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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Snowshill Manor: Look Away Now...

...If You Don't Want To See Another Floaty Summer Garden! 



But if you are tired of the grey skies, snow, sleet and rain outside come, follow me through the door and I'll show you around a deliciously green and lush English Country garden...

Another year is nearly over. I could review it at length, but I won't; 2009 has probably been the worst year of my life so far. There have been many sad and stressful moments and I am not sorry to see it go. I am looking forward to 2010 immensely and planning gardens to visit, plants to grow, worlds to conquer (although I am not particularly looking forward to January which has to be for me the most depressing month of them all). I have been looking though my photographs from garden visits earlier this summer. I spied a forgotten little folder called Snowshill and its contents cheered me and reminded me of a very pleasant May afternoon. I'm sorry to all you realists out there, I am sure my January posts will be full of bare trees, grey skies and slimy looking plants, I'm trying to meet you part of the way -at least the title has something a little wintry about it, even if the pictures do not!



I took a short break in the Cotswolds over the May bank holiday this year and one of the places I happened to visit was Snowshill Manor. The picturesque manor built in traditional yellow Cotswold limestone nestles in the hills above the Vale of Evesham. A brisk walk through orchards and fields leads you the house.


 St George and the Dragon bell.



The manor has a rich history and was the property of Winchcombe Abbey from 821 until the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539. It then became the property of the Crown and was presented to Katherine Parr, King Henry VIII 's wife as a gift. Its real interest today however is in its role as the final home of Charles Paget Wade's collection of design and craftsmanship. Wade was a very eccentric collector and he purchased Snowshill in 1919 as a property in which to house his extraordinary collection of 22,000 items and 2000 piece costume collection (including 26 suits of Samurai armour). He was an architect, craftsman and poet, and had spent more than 50 years amassing his collection, which he acquired mainly from British antiques dealers and shops.




The gardens at Snowshill are small but an unexpected delight. Charles Wade designed them in collaboration with the Arts and Crafts architect M. H. Baille-Scott in the early 1920's. I went to Snowshill to see Wade's collection, not the gardens. It is without doubt the most interesting collection of items I have ever seen and could happily return again and again to gaze in wonderment at them. The gardens however were really very pretty and a pleasure to slowly meander around. I visited the world famous Hidcote Manor that same weekend; it was unfortunately very crowded and so for me Snowshill was by far the more enjoyable visit (I think I will have to have another go at Hidcote next summer to see if I get more joy).



The boarders were billowing with sweet smelling hesperis, irises, poppies, aquilegias, nepeta, hardy geraniums, peonies, topiaried box and old-fashioned roses. The garden was not filled with complicated planting schemes and there were no particularly unusual plants to get me excited but the simplicity and vibrancy of the plants used suited the small terraces and ponds beautifully. The verdant jumble of growth that I do so love about gardens in May sat at ease in the walls of the manor, but also met comfortably with the rolling hills and countryside beyond.





















I hope I have managed to provide a few minutes distraction for those of you suffering with the winter blues; I'm dreaming of spring and lusting after summer already.



I would just like to take a moment to thank everyone who has commented on and visited the blog this year, it has given me a great deal of pleasure to share all my tales and visits with you and receive your feedback. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year; may all your dreams and wishes come true RO xxx

29 comments:

Anna said...

You have beaten me to it RO :) We visited Snowshill in September and I have still to post about it. Have been saving it for a wintry day. I had always wanted to see that clock which I have seen featured in so many magazines over the years. Isn't it a glorious spot! Hope that the new year and decade unfolds more gently for you and remember that the nights really do start pulling out in January :)

Carol said...

Beautiful Beautiful Post RO! I am sorry that 2009 has been so hard and wish you all the very best of everything for 2010! I love your blog and must thank blotanical for bringing your world into my life. These superb garden photos and narative are a lovely gift. So glad not to see more snow and ice! Thank You! This is a heavenly garden and I love seeing St. George and the dragon. The Happiest of New Years to You! Carol

Kiki said...

Super gorgeous post..yay..that was fun..wish I was there..it looks so magical and beautiful!I love your Festive Kitty...such fun! Wishing you a New Year full of magic..new gifts..and new adventures! I am happy to have found your blog and get to know you..you are such a cool chick! Cheers!
Kiki~

Teza said...

I was saddened to hear that 2009 was not one of your fondest - for someone who has brought such joy to me via a wonderful blog, I can only hope that 2010 will shine upon you with only glowing warmth and happiness. Snowshill Manor was a perfect respite from..... yes, bare trees and a bleak snowy landscape. All the very best for 2010 my garden friend!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for brightening up my day! Wonderful photographs and text!
Wishing you a wonderful, happy, healthy and properous New Year!
2010 will be special for you!
xxx

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Bravo! What a wonderful post! I love all the pictures showing this gorgeous garden! I hope a new year will be healthier and happier for you than 2009. I am glad you joined Blotanical, and I got a chance to know you. Hugs,
Tatyana

jeansgarden said...

RO, I can see enough snow and grey skies out my window; thanks for sharing this wonderful summer garden.
I'm with you as far as 2009 goes; 2010 has got to be better! Here's wishing all of us a happy New Year. (And I love Stilton's outfit!) -Jean

Bay Area Tendrils Garden Travel said...

