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Sunday, 30 September 2018

Dinosaurs and geese

Back to Harlow Carr Gardens... I try to go every six to eight weeks, as there is always something new to notice. It's such a peaceful environment too, despite its popularity. The car parks can be packed but you rarely feel the gardens themselves are too crowded.

The dinosaur willow sculpture was one of several dotted around as part of the summer attractions for children. I really liked it. It looked both quite realistic and also oddly friendly.

The geese meanwhile are one of the exhibits in the autumn sculpture trail. Amazing what you can do with some chicken wire. The artist is Carol Sterritt. I think she has captured the 'jizz' (can you tell I was once a keen birdwatcher?) of the birds really well.

Jizz = the total combination of characteristics that serve to identify a particular species of bird or plant

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Cats of Saltaire

Two more moggies, in the occasional series 'Cats of Saltaire'. They're probably quite lucky. Every day it seems someone is posting a notice about a lost cat... They seem to disappear from round here very regularly. Whether they just wander off, get nabbed or get run over, no-one seems to know.

Friday, 28 September 2018

Cotton candy

I just adore this tree, with it's gracefully curving trunk and mass of little silvery leaves, like candy floss. It's some kind of willow, I think - probably salix alba. It grows beside the canal in the grounds of Saltaire's church. I've tried to photograph it many times and never come close to capturing its ethereal beauty. This picture does it some justice, I feel.

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Cosmos and friends

More from RHS Harlow Carr Gardens near Harrogate: I think the big white flowers above are Cosmos. One of them was providing a lovely hammock for a pretty pale green butterfly, which may have been a green-veined white? The pink flower below is a Cosmos too. They were growing in an exuberant planting of mixed annuals, which seemed to have both wild and cultivated species.

Sunflowers are always a joy and I liked this variety with two-toned petals.

Another plant that makes a bold statement is Acanthus spinosus, commonly known as bear's breeches. It's wonderfully sculptural with its long spikes of hooded purple and white flowers. 

 The vegetable garden holds some beauties too, like this showy globe artichoke.

Apples are ripening and starting to blush red. Nature's bounty, so wonderful and we should never take it for granted.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Vivacious herbaceous

I always enjoy a visit to RHS Harlow Carr Gardens when the main herbaceous borders are in full bloom. (This was a few weeks ago.) Some years they are better than others, perhaps due to the weather and/or the choice of planting. There were too many wildly mixed colour combinations for my personal taste this year. I don't tend to like pinks and yellows together... Mind you, I'm a fine one to judge, as I don't have a green finger on my body! Whether they appeal or not, they are certainly a zingy sight.

I did like the colour combination below: a dark pink sedum (?) with attractive burgundy leaves against a vibrant turquoise grass that I've never noticed before.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Cliffe Castle's glasshouse

In Victorian and Edwardian times, when Keighley's Cliffe Castle was the home of the Butterfields (see my earlier post here), it was famed for its extensive glasshouses, in which they grew fruit and exotic plants. They fell into disrepair in the 1920s and only a small area was conserved. Recently, the whole park has been improved and restored, thanks to Heritage Lottery funding. Among the works has been a huge project to build new glasshouses, informed by plans, paintings and old photographs of the originals. Part of these is now an airy café and the rest holds plants and displays. The old aviary has also been restored.

It will look better when the planting gets established, but it is a vast improvement on what was here before.

The glasshouse holds a large collection of fly-eating plants, Sarraceniaceae, which are native to the wetlands of SE USA. With the bright sunlight shining through them, they looked rather attractive.

The aviaries hold a few cockatoos and other small birds, and some guinea pigs too. They, along with the rather nice adventure playground, make the museum and park an attraction for families with small children. I thought the little fellow below was quite attractive, though the birds are not easy to photograph due to the mesh screens that are necessary to prevent little fingers getting nipped.

Monday, 24 September 2018

Cliffe Castle Park's refurbishment

It seems a long time ago now but when I was fairly
newly retired, I visited a local museum in Keighley called Cliffe Castle. At that time it was undergoing extensive work in the grounds (see here). I've been meaning to go back to see what they did to it and I managed to fit in a visit one day over the summer, when it was very hot and I didn't want to travel too far.

Some of the work has involved recreating a replica of the Victorian lake and fountains in the grounds. (Rather green with algae, due to the hot summer). They had been removed in the mid 20th century. They have also improved the steps and terraces. Sadly, even though the work has only been finished for a few months, many of the decorative urns reinstated on the plinths have been vandalised. It's both shocking and annoying that some people seem to think it fun to spoil things. Rather sad.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Green scene

Probably my favourite few yards of the local canal towpath, it's opposite Saltaire's church yet you could be miles away from 'civilisation'. The trees on either side bend over to form almost a tunnel-like effect. It's magical in autumn when the leaves are golden but equally lovely at this time of year with the different greens reflected in the canal. You do have to beware of cyclists zooming up from behind. Being deaf, I don't hear their bells so I'm often in danger of being mown down! This guy did at least thank me for getting out of his way.

