Needing a break from the pressures of the family helping to upgrade our house to improve its chances of selling, and seeing blue skies and sunshine beckoning me outside, I fell to the temptation of grabbing my camera and heading to the Stockwood Discovery Centre Gardens in Luton. I had not visited for some while and I did want to catch up with the gardeners there.
I did not completely neglect my responsibilities towards the improvements; I did take a brush and ‘brick acid’ to limescale in the shower tray and the loo bowl, so that it could be working its magic whilst I was out! Arriving in the car park, it was not as crowded as it might have been, presumably because there was a decided nip in the breeze when I got out, so I donned a jacket. I headed straight through reception and across the gardens, heading towards the far end of the long greenhouse along the wall, and caught sight of Jan and Bridey the gardeners, who were coming out having presumably completed the first watering of the day and some general pruning.
I enquired whether there were any items of interest either in the greenhouse or the gardens in general and learned there were some special plants in flower in one area beyond the Victorian greenhouses, but apparently little of especial interest, but both did say I would likely still find something because I would be looking more closely.
They were right. I took off the jacket the moment I entered the greenhouse for I could probably been still warm were I only clad in swimming trunks! My biggest problem was going to be my glasses steaming up, making the taking of photos less than totally straightforward. I had barely taken two steps from the entrance before finding some tiny flowers that to all intents were miniature roses to look at, though no roses I knew naturally formed a circular clusters of flowers. I was able to work my way through the greenhouse, turning from side to side to capture examples of either leaves, flowers or cacti at almost every step.
A while later as the gardeners lunch break came Bridey came back to eat hers by the work she would be returning to once her break was over. Later Jan returned too and enquired whether I had spotted a particular plant, but no even though I had been on the lookout, I still had missed some she thought would have attracted my interest, I made good my mistakes and then headed for the trellis-enclosed space that had been mentioned earlier and along the way found other plants of interest; in particular one set of leaves that had every autumnal hue from pale greens through yellows to red and golds and some stark white berries on leafless branches, I also spotted to new water feature that had replaced the tiled fountain.
Bumped once more into the two gardeners before leaving, wishing them all the best for Christmas should I not pay another visit in between and headed for Reception to see whether I could speak to Ian Haswell, Jan’s boss to whom she had mentioned my blog that often covered exhibits within the Discovery Centre. Sadly he was not in his office, so that contact will have to wait for another occasion.