South Horrington

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Christmas Day 2020, and for the first time in my life I was going to spend the whole day alone. Not a problem – but I did want to do something a bit different.

For months I had been wanting to take photos of and write a blog post on a beautiful complex of buildings a couple of miles east of the lovely cathedral city of Wells, and just 20 minutes from where I live. The sun god gave its blessing in the morning, and I drove to South Horrington, a village centred around a converted 19th century mental hospital. The hospital’s principal architect was the prolific Sir (George) Gilbert Scott, 1811-1878, known mainly for his ecclesiastical work, but who designed many workhouses and asylums in the early stages of his career. Reading Gaol, St Pancras station and the Albert Memorial all appear in his portfolio of more than 800 buildings, designed or altered.

Later known as Mendip Hospital, this complex opened as the Somerset and Bath Pauper Lunatic Asylum on 1st March, 1848. It soon filled beyond its capacity, attics were turned into dormitories, and its principal psychiatric function was transferred in 1897 to the Tone Vale Hospital near Taunton. But it continued to house long-stay elderly and mentally infirm patients, until 1991 when it was closed under the Care in the Community policy. It was then converted into ‘luxury’ flats and houses, which I discovered in 2011 when I was about to return from France and looking for somewhere to live. I did not pursue the idea of living there for a number of practical reasons, but aesthetic distaste was not among them!

I had driven round the grounds on a few occasions since, but this was the first time I had got out of my car. I parked in:

(A strangely tatty entrance panel for such a beautiful and prestigious site)
(I took this photo towards the end of my stroll, my car being parked by the ‘D’ of ‘Road’, bottom right.)

I have not been able to find the significance of the various colours, and indeed I have been able to find very little detail, historic or otherwise, about the buildings as a whole, apart from the links I have indicated. Given that Gilbert Scott designed so many such, perhaps this is not so surprising.

Looking back from where I parked,
and walking on.
The splendid entrance to the building. An apartment in here is for sale at the time of writing.

I walked clockwise around the complex.

This corner particularly appealed, though I imagine it gets little, if any, sun.
The part jutting out on the left is opposite the main entrance.
The chapel’s spire appears over a collection of houses
One of the reasons I did not, ten years ago, pursue the idea of living here was the assumption that I would not be allowed to have a cat flap in my front door. The building is Grade II listed. But, although I saw several of these notices, I saw people out walking their dogs, always on a leash.
To the Chapel without getting wet
The residences on the right appear as old as the rest of the complex, but…
The Chapel also is converted into accommodation units.
Well, maybe catflaps are allowed…

I should love to know more about the arches below, and hoped to find that there was some society interested in the history of the place. All I have found is the Friends of the Mendip Hospital Cemetery.

The cemetery is a mile or so away towards Wells, and I did look in 2011 at a property, the back garden of which abuts on to it. I was tempted. To have a nature reserve at my back garden would have been wonderful. There was just a lovely low stone wall between the bottom of the sloping garden and the cemetery, and wonderful views beyond the it to distant wooded hills. But the house needed too much work.

Towards the end of my walk, I got chatting with this couple (with dog!). They had lived in South Horrington, at three different addresses, for 20 years. They loved it, and they particularly extolled the walks there were in various directions, including Wells city just 20 minutes away.

Completing the circuit to my car took me along a footpath and past Fire Engine Cottage.

And for some silly reason I took a selfie.

Here’s wishing you a much happier New Year!

Ninesprings, Yeovil

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Ninesprings is one of the five areas which comprise Yeovil Country Park, and is accessible on foot from the town centre. Here are some photos I took there, on a grey, grey day this week.

We made for the café by the car park where we bought a takeaway coffee, consumed in the increasing drizzle which had caught up with us. It had been a very pleasant way to take on some vitamin D.

Montacute

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Time for another visit to a National Trust place. When I booked, for last Wednesday, 10th November, the forecast was for a 14% chance of rain. By the time the day came it was more like 50%. But we were lucky. Driving though showers to get there, I feared another rain-sodden visit, as to Park Cottage, but not a drop of rain fell during our wanderings, (unlike the journey home).

Montacute House is the most splendid of houses to visit in the area, (pace Barrington Court, which runs it a close second, and whose gardens I also visited recently) much used as a filming location, including for the recent television version of Wolf Hall. While the house was not open to the public, under current lockdown regulations, the gardens were, and we had them almost to ourselves.

