Wednesday, 21 October 2009

A great time with my sister!

I went down to stay with my sister who lives in Surrey, UK. South of London, for those who don't know our green and pleasant land! We had a great few days together. The first day I was there she took me to the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisley, which are quite near where she lives. We went to the new Glasshouse. which has tropical and temperate (wet and dry) zones with all the appropriate plants. It is a fantastic building, mainly glass, and with a lake outside. The plants are HUGE, big, big leaves, all looking totally natural, like a forest!

The flowers inside were gorgeous - passion flowers, lilies and things we didn't know the names of! I am sure they were all labelled, but everything had grown so much, some of the labels were hidden.

The grounds are vast, and as I am disabled, we took the little electric car, which is manned by volunteers, and takes you on a circular trip round the various areas. On the way to the Glass house, the driver went rather fast, asnd we were unable to view the beautiful dahlias and Michaelmas daisies as we would have liked. But on the way back he took a wrong turning, and so we saw a great deal more of the various trees than we would have done! The collage also shows the wonderful grasses there, and one of the play areas for children, where little beehive-shaped huts have been woven for them. (The pictures should enlarge if you click on them)


On Friday my brother-in-law took me to the Light Box in Woking, which is a sort of Art Gallery/Museum, built in a very contemporary, hands-on way. There is a little shop, a great cafe, and that particular week, the most marvellous exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci. Some institution or University (I forget which!) had made scale models of many of da Vinci's machines. They were large scale, made in wood and mind-bogglingly marvellous! Some were hands-on, and it was amazing to see how this one man had invented such things as ball bearings, anemometers and other bits and pieces of engineering, long before the industrial revolution sparked off such inventions. My brother-in-law is an Engineer, and we both spent ages looking at the machines, the guns and da Vinci's flying machines.

The upstairs gallery concentrated on his art. I was getting very tired by that time, but one thing really held my attention. In a heavily-guarded, alarmed and temperature and humidity-controlled case was one of da Vinci's original notes books! I was amazed at how small his writing was, and with a quill pen at that! He wrote from right to left, as he was left-handed, but I was awestruck at seeing his original vellum notebook.

The exhibition is going around the world, I gather. If you get a chance to see it, do go.

I wasn't allowed to take photos in the da Vinci exhibition, but I did take a shot of me in a mirror house, and a general shot of the stairs and gallery.

My sister is a very devoted gardener - she knows all the names of her plants(including the latin ones!) and cares for them tenderly! We were able to sit in her garden and enjoy the sun, and there are three pictures of her garden, including the cotoneaster berries against the house. The other two are a lunch out (tomato and basil soup, since you ask) and racks and racks of lovely coloured paper at the Hobbycraft shop. I love paper, and stood staring at the gorgeous colours.

Now its back at home, wishing the sun would come out, that my washing would dry, and that the dog hadn't gone all over my kitchen floor with his dirty paws!

Still, happy memories help to make the grey days go past!


Anonymous said...

I loved all your beautiful photographs and the descriptions of what you saw. Felt as if I was taking the little trip with you. Thank you so much!

kenju said...

The photos are just gorgeous, Gilly! Welcome back.

I love the big, old trees and passion flowers!

Jen said...

Beautiful pictures. I love gardens. I'm adding this to my list of places I want to see when I finally make my trip to Europe.

Diane said...

I have a friend who lives about 15 mins from Wisley, yet Ive never been - I must plan a visit. Your photo's look lovely.

KathyA said...

The horticultural gardens look beautiful! I notice there are various palm trees outside. Is the weather in that part of England temperate enough for them to thrive out of doors?
The dendrobium orchid is gorgeous and the tomato-basil soup looks lovely.
DeVinci is such an interesting study. I did not know that he wrote left to right.

Cloudhands said...

Thanks for letting us in on your adventure. What wonderful gardens. I'm sure the daVinci devises would have been fascinating. I'll bet I can find them somewhere on the Internet if I type in the traveling exhibition. So glad to see you here and look forward to more sisters stories.

VioletSky said...

What a fun and educational time you had. I had no idea Wisley was so beautiful. Next time I'm in England... I was trying to find if the da vinci exhibit is coming to Toronto, but no luck yet, I'll keep looking.

Hollace said...

Wonderful weekend full of delights, I'm so happy for you. You took great pictures and put them into such attractive mosaic collages. I was just showing a friend one of your earlier collages today-this very day- because I was trying to figure out how to do it, too.
Thanks for the journal of your trip.~Holly

Gilly said...

Holly - I do my collages with Picassa - they make it very easy.

Jen - if you do ever make Wisley, plan on a whole day there - you won't be disappointed!

Marja said...

delightful Gilly that you had such a great time. The gardens are lovely and look a bit like our city garden I so love to go there
for a relaxed afternoon. The Leonardo Da vincie exhebition was here in Canterbury museum as well and I went to see it as well Great wasn't it What a clever man was that Your collages are wonderful
You are a great photographer

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

So glad you had such a nice visit with your sister. The gardens are so pretty - I love the woven huts for children.
I would love to see the da Vinci exhibit.

awareness said...

Gilly....gorgeous photos! And it sounds like you had a wonderful time all around.

cheshire wife said...

Lovely photos of Wisley. They bring back memories for me as we used to live near Wisley. Glad that you enjoyed your break.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Wow, so pretty.

Isn't that interesting that DaVinci wrote right to left? And he was a lefty. My daughter is an artist and she's a lefty. I'll have to tell her that.

Rainbow dreams said...

Gilly, beautiful photos - I must make a note next time I visit - I have family around there - thank you, Katie, x

theMuddledMarketPlace said...