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?
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."