OMG,
I'm such a sucker for the Cotswolds. I've been dreaming about my trip there, and Somerset, the Mendip Hills... truly an idyll in my memory bank.
I missed Snowshill, but now you've given me the gift of a tour. Thank you! Also, thankfully, Hidcote was nearly empty when I visited there on a rather wet day.
The collection you mention sounds fascinating. Maybe I'll have a chance to return to the Cotswolds, and Snowshill will be at the top of my to-do list.
I do hope your New Year is filled of peace and warmth and love.
Sending a hug through the blogosphere...
Alice

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Thank you for sharing these wonderful, lush garden photos with us! I for one enjoy such a break from the dull coldness of a Nova Scotian December. 2009 was rough here too at times so I'm well glad to see it behind me. All the best for the rapidly approaching new year!

azplantlady said...

Hello RO,

I do hope you have a brighter 2010 then 2009 was for you. As for me, I always love looking at summer gardens, especially in the winter time. I am very happy to have 'met' you this year :-)

anartistsgarden said...

Thank you for lifting me out of the winter doldrums with your cheery post!! Wishing you a happy, healthy, creative 2010, filled with light & inspiration!

miss m (InfG) said...

Oh, how very fortunate for us you spied that little folder. What a truly magnificent place ! The manor, the garden, the view ! And that pool, *gasp*, simply stunning. I have been very pleasantly distracted, thank you very much !

I join you in seeing 2009 off and hope 2010 bestows much joy and happiness upon you !

debsgarden said...

Thank you for the wonderful tour of Snowshill Manor. It truly brightened my day. I hope 2010 will be a good year, and that you will be blessed with health, prosperity, and lush gardens.

Juliet said...

Lovely photos, RO - it's a long time since I was at Snowshill, so it was nice to revisit. Unlike you I didn't like the collection much (it was so stuffy and claustrophobic inside) but the gardens are very pretty.

A very happy new year to you and all at Tumbledown :-*

ossamenta said...

What lovely pictures. They make me really miss the green part of the year!

I hope that 2010 will be a great year for you! You deserve it!

Rothschild Orchid said...

Anna, sorry I pipped you to the post there. I took the photo's before I started the blog so hadn't really intended to do anything with them, but looking though them I thought I might as well share them now! I do hope you will still post yours in the future.

Carol, thank you for your kind words, I love your photography and blog too. I am very grateful to Blotanical for helping me find so many of you.

Kiki, my happines fairy, yay! Thank you for stopping by and making me smile :o)

Alice, I love the Cotswolds so much, I'm not sure I will ever tire of them. Somerset however I have barely started on, despite having lived on its bondary for a number of years. I think I need to sit down and start making a proper list of everywhere I need to go to...

Juliet, I can understand why you would find the house a little cluttered...I fear you would not like Tumbledown, it is long on its way to becoming like Snowshill inside. Aged P No.2 is a hoarder of all things interesting and curious. My cousin, a graphologist once looked at his handwritting and declared him to be a "human squirrel" -he was so right!

Dear Teza, Tatyana, Noelle, Apple, Lena, Jean, Jodi, Miss M, anartistsgarden, and Deborah thank you so much for your lovely comments.

Wishing you all every happiness in 2010,
RO xxx

lostlandscape (James) said...

Even here in the subtropics things have been slowing down. Thanks for sharing your visit from warmer, longer days.

You aren't the only one to have commented that 2009 has been especially awful. I wish you much better things, warmer days and many more great garden visits in 2010.

Elephant's Eye said...

I only remembered this garden when I saw George. He has an effete face, doesn't look up to killing dragons? We will have to explore the house too, next time.

Janet said...

Hi Rothchild Orchid, what a great post. Love the St. George and the Dragon bell!
The color of that one Columbine is really nice.

HappyMouffetard said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely. So nice to have a reminder of summer. Stilton looks very mysterious and handsome. I do hope you have a better 2010 x

patientgardener said...

I visited Snowshill some years back but somehow missed the garden, its not far from me so I might pop back there.

If you visit Hidcote again this year try and tie it in with a visit to Kiftsgate which is literally over the road but check the opening times

Anonymous said...

Hi RO,

Loved the pictures of the cotswold idyll; it is on my "must visit" list for the year thanks to those pictures. I hadn't heard of it before.

As patientgardener says, you must try again Hidcote with Kiftsgate, tackled after some refreshment at Hidcote. If you get to Hidcote early-ish its normally quite bareable.

Wishing you, the APs, Stilton and adorable Titch a great 2010, healthy and with a wealth of happiness.

Mich :-) x

Di said...

Simply stunning and charming! Beautiful photos that caused me to linger. Happy New Year and this is going to be a good one! ;) Diana

Daffodil Planter said...

Thank you so much for the tour of this charming garden; it was refreshing. I'm sorry to read that you had a lousy year. I hope you found, as I did in 2009, that garden blogging is a great antidote to life's troubles. Best for 2010!

Yan said...

What a gorgeous old house and garden. Thanks for sharing. Hope 2010 is a great year for you and yours. Yan

Andrea said...

Hello, Happy New Year! I am new here just followed up one of your comments. Your presentation of the gardens are marvelous and the composition of the photos as well. I love the details within. thank you so much and i will follow you from now on. If the temperate gardens come boring during winters, please try to drop by our tropical gardens.

Shirl said...

I found your blog today. Thank you for the lovely early summer walk around Snowshill. Certaining cheered me up no end! ... :0)

Shirl x

fairegarden said...

Fabulous and perfect, Orchid, bring on the summer/spring photos! Look for some more forgotten folders, are they all as wonderful as this? I think that seeing a simple blooming garden with few people trumps the fancy crowded ones any day. This one is sublime in every way. It refreshes the soul to see May's glory. Thanks. :-)
Frances

VP said...

Happy New Year!

We went there a few of years ago one bank holiday weekend - Hidcote was booked out for the day despite the rain. Snowshill was still a delight under the most miserable of circumstances.