My Spring Break

I thought I’d follow the example of my friend Sarah, who has so often shared the healing power of the flora and peace of her garden allotment in Liverpool on her blog. My own garden has been rather woefully neglected these past few years because of post-treatment fatigue and chronic shoulder problems from radiation. But I have hopes this year to give it some more of the TLC it deserves.

In the meantime, I live in the smallest state in the U.S., but a lovely one, full of treasures one might never expect to find. I visited one of them this past week, to celebrate my birthday with another friend, Holly, whose birthday is the day before mine. She and I have something of a tradition of trying to get out and enjoy a — hopefully! — sunny and beautiful spring day during our birthday week. And this year, with a confluence of tremendous luck, we pulled off a perfect afternoon at Blithewold, a late Victorian mansion museum with 35 acres of gardens overlooking Narragansett Bay.

First of all, the weather forecast for the day we had picked for our outing was not promising. Rain was in the forecast in the days leading up to it, including the morning of the day itself. But Mother Nature was on our side, and despite the little icon on my Weatherbug widget, the sun broke out and the temperature was delightful. Next, we really wanted to have high tea at Blithewold, which is served in the formal diningroom, but all the reserved seats were booked, with the proviso that a few seats would be available for walk-ins. So, we thought we’d take our chances, get there early and see what happened. And we were able to get the last table available for tea!

And it was a lovely, proper tea, with sweet old, mismatched china, hot strong tea in a china pot with a pretty cozy, strawberries and cream, cucumber sandwiches, tiny profiteroles, and lots of other goodies. Thus, suitably fueled, we took a long stroll in the gardens. And what gardens they are! The thing about going to Blithewold this week in particular is that all the daffodils — and many other flowers — are in bloom. And there are acres of daffodils, jonquils, narcissus, every sort of daff cousin in all sorts of shades and sizes, winking in the dappled shade of stately old trees, many of which were flowering themselves. So, without further ado, here is a sampling of what we strolled through, in the gentle April sunshine.

First, the mansion itself, from the back yard, as it faces the Bay.

Now, for everything else. First, the daffodils. They just go on and on…


A lovely Japanese garden, with flowering cherry trees and a lily pond.


I love this bench. This seat is planted with several varieties of thyme!

“Peony’ tulips. Amazing!

There are so many woodland flowers, peeking through the shade. These are hellabores.

The view of the Bay from the back of the mansion. Someone is out sailing already. And who can blame them!!

There are many more pix I could share, but this post might go on for miles if I did! The best part is that, every month, every season, there are different flowers to see and new gems to discover. If you come for a visit, we’ll go for a stroll there, okay?


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This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 01:04 pm, filed under Play and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

15 Responses to “My Spring Break”

  1. What a beautiful documentation of a lovely day! This could be a page right out of Sarah’s British blog! 😉

  2. We do all right on our side of the Pond, don’t we? Also, I got to wear a hat, which is a plus, and my new butterfly socks. 🙂

  3. Gorgeous Kathi! Love that thyme bench – my gardening companion at Plot 44 LOVES thyme and we already have about six different varieties! Gorgeous china, afternoon tea, daffodils and flowering cherries… what else can you need for your birthday!
    Love to you, and look forward to more photos of this fabulous place through the year, Sarah xoxo

  4. Thanks for “taking us along with you” to your special tea. The mansion is spectacular. Who lived there/built it? The daffodils are gorgeous. I’m going to try to tend to my flower beds better this year too. Since cancer I have not been able to keep up as I used to, but I would like to do better than last year. Guess we’ll see how that goes! Glad you had a lovely birthday. The photos are great!

  5. Sarah, I love that bench, too! There’s a garden center down the street that does the most wonderful things with thyme and all sorts of other creepers! Will take some pix of those when the growing season is further underway. I would LOVE to do something like that in my garden!

    Nancy, here’s a link about the Van Wickle family, who built Blithewold. It’s also fantastic at Christmas, when they decorate the inside beautifully. They have regular concerts there, too. Lovely, lovely place.

    http://www.blithewold.org/the-van-wickle-family

  6. “sigh” So beautiful, peaceful and relaxing looking. Can I just reach in through the screen and *poof* be there? We should have that ability by now, right?

    P.S. must get me a pair of those!!!

  7. Beautiful pictures. I love the light and the water views and the gardens. Until recently I lived on Cape Cod and I miss my own shaggy, bloom-where-they-choose garden but hope to soon move to a place with some small areas to fill with daffodils and tulips and maybe even a hydrangea to remind me of NE’s south coast–and to have butterflies visit and butterfly sox to wear.

  8. Bethany!! I feel like I’ve been neglectful now…need to catch up with you! Yes, you’d think we could beam ourselves or disapparate or something by now, wouldn’t you??

    Bonnie, there is something special about coastal gardens here for sure. I need to plant a hydrangea or two myself.

  9. How lovely! I think part of the charm of gardens on the coast is the lovely sky – always changing, and influencing the quality of light. I love New England, especially the coast.

    And your sox are fabulous!

  10. So beautiful! I planted some hellabores this year, and they are so subtle and lovely. Unfortunately, that’s about the extent of my English Garden… but, I’m working on it… –Gayle

  11. What a magical place, Kathi. Thanks for sharing pictures from a place many of us will never see in person. Lovely beyond description. xxx

  12. You blogged about our day and our Birthday tradition. I am farklemt. Really.

  13. Many happy returns Kathi and what a wonderous place to spend your birthday. I love your description of the high tea – cucumber sandwiches, tea hot and strong made in a pot just as it should be and all the other delectable goodies. What an amazing house….who built it….can you go inside….how many rooms ??? As for the gardens-magnificant and oh how I wish I could grow daffodils those daffodils could well have come directly from Wordsworth’s poem.

  14. Mandy, thank you. There’s a link to Blithewold’s site in the post; great site & lots of info about the place. It’s just gorgeous inside, too! If you ever get over here again, I’ll take you to tea. xoxo

  15. Hi Kathi,

    These pictures and the day are fantastic!! I love the bench. What a nice treat to have tea and see the beautiful grounds — and it’s even better visiting with a friend.

    I’m trying to catch up on my reading of posts, and yours is one of the first ones I must read. Thanks for taking us on your journey!

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