Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mottisfont Heritage Rose Foundation Conference Trip, Day One (Did you miss me while I was gone?)

I'm b-aa-ck!!

Flew out of here in the afternoon on Saturday the 21st, landing at Heathrow Airport in London early in the morning of Sunday the 22nd.  Met up with my six traveling companions when their flight from Florida arrived shortly thereafter.  Picked up and loaded our rental van, and we set off toward Winchester.  (photos in this post were all taken by me during a visit that some of us made to a private garden on the first evening of the conference.)

Looks eerily like my house, doesn't it?

Nevermind the front yard renovation work, look at all of those roses!

This is 'Compassion' trained to wire on the front bay.

Since we arrived in England so early in the day, and we couldn't check into our hotel till after 3:00, we planned a stop at Wisley, the garden of the Royal Horticultural Society.  The weather was clear and sunny ... perfect for spending hours wandering and marveling at the wonders that Wisley had to offer.

Layers of roses and perennials.

'Lady Hillingdon', climbing form.

Rose on side bay window.

Wisley also has a cafe, where I got my first taste of English food ... full English breakfast, please, and LOTS of coffee.

'Ferdinand Pichard' and lots of other roses!

Detail of 'Ferdinand Pichard'

More artistry with layers and layers of plants.

My favorite part of Wisley was their garden center, with thousands of annuals and perennials available for sale and a dizzying selection of roses.  It was really hard on all of us, since we knew that we could only look and not buy.

Bench under 'Bobbie James' on an arbor and in the treetops.

Roses and perennials.

After Wisley, we went straight to our hotel in Winchester.  Other conference attendees were already there ... it was great to see some familiar faces, and make the acquaintance of other folks that I had heard about but hadn't met in person.

What a lovely view the birds have from their bath.

Roses and clematis.

One of my greatest joys of this trip was meeting Jon (whose garden is shown in all of these photos).  I was busily introducing myself to folks, making small talk.  My introduction and chat with Jon went something like this:

Me, "Connie Hilker from Virginia.  Pleased to meet you."

(insert random small talk here)  Jon made mention of GardenWeb Rose Forums.

Me, "You're on GardenWeb?  Me, too."

Jon, "What is your GardenWeb ID?"

Me, "I'm hartwood."

Jon, with an amazed look on his face, said quietly, "I'm joninwessex."

It was my turn for the amazed look, as both of us realized that we had communicated with each other for years, and neither of us had recognized till that moment who we were actually talking to.  I think I may have squealed as I gave him a big hug.

How many layers do you see in this photo?

Moss rose.

More layers.

After the evening mixer for the Conference attendees, some of us went to visit Jon's garden.  As we arrived, I was instantly struck by how similar his house is to ours.  I showed Jon a photo of our house, and he asked, "Where are the roses?"  (No roses growing on our house ... yet.)

I love Jon's garden shed.

Detail of shed door with roses.

I have never seen another garden like Jon's ... so many layers of roses and perennials.  This garden is small (only about the size of an average backyard) and he has masterfully created a garden that is magic.  It is difficult to capture the intimacy of this garden in photos.  You're going to have to stretch your imagination to comprehend the height and the scale and the fragrance!!

Rosa virginiana plena, one of my favorite roses that I saw in Jon's garden.

Detail of Rosa virginiana plena.

As the sun began to set, we loaded up to return to our hotel for dinner.  Visiting Jon's garden was a Bucket List item for me ... one that I didn't realize I had till then.

So many roses on this wall!

Roses, roses everywhere!

Day One ended quietly, after a late dinner.  All of us had been awake for over 24 hours at that point, with only short cat naps on the plane, and I slept very well that night.

As wonderful as this trip was, it is even better to be back home.  My garden looks good, and I am almost caught up on all of the things that I missed doing while I was away.  My husband took great care of things in my absence.  

As they said at the end of The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home."


  1. What a beautiful garden! Sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

  2. I could so live in that house! Thank you so much for taking us along. Those roses were breathtaking. I'll bet you came home with all kinds of ideas! Hugs! deb

  3. What stunning photos, there is nothing better than a garden full of roses that have been allowed to do their thing! And the climbers, oh the climbers!!!

  4. I had no idea you were flying off to the other side of the Pond. How awesome that you met a blogger there that you knew! That's just the craziest thing I have ever heard. xox

  5. Yes. We did miss you. But worth the wait to see all this beauty a learn of the fun story of meeting someone you already know in a sorta kinda way.
    So...will your body double home have roses growing up it soon?

  6. Hi Connie, lucky you that you were able to go to the rose conference at Mottisfont! What a wonderful start of your trip to visit Jon's garden. I "know" him too from the Garden Web Forum and have always admired when he posted photos of his garden. So nice to see the once that you have taken there. His garden is simply my romantic rose garden dream! I am just in awe.
    One question do you know the name of the light pink colored rose with the globular flowers growing together with a violet clematis (it is the photo below the one with the bird bath and above "your dialog")? This is my favorite rose in this post and I am dying to know what variety it is. Wishing you a nice Fourth of July weekend!

  7. Wow, trip of a lifetime! Neat connection with Jon.

  8. Wow ~ What a great post! So wonderful to see all of these beautiful roses and I love the one with all the 'layers'.

    How fantastic for you and Jon to meet and that you had already been communicating for years. :-)

    Yes, you are so right, there is no place like home.

    Have a lovely 4th ~ FlowerLady

  9. How cool to meet someone you "knew" as much as any of us know each other!

    I really love this garden and house. The house reminds me of my grandparents brick farmhouse and my great grandfather moved from England where he was a gardner at Sandringham so the look of the garden is very much what I remember his garden in Canada looking like.


  10. What a wonderful trip ! I take it that the 'full English ' breakfast got the thumbs up ?
    Wisley is just superb at this time of year and a total joy to visit. We went to the David Austin nursery and gardens last June and it was like heaven !


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