I first came across this bench when Diana shared photos of it sometime last year. I loved its redness amongst the soft wispy grass, and I never dreamt I’d get to see it for real.
Fast forward to this year’s Garden Bloggers Fling in Austin, Texas and there it was waiting for discovery on Saturday morning. We were visiting Colleen Jamison’s garden – which was gorgeous – but it’s what she’s done with the median strip outside her house which merits attention on this particular blog.
Not only is there the sassy red bench, there are plenty more, with most of them primped with inviting bright cushions. I was concerned about theft, and Colleen assured me there has been very little since she’s tended this strip of land.
It’s now Colleen’s favourite area, because “people seem to really enjoy it!” She also describes it as the most challenging part she has to garden because “the space had terrible soil, no irrigation, and was covered by weeds and browsed nightly by deer. I wanted to see if I could garden successfully in the worst of the worst conditions.” … “Little by little, a garden emerged.”
It’s a triumph. At the end of our visit it was fitting we Flingers chose this inviting area to gather and chat whilst we awaited the return of our tour bus.
There’s a fascinating set of plaques along Minehead harbour wall, with room to sit and stare awhile to look for the answers to the puzzles posed alongside (as well as what each piece represents).
Here’s some information – I would have loved to hear the sea shanties. We have sung the Halsway Carol at choir as in Halsway Manor mentioned below.
Beautiful mosaics using old pottery adorn this cottage wall on the road towards Minehead harbour. The walls had mosaic along the top too. I recently spent a fun afternoon making just one small garden pot, so this must have taken quite a bit of work.
An unexpected continuance of last week’s bench with spring wild flowers theme. I’ve been meaning for ages to photograph the restored ex bench in the Donkey Field nearby.
A walk back from town in the spring sunshine last week provided the ideal opportunity… and the discovery of a flash of butter yellow cowslips to brighten my view.
Looking at the previous photo, it’s interesting to see how the bench’s surroundings have changed. When it was an ex bench there was lush growth around it. Today’s bare ground and a stray pop bottle suggests it’s well used.
It’s that usage which probably allowed the cowslips to re-emerge or take hold for the first time. Around here they thrive and provide delight where the grass is kept relatively short.
Distinctive sculptures mark each end of the South West Coastal Path, currently the longest walking trail in England* at over 600 miles. This is the one found at Minehead and was put in place in 2001.
* = there is a project underway to create a coastal path around the whole of Britain. The Wales Coast Path has now superseded this one at around 870 miles and Wales is currently the only country in the world with a path around its entire coastline.
A double Friday bench from my friend Barbara who took this picture on Friday 14th April 2017.
“The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew, the furrow followed free.”
~ The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
For me, one of the highlights of a trip on the West Somerset Railway is seeing the above quotation on a building as the train pulls into Watchet station. Sadly on Sunday it wasn’t to be seen. However, we did find the Ancient Mariner’s statue by the harbour.
The town is proud of its connection with Coleridge and being the inspiration for one of his most famous poems. I love how this has been translated into the statue’s floral adornment. Perhaps the daffodils are a nod to Coleridge’s friendship with Wordsworth?
At Washford station we learnt how the harbour at Watchet was made into a floating harbour like the one at Bristol for the Millennium, but the alterations led to problems with silting and the constant need for dredging. Here’s hoping Watchet harbour isn’t on course to being becalmed, just like the Ancient Mariner. It’s a lovely place to visit.
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” – Charles Dickens.
Sums up this day perfectly 🙂