As you drive there, you have a tantalising glimpse from the road of the long drive and the house at the end, but cannot stop. Here it is from the other direction.

I had forgotten to pick up my camera as I left home, but am quite pleased with the service my phone gave me, and by the time Daphne and I met up at this point, I had already taken photos of the displayed map,

of the amazing house front,

and of the crest emblazoned thereon.

We ambled round the gardens together, looking inwards and outwards.

The back of the house is even more impressive than the front.

A gate entices you into the formal, walled garden,

of which I select just one photo.

We were soon on the other side of the wall once more.

One person’s gazebo is another’s whole house.
We didn’t explore the parkland.
One of several holm oaks
Sweet chestnut
Kitchen garden

Daphne could not stay much longer, with a delivery to receive at home, but found time to have a takeaway coffee bought from the café (I had to improvise a mask, my nearest being in the car). We sat on a bench, which was just long enough to enable us to be socially distanced, with the view at the top of this post ahead of us.

I was not in a hurry, and had never walked round the village before. The car park was not closing for another 30 minutes, so I took the opportunity to rectify that lack.

The lodge to the house
For further exploration some time.
Sir Edward Phelips built Montacute House in the late 16th century, and the Phelips family held it until 1929. Bankrupted by a 19th century gambling Phelips, they first let, then in 1929 relinquished the house entirely, and it passed two years later to the National Trust.
Almost the entire village is built in the beautiful Ham stone (or hamstone).

If the house at the far end of this row looks a little wonky, that’s because

… it is.
I’ve not been able to identify the origins of this, now a private house.
All that remains of a former Cluniac Abbey, now also a private house
One of several B and Bs in the village
I had just taken this picture when a family of four came out of one of the doors. I couldn’t help but cry out from over the road, “You are so lucky living here, it’s beautiful!”. They heartily agreed and the children told me they were going off to the park to play football. (I suppose I was breaking lockdown regulations by speaking with more than one person.)
The explanation for the name, courtesy of Wikipedia (village link above): The name Montacute is thought by some to derive from the Latin “Mons Acutus”, referring to the conically acute St Michael’s Hill dominating the village to the west. An alternative view is that it is named after Drogo de Montagu, whose family originated from Montaigu-les-Bois, in the arrondissement of Coutances. Mortain held Montacute after 1066, Drogo was a close associate.
I’ve turned back to meet the car park’s closing time.
I couldn’t believe how colourful this garden was in mid-November!
Back at the lodge – which is a National Trust holiday let.

I felt so good after that visit, and all evening. With all the electronic means of communication and entertainment that I have at my disposal, I had not felt at all lonely during this or the previous lockdown, but I had not realised how much good some real face to face conversation with a friend – enhanced by a beautiful setting both during and after – would do me. That was great!

An autumn distraction

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It was Stressful Wednesday, and I had been obsessing with the rolling news half the night (less than four hours’ sleep) and all day until lunchtime. It was gorgeous outside, and I hadn’t done my little there-and-back walk from my house for a very long time. I wondered if it was possible to distract myself for an hour or so.

It was. I can honestly say that I did not give the US presidential election a single thought all the time I was out.

Down to the end of my road,

through a small passageway to my left, up the lane to the main road where the prep school is situated, and back again. Views and details.

There were children, parents and a dog in the playground, to the left of this view.
Dog rose hips in among the ?privet.
Hogweed aka cow parsnip

I spent a few minutes trying to capture hedge reflections in the puddles at the side of the road. This is the only vaguely successful image.

So I raised my eyes to the lane ahead, and thought that they’d soon be flailing the hedges.

In theory there is a right of way up to Glastonbury Tor from this stile, but I’ve never seen anyone take it.
I’m always intrigued by this old tree. Has someone just put an old crate in its hollow trunk for stability, or has it some more interesting purpose? Sadly two other, much younger, trees have succumbed to the recent winds. And there is an apple trapped in the wire netting round the nearest tree!
Mixed feelings about convolvulus/bindweed, but here it’s pretty
Jackdaw in crabapple
Hooray. When last I passed by here, this right of way was completely overgrown and impassable. To be taken another time.
To my untutored eye none of the ash trees on this walk has yet been affected by ash die-back, but it’s a very serious threat in Somerset. The Somerset Wildlife Trust has asked people not even to visit four of its reserves in the east of the county, and at its online AGM this morning the CEO said that she thought that 90% of its woodland would be affected within 10 years.
Field maple supporting bryony fruit
Yup, ‘they’ have started trimming the hedges.
Still, it does mean that views like this are revealed.
An unprepossessing gate, softened by teasel.
Magpie in ash tree
I zoomed in to look at the top of the Tor. Quite a lot of people (and there were more on its sides).
Will the ponies be in the field?

