The 5th of January marked the end of my 4 month sojourn at Hidcote Manor Gardens and the start of my adventures in Japan. With all the travelling Phil and I did during the UK leg of our TRIAD experience I realise that I failed to post many blogs about my experience at Hidcote. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in this most prized of jewels in the National Trust’s crown of gardens and was grateful for the opportunity to work with the very passionate, knowledgeable and skilled garden team there. Thank you Andrew, Gordon, Sarah, Matt, Eric, Richard, James, Kes, Bertie, Tom, Jamie and Mike! I realise this is beginning to sound like an Oscar speech, but a special thanks to the garden administrator James for ensuring my TRIAD experience went as smoothly as possible, and also to Ann for helping me to settle into the student accommodation.
Whilst at Hidcote I was involved in a wide range of horticultural tasks – my favourite was working with the team to clear the beds in the old garden of half hardy and tender perennials (see pictures below), lifting and potting up a number of Dahlias and Salvias to propagate from for next year’s display. I will miss the view out over the garden from my room in the student accommodation and the glorious sunsets from Heaven’s Gate! The garden is simply stunning and if anyone reading this blog is yet to visit, then I urge you to go soon – it is at it’s best in spring and summer when the borders are alive with colour.
In preparation for impending trip to Japan, the garden team threw Phil and I a leaving do at Yo Sushi! in Cheltenham, giving me my very first experience of sushi and sashimi and a taste of what was to come in Japan.
My family and I also held a Japanese-themed leaving party over the Christmas holidays where we sampled a few aspects of Japanese culture and food, eating sushi, yakitori, miso soup and edamame beans, making origami and playing Fukuwarai – a traditional Japanese party game played around New Year where blindfolded party guests attempt to ‘pin’ the features onto a face. I am not sure I have quite learnt to pronounce fukuwarai yet. I even gave my usual Christmas gingerbread house a Japanese twist, by making a Japanese Gingerbread Temple for the party table!