Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


One word says it all -- one of the most magnificent gardens in England. It seems as if I've heard of Hidcote "forever" and what a dream it was to be able to tour these magnificent gardens!

Some beautiful iris (I didn't get the cultivar) in K State purple!

One has heard the term "garden rooms" but until you tour Hidcote, you don't fully understand the concept of "rooms" -- and vistas as you look through doorways between "rooms"

Walled with clipped box in a formal pattern with brick walks and blooming plants in each enclosure. I love this formal type of garden!

The wisteria was almost gone but this "old guy" was still blooming -- can you believe the trunk on this speciman? And how old is it, I wonder?

A favorite summer plant on the prairie -- cigar plant (if you look closely the bloom looks like a cigar with "ash" on the end) -- this one was not in the garden but in the greenhouse. And it was huge!!!

The chives were in bloom -- one of the prettiest herbal flowers, I think

And a whole row lined the vegetable garden -- what a sight!

But Hidcote is not only a garden, it's also a house (a magnificent house) and there are a few rooms as you enter that you can tour

A quiet corner in the front parlor -- perfect for a rainy day read!

Across the room -- another comfortable chair, more books and a fireplace!

In the den, another fireplace, a comfy sofa and a desk that looks out over the garden and . . .

When you leave the house, your view is of this -- an alley lined with trees and a statue at the end. The horse makes it perfect!

And as you exit Hidcote, take a turn to the right and walk up the road a bit -- you'll find the village of Hidcote. A very very charming English village, with thatched roof houses lining the road.

Old, I am sure, with roses growing up and over the windows.

A blue door -- so prevalent on stone houses and more roses -- because it's a cottage. And . . .

across the road a very pastoral scene -- it looks as if it could be a painting!!!

I would put Hidcote high on my list of places to visit in England -- we had a wonderful day there and we met some fellow Kansans! They were there on a tour with K State University.

It's Wednesday which means that it's Outdoor Wednesday with Susan at A Southern Daydreamer so please join Susan and see what everyone's been doing outside this week!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A London Hotel Tea

The indulgent thing to do in London is Afternoon Tea at one of the hotels -- The Ritz, The Grosvenor, or The Dorchester . . .

Or if you're staying at The Waldorf . . . . The Waldorf!!!

My Mother's Day present from Daughter Sarah -- A London Hotel Tea!!!!

After a day of sightseeing, we came back to the hotel, freshened up (but no fancy hat or gloves!) and down we went for tea.

The Curate filled with tea treats . . .

While our server poured our first cup -- no bags here -- it was loose leaf! Our choice for An Afternoon Tea -- Earl Grey, of course!

Once tea had been poured and a half cup drank, we started working our way up the curate --

First the sandwiches -- cucumber, of course, tomato, smoked salmon, ham and egg mayonnaise -- all traditional sandwiches and all fixed the traditional tea time way. No crusts and most spread with a little butter to keep the sandwich moist. Which, in my opinion, is the perfect way to fix tea sandwiches!

Next the scones, cream and jam. One fruit and one plain. These were the best scones of our visit and slathered with the cream and topped with jam -- pure ambrosia.

But we had the top layer -- the sweets -- banana bread, a chocolate/hazelnut confection, a fruit tart and an espresso cream filled profiterole.

Fruit tarts are a favorite and this was one of the best -- it is perfection!!!

Daughter Sarah and I talked and laughed and enjoyed the afternoon while we drank cups and cups of tea.

After tea, we joined Husband Jim and wandered around Covent Garden -- watching the street performers, checking out all of the booths.

It was the perfect way to end a very busy day in London and I would recommend that if you're ever in London that you make a Hotel Tea part of your day!!!!

There was one souvenir that I wanted to take back with me -- a tea caddy preferably one from the mid 18th century.

I've been on the hunt for one at every antique shop or center that we stopped at. And then . . . the day before Daughter Sarah and Andy arrived, I found two that I liked.

