Why is it we travel miles to visit places but never take advantage of what’s on our doorstep? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it is. We talk about beautiful views when on holiday, there are plenty right around us though.
It was due to be a sunny Saturday (it wasn’t all that sunny) and the evening before I thought I need to make the most of it. We don’t get that many days of perfect weather, and for them to fall on a day when I don’t have other commitments and to also have the opportunity to get out is even rarer. I’m not generally the spontaneous kind. I wanted to go out, but didn’t want anything too strenuous. Nothing that took lots of planning or required spending much money.
Facebook has this handy feature where you can search for events local to you, things that are happening within your community. I’m a sucker for a craft fair, food fair, local festival, anything you can wander around aimlessly looking at pretty things and eating tasty food.
Top of the search results was a rose festival at Peter Beales Rose Gardens. When I was looking for something local to do I didn’t expect to find something right on my doorstep. At just over 2 miles away I could walk there if I could walk!
I don’t know why it surprised me so much, this is a place I’m aware of, I’ve been meaning to visit for quite some time, because believe it or not I’ve never been. Yes I know it’s in the same town that I live. This is what I mean about not appreciating what’s close to us. I think it’s because travelling further takes us more planning, organising, setting aside of a date. It goes in the calendar. Whereas someplace just up the road, I think, I’ll go visit there some day, I must check it out when I get time. Like I’m some busy superwoman jet-setting across the globe. I’m not, I’ve always got time, what am I saying.
Anyway we decided to drive, a little mother daughter morning out with my PA in tow. Loading me and my wheels in and out of the WAV (wheelchair accessible vehicle) took longer than the drive itself, but I was joking about that would walk there if I could thing.
There was a little queue of cars waiting to park when we arrived, a friendly man in yellow waving his arms sending us this way and that. I wonder if he regretted wearing yellow as much as I did!
He directed us to a space I didn’t realise was reserved for disabled until I left and saw this sign hiding behind a tree. You’d think we were part of a secret club!
We entered through the gift shop, I’m not sure if this is the only way of entering but it’s great for tempting you right from the start! There were some lovely things inside, quaint and shabby chic, your usual garden centre suspects.
I wheel out onto shingle, not too deep but some of it a little bumpy. This may have become a mission had the whole place been surfaced like this, but after browsing rows of potted plants we came to the reason this place got its name.
The Rose Gardens.
This was mostly on grass, fairly smooth to wheel around.
Winding through the separate areas and archways reminded me of The Secret Garden. We all read that as a child didn’t we? I remember at school going around the class reading paragraphs. In fact I’ve just added it to my read-again list.
It was just glorious, I can’t think of a more fitting word. It would be the dream to have this as my garden, maybe I shall when I live in my windmill!
The layout of the garden got your senses working. Some roses were low to the ground, some grew much higher, others were trailing over archways and tunnels. In one place steps let up onto a metal structure with another fabulous view I could only see in photos.
A little bridge led across a pond with fish in and a water feature. I couldn’t access this myself but Mum explored and took photos for me to see.
Fragrances came from all directions. One particular rose smelt just like Turkish delight. I know Turkish delight can be rose flavoured, but.
The deeper into the gardens I got the more I regretted wearing yellow. So covered in bugs I was I could have been a Lady Gaga costume. I looked like a wheeling nature reserve, an alive still life!
There were talks about gardening and roses, also the opportunity to take part in painting workshops. This was right up my street, I’d have taken part if I was a little more prepared.
Having studied art for I forget how many years, I’ve always enjoyed photographing, drawing and painting, particularly from nature. I have a fascination with flowers even though I know absolutely nothing about them!
Who knew how many layers a rose could have. Let alone how many types of Rose there are.
I could smell a barbecue. I resisted the urge to stop for a burger. Although I do enjoy a good barbecue I feel they are often one of those things that smell amazing and draw you in, only to often let you down. The same goes for chips and bacon.
We came to the craft fair (the reason I discovered this beautiful place), lots of handmade goodies to inspire me to get creating more. I tasted all the chutneys and pickles, obviously, and purchased a few. Because that’s what I do. The seller informed me that these condiments are permanently stocked at Peter Beales Rose Gardens. Why did he have to tell me that?!
I enjoy being in the outdoors and around nature. Life is so buzzy and busy and in the digital world, it’s good to take a break from screen reality and be around real physical pretty stuff.
It was easy to forget I was still in the town I live and could be home in just a couple of minutes. I must make more effort to appreciate my local area. Like this other tranquil discovery Urban Jungle.
Peter Beales Rose Gardens is lovely for a midweek wander or a picnic with friends. There is a fairly large café too, which has recently been refurbished. I didn’t give it a go this time as the queues just to get in were really long, probably added to by the event. It would have been quite the mission to wheel through to a table without disturbing people mid pour of their brew. I’ll definitely be going back for a cream tea sometime though, assuming they do cream teas.