Yesterday Threadspider and I wended our way to Lacock Abbey to view the International Garden Photographer of the Year (IGPOTY*) exhibition currently housed in its grounds until 18th April. I thought you'd particularly like to see the above picture of the award winning 43 gardeners' hands by Paul Debois. James blogged about his sitting for this novel portrait a while ago and amongst the other great and the good of our UK gardening world, you'll find the likes of Plant Mad Nige, EmmaT (twice - many congratulations on the birth of your son Emma!) and Cleve.
Like last year's show the pictures snake through the Botanic Garden, where Fox Talbot grew some of the specimens he used for his book, Pencil of Nature. Lacock is a particularly apt location for this exhibition because it's where 175 years ago he developed the world's first photograph using the positive/negative image technique . With the advent of digital cameras this may seem an outmoded form of photography these days, but we owe a hell of a lot to Fox Talbot's inventiveness.
We also took time to walk around the grounds of the Abbey. The exhibition was accompanied by the magnificent song of the Song Thrush, whilst here we were directly underneath a quite large and raucous rookery. The woodland was in an in between stage: we were too early for most of the daffodils and too late for the snowdrops and crocus, with the exception of this sheet of blue we found in a cooler part of the woodland. There were also signs of wild garlic and fritillaries to come.
Over the winter many of the paths through this part of the garden have been relaid with fresh hoggin, so fresh it still needed our steps and those of many more to come and tamp it down into a firm walkway. We soon realised we were following in the tracks of a deer who must have passed that way only that morning.
After coffee and cake in the local tearoom, we had a final bit of excitement on the way home. The busy A350 just by our local garden centre has a horse crossing instead of a pedestrian one. I've waited years to take this albeit blurry, rainy picture of a horse + rider waiting to cross over the road. The red light you can see is an outline of a horse rather than the usual little man. You'll be pleased to know I wasn't driving at the time, it was Threadspider :)
* = does anyone else think I Go Potty when they see the IGPOTY acronym?