Friday, 19 November 2010

An Apology and Memories of a June Visit to The Garden House.

The Long Walk, The Garden House, Buckland Monachorum, Devon.

My dear friends, thank you so much for all your kind messages I have been quite touched by all your well wishes and support. I really must apologise for the distinct lack of posts over the last few months. Sadly unlike the flowers I love so much I have not "bloomed" this summer with pregnancy but succumbed to every ailment going. However I am very happy to say that I am now nearly seven months pregnant and very much looking forward to the arrival of my son in February. Unfortunately the morning sickness never went away and I am still a miserable vomiting wretch! My little munchkin on the other hand is growing strong and regular hospital visits keep me reassured that all is at least well with him, even if I feel rotten. I have felt so zapped of energy that I have struggled to keep up with my usual joys and so my blogging and photography have come to a standstill at the moment. I do not intend to keep it this way, although for the next few months I fear I will not have the zeal for it with my ever increasing bump causing havoc for me!

Stipa gigantea

I have rustled together some images from my visit to The Garden House in Devon way back in early June of this year when I merrily plodded around several Devon gardens blissfully unaware that my life was about to change forever!

 The Long Walk
The Garden House, a Georgian mansion built in the 1830's was the replacement for a medieval vicarage used by the vicars of the nearby village of Buckland Monachorum. In the 1940's Lionel and Katherine Fortescue bought the house and founded the garden that exists today. Lionel, a master at Eton was keen plantsman and grew a wide range of plants in the garden including many Rhododendron hybrids.

The Cottage Garden

My main interest in the garden here was not with the Fortiscues early work but with that of Keith Wiley. Keith Wiley was appointed as head gardener by Lionel in 1978. With their blessing he undertook an expansion of the garden onto six acres of adjacent land. Over a period of ten years Keith sculpted the landscape and planted it with his own unusual style known as "New Naturalism." The results were truly spectacular. Wiley has a magical way of creating earthworks densely planted with trees, shrubs and perennials which looks as if they have always existed there, even if they are in fact highly unusual combinations.

The Cottage Garden

I understand that in 2003 Keith Wiley and his wife Ros who had poured their life's work into The Garden House over a 25 year period were made to leave by the The Fortescue Garden Trust who had taken over the ownership of the garden after the death of the Fortiscues in the 1980's. Whilst there is now a new and very talented head gardener at The Garden House it is undoubtedly Keith's extensions of the garden that hold all the magic. I found his work truly inspirational and whilst I am not a trained gardener myself I will be so bold as to say that I think this man is a genius. The way he has crafted the landscape into a seemingly wild floral heaven has to be seen to be believed.

The Cottage Garden

