoyed reading about) but we had to be in England in time for the Chelsea Flower Show. I think this was my fifth visit and it was my sister’s second, but it’s always different, always a day of bliss for me and for any gardeners from anywhere in the world. Susanne and I took over a thousand photos each, so I’ll have to do this in sections, selecting a few of my favourites to share with you.

Brilliant colour was the first thing that wowed us as we entered the huge tent full of prize winning entries. Aren’t these stunning?

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Friends In My Garden: Butterfly and Magnolia

Today I’m in the mood for poetry so I’ve gone to my book, Friends In My Garden for a selection. Two very different characters, but both written for women who inspired me and brought joy into my life.

Butterfly is the sort of friend who pops in with chocolates and champagne when you’re feeling down. Her smile and her laughter brighten any space when she appears. I hope you have several butterflies in your friendship garden and I’d love you to share my words with them.


There’s a butterfly

happiness yellow

in my friendship garden.

A ray of sunshine

spreading warmth whenever she appears

always bubbling full of fun and laughter

that bounces


I love her sparkle

her cheek

her zing.

When friends are down

in she whirls

a glow of yellow

to brighten our hearts.


Magnolia was written for the sort of woman who rises to the top in her field. She’s a leader who others want to follow. Please send this to the Magnolias in your friendship garden.


Magnolia has an air of grandeur.

She’s courageous

and tenacious

with a heart as soft as moss.

Occasional bouts of jealousy

are sparked by lesser plants

weeds that endeavour to starve

or choke this lovely tree.

In stately manner

she disdains their poisonous pettiness.

Others are inspired by her,

the elegant stance

the leaves

rich and glossy

the brilliance of her flowers

creamy white

and luscious.

I think she’s quite magnificent.



Paris 2016: Sacre Coeur and Chamber Music

Tickets for Chamber music by Ravel and Saint-Saens, played by musicians from the National Opera Orchestra of Paris,  were waiting for us at the Palais Garnier when we arrived a little before midday on Sunday. My son and his wife had organised this special treat for us months before, knowing how much I love classical music.

Stage inside the Palais Garnier.

Like most of the old theatres I’ve seen in Europe, this one was stunning. Red and gold everywhere; even without the music, the visit was worthwhile. The curtains were spectacular, made of what looked like

Dome above the stalls.

red velvet, masses of it, draped and flounced in theatrical fashion, almost like a separate character about to play his/her part. The dome above the front stalls told another story; decorated in bright colours with lots more gold and finished with a glistening chandelier hanging from the centre, it added to the atmophere.


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