Travel Theme: Gardens

While my main interest for photos is architecture, I have grown to love walking in gardens and taking photos of the beautiful show nature has to offer. I had a friend and travel companion, Carole, who was an ardent gardener and she always sought out the gardens and enjoyed discovering and examining them the best. I grew to appreciate gardens more through travels with her.

There are a lot of beautiful gardens everywhere, from botanic gardens featuring all sorts of plants to flower gardens. Some cover acres, some just a small corner of an estate or park. Some include amazing water features and fountains, sculpture and statues.

Busy Sunday in the Gardens

Halifax Public Gardens

Right here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, we have our own Public Gardens, laid out in the Victorian era and featuring flowers, plants, rare trees and some interesting statues and fountains as well as a bandstand where they play music in summer.

Rose Garden path

Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal

Think pink

Rose Garden,Historic Gardens, Annapolis Royal


Not in the Historic Gardens, but in the garden behind an Annapolis Royal historic Inn.

In Annapolis Royal, about a 2 hour drive into the Annapolis Valley, there is the Royal Historic Gardens.  They have a spectacular rose garden as well as a garden pool, a winter garden and a knot garden to name a few. They also have an area overlooking the marshy side of the Annapolis River where the Acadians built dykes. There are trails through there as well.
Alnwick Gardens Ornamental Slate

A particularly interesting garden in the UK was the Garden at Alnwick Castle. This photo is from the ornamental garden but there are many things to see including a poison garden, a water feature garden, a labyrinth, a cascading fountain, a cherry orchard and a rose garden as well. There’s even a wooded area with a treehouse cafe! Other gardens in the UK that I’ve seen include Inverewe in north west Scotland, Hampton Court Palace which has many gardens on the property, Chatsworth estate which is almost more of a huge park, Lyme Hall garden, an Italian garden at Trentham, and often there have been lovely flower beds in various parks large and small.

Where’s My Backpack’s Travel theme.

Throwback Thursday Classic Shots

It looks like it might actually be spring here in Nova Scotia. Mind you, this time last year we had just come out of another snowfall so it “ain’t over til it’s over” when you live here.

Being optimistic, I’m pulling out some floral photos from my distant past travels. I’ve probably blogged about it way back when I first started this travel blog, but my first major trip once I could afford to go was on a bus tour around the UK in 1993. There were many stops along the way and I had a fabulous time. This photo is of Anne Hathaway’s cottage near Stratford-on-Avon. It was the end of August/early September 1993 and the garden was still lovely. We posed for our group photo here, but not in front of the garden  as you might assume. No, it was in the parking lot. Never mind. I know where we were!

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford-on-Avon

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-on-Avon, 1993

Let’s jump forward a few years to October 1996 and a bus tour around Italy with a friend. We stayed in London for a few days, first and met up with a friend who lived in Essex near Southend. We drove out into Kent and visits Leeds Castle. This is on the castle grounds and the garden is called Culpepper Garden. It might be mid October but there are still a few wildflowers hanging on!

Culpepper Garden in Leeds Castle, Kent

Culpepper Garden in Leeds Castle, Kent, 1996

I did some minor travel in 1998 relating to training at work (Boston, New York, Toronto, Ottawa) and in 1999 there was a weekend in Toronto, but in 2000, things were looking up.  I had two major trips, one to British Columbia in the spring and one to the UK again, in September, incorporating stays in London, Manchester, Stoke and Scotland with a short bus tour in Scotland. One of our stops there was at Inverewe Gardens overlooking Loch Ewe in the northwest of Scotland.

Inverewe Gardens

Inverewe Gardens, Scotland. 2000

Finally, in 2003 I made a solo visit to the UK to visit friends in various places, Worcester, Manchester, Cardiff, Glasgow and London. These were the spring blooms in Cardif by the War Memorial. Blossoms on the trees, tulips blazing across the ground. Gorgeous! (too bad I was on my way to a nasty flu which hit me hard in Bath and London!)

War memorial, Cardiff

War memorial, Cardiff, 2003

Travel Theme: Plants

This week’s travel theme from Where’s My Backpack is Plants. I’ve chosen to focus on lovely gardens that I’ve had the opportunity to visit.

Culpepper Garden in Leeds Castle, Kent

Culpepper Gardens, Leeds Castle, Kent, UK

Anne Hathaway's Cottage, Stratford-on-Avon

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-on-Avon

Botanic Gardens Pond

Royal Botanic Gardens, Copenhagen

Sunny Day at the pond

Royal Botanic Gardens, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Topiary in Arnhem's Open Air Museum, The Netherlands

Topiary in Arnhem’s Open Air Museum, The Netherlands

A Word a Week Photograph Challenge – Flower

We’re back to normal scheduling and trying to fit into my usual routine. That’s always difficult after a good holiday!

A Word a Week challenge this week is Flower.

I never used to take all that many photos of flowers but my friend Carole loved flowers and gardens. I have written about her before, actually. We traveled together a few times and she took lots of photos of plants and flowers while I focused my lens on architecture. But I find myself more and more often taking photos of flowers and plants these days.

Using flowers to frame the photo works well. I like taking photos of flowers in market stalls or shops. Even a faded flower at the end of its life can be an interesting photo study.

Winning Dahlias

Lavender frames the garden chairs

Roses in a Copenhagen market


The last rose of the year

Fab Photo – Flowers for Carole

Seeing flowers when I travel always reminds me of my good friend Carole. She was an avid gardener and when we traveled together, you could tell which photos she took and which were mine. Hers were of flowers and gardens and mine were doors, windows and architectural details. I do like flowers too and take more photos of them these days.

Esperanza roses on the Amserdam floating flower market

I love tulips. We went to Amsterdam in early May a few years ago and I was hoping to see tulips. The floating flowermarket had loads of them but they were all buds, not fully bloomed. Apparently I missed prime tulip season by about 3 or 4 weeks! There were many other speciments like these Esperanza roses but Oh I do wish I’d seen the market full of tulips!

Bouquets in Bury

These lovely blooms were on sale at another market, the Bury market in the Greater Manchester area in the U.K. I loved the red of the paper swirling around the red, white and fuschia bouquets.

Outside a flower shop in Montmartre, Paris

Another of my favourite photos. I found tulips but they were in Paris in a flower shop in Montmartre. In November! Such gorgeous vivid colours!

Flower festival in St. Bartholemew’s in Lostwithiel

And finally, two years ago we visited Cornwall and Devon and stopped in the little town of Lostwithiel. We spotted an old church with a pathway lined with small shoes filled with posies. We had stumbled on a Floral Festival with the proceeds benefiting a hospice and the church. Some of them were quite inventive or had items in the arrangement that represented the sponsor’s business such as a microscope and little antique medicine bottles for the pharmacy. All were so beautiful! The scent inside the church was not overwhelming, surprisingly but it was the essence of spring!

There were flowers outside, too, in the porch, representing the nearby river and a medieval bridge and another around the base of an old Celtic cross. Outside there were a couple of tables with chairs and you could buy tea or coffee and cake, which we did, as the sun was more or less out by then. Besides, it benefited the charities!

I’ve seen wildflowers growing out of cracks in a stone wall around a castle in Ireland. My first impressions of England included wonder at the multitude of flower baskets hanging outside the windows of shops and pubs. Houses with even just a couple of feet of concrete outside the front door had a potted plant in it.  The historic botanic gardens in Annapolis Royal here in Nova Scotia has types of roses that date back 300 years,  something that might have been presented to Maria Antoinette, perhaps.

Since my friend Carole died, five years ago, I find myself looking closer at flowers, seeking them out. I suppose it’s my way of remembering her on my travels.