No.

I tried to catch a long-tailed tit on these twigs, but it flew off. But I thought I would include the picture as a sort of abstract – and found that, top left, I had indeed captured the long tail and a wing.
Good to see cars in the staff car park of the school,
and even better to hear the cries of small children playing, not, as they were in the spring and early summer, absent during this lockdown.
Will the Open Event happen?
Victorian postbox in the wall of the school at the junction with the main road. I wondered what a Priority postbox was, and found once I was home that it’s related to Covid testing – more info here.

Time to turn round.

The signs are presumably channelling parents as part of Covid-safe measures.

From now on, I was facing the low autumn sun.

Glastonbury Tor not zoomed. There are little human dots up there.
The sun highlights a flooded field – I am surprised there are not more, given the rainfall we have had recently – and some telephone wires.

I was intrigued by this very new fencing on either side of this track, which on first glance appeared to be creating two paths. A closer look made me realise that in fact it was protecting new hedging. I waited for the sheep to be ushered into the right-hand field, and for the ‘shepherd’ to come back to his van, to my left. From him I learned that in fact this was his project. Living in town, he owned nine acres, and was putting native hedging around the three fields, for the benefit of wildlife. 600 metres so far. Brilliant!

I stood and listened to these sheep tearing at the grass – quite soporific.
According to my Candide app, this is Hedge woundwort.
Common dogwood
It’s only 3pm, but shadows are long at this time of year.
For some reason, a toffee apple came to my mind as I looked at this tree.
I’m back at the bottom of my road again.
And the hornbeam in my own garden’s not bad!

I started this post early on Saturday afternoon. I broke off about three pictures ago to watch CNN, and caught the moment the result was announced. Stressful Wednesday was worth it!

Frankham Farm, NGS

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This must surely have been my last National Gardens Scheme visit of the season. It took me south, just over the Somerset/Dorset border to a village called Ryme Intrinseca, and this working farm. “Ryme Intrinseca is generally regarded as one of the most interesting of all village names in the County of Dorset, and was so regarded by John Betjeman in his poem, ‘Dorset'” (source and further explanation here.) It was a chilly and overcast day, but I was well wrapped up, including gloves, and I really enjoyed my autumn stroll.

I drove past the farmhouse,

and into its yard to park. At the front of the house I took a plasticised map, with a few words on the back:

As can be seen, the late Mrs Earle loved oaks – Quercus

Having taken a quick photo of the formal garden, to which I would return, my route was via the vegetable garden to the long thin wooded area, back through the vegetables and round the garden, then into the orchard at the north-east of the plot. I crossed behind the farm buildings to the stables, then into the wild garden and wooded area, finishing in the paddock.

I have only recently discovered this variety of kale, since lockdown having it (and other fruit and veg) delivered regularly by a local organic farm.
The ancient Bramley mentioned in the notes
An interesting use of ?ancient roof tiles.
Ivy-leaved cyclamen
Each significant tree had its own label
Looking up at autumn
I have been delighted to find that the app I am obliged to have on my phone to act as a season ticket to The Newt in Somerset (search other posts) helps me to identify plants I don’t know – this an Oak-leaved hydrangea.
Many opportunities to sit down in Mrs Earle’s garden
There is no doubt an interesting history to this gentleman, but there was no-one around to ask at the end of my visit.

A tiny plaque on top of this sculpture, inscribed “JME 1936-2007”, says it all.

Cork oak bark

Moving back into the vegetables on the way back to the formal garden there are other delights:

A sculpture by Nature, fungus welded by her into the rotting wood
The combination of green, yellow and mauve is unbeatable.
Peach, yellow and green’s not bad.
And yellow and green tumbling down a weathered wall is wonderful.

Eventually, one is back in the lawned area in front of the house.

Wherever you were, if you looked beyond the map, there were fields. I was taken by this stand of trees in the near distance.
In the flower borders, this fuchsia flourished
This bee just didn’t want to co-operate in having its photo taken on the scabious. But I have learnt a new word recently, describing the blurring in the background of close-up photos. It’s called ‘bokeh’.
My app identifies this as echinacea.
Obviously I’m in the orchard now. Did ever you see such a red apple? I suspect Sleeping Beauty’s stepmother!

