On Sunday while MOH was cycling 102 miles around Essex (he completed it in just under seven hours if you wondered) I thought I'd do something less boring instead, as that old TV programme said. It's Why Don't You? I think you'll find. No problem. But anyway, I took myself off to RHS Hyde Hall.
My visit got off to a confusing start. The lady giving out the maps asked me if I wanted to go to the playground first as she started pointing things out. And she looked at me strangely when I said I thought I was probably a bit old for the playground. Or she must have thought me daft, because she persisted and wondered if my children might like to go there.
My turn to look confused now, because as you know I don't have any children. She looked behind me and so did I. And guess what I saw? Three small pairs of eyes looking between me and and the map lady. I'm not sure she believed me when I said I'd never seen them before, but when they ran back to their mum she seemed content that I didn't need instructions to the playground after all.
I headed off and instead of heading up to the hilltop gardens first I took a left and headed for the cottage gardens. Yes, there's two of them. I headed into the Modern Cottage Garden first and this was the view I was met with.
If you're wondering what makes a cottage garden modern, I think it's partly down to the layout which when viewed on the map had a tetris like layout, rather than the more fluid beds of the traditional cottage garden next door. The planting too was different, with the more traditional cottage garden plants like angelica and hollyhocks in as you've guessed the traditional cottage garden.
Like many places there seem to have been a lot of poppies this year, and now there's a lot of seed heads. I found one though that was a little different...
The paths were lined with hostas, in fact the same sort that I have in my own garden where I've discovered they make a great edging plant, just as they've used them here. The grasses gave lots of movement and I loved the golden, much taller grass.
In amongst the grasses I spotted this bright pink flower, I've no idea what it is but I knew I liked it.
In another corner I found an area of orange spikes, and I was reminded that I'd not seen my red hot poker plant at home this year. I know these aren't red hot pokers, but they jogged my memory.
At the end of the Modern Cottage Garden there was a gap in the hedge into the Cottage Garden. And straight into a ginormous patch of angelica. And like mine, it's in flower.
When I moved past the angelica my view was very cottage garden.
In both of the cottage gardens there were plenty of benches and that was lovely, and hardly any were being used either. So my top tip if you want a sit down is to try here. You'll have a fabulous view too.
And once again the roses were calling me. This chunky wigwam frame was almost completely covered with a climbing rose.
Feeling refreshed after a blast of dense planting I left the cottage gardens to explore further afield - and you know what, I never did make it to the playground!