In & Around Cote How – July Roundup

House from the Paddock

OK, so July seems like a distant memory. A funny old month and August seems to be going much the same way. Warm but interspersed with torrents of rain. The grass is going bonkers, leaves are starting to drop, my boots have a permanent dampness and the cat’s gone into hibernation.

 

Around the Venue

Wedding wise, it’s been steady rather than manic and each ceremony has brought a ray of sunshine to a very drab few weeks. To top it all off, both Caroline and are now a year older since my last blog and we’ve hardly had chance to celebrate.
However, time rolls on, I’m sure the weather will pick up and we’re looking forward to the second half of the year and more spectacular weddings. I think I’ll need to invest in some better waterproofs though, as the garden is starting to get ahead of me and if it stays wet I’ll have to spend some long soggy days wrestling the garden back into shape – still, not looking bad though?

House HydrangeasHydrangeas in bloom

 Montbretia - Orange Tips PerennialsMontbretia - Orange Tipped Perennials

 

July is traditionally slightly quieter for us as most couples have their attention focused on holidays away. This usually gives us a much welcome breather before things busy up again for the remainder of the year. By breather, I mean we can divert our attention briefly to aspects other than the most immediate wedding or two. Subtle changes, that most won’t notice in the short-term, but hopefully add further interest to the venue, either now or in the future. Things like additional planting for continuous colour in the garden, pruning to let in more light or open up a view, clearing to extend the venue area open to guests, decoration here and there or an extra string or two of fairy lights to provide a bit more evening sparkle.

Lots of Silk FlowersBoxes of lovely silk flowers


Two weeks ago, I walked into the house to see some huge boxes sitting on the reception room floor. It turned out that Caroline had been shopping again, buying more silk flowers to finish off the look of the newly re-decorated gazebo in advance of an elopement wedding later this month. We’re both looking forward to this as the clients are a lovely couple and it’ll be our first gazebo wedding. We’re praying for good weather, though knowing the couple in question, I don’t think it will make a jot of difference to them if it rains or not.
I can’t take any credit for the look of the gazebo as the artistic eye is all Caroline’s. Caroline spent a good few hours up the step ladder and its fair to say that the result is up to her usual high standard and our couples seem to love the result. What do you think?

Gazebo - Lit with fairy lights, vintage festoon lights and peonies at duskGazebo - Lit with fairy lights, vintage festoon lights and peonies at dusk

Relaxing in the Wedding Gazebo with a glass of bubbly - Cote How Lake District Wedding Venuerelaxing in the gazebo with a glass of bubbly! 

 

The Garden

So, I didn’t manage to get all the rhododendron pruned but I didn’t really expect to. As is normally the case, I get a few pruned before time runs out, but I guess that’s ok if I work my way around the garden over a number of years – a bit like painting the Forth Bridge.
Hydrangea and Hover FlyA Hover fly sitting on a Hydrangea


The last month or so has been all about hydrangeas and, as with the rhododendrons, 2019 has been the best year for blooms in a long while. A couple more years of growth and it should be a very spectacular display for the mid-summer weddings, a perfect backdrop for wedding photos.

Hydrangeas in the garden at Cote HowHydrangeas in full Bloom at Cote HowHydrangeas on the House Terrace at Cote How

With the large amounts of rain during the month its been a tall order to keep the grass under control and as things stand in mid-August, I’d say I’m losing the battle and those waterproofs will be getting some heavy use over the next couple of weeks.


As part of a birthday surprise I splashed out and bought Caroline a Magnolia tree – Magnolia Stellata to be precise…..how much!?. Unusually for our plant purchases this has already been planted and after a quick chainsaw session to remove a self-seeded holy tree, it’s now firmly in the ground and will hopefully provide a great display of large white blooms next March/April time.

Magnolia StellataMagnolia Stellata


A somewhat unwelcome visitor has made a return to the Cote How garden a.k.a Mr Mole.
Cute he may be, but he has a habit of leaving tunnels where they’re not supposed to be and can cause (ladies in particular) to have a great ankle twisting experience when the ground sinks underfoot. Thankfully, Fudge to the rescue (our cat). He’s quite fond of the odd mole.
We’ve also added a new shrub border at the top end of the lawn, which will hopefully bring a bit of red colour to that part of the garden during the autumn and winter months, with a side benefit of providing an extra bit of privacy to the lawned area as the shrubs fill out.

 

 

Out and About

As our dogs will testify, it’s not been a great month for getting out and about and most of our trips onto the fells have been the ‘head down stomp’ variety, with hood firmly up and water trickling into my boots. While the dogs don’t really care about the weather, the lure of the fells is a bit subdued to me during torrential rain.

Raining over Loughrigg Did I mention it rained?

Butterfly Small SkipperBUTTERFLY - SMALL SKIPPER

Rain clouds over LoughriggRAIN CLOUDS OVER LOUGHRIGG

The heather is starting to bloom on the fell tops as the orchids and asphodel fade away for another year. While out the other day I spotted holly berries looking very full and ready to turn to red…Christmas isn’t that far away now – hohoho! 😊

Common Spotted Orchid and bog asphodelCommon Spotted Orchid and Bog Asphodel

Hollie berries waiting for ChristmasHOLLY BERRIES - Waiting for Christmas!

Life Outside Rydal


Caroline and I have managed a few quick escapes during the last few weeks, which all helps to recharge our batteries and see the world beyond Cote How. During early July we went to see the Eagles in Leeds, which was excellent, and I’d say they were as tight as ever, despite their increasing years. 

Waiting for the Eagles to LandWaiting for the EAGLES to land!

We also managed to get a few days away in Wales with the kids and though it was a bit blustery at times, it was also hot enough to get a bit of a tan, or was it wind burn?

Holidaying in WalesFamily Time

Finally, last week we escaped to the lovely village of Cartmel for a belated joint birthday treat and had a great meal and overnight stay with Rogan and Co. – yum!

Rogan and coROGAN & CO - Yum!

 

Looking out of the window I see the sun has finally made an appearance. The question is, can I get the mower out before it starts to rain?

 Rain ChainThe Rain Chain Says NO... 😄

  

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