I've had a busy weekend! First, a lovely, unexpected visit from my son on Saturday which always makes me happy, then yesterday, a surprise birthday gathering with my sisters at beautiful Doddington Place Gardens near Sittingbourne in Kent, to celebrate our 'seventy-something-young' mum.
The five of us, with our mum
As we live spread wide across the South East of England and all have busy lives, gathering together to share a Sunday afternoon is no mean feat, so many thanks to Fiona and her fiance Simon for making this happen.
A variety of granddaughters and a great granddaughter
All in all, we scored one Grandmother, her five daughters, three of her five son-in-laws, five of her ten grandchildren, one great granddaughter, one grandson-in-law and four out of nine of the family dogs for this special get together ...
not bad going eh?!
Mum's great granddaughter Ella, enjoying the daffodils
Doddington's gardens are absolutely beautiful; I can't begin to imagine how much work must have gone into their creation over many, many years to bring such magic to life. Walking through the grand formal gardens transports you to a time usually only enjoyed in historical drama and at this time of year, the beds and lawns are bursting with primroses, camelias, daffodils, tulips, blossom trees and so on ... it's really is absolutely enchanting!
Left to right: Marley, Bugsy, Polly and cheeky little Jessie
These are dog friendly gardens, so rather than leave ours at home, we popped them on leads and brought them along to join in the fun. Thankfully, they didn't disgrace us!
The younger grandchildren delighted in exploring the gardens; playing hide and seek through the trees, racing along woodland paths and spending the afternoon laughing together.
It was a lovely visit and the perfect place to bring us together to wish a 'Happy Birthday' to our mum and also to remind us all of how special it is to be part of a large family.
Below are a few of the many snaps I took of the gardens.
I hope they capture the tranquility of this perfect 'English Country Garden' ...
There are many hidden treasures to discover in Doddington's gardens (not least of which are the home baked treats in the tea room!) so do visit if you are able ... I don't think you will be disappointed!