Saturday, 22 September 2018

The 309s

Saltaire Festival 2018 - This band, The 309s, seemed popular and had the audience bopping and jiving in front of the stage. They're a West Yorkshire-based five piece band, playing a repertoire of swing/country/jive music. From left to right, the line-up is: Ian Tothill, Tim Spencer on drums (barely seen in my pic), Rod Boyes, Nancy Varo and John Murphy.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Festival 2018 crowds

I was away for most of Saltaire Festival's second weekend. To be honest, I have become somewhat disillusioned by the commercialisation and the lack of variety of the weekend. There's not much of a local 'village' feel to it, unlike the first weekend. There are always several markets, lots of food and drink stalls and several stages with music of a type that rarely appeals to me. Add to that the crowds and the difficulty in parking anywhere near my house if I dare to move my car from its 'spot' and it seemed better to absent myself. I did, however, have an hour or so walking around as the crowds were thinning a little late on the Sunday afternoon.

The main photo is a view across Roberts Park, where the main stage and lots of food/drink stalls are sited. 

The photo on the left is a view up Exhibition Road, where the 'Continental Market' is sited. Here you can buy a wide range of street food from curry to paella, crepes to baklava. There are also some stalls selling trinkets and this year you could buy plants too. 

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Open Gardens 2

Decorative glass panels made by Anne-Marie Lowe were an attractive feature in this garden, shown as part of the Saltaire festival.

Carved stone and bronze sculptures (below) by Terence Lister enhanced another patch. 

The carved head (below left) was tricky to photograph, as the chair (not, I think, part of the artwork) was set at a drunken angle. 

On the right, some graceful ceramic swifts on wire stems that swayed in the wind brought colour and movement to a small yard. They and some pretty ceramic bowls were the work of 'The Potting Studio' based in north Leeds. 

And finally, these colourful aluminium and copper 'flowers' displayed on a wall in a small backyard were by Cian Carroll.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Open Gardens 1

As is now traditional for the first weekend of the Saltaire Festival, a number of gardens around the village were open to visitors, most displaying sculptures as an extra feature. The garden above was created a few years ago on the site of an unused garage. It belongs to one of the large semi-detached houses on Albert Road. I really liked it - so much nicer than an old garage, and there was still space to park a car on the drive. The two photos below are of the same garden, which was featuring an attractive stained glass sculpture of ferns and leaves, by artist Sam Yates. I think the wonderful ammonite swirl was a permanent feature of the garden.

The garden below was in one of the tiny backyards of the terraced workers' cottages. It's amazing how many plants people manage to cram in to these spaces.

Below, another of the larger side gardens on Albert Road, which also had an attractive paved seating area at the back.

Below, a beachcomber's garden, full of driftwood, shells, nets and rusty items sourced from foreshores. Rather curious, since we're about as far from the sea as you can get in this country. It was enhanced for the Festival by some colourful sea creatures made from felt, by Galina Titova.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

'I laugh in the face of drizzle'

'I laugh in the face of drizzle. I put on a cagoule, have a beer, check the electrics are working and dance to the music' was written on the Facebook page for 'Yardfest', the mini music festival in someone's back yard in Saltaire as part of Saltaire Festival. Well, they did need a jacket and a smile, as the drizzle was fairly relentless for much of the weekend. But it didn't stop people having fun. There was food from Edward Street Bakery, beer from the Cap and Collar and good music from a line-up of local bands and DJs. I caught a set from a duo I think were called 'Gurgles'. 

To be honest, the jazzier style of the buskers in the Wash House garden was more my cup of tea. 

As always, there was dancing too, from the local clog team 'Rainbow Morris', the belly/morris fusion dancers '400 Roses' and another side from Sheffield called Lizzie Dripping.

Monday, 17 September 2018

Salt family heritage

It was a huge privilege to meet Nick Salt, Sir Titus Salt's great great grandson and a great grandson of Titus Salt Jnr and his wife Caroline. He retains a close connection with Saltaire and brought along some hand tools that had belonged to his great grandfather.

As well as being closely involved with the running of Salts Mill and the village of Saltaire, Titus Salt Jnr was an innovator and was interested in practical skills. He himself was a skilled woodworker and turner, and had a workshop or 'Turning Room' attached to the billiard room in the Milner Field mansion (where he suffered his fatal heart attack at the age of just 44). Some of the tools were actually inscribed with 'T SALT JUNr' - rather moving to see and hold.

There were also examples of some of the wood and ivory objects he turned, including the ivory mason's mallet used by his young son, Gordon (Nick's grandfather), who was not quite three at the time, to lay the foundation stone of Milner Field in 1869.

Nick's lineage is, I believe:

Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876) - had 11 children,  Titus Junior being his fifth son.
Titus Salt Junior (1843-1887) - had 4 children, Gordon Locksley Salt being his oldest son.
Gordon Locksley Salt (1866-1938) - had 3 children, John Salt being his middle child and only son.
John Scarlett Alexander Salt (1905-1947) - had 3 children, Nicholas being his middle child and second son.
Nicholas (Nick) John Salt (b 1945)