Friday, 21 May 2010

I'm the luckiest woman in the world!!

Udaipur, India (January)

Today marks the anniversary of when I started blogging and I want to say a really big thank-you to all my readers; all the friends I've made on line; all the garden owners who've put up with my endless questions; and most of all to my family and friends, who've watched me or joined me Galloping round gardens all over the world. THANK YOU EVERYBODY!!


It's been a wonderful year and much has been achieved - some 100+ gardens reviewed; a hospital built in India; many air miles accumulated; and times of great sadness and joy! It all began because of my dear father .... when he was dying last year, we used to visit gardens together in Cornwall - on the days that he was well enough to be pushed in a wheelchair round some of the best gardens in the world. They were truly wonderful days and I shall always remember the joy that they brought us when time was running out. I started photographing gardens then and once he was gone, I started blogging. Thank you Paul.


I've met wonderful garden owners; made many new friends; kept battery companies buoyant with all the pictures I've taken; and made pilgrimages to far-flung corners of the globe to find new places and new faces. There's been some terrible disappointments in terms of gardens visited, but also some real surprises.


I've been stopped at borders; travelled all night on buses, trains and planes; got sick and recovered; but I've had incredible fun too, despite the ups and downs. Many of you wonder how I do it, but I've already written how and why and if you want to know, here's the link.

Veddw, Wales (April) - to be reviewed next week

A special thank-you goes to all the garden owners who've allowed me to visit at very short notice, or let me in when I've appeared at the gate. And to all the people who've helped me overcome plagiarism, picture stealing, computer glitches and camera hitches.


There's certainly been more than a few nights in grim hotels ... when I wondered why I carried on .... but the good times have far outweighed the bad! And the gardens more than made up for lumpy pillows, foul food, dirty rooms and noisy neighbours.


What I have learned is that gardens and gardening are a wonderful way of putting the world in perspective. You see the seasons change; you witness extraordinary weather conditions, but nature always bounces back and provides more beautiful flowers, regardless of the weather.


I've managed to build a hospital in rural Rajasthan which is nearly ready to open. And I'll be honest, I'm more proud of that achievement than anything else I've done in my life. But none of that would have been possible without the unerring loyalty of my Indian business partner and the encouragement and support that I've received from family, friends and benefactors. And I've even managed to visit gardens in India on my travels there.


Thank you too to all the gardeners who read my blog, who've become fans of The Raven Foundation on Facebook and given us moral support as we've been building the hospital. Just knowing you are there makes all the difference!!


And as we reach the end of May, the list of gardens that I hope to visit gets longer and longer, so I hope you'll continue to follow me around the world. I don't think my garden wish-list will ever be completed!


So today, I leave you with a selection of the gardens that I've seen throughout the year - they are featured in the month in which they were photographed, so I am not expressing any preferences here - I just wanted to share some of the wonderful sights I've seen. If you'd like to know more about any of them, you can click on the caption - it will take you to the original entry. So here's to the next year of visiting gardens .... and who knows where I'll end up!!

20 comments:

  1. Happy Bloggiversary! I have so enjoyed travelling around the world with you. I cannot believe your blog is only a year old! I celebrated my 1st aniversary this week too, where has the time gone?

    I am very much looking forward to seeing many more gardens through your lens. I particularly enjoy hearing of your visits to India. Wishing you health, happiness and lush gardens for the year ahead,

    RO xxx

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  2. You indeed are... the luckiest woman in the world!
    Wow! Its great to see the lovely harden pictures you have visited in recent times. Thx for sharing!

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  3. Definitely a <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 post.

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  4. What a full, productive, wonderful year you've had in spite of any negatives.

    May this next year be wonderful too.

    Thank for sharing all of the lovely gardens you have visited.

    FlowerLady

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  5. Happy Anniversary! We've all enjoyed reading about all of the wonderful places you've visited, and all of the wonderful things you're doing for others along the way :D

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  6. Congratulations on a terrific year. And thanks for taking us all along on for this fabulous ride. I look forward daily to see where you've been and what treasures you are showing us.

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  7. thank you for sharing ... your pictures are spectular -- I don't get to travel much (by choice) so I really enjoy reading and dreaming about the gardens you share with us...

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  8. Nice post, sounds like you really are a lucky thing, keep it up and God Speed on your travels. Nature is by far one of the finest things to pursue in life..

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  9. Yes you are one lucky woman who has blessed us with sights of gardens many of us will never have the opportunity to see. Thank you so much ! Gina

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  10. I really like your quote "nature always bounces back". You're making an impact on the world, while also having fun, and I really admire that. Keep up the great blogging!

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  11. Thank You Charlotte, your blog is amazing and it's always a pleasure to visit. Congratulations on the (almost) completion of the hospital, what an amazing and generous accomplishment. Terrific assortment of pictures, I remember many of them. Happy Blogoversary. :)

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  12. A BIG congratulations to you! On all your achievements as well as this wonderful blog (that introduced me to blogging as well - thank YOU!) As always, your photographs and endless energy in your quest transport me and inspire me.

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  13. Charlotte, You are a wonder, and you bring us wondrous gifts with your garden visits. The world is filled with beauty, and you help us find it. I can hardly believe it's only one year. Cheers!

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  14. I am living vicariously through your travels and good deeds. You're a super role model.

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  15. Happy Blogaversary, Charlotte. We all owe your father thanks for getting you started on this; your travels and your blog enrich so many of us. Best Wishes, -Jean

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  16. Congratulations Charlotte! What an amazing year you have had... I am truly humbled by your energy and good will. What an inspiration you are!! I anticipate with great joy the gardens you will share with us over this next year. I would be very proud of getting a hospital built in India too! Really awesome! Indeed you should feel pretty great about that accomplishment. Brava! Very touching about your dad. How wonderful you had that time to see gardens together. Heres to a great new year of blogging about your travels! Thank you so for sharing your incredible life with all of us.

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  17. Thank you for a year of inspiration, Marian

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  18. Happy anniversary. I've enjoyed seeing the gardens of the world through your camera and blog. Your dad sounds like a wonderful man and I'm sure he was very proud of you and your accomplishments.

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  19. Wow, your photo's are stunning! I would love to see those places in person. Happy Anniversary! I have a while to wait for mine, I didnt start till January.

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