If we earn money (or products) from the companies mentioned in this post we will DISCLOSE this clearly - Please see our disclosure policy.
I’ve been down south to Oxfordshire, for a crafting weekend with my mum. We are both members of the Women’s Institute (motto – inspiring women!) her in a small town in Berkshire and me in a new Institute in the centre of Manchester (www.cottonopoliswi.com). I’d seen on an email about a ‘mothers and daughters’ weekend at the Denman College, the WI’s education centre in Oxfordshire, and asked my Mum if she wanted to join me. It’s a lovely place to spend the weekend – and the food is great too. I had a lot of fun learning new skills – and meeting new people – it’s a packed schedule as youre on the go from breakfast at 745am until the entertainments finish about 930pm.
Denman was founded in 1948 – it’s played a big part in teaching women (and men) skills and is an important part of the history of the Women’s Institute. The main building is listed – and running costs are high so we’ll see if this remains part of the Institute’s activities in the future. Member’s come from all over the country, often funded by bursaries.
1. Denman – a mini-mansion
We didn’t stay in the mansion though some people do. Instead, there are mini blocks in the grounds with well-appointed ensuite rooms much like those on University Campuses.
2. Borders 😉
3. Dahlias everywhere
These are my favourite types of dahlias – I’ve grown the various ‘bishop’ colours before but all my dahlias struggled this year despite the hot weather in June/July – it should have suited them as they originate in Mexico.
There were dahlias around the grounds – and looked great but many were a bit munched. I couldn’t take many photos as it hurled down much of the time – and we had a packed schedule.
Teaching Block – inc the WI cookery school
Any suggestions from my gardening pals what the dahlias might be?
There were plenty of sunflowers too – mostly the same variety.
5. Summer House – aka hut
There were a couple of chairs in the hut 🙂 what a peaceful place to relax. I’d love to have a summer house but our garden is too small – but I’ll be reading books on our new arbour in our garden next year.
6. Statues and Fountains
The sedum, lavender and salvia were looking lovely. It’s a very peaceful place to spend some time.
The extensive herb garden – there were some late orange roses flowering – and a beautiful statue 🙂
Our weekend course – mostly jewellery making and paper cutting
It was taster sessions so we could try three different skills – others people did flower arranging, making chocolate truffles and crochet too. There were about 80 off us – a very wide age range – mum’s ranged in age from 60s to 80s – and daughters from 20s to 50s (like me) some WI members and some not. I had a really good time with my mum and learnt how to make silver clay jewellery, beaded jewellery as well as paper cutting 🙂 I LOVE SILVER CLAY JEWELLERY – it was so easy and straightforward to do. I’ll write more about what I learnt soon. As they say on the website – it’s never too late to learn something new…
Flower arranging courses at Denman
I’ve been to Denman twice before in Spring and Autumn 2016 – we used flowers, sprigs and seedpods from around Denman too.
Here’s my Pumkin flower arrangement in honour of Halloween from my Denman visit in October 2016.
And here’s my tutor Christine’s arrangement – isn’t it stunning?
Spring flowers – wreath making
I wrote about the Spring workshop here:
I’ve made wreaths since this course, and are planning another in the run-up to Christmas – the course gave me a lot of confidence how to do this and other flower arrangements too.
I’m joining in with The Propagator (Six on Saturday – 13 10 2018) and the gardening bloggers from around the world for Six on Saturday – six photos from around the garden, any garden – can be anything. Find The Propagator on Twitter (@cavershamjj) on the hashtag on Twitter too – #sixonsaturday
I’ll be back taking photos of my own garden next week – it’s been buffeted by the weather so we’ll see what’s still blooming. I’ve been away for three weekends on the trot so I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend pottering around – fingers crossed it’s dry.
Is there a skill you’d like to learn if money was no object? Let me know in the comments.
Love Bec xxx xxx