After much consideration, I decided that one of those was the one! And so, after we said goodbye to Daughter Sarah and Andy, we went back to Stow (Stow-on-the Wold) to see if it was still there --

And it was!!!

It's mahogany, mid 18th century and not large. It has the patina that 160 year old mahogany acquires.

It has two compartments topped with what I think is an ivory rose.

But the real reason that I thought it was "the one" was the inscription in the lid . . .

"Avery Pettifer's present from her grandmother A. Pettifer Eydon by order of Stephen Pettifer her Father December 1/91".

I think that perhaps when A. Pettifer Eydon got married that her father, Stephen Pettifer gifted her with the tea caddy. And "ordered" A. Pettifer Eydon that it be passed to her granddaughter when her granddaughter married. And so Mrs. Eydon did so on December 1, 1891. It's a lovely story, methinks, and what happened to Mrs. Eydon's daughter and Avery's mother, I'll never know.

But that inscription makes the tea caddy ever so much more precious!!!

My most delightful memory of what is the vacation of a lifetime -- a dream come true!!!

It's Tuesday and there is nothing better than sharing afternoon tea, thus, I'm joining the following tea parties today:

Tea Time Tuesday with Terri at Artful Affirmations

Tea Cup Tuesday with Martha at Martha's Favorites

Tea Pot and Tea Things Tuesday with Pam at Breath of Fresh Air

Tea Time Tuesday with Katherine at Lady Katherine's Tea Parlor

Tuesday Tea for Two with Wanda Lee at The Plumed Pen

Tea Time Tuesday with Sandi at Rose Chintz Cottage

Sunday, May 29, 2011

London Swings

Like a Pendulum Do
Bobbies on Bicycles Two by Two
Westminster Abbey and the Tour of Big Ben
Rosy Red Cheeks of the Little Children

We went to London for the Chelsea Flower Show . . . but we ended up staying two nights and three days -- a holiday within a holiday!!!

And what a grand time we had . . . because son-in-law Andy had points and with those points he booked us rooms at . . .

The Trafalgar

On Trafalgar Square -- a wonderful hotel that's old on the outside and new on the inside. Posh beds and an even posher bath. And a full English breakfast the next morning. Life, perhaps, can't get any better than this!

And the day after the flower show . . . we walked to

Westminster Abbey

There are no words that can truly describe the Abbey. It is British History -- with touches of American History as well. One of the most moving things that we saw was the grave of the Unknown Soldier . . . at the foot of which was a wreath laid there a few days before by President Obama . . . but on the column nearest the grave was an American Medal of Honor -- given to the Unknown Soldier by General Pershing!

Poet's Corner, the Kings's graves, the grave of Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth . . . and the magnificent architecture of the Abbey surrounding all.

And . . . not quite a month before the wedding took place there.

If one word can describe Westminster -- that word is awesome!

And across the street from Westminster is

Parliment and Big Ben!

The building itself is awesome and Big Ben still rings the time!!! Just listening to those bells!

And on the way to Westminster, we walked through St. James Park and found . . .

The Bird Keeper's Cottage and Garden

Built during Queen Victoria's time, it's a charming Swiss Chalet surrounded by a magnificent cottage garden featuring both flowers and vegetables.

An unexpected surprise in a city park!

Husband Jim and I even managed to navigate . . .

The Tube!!!

Taking not one train but two to get to our destination . . .

And since it was a busy Saturday the crowds were horrendous and most of the time we stood!

But the reward for taking the Tube?


Who can go to London and not visit Harrod's? It's an amazing store and on this holiday weekend buzzing with shoppers. We took a quick trip through several departments (think china and silver and cookware) and our only purchase was sandwiches for lunch!!!

We like to hotel hop and so the second night we moved to . . .

The Waldorf

And yes, life does get better !!! For this was an even better hotel with superb service, a breakfast reminiscent of an English Country House breakfast. Lots of pillows, a great duvet and the best shower head ever! It dripped luxury!!!

And, of course, you can't go to London without visiting a Pub . . . our pub of choice?