There were not just apple trees in the orchard.

It is this plant which led me to first try the app, called Candide (and is free). It identifies this as Harlequin Glorybower, Clerodendrum trichotomum
To get to the other side of the drive, I cut though the yard behind the farm buildings. I stood beside this wheel. The tyre reaches to the top of my head – and I’m tall.
Stable buildings
From the wild wood.
Every good forest has a ring around a fireplace. The earth was so well trodden in this area that I wondered whether a forest school is held here on a regular basis in normal times.
And charcoal burning?

Now into what is called the Paddock.

The app couldn’t handle this one.

Emerging out on to the drive once more, I was pleased to see what is presumably the 250-year-old oak.

Someone with clearly a good knowledge of horticulture visited under the NGS scheme on a sunny day in March 2019 (that other era). Her blog is here.

The Newt in Somerset – October

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It’s nice to do something special on a birthday, and it had been a while since I had been to The Newt in Somerset. Even booking eight days in advance, it had only been possible to get a table for lunch in the Garden Cafe for 2 o’clock, so I decided to get me and my camera to the gardens an hour earlier.

The car park was alarmingly full when I arrived. But it was a Saturday, with lovely bright sun, even if it was accompanied by a chill wind. (I put gloves on for the first time this autumn, but then I do feel the cold.) The familiar boardwalk up to the entrance had a distinct autumnal feel to it.

Once through the Threshing (= entrance) Barn, with the Cyder Bar to my right, I was again alarmed by the number of people, but I soon realised they were queuing (sort-of) to pick up their picnics. The Newt does not allow people to consume their own picnics there. It was interesting to see washed apples emerging from underground on a conveyor belt. I look forward to the day when it is possible to observe the full workings of ‘cyder’ production there.

The farm shop and coffee bar areas also looked quite busy.

But past there, as I walked into and around the Woodland area, there were few people.

The roof of Hadspen House, in the hands of the Hobhouse family from 1785 to 2013, and now a luxury hotel
Large ducks, hunkered down against the wind, and almost too bright in the sun for the camera.

Back from the Woodland, I took a new (for me) way into the cottage garden…

… of and from which I took the following and many more pictures.

Into the Victorian Fragrance Garden (not much going on here at this time) and the Cascade, the bottom of which attracts children young and old, even though they know they will have water squirted on their ankles, in this chilly weather, randomly by frogs of various sizes.

I didn’t join them, for more than one reason.

Instead I went down another way to the kitchen garden.

The parkland remains sadly inaccessible for now.

Now into the Parabola, an interesting, probably unique, designed orchard, and its literally hundreds of apple species. In the main, only crab-apples now remain on the trees.

Two o’clock approached, and I had a rendez-vous to meet with two friends who were joining me for a delicious lunch, served in impeccably Covid-sure conditions, in the Garden Café. All photography was forgotten from then on!

The Walled Gardens of Cannington NGS

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Yes, there was another garden to be visited in September, last Sunday, but I didn’t think I had sufficient material for a blog post. So I didn’t even look at my pictures until a couple of days ago, and changed my mind.

Cannington Court was first known as Cannington Priory. For that was how it started life, in about 1138, home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Henry VIII put paid to that though, in 1536. He and subsequent monarchs subsequently granted tenancy of what became known as Cannington Court to various followers. In 1807, it reverted to its original purpose for about 30 years, when a body of French Benedictine nuns moved in, expelled from France following the French Revolution.

Since the mid-nineteenth century the Court has always been used for educational purposes, and for the last 100 years, in various guises, for agricultural and horticultural learning. Most recently it has been part of the Cannington campus of, and owned by, Taunton and Bridgwater College, who in 2015 leased the Court buildings to EDF. That company is using them as a training hub (Hinkley Point is very near), and has invested millions of pounds in their project, from which the Walled Gardens have much benefited. These had been approved in 2009 as a tourist attraction, and are maintained by students of Bridgwater College, part of their studies.

As I entered, I was little disappointed, and felt cheated of even the very modest sum I had been charged by the National Gardens Scheme. The walled garden was not large and was dominated by a plant sales area. There was no map this time, so I only gradually discovered just how big, how many, and how varied the Walled Gardens, plural, were.

