2012: Friday Walks, The green marsh

29 June 2012, looking out across the green marsh

This week’s walk is – unusually – being reported to you by Sarah.

So why me? Because Ronnie forgot his camera so I took nearly all the photos with my camera. Usually the photos I take on walks are all of plants or flowers, for identification purposes, so on this walk I’ve had to make more of an effort to take wider photos – to give you, dear reader, a sense of place.

Regular readers will know that on Friday – most Fridays – we don’t make any plans, for work or otherwise, and we walk. We have a selection of walks that we pick from – a mixture of beach, cliffs, lanes, fields, marsh as well as urban walks, oh and a botanic garden too.

So this walk has previously been called ‘The Road to Ness‘, because we walk to Ness Botanic Garden, and then back to the start along a different route. I like this walk because, obviously, in my role as chief horticulturalist I enjoy the ‘bit in the middle’ – that’s the visit to Ness where I can roam around and exclaim over what’s changed since we were last there, which is usually about every four weeks.

We’ve started our walk quite late today, after midday, and by the time we’ve arrived at the start at Little Neston we’re ready for our lunch.

This is the old sandstone quay – Denholme Quay – hard to believe ships once arrived here to take coal away, the River Dee is now over two miles away.

We sit here for a while and have our lunch. The wind blows and the long grass moves and sways, swifts dart low along the ground. It feels tidal, even though it’s grass. Then we head off, into the green marsh.

Into the green marsh.

Where tiny plants grow in every available space, even in the tiniest patch of mud.

We leave the marsh and walk along the path next to it, exclaiming how green and lush everywhere is.

A brief sit to put my plant samples into my portable flower press – for identification later.

And then it’s up the road to Ness, leaving the marsh and estuary behind.

I love this view. It’s the first thing you see as you come through the doors of the visitor building at Ness Botanic Gardens. The garden is waiting for you – just over there.

Looking down into this part of the garden, the herbaceous borders are lush and full.

And over in this bit, the rock garden, it’s also in full summer green.

Back up the hill, nearly time for the café…

Through the plant sales where these poppies are bursting with colour.

And it’s time for the best scones in the world in Roses tea room – rose petal scones, with rose jam, and clotted cream (of course), served with Fentiman’s rose lemonade. Delicious!

And it’s getting late now, the sun starting to sink lower in the sky.

But this is one of the things I like best about Ness. It officially closes at 5pm, but you don’t have to leave – although most people do. So if we stay later, we can be the only people in the garden, and I can pretend it’s ‘mine’ (well, I do have a Friend of Ness membership card!). So it’s quiet and we’ll usually find somewhere to sit, and I’ll find ‘one more thing’ to go and find. This time it’s the Liriodendron tree – known as the tulip tree. They are closely related to magnolia trees, and are another primitive tree – fossils of them have been found dating from around 100 million years ago. ‘Just imagine,’ I exclaim to Ronnie, ‘a 100 million years this has been around for. That’s a very long time.’

Ronnie sitting under the branches of Liriodendron chinense.

The distinctive leaf of the Liriodendron tree.

And then it’s time to leave and walk back through Ness village, and then along footpaths that take us back down to the marsh.

Walking back down to the marsh at the end of a day of green-ness and scones and plants. Together. Bliss.

Sarah’s blog – Plot 44 – where she writes regularly about gardening at Plot 44 and elsewhere, can be found here.

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