Punch Tavern

Chosen because of our son-in-law who is a Punch!!! There is nothing like Pub Food and London has the best!!!

Our hotel was a few blocks from the Theatre District and

Covent Gardens

Which gained fame from My Fair Lady and seeing the theatres and the gardens, songs from My Fair Lady kept going through my head!

It was market day at the garden and besides food vendors there were craft vendors there as well with an amazing array of handmade goods.

And on our last day we headed towards
Tower Bridge

Across which we traveled to the Tower of London. Both Daughter Sarah and I expected one big tower into which those in disfavor were thrown but instead we found a castle -- a castle not "tarted up" as a amusement park like Warwick. A castle with an amazing amount of history.

And in the castle . . .

The Crown Jewels

An amazing collections of crowns and scepters encrusted with precious gems. I can't believe that in all these trips to England we haven't ever seen them. They were amazing!!!

And while at the Tower, I made a new friend . . .

A Raven

Quote the Raven, "never more"!!!

He decided that my purse looked like something he would like to have so he followed me around for a while, pecking at my purse! I've never seen a raven so "up close and personal" and was surprised at their size!!!

Our holiday in London was an amazing fun packed three days. We didn't see it all but we saw a lot and I felt like we walked a hundred miles and climbed a million stairs.

I can't believe on all of the trips we've taken before we've avoided London, preferring the countryside. We shouldn't have . . . but then, had we "did" London earlier, we wouldn't have had the special feeling -- that stars in our eyes feeling -- that feeling of wonderment that we had those three days as the four of us saw the most famous that London has to offer! It would have been "old hat"!

We're back at Blue Row and it is nice to leave the hustle and bustle of the city for the quiet of the country.

C H E L S E A!!!!

I've been to Flower Shows in the City -- and they were so much fun -- interesting gardens and beautiful flowers but . . . to get to go to Chelsea -- that is a gardener's dream.

Thursday, the four of us headed into London and Daughter Sarah and I, with Chelsea tickets in hand, arrived at the show grounds.

And there we were . . .

At the Chelsea Flower Show

We left without breakfast and so a cup of tea and a nosh before we headed out to the show grounds . . .

Where we saw --

Display Garden

After Display Garden

and in the Pavilion

Flower displays

The William and Katherine Rose (in honor of the Royal Wedding) circling a fountain

"Mice" hostas -- wee hostas that were so cute

Peonies in every kind and color

And roses . . .

A lovely pink one

Perhaps my favorite display in the pavilion -- a perfect vegetable garden


We watched the BBC film a segment at the show

and besides flower exhibitions, there were vendors
selling their wares . . .

Garden statuary --magnificent dogs to guard the entrance to your estate

Statuary of Alice in Wonderland

And the White Rabbit

An antique trough I coveted -- was it the price or the weight that made me leave it at Chelsea?

And sensible garden tools

And what we call greenhouses and the Brits call glasshouses (I like their term better) -- I'll take the one on the right, please -- wouldn't it look smashing in the garden at Linderhof?

We lunched listening to this great band who were celebrating their 50th Anniversary!

I loved the Chelsea Flower Show -- what I didn't like was the crowds. For a girl living in a small village in the country (here) and a small town in Kansas . . . I'm not a big crowd person!

I wasn't prepared for this!

But that wasn't the worst of the crowd . . . for Sarah and I had just entered the pavilion when the first rain started . . . in rushed the crowd -- we moved as a group past each exhibitor -- like sardines in a can . . shoulder to shoulder. It was hard, at that time, to see the exhibits.

Finally the rain stopped and the crowd thinned out and we got to enjoy the displays in the pavilion.

And just before we left, the second big downpour caught us just outside the exit -- with one umbrella, a rain hat and raincoat, we both got soaked!!!!! As we stood . . . far from any kind of shelter!!!

But English rain comes and goes and soon it stopped and we "squished" our way to catch the bus back to Victoria.

It was a wonderful day with my wonderful daughter at the world's most wonderful flower show!!!!