The Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park (130 acres) is the home of the international rose trials which opened today with final judging tomorrow. For lunch today I made a quick cheese sandwich, grabbed the dog and headed off for an hour of bliss. "Pure Bliss" is the name of the rose in the top left corner of the collage. Hundreds of people were there today and that will rise to many thousands by the end of the week.
Every day there is some special attraction - Irish dancing, Chinese Lion Dance, Orienteering, music (harp, guitar, jazz, brass/flute/accordion bands ..) and all kinds of demonstrations and workshops plus activities for children. Oh, and it is all free!
Eliot was content to sit while I had lunch. He wasn't interested in food at all and was ready for a good walk round the roses just as soon as I put the wrappings away.
Lots of folk bring dogs so he had plenty of smells to keep him happy while I smelled the roses. For some I took time to record the names but for others it was just the big picture of so many colours and perfumes packed in together.
A young couple just married were using the roses as a backdrop for their wedding photographs. It must have been challenging for the photographer as not only did he have to work with a stiff and cool breeze but also the dozens of people who inevitably ended up walking through his pictures!
From time to time Eliot cooperated with the camera - or maybe he was just distracted by the sight of dogs in the distance and simply ignored me?
"Tequila Sunrise" features again this year and as always gives a wonderful summery glow even on a dull and cloudy day. It's one of those bushes that has just about every shade from red to orange as the flowers mature. The buds open with this beautiful mottled effect, no two identical.
There are so many different kinds of beds and display areas - one visit is scarcely enough to do justice to the great variety of roses. Hopefully I'll get back a time or two this week to take more pictures and to enjoy the tranquillity. Even though there are crowds in the middle of the day it is still peaceful. I sometimes go around six in the morning just as soon as the gates open when the dew is still on the roses. That's a good time to be there with just the staff working away to get everything in perfect order.
I like the way that all the beds are labelled clearly so you know what it is that you're enjoying though I forgot to take the name of the picture below! That's the path from the car park down to the archway that leads into the rose gardens. The aroma as you walk along here is magnificent.
It would be hard to have a favourite among all this beauty. Each rose is perfect and there is no need to compare one with the other. I can like them all. And I do!
O Holy Spirit and giver of life,
who from the beginning
wrought beauty and peace in all creation;
renew the face of the earth
that we may glorify the Author and Maker of all
and rejoice in the promise of redemption
in Christ our Lord. Amen.
Celebrating Common Prayer
Evening Prayer - Form 1