I think this is one of the nicest garden gates and arches I have ever seen! Pity about the padlock.
While there was no map, there were many information boards to be studied.

There were masses of flowers!

Strictly no entry to the greenhouse

Geologically/building stone-wise, Somerset is mainly known for its blue lias limestone, coveted for new house-building. It is in fact is a rather dullish grey. But there are many examples of buildings in a rather rich red sandstone. (I should know whether its Old Red or New Red, but I don’t. I’ll look it up one of these days.)

This was a very small walled garden, known as The Bishop’s Garden
This shade garden has inspired me for a very shady part of my own – I need some ferns!

I looked for ferns in the plant sales area – none.

Why did I think I hadn’t enough material for a blog post? Was it that there had been a few shabby areas – autumn, possible neglect by absent students? Was it the two passing ladies who had moaned at me, exaggerating the neglect? Was it that I’d not been able to take a picture of a wicker dragon because there was someone taking his time doing so and blocking my way? That I felt pressed for time as they were closing shortly? That I’d not used the tea room because of my own uncertainty about doing so and in any case said shortage of time? Whatever the reason for my disgruntlement, it was reinforced as on leaving I saw these notices for the students (I’d had to give Track and Trace details as I entered the garden, because it had meant going through a tiny gift shop.)

I don’t know why, but in any case I was wrong, as this collection of photos has reminded me, and I must go back there again. As a tourist attraction it is open for most of the year under the auspices of the College, who had just made it over to the NGS and its supported charities for this day.

Coleford House, NGS

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On Saturday, I realised that I had not been further than my garden for a whole week. The weather was forecast to be lovely on Sunday, so I looked for an NGS garden which would be open, with not too far to drive. (I feel so guilty environmentally if I have to drive more than an hour each way.) I found Coleford House, about 35 minutes away, in the eastern Mendip Hills. As it happened I was singing (in my garden, socially distanced), with three friends on Monday, two of whom knew or had known the previous owners. These had moved out in 1999.

I parked my car at 11.00 in the designated field down the road, and walked a couple of hundred yards to the house.

Met and greeted at the door of the Studio,

I was handed this map, prepared by an artist friend, not credited, of the family. (Some of her work was on sale.) I have added the swimming pool and the tennis court, not marked officially.

This is part of Coleford House.

Round in the herb garden:

Past the cottage into the walled garden,

where there were refreshments to be had in the orangery, though I didn’t partake. I had just had coffee in the car, and also I’m still being very wary about unnecessary people proximity, particularly going indoors.

I did let my camera zoom in approvingly for me on the green roof.

I was intrigued by the bat house. I tried to duck in under the roof, but soon withdrew. It was boarded in at lower than my height. On the roof outside I could see a couple of entrances for flying creatures.

The orchard

Over the other side of the orchard bridge was the kiln, but there were too many people there (more than in this picture), for me to think of joining them.

However, it soon thinned out, and it is very difficult to resist going over a bridge.

A delightfully curious kiln

was accompanied by a more conventional one.

Talking of convention, whoever heard of a crocodile defending a tennis court?

For the avoidance of doubt, the tail is on the left, a (sculpted) tennis ball keeping the creature’s mouth closed.
Very neat wildflower panels

A sneak look at the swimming pool,

and a walk along what is called the river with no name on the plan, but which my OS map clearly labels, if I’m reading it correctly, the Mells Stream.

The pretty garden bridge was not for crossing,

not even for closer examination of the weir.

The lily pond
Looking over towards the house, with part of Coleford village in the background. (Not to be confused with the town of Coleford in the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire.)

I did wonder whether I was missing out on something at the cottage, perhaps some info from an owner of the House. But then when I saw one out of and one in the door on the right, I realised what it was being used for.

Magnificent walnut and tulip trees dwarfing the house.

Wandering on, I looked back along the river, and made my way back to the entrance, looking down at my feet by the copper beech.

Out on to the road and back to my car, by way of a road bridge.

I’m wondering whether there will be another garden visit this year?

Babbs Farm, NGS

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Sunday was chilly but very bright, and thankfully with no rain, a change over the previous few days’ conditions. I had booked a late morning National Gardens Scheme visit to Babbs Farm, near Highbridge, described thus in the blurb: ¾ acre plantsman’s garden on Somerset Levels, gradually created out of fields surrounding old farmhouse over last 30 yrs and still being developed. Trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials planted with an eye for form and shape in big flowing borders. Various ponds (formal and informal), box garden, patio area and conservatory.

I was delayed on my half-hour drive over the Somerset Moors, also known as the Levels.

But not for long. When I arrived at Babbs Farm, (no sign of any farming going on), I learnt that it was only in the last few days that it had been resolved as to whether the garden would open. The owners provided a plan, drawn up in 2019, when refreshments and other facilities were available, not possible this year of Covid.

The entrance could not be where it normally is on open days, because recent storms had determined otherwise.

Basically, I walked anti-clockwise round the garden, starting at the Field of trees and ending up at the Ditch bed, opposite which there was a specialist stall for the sale of Salvias, which had figured prominently in the planting. I had no idea there were so many different and rare varieties, and I only wished I had some space in my own garden for some of them. (I took no photos of the stall as there was a family milling around, trying to decide what to buy.)

Field of trees
Jack’s Pond
Round pond
There’s a font in the shade
Round pond from a different angle
Round lawn
Lion pond, at the edge of the Patio
A Salvia I imagine
At the back, the privet hedge
and through to the Box garden
A tempting gate at the end of the Wall bed
A seat too tempting…
… with a delightful aspect

And I’m back near the Field of trees. But I must turn right and return to the car park, in Pam’s field, bequeathed to the owners.

What a very pleasant visit, and I was nothing like as cold as I had anticipated. Will there be another NGS visit this year, I wonder, as a rather dreary winter beckons.

The Newt in Somerset – August

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No, this is not a newt, nor a toad, but a small frog. It’s what greeted my bridge partner, Daphne, and me as we walked up the boardwalk to the entry of The Newt in Somerset a week back. We stood still until it had leapt off the side of the boardwalk, to spare it from the clomping feet of the people behind us.

Daphne and I, having met up in the car park, were planning to be very brave. We were going to take advantage of the August ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, (subsidised of course by the taxpayer, not the Chancellor of the Exchequer), and have a meal in the Garden Café of The Newt, this my fourth visit this year to the gardens. The bravery was that for both of us it was to be the first time that either of us had been nearer than two metres to anyone for more than a fleeting few seconds since lockdown (with the exception of her husband in Daphne’s case.) For me that last time had been breakfast in the Premier Inn at Gatwick Airport on my way back from Morocco, on 15th March.

It was very, very hot, and we had asked to sit outside in recognition of our nervousness. Sadly the area in the shade of the building was not being used as it was part of the café’s one-way exit system. So we got very hot indeed, as there was no shade. (I have suggested they provide table umbrellas in my review of an otherwise really excellent experience.)

They went out of their way to meet Daphne’s dietary needs, and we both very much enjoyed our meals, the ingredients of which were largely grown not far from where we sat. I particularly enjoyed the beetroot and dill butter which formed part of my starter, though it’s invidious to pick anything out.

Daphne, suffering from sciatica, was not in a position to go round the gardens afterwards, but she lives only a few minutes away so can visit any time she likes. We arranged to meet up in her own garden a little later, with another bridge friend.

Here is the view, left to right (a panoramic photo didn’t do it justice,) from the terrace on which we ate.

This edge to a step caught my eye as I left the café.

I walked round the Parabola with its countless varieties of apples.

And left the Parabola though this gateway.

Two visits ago this was a mass of tulips. Last visit it was bare soil.
I love grasses, whether informally placed or formally.

I now went into parts of the garden I had not previously explored.

Hadspen House, the luxury hotel, at the end.
I was too hot to wait for the visitor to leave the view, but am happy to include the lawn mower, who merges into the landscape much better.

Now I walked though the red, white and blue gardens. Or should I say blue, white and red, in a nod to the national flag of Patrice Taravella, the French designer of these gardens? What was his intention? Whichever, I don’t seem to have a representative set of pictures!

I wanted to visit the cottage garden before I left, and to do so had to skirt round this area clockwise, in order to avoid not only getting too close to the children, but also displeasing the stone frogs, large and small, who squirt water at the unsuspecting passer-by. I thought I had succeeded, but a tiny one got my left ankle. In that temperature, that was most welcome.

A look back at part of the Parabola and the Garden Café.

Past the Threshing Barn on the way out,

whose big window was too tempting. Explanation: there is a matching high window the other end, doors at either side, and waving strip lighting in the roof. All the rest is reflection.

Next visit perhaps in September…