Showing posts with label this is england. Show all posts
Showing posts with label this is england. Show all posts

Monday, 26 June 2017

National Treasures: Mottisfont Abbey Roses

Mottisfont Abbey is world renowned for its collection of old fashioned roses. As June was upon us, we knew we had to act fast and visit Mottisfont to see for ourselves.

Mottisfont Lane, Romsey SO51 0LP

The NT has this to say about the collection:

Our walled gardens are filled with heavenly fragrance and colour from thousands of roses in early summer.

We’re home to the National Collection of pre-1900 old-fashioned roses, which reach their peak in June. Visitors flock to see this world-famous display from over five hundred varieties.

Over 500 varieties of rose bloom in our walled gardens.

Unlike modern species, old-fashioned roses tend to flower just once a year, so their full summer blooming is an extraordinary annual sight.

Discover varieties such as Malmaison – a sumptuous pale pink bourbon rose inspired by the Empress Josephine’s famous garden – and delicate Chinese tea roses in shades of cream, pink and red.
The light crimson and deeply scented shrub Rosa gallica officinalis was brought to England from Persia by the Crusaders, and there are other hybrids so ancient that they are prehistoric. Some varieties are so rare that it's possible we have the only stock in existence.

Created by Graham Stuart Thomas - one of the most important figures in 20th-century British horticulture - in the 1970s, our walled gardens were chosen to house many varieties that may otherwise have become extinct.

We were lucky on arrival, to find shady car parking, but had we got there any later, we would have ended up in the baking sun in the overflow carpark in a nearby field. I wasn't sure how busy it was going to be, being that it was Father's Day (or in our household Fur-Fathering Sunday) but it was busy indeed and we could see the sun gleaming off the cars from the shady riverbank.

Our first mission was to find shade to have our picnic, and most shady spots were taken, or being selfishly reserved for a bit later by people. One woman who was actually set up on a picnic blanket, had her son stood on the bench we wanted, walking back and forth on it, while she called her mum, getting her to get there soon, as she had a bench for her. We ended up under some trees, next to the house, sat on a log, which smacked of being round the campfire!

Picnic finished, we then debated seeing the roses first or going in the house and as it was just gone noon, decided roses first as the house might have been full of people getting out of the midday sun.

I must say, although we could have done with getting there a week earlier, the roses were truly spectacular.

The scent was delicious, and filled the walled garden with the most incredible fragrance. Bees, hoverflies and butterflies were everywhere.

It wasn't only roses, there was also the Lesser Spotted Apple Eater ...

Next time I'll share some photos of the interior of the house and all its Edwardian trappings.

If you're interested, this was my other Mottisfont post, from January.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

National Treasures: Winkworth Arboretum

Created in the early 20th century by Dr Wilfrid Fox, this hillside arboretum has now been maintained by the National Trust for 60 years and has built up an internationally significant collection of more than 1,000 different species of shrubs and trees, many of them rare.

We were very impressed by the sheer size of the trees to be seen, they were majestic. I can't wait to see them in all their autumn finery, that must be spectacular!

Winkworth Arboretum exhibits large collections of azalea, rhododendron, and holly on slopes leading down to landscaped garden lakes.

We could see the lake but alas, couldn't get there because of, you know, the shoe thing, and couldn't even use the viewing platform as it was being repaired.

Gertrude Jekyll explored the woods in the early 20th century and the exotic trees were planted from 1938 by Wilfrid Fox.

There was a memorial to Dr Fox, but we didn't see it this time but do plan to go back again next month, better prepared.

There are three walks offered At Winkworth, one is access for all, which is marked blue and is the one we ended up on, after the shoe episode. There are no steps and it's approximately 1km long.

There is then a yellow walk, which covers 1.6km and involves steps, which is where I came a cropper. We then abandoned it in favour of the blue walk as walking was difficult with a heel coming off my shoe. My dodgy balance makes stairs a challenge enough anyway, without added complications.

The third walk was marked red, and covers 3.6km and features steep steps.
The minute I saw the word steep, I was adamant that I wasn't doing that particular walk. 

The views were spectacular.

Despite the glorious weather the day before, this day was a lot cooler, to the point that I needed a jacket.

No, contrary to what Andy said, I was not breaking into Mud's 'Tiger Feet' dance, I was straightening my belt.

"All night long, you've been looking at me,
Well you know you're the dance hall cutie that you love to be

Yes, I was the most vibrantly dressed visitor, brighter than the children by far and was indeed wearing the most impractical shoes imaginable! But, they're all I had. My ballet flats have a huge hole in the sole. Still. And looking at the ground as we walked, I knew they would have been useless, I may as well have not worn shoes had I gone with those.

It's a beauty of a place and we shall return in July and then again in the autumn, to see the autumn colours and probably again in the winter too. And if we continue our membership, again come spring! Cherry blossom and bluebells? Yes please!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

National Treasures: Hinton Ampner Pt III

I'm back with more Hinton Ampner goodness, this time, the gardens!

Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 0LA

Part One can be found here, from when we first went in January, with a little of the gardens and entrance hall, with a potted history of the place.
Part two can be found here, focusing on the interior.

It seems bizarre that the first time we went, we missed all of this!

I don't know if these two were always there, or were 1930's additions.

 Lovely views down from the veranda.


I equally love rambling cottage style gardens, to formal ones.
I long to run up and down avenues of topiary, in Georgian dresses, being chased
by a man in uniform.
*plots to get Andy in a Georgian Naval uniform*

I love this statue.

And I love a bit of wisteria too.


You can sit here and look back at the house and lily pond.

 Tulips were everywhere. So pretty.

It's that statue again ...

Hello Mr Pheasant, how are you?

Our picnic spot.