Sunday, 11 March 2012


If you have a spare moment I wish to take you back in time to mid-January, when as a birthday treat I ventured forth to sunny Stourhead in the picturesque Wiltshire countryside. I freely admit to being more interested in flower gardens than landscapes but, like sprouts, in the bleak winter months with not much else going on it’s best to put a brave face on and give these things a try! The chief benefit of these landscape gardens in the winter is their structure. The main elements that others will enjoy in summer are actually still visible now! The trees form the majority of this scene, and are still very much offering up some beauty. They do not require chopping to the ground in autumn, and being perfectly hardy do not require traipsing up to the Glasshouse in large wheelbarrows. One in the eye for the flower garden, what! The central feature here is the lake, and paths hug its perimeter and offer some truly exhilarating views from one side to the other. An assortment of classical temples awaits your perusal, and two grottos offer some intrigue and changes in level. If this description does not wet your appetite, I must relate to you the fact that a traditional hostelry lies at the centre of the property, and does a rather splendid line in hearty food and local ales!

This view greets you at the garden entrance with the Palladian Bridge, and the Pantheon looming across the lake

Pollarded willows providing a welcome blast of winter colour!

Looking back across the lake

The sun was with me all day, glorious times! Particularly so with the bees on the wing and the buzzards gliding and calling overhead

The Gothic Cottage. Fairytale stuff

A drone fly, tucking into the first wave of Galanthus

View of the lake from down in the Grotto. There are pools of water here, take care or you may end up with wet tweeds and water up to your shins! Oops

The Temple of Flora

A rather natty insect house

The Palladian pile is somewhat removed from the lake feature that forms the main garden, but nevertheless is sufficiently grand

A resuscitating ‘What ho!’ one and all! A notice was posted in the Bicycle News pronouncing this blog dead, but now I’m back in action and fit as a fiddle! Time off work before college, my last ever college block, and my first job interview since Hidcote have led me astray from my blogging duties. With spring upon us, I’ll cherry pick the best of the topics I wanted to post and hopefully find myself up to date in no time at all. Hidcote is now open 5 days a week, please see here!


Elephant's Eye said...

Some lucky garden will be privileged to have you. Hope you'll still blog a little for us - from your new garden!

Rosemary said...

You have been missed Bertie - good luck with your job interviews, and thanks for the reminder about Stourhead, a place I intend to return to sometime.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Bertie, Thrilled to see you blogging again -- please don't entirely desert us! Stourhead is beautiful, and the hostelry sounds like the icing on the cake. P. x

Anonymous said...

Ludricks... Cummings and Gowings and the great What ho Hidcote returns. must admit, I didn't quite catch the notice in the old 'Bicycle News', but it seems all such notices have been renedered most untrue, which is grand news for all of us. good luck with the old interviews... H

Tim said...

What a treat to see a post from you! I, too, much prefer flowers to landscape gardens, but Stourhead is truly an incredible property. Ironically, it provides the perfect break from all of the floral color when on a tour of gardens! Definitely one I look forward to visiting again!

Prue said...

Bertie! You're back! :D
Good to see you blogging again. I thought you'd got lost under all the snow ;)

A belated Happy Birthday. Stourhead looks a lovely place to go on your birthday. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I've never been so a visit is now on the cards.

See you this week when Hidcote opens full-time. It will be good to be back!

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

I would think a winter visit would improve such a place, since you would not be expecting lots of flowers and color anyway. It is beautifully picturesque; I have read somewhere else that you can stay there. The willow are my favorite I think.

Glad to see another post here! I am sure you have been worked to the bone betwixt college and spring clean-up. I hope you get some time to spend with your bees before spring is over. ~Julie

Bertie Bainbridge said...

What ho chumrades!

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