Saturday, 15 March 2014

Impromptu Salviati

 In terms of actual gardening, work is going well. Some warmer and sunnier weather is upon us, at least for the time being, and although the floods are receding, there are still huge areas underwater.
Of course, with the sunshine comes all of the bad gardening practices that one associates with an early warm spell, as people for some bizarre reason think that it's summer already. I have seen some companies putting down spring lawn food, when it should really wait for another month at the earliest. Also, on a recent visit to a large and well known garden centre nearby, we turned up with ten minutes to go until closing, as we had to quickly get two climbing roses for a customer, only to see staff fleecing over the summer bedding plants already on sale. It's far too early to even contemplate this, and they were still so vulnerable that this measure was being taken, AND they were already on display under cover! The poor and unsuspecting customer will no doubt arrive the following day to unfleeced plants, unaware just how wrong it is to have them on sale right now. It frustrates me to distraction, and reminds me of the way in which supermarkets are pushing sales earlier and earlier against the competition, by selling Easter eggs alongside Christmas baubles and halloween regalia. Gardeners should lead by example, not follow a trend that is getting worse.
Anyway, rant over, the gardening I am doing is good, and also being good for my soul.
This brings me to this post, and Wednesday, which was a particularly glorious day.
It's no secret by now that I am a bit of a Salviati glass enthusiast, and collect goblets and glasses by this world famous Italian. What a lot of people don't know though, is that he was also famous for producing mosaics, some of which are adorning famous buildings worldwide. St. Pauls Cathedral dome, Westminster Abbey, the list is quite huge.
I had planned to work all day, but also had a Salviati itch to scratch so to speak, and so decided to take the afternoon off. Whilst I worked all morning on a property in Mudeford, Amanda strolled along the quayside in Christchurch, and as soon as I had finished, I drove down the road to pick her up, and we then made the half hour drive to this location of a hidden Salviati mosaic, located within the grounds of the rather special Canford School. It was a delightful river walk to our final destination, and on crossing the river via a narrow suspended footbridge, we came to Canford Magna Church.
About half the building is made of sandstone, which gave a warm and rusty glow in the sunshine.

The bank running along the entrance path was a mass of daffodils and crocus, so beautiful in such a peaceful setting.

Amanda took her time taking photos of the outside, and I became more and more impatient, and so just had to go ahead and find my mosaics. To think that similar works are in such large and famous places, and yet also in this little church tucked away in a quiet little spot in rural dorset, it's really quite exciting!
And there they were, the Salviati angels, either side of the alter.

The light wasn't great at this end of the church, and so I had to use a flash to highlight the wonderful richness of the colours.

And close up, one can appreciate the detail and workmanship that went into them.


We stayed here in the peace and quiet for quite some time, and it was now time to leave my angels behind. It was only 2.30pm, and so did we go home?

Nah!...we drove the extra twenty minutes to Cranborne Manor, where Amanda found this chair, but that's another story.
I hope you all have a great weekend


  1. Replies
    1. They were indeed Adrian, I can't wait to find more.

  2. You're so right about it being too early for the flowers yet. I learnt this lesson when we had our allotments, it was so tempting to start doing things you shouldn't just because the sun had come out. There was an old gardener on our allotments who never made his hanging baskets etc until May, and he knew what he was talking about.
    I love angels and at the risk of sounding a crank, do believe that there is something like that, that we can call on when we need strength. These two are so beautiful.

    1. I'm with the gardener on that one Briony. Bedding for the summer shouldn't even be considered until May. I am under constant pressure from those with the purse strings to do things early.

  3. Impressive mosaics! It's a material that is challenging to work with.

    1. Hi Red,
      I would love to have the time and space to give it a go.

  4. I can understand your rant. What gets me here are the rose bushes. They are put out at least a month or two too early and you eventually see hundreds of bushes with etiolated stems that have grown in the dark. The clerks cut those off and you can imagine how weak are the poor shrubs some people buy. I don't understand the economics of it all since a great many rose bushes must just be ditched. Still on roses, and still ranting, the big chains seem to carry the same varieties of roses all over North America. At the very least 90% of these are roses that cannot survive a Canadian winter. There are lots of roses that survive our winter, but very very few of them are sold in garden centres.

    1. Hello Alain,
      Although the rose nurseries generally don't force them here in the uk, those that supply the supermarkets do, and once again for early economic reasons I suspect. Everywhere does appear to keep the same varieties, but we have discovered Cranborne Manor, where there are too many to choose from!

  5. Those are lovely mosaics. I believe we each have guardian angels watching over us, more than we realize.

    Glad you are able to be out doing your gardening work.

    We had a couple of days of cool weather again, which were a blessing as it was already starting to feel like summer down here.

    We could use some rain and hopefully we will get some.

    Have a lovely weekend ~ FlowerLady

    1. Hi Lorraine,
      The angels really were quite special, particularly in such a setting such as that.

  6. I had a bit of a wander around the B&Q bedding plants this week. The weather had got to some of them and they were a sorry sight,but had I seen any plants that I liked (I was looking for named, one colour sweet peas) I would have bought them to pot on in the greenhouse while waiting for warmer weather. I don't know why they sell multicolour packs of things, I think the riot of colour is ghastly - I'm with you on those loud primroses!

    1. Good morning Rosemary,
      At least with a greenhouse one can give them the temporary home they deserve, and no doubt reward you for your kingness. I have looked after so many large formal flower beds in the past, and less is always mre in my opinion.

  7. Gary,
    I am in one hundred percent agreement with you on retailers pushing the seasons. Time and seasons whirl by at such a rapid pace now it’s hard to enjoy the current when the next is already on display in the shops. I for one don’t even begin to think about plants, vegetable or ornamental, till after Easter and then there is still risk involved around these parts.

    The mosaic angels of the Canford Magna Church are exquisite. It is easy to see why you chose to linger, the peacefulness radiates from your post. To experience firsthand must truly be a remarkable sensation.

    1. Gary, stick with your Easter plan and you will never go wrong. That afternoon with the angels was very special indeed.