Slowly Learning Gardener
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Kent, England

A Walk Along the Darenth Valley

21 Nov '06 6:23 am
I had a day off last Thursday and so, after I’d done all my chores at home in the morning, I decided to go to a little village called Shoreham, which is just a short drive from where I live, park the car and go for a walk.

I wasn’t exactly sure where the footpaths were, but just drove through the village, looking out for signposts. I found one at the end of a lane which followed part of the Darent Valley Path Walk and set off with my camera in hand, following the river for a while. Leaving the river, I then came out onto open fields which were rather muddy as it was raining, but I didn’t mind as it meant there weren’t too many other people around and I pretty much had the whole path to myself, which gave me a lovely chance for private reflection (and enabled me to snap away with my camera without being embarrassed!!). My first photos show the lovely views over the fields, and I spotted this beautiful house, tucked away amongst the trees, some of which had dropped their leaves, creating a lovely carpet of gold and red beneath them.

I continued on and came to a more wooded area which returned to the riverside and up ahead I heard the sound of falling water, so I hurried along and found a weir and the lake beyond it, with swans and ducks peacefully swimming on its surface.

A little further on, I came across Lullingstone Castle, which was a bit of a surprise as I didn’t know I’d walked that far! I took the photo of the gate house after having passed it, but then realised I’d been out for about an hour and had better head back (taking into account the fact that it would take me another hour to get back to the car!).

Following the river back, I saw lots of little mallard duck couples which was sweet – unfortunately a lot of my photos didn’t come out very well, though, as most of the time I was standing on a steep, slippery mud bank, trying not to a) fall in, b) drop the camera case or lens cap and c) scare them away! Anyway, I did manage to get some fairly decent ones, so here you go…

When I got back to the car, my trainers and the bottoms of my jeans were covered in mud and I was soaking wet, but I felt great! I really enjoyed the time to myself (a somewhat rare commodity!) and, of course, the exercise!
"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

gardening consultant
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Waterloo, Belgium

Deep admiration (from Athens)!

21 Nov '06 7:51 am
Dear darling little lady! How everything here "feels" lovely! The ducks and castle photos are captivating! The Autumn colours in the fields remind me of the Chateau in October...Lots of reds and greens , not yet enough gold...Is the climate over there milder than in Belgium? It has to be... A Paradise, anyway!..

(As you see, my son Dinos, let me say "good night" to my Forum friends from his computer... I had a lovely flight , reading amazing things about the unbelievable and unique natural beauty of N.Zealand and its botanical miracles in the last edition of the "Garden" magazine! Oh, yes! )
"..So,perhaps, it is easiest, through awareness of flowers in particular, of their radiant beauty and purity, their vibrant colour, to come to the excellence of the One and be uplifted beyond thought to our divine selves".Dorothy Maclean

Gone to seed
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Hamilton, New Zealand

21 Nov '06 9:52 am
Beautiful photos! I must say I am enjoying looking at both yours and Liza's autumn shots.
I love autumn foliage. :)

Thankful Gardener
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

24 Nov '06 7:35 pm
Beautiful and captivating captures, every one of them! I too adore the autumn foliage and those colours reflected on the water are awesome, Bambi! Thanks for sharing! :D

garden enthusiast
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Waikato-New Zealand

England ....

24 Nov '06 7:54 pm
Just how I imagine England to be !
Do you know of the artist Raymond Ching ? NZer now living and painting in England .The duck picture no. 46a reminds me of his watercolour paintings .
My favourite is the stile ! A simple yet Fascinating subject.

Slowly Learning Gardener
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Kent, England

25 Nov '06 12:36 am
Thanks Jaqueline and Anna, I hoped you'd all enjoy the autumn colours as I did :)

Dixie, I hadn't heard of Raymond Ching before, but I just Googled him and found some (not a lot, but some) of his paintings and I think they're just beautiful! I found one called Summer Afternoon which is of a garden tap with a bucket hanging on it and plants growing up all around them, and I love it! Another called Duck Landing is wonderful too - it's of a duck landing (obviously!) on a lake and the water and movement is fantastic. I'm going to spend some more time looking out for his works.

I thought the stile was nice, too. I've always thought of them as traditionally English, but I may be completely wrong - are they a "big thing" along footpaths in other countries? (I think I encountered about six or seven on my walk!)

"If you'd have a mind at peace
A heart that cannot harden
Go find a door that opens wide
Upon a beautiful garden."
Author Unknown

Weekend Gardener
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Coatesville , New Zealand

English Countryside

25 Nov '06 8:15 am
I love the English Countryside and your pics are beautiful.They remind me of when I visited my relations over there. I would go for a stroll every day and enjoy the forests and rivers etc. Your grass doesnt seem to get so tall as ours and the weeds dont seem to takeover so much. Your winters must keep things under control.
Thanks for sharing

What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.-
Ralph Waldo Emerson

head gardener
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26 Nov '06 10:07 am
Beautiful pictures, dear Anna - so evocative. I feel very connected to the misty rural English views. I guess it's a romantic thing, and it all started from picture books and so on when I was a child. Which reminds me - I used to read a series called 'Blackberry Farm'. Even now when I see one of these little books I can remember my child's dreaminess about the places faraway that were called England. And I had no idea what a squirrel was (we don't have squrrels here). Thanks for re-inspiring a bit of nostalgia!
Head Gardener

Jack Holloway
Passionate Gardener
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SEQUOIA FARM Haenertsburg South Africa

Ah the England in the English-speaking!

28 Nov '06 7:58 pm
I too seem to have a psychic link to the English countryside, and this is exactly the sort of combination of farmland, rural views and unexpected historic places I imagine. I have had wonderful experiences walking in the countryside, most recently on my last visit in 2003 when I walked from either Stow-in-th-Wold or Moreton-in-Marsh in Glouchestershire (names to conjure with!)and ended up finding Sizencote! I can't tell you how much I enjoyed joining you, Bambi. (In a whiny voice: 'do it again pleeeeze!')

I was there too hear my good friend and mother of my goddaughter, Sally, sing in Cosi Fan Tuti at the Longborough Festival Opera. In the last week I have decided to hear her great breakthrough when she sings the lead in Lucia di Lammermoor for Scottish Opera in May/June. I can catch her last performance (in Aberdeen) and then spend my school holiday in Europe! Bliss!! Especially as we have spoken for 10 years of the day that I will plan a visit around hearing her sing with a 'mainstream' opera company. =D> =D> =D>

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