The Eryngium, or Sea Holly, is one of the plants I would love to grow in my garden but cannot. Since it needs excellent drainage and full sunshine it cannot cope with my heavy clay soil and the abundance of trees that block the howling winds. However, this plant was one of many growing very happily at Haddon Hall in Derbyshire, its striking metallic blue stems and flowers blending effortlessly in the vibrant borders.
A delicate-looking native wildflower and similar to the Marsh Mallow, this Musk Mallow – Malva moschata – is pure white rather than the more common pale pink. It was growing around the ruins of Helmsley Castle in North Yorkshire.
These gorgeous floor tiles are still in situ at Byland Abbey. Although they are now out in the open and exposed to the elements they would once have been under the vast canopy of the Abbey buildings and walked on by the monks who lived and worshipped there. I have never seen so many Medieval floor tiles in one place outdoors (this is not the only area of the Abbey with tiles) although they can often been seen in our cathedrals.
Byland Abbey in is North Yorkshire and looked after by English Heritage. (And there is a wonderful pub/inn across the road serving fantastic cakes!)
In the soft rock of the east coast it is quite easy to find fossil ammonites and the imprints of them left behind. This rock was just picked up off the beach, the memory of the prehistoric sea creatures etched sharply on the smooth stone – until the sea eventually erodes them away.