Leonardslee & Mannings Heath - 9/5/2019 - Tonbridge U3A-Travel

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Leonardslee & Mannings Heath - 9/5/2019

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Our thanks to David Richardson, Elaine Westover, Paula Anger, Lois Mitchell and John Edwards for their photos which have been included in this slideshow and also to those have phoned,texted and emailed expressing their enjoyment of the day.
Appreciation must be expressed on behalf of everyone on the trip to Penny and Adam Streeter and everyone on their team for their amazing achievement in rescuing this remarkable garden
Amy and Geoff
 

 
Zeus, Jupiter, Thor and Freya all tried to ruin the day, but it was not to be.  We arrived at Leonardslee in good time, and managed to dodge showers throughout the day.  Some of us went straight to one of the lovely cafes for coffee, or to the extraordinary ‘Dolls House’, a room full of miniature scenes depicting life in the country and a manor house.  Others started exploring.   Our first area was the charming Rock Garden, which introduced us to the wonderful array and mix of colours we were going to experience over the rest of the day.
 
Some of the azaleas would have been perfect last week, but when do you go to a garden and find everything out all at once?  Even so they were certainly giving the rhododendrons a run for their money.  The more one looked, the deeper were the vistas of colour from the magnificent rhododendrons with amazing backdrops of ancient trees or banks of bluebells.  Some were bold, frothy strong colours, others small, soft and delicate. I think we all walked further than we expected as we just had to absorb the displays of colour and breathe in the wonderful scented air – thanks to the yellow rhododendrons which abounded up the hills and reflected in the quiet manmade lakes.
 
There were other plants and trees to wonder at, including a beautiful tree with flowers like delicate paper, and a wisteria which had climbed up to the top of a palm tree and crossed over to other trees.  The wallaby enclosure has been a feature in the grounds for over a hundred years, and we were amazed to see amongst the ‘mob’ some albino wallabies.  Nearby the new owner has planted acres of vines which will eventually become part of the successful wine producing section of the enterprise, and at the end of our visit we enjoyed a very jolly wine tasting at Mannings Heath.  A general consensus of which of the four wines we tasted was nicest was not reached, but we all had our own favourites.
 
We must thank everyone who arranged this great day out, our excellent driver, Paul, and also the delightful staff at Leonardslee, who all made us feel most welcome.
Lois Mitchell


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