Guernsey is a great holiday destination.
I have been lucky enough to visit Guernsey a couple of times and it never disappoints. When on holiday, I'm a gardener on holiday, so I am interested in the countryside and the gardens. Guernsey has an ideal climate, the temperature does not drop below 3 degrees, with buckets of sunshine, and good light levels it's a gardener’s paradise. I was there in May and spotted Agapanthus in flower, a testament to the ideal growing conditions.
I am an inept cyclist, but two wheels is one of the best ways to see the island following the Ruettes Tranquilles. These are designated lanes across the Island with a speed limit of 15 mph. Although they are open to all traffic, cars are not so common and there is priority to walkers, cyclists and horse-riders. Together they form a network across the parishes of: Vale, Castel, Forest, St Andrews, St Martins, St Sampsons, St. Saviours. Each entry point to a Ruette Tranquille is signposted. Cycling along these routes even the novice rider feels safe, and can have a wobble without worrying about the traffic. These lanes do have a lovely tranquil feel and the hedgerows are full of wildflowers, as the image shows.
Cycling along the lanes also allows you to peek into people's gardens and clearly Guernsey folk are a keen gardeners and many beautiful gardens can be glimpsed whilst cycling along.
I travelled over to Cobo bay an area of outstanding natural beauty. The headlands around this area are rugged and the unspoilt scenery is breath taking, full of wild flowers as the images shows drifts of pink thrift and sea campion. In amongst the natural beauty there are reminders of the Second World War. Bunkers and gun emplacements which over time have been reclaimed by nature. These stand as symbols of the islander’s courage and fortitude during the occupation.
I was also lucky enough to meet with the Chair of the Floral Guernsey Foundation, Pat Johnson and tour around his seriously impressive garden at Grange Court. This garden benefits from the gentle Guernsey climate, sits in a sheltered spot protected from any cold winds, and has been re modelled by the current owner over the last 12 years. It is interesting how gardens reflect personalities and interests. Pat struck me as a person who, when running his own business would have been very well organised and resourceful; this was reflected in his approach to the garden ensuring it was both beautiful and efficient to maintain. His years as a farmer have stood him in good stead and can be seen in his extensive garden feeding regime resulting in one of the greenest lawns I have ever seen.
Pat explained to me that he liked foliage and texture more than colour, reflected in his choice of delicate Acers and the structure of many different types of shrubs. Impossible to capture, but I tried, was the light and luminescence of the huge Copper Beeches, which date back to when the house was built in the 1820s.
This garden does open from time to time, along with other Guernsey gardens, detailed on the Floral Guernsey web site. Pat's enthusiasm for Floral Guernsey was clear and many of his ideas are evident as you tour around the island seeing the colourful beds and in May filled with wonderfully scented Wallflowers. Pat also explained to me the idea behind the Flanders flowers planters where the plants selected were those which the soldiers in the First World War would have seen around them. Symbolically, as the flowers die as did the soldiers in the trenches and battles of Flanders, the plant is replaced by another, as were the troops. This project was started 2014 and continues to 2018 and the planters are to be found right in the centre of St Peter Port; a reflective poignant idea.
Although Guernsey is a small island, just 12 miles long, there is so much to see and I haven't even started on the wonderful fish restaurants. The beaches are beautiful, clean and many of them are sandy; the whole island is pristine and has a safe feel to it. I hope to go back again.
There are some more images on the Guernsey Pinterest Board.
Lots of information and ideas for holidays in Guernsey on visit Guernsey