My husband and I recently spent a wonderful two weeks in England. The main purpose of the trip was to visit family, but we also did some tourist-y stuff like taking a trip up to London and spending a few days enjoying the lovely countryside of Somerset.
Closer to home though (my parents' home, that is) is a wonderful garden center ( sorry, garden centre) called Notcutts, that I always enjoy visiting when I'm there.
Their website is at http://www.notcutts.co.uk and I just noticed they have a banner on the front page saying "Delivery just £2.50 or FREE on all online orders over £75!" (Wonder if they deliver to the U.S.?
Notcutts has a wide variety of plants of all sorts, as well as garden tools, garden buildings, patio furniture, ponds and fountains, hardscaping materials, bird feeders and bird seed.
I love these platform bird feeders - they call them bird tables. So English!
There's also a gift section filled with unique gifts and a restaurant where you can sit and have anything from a cup of tea (this is in England, remember) or a full lunch.
They had all their autumn plants in when we visited, and were having a sale. It was frustrating seeing all those wonderful plants and not being able to buy anything.
Check out the size of this eggplant (they call them Aubergines in England) growing in a container!
I particularly enjoyed seeing the roses, such as this David Austin English Rose called "Carolyn Knight".
I think I have seen other Texas garden bloggers mention David Austin
roses, so I will have to do some research and see if one would survive
As we were browsing around this poster caught my eye. Could that be... is that a... Monarch butterfly in the illustration? While I understood what they were getting at, with their little vignette of a butterfly-attracting garden, I didn't quite understand why they would illustrate it with a photo of a Monarch. After all, Monarchs only exist on this continent, right?
So I was even more amazed when I rounded the corner and found these familiar looking plants.
That's right - it's Asclepias -- Milkweed. And grown in the UK too!
I did a bit more research and discovered that the Monarch is considered a rare migrant to the UK, possibly migrating from Spain, Portugal or the Canary Islands where they are known to exist. There has even been speculation that some may have come across the Atlantic from the US, possibly aided by the jet-stream and apparently there was a "Monarch Invasion" in 1995 with 170 occurrences, mostly in the southern counties.
So I suppose it's a bit of a long shot, but it would be nice to think that if Monarchs did find their way to England on a regular basis, there would be some fresh Milkweed there for them to lay their eggs.
Speaking of which, since we've been back from our vacation, I've seen several Monarchs in the garden, fueling up for the "Great Migration" and just today, Eric noticed a newly hatched female drying her wings in the sun. I hope she makes it safely to Mexico.
It's getting late now, so I'm heading to bed. I apologize that I haven't been commenting on your blogs recently. Obviously, I was gone for two weeks, but even since I got back I haven't been commenting. My day job is really draining me at the moment (Memo to Self: Never take two weeks vacation and return right at month's end, when all the month end closing stuff is due) I'm almost caught up now, having put in an hour or two of OT each day since getting back so I'll plan to visit some blogs and get caught up on commenting at the weekend.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.