...at least, that's the excuse for temporarily turning this into an Oxford blog.
Arrived without incident, took the bus from London to Oxford (with free wifi), dropped my bags at Lady Margaret Hall, my home for the night, and started walking. One reason I chose LMH is that it's by Norham Gardens, and I have fond though indistinct memories of Penelope Lively's timeslip fantasy, "The House at Norham Gardens," which I intend to ILL.
LMH's gardens run down to the Cherwell (pronounced Charwell). A beautiful sunken garden was humming with bees and butterflies.
Containers lined the steps to the garden.
Boats along the Cherwell
and yes, I saw some people punting! It must really be Oxford.
and cyclists everywhere:
At any rate, between the showers we had dramatic skies and shafts of sunlight.
I stopped at Blackwell's and picked up a map and a guide to the college gardens. Explored New College, which features a mound in the middle, which I was longing to see, but it's not for the likes of me. Only fellows may walk on the lawn or climb the steps up the mound, which allows you to see the formal gardens (in days past) or look over the walls at the surrounding countryside (today).
Here, two classic perennial borders, perhaps at Wadham College.
I've been struck by the sheer height of so many plantings. Here, hollyhocks against the old city wall in New College.
There's so much in bloom, from roses to Japanese anemones to lace-cap hydrangeas, lavender and thyme, butterfly bush and crocosmia. I have already made a fool of myself for asking Emma about the unusual plantings in the courtyard of Rewley House. She very gently said she thought they were ivy. Well, I had never seen such big, variegated leaves! She was very nice about it and we have moved on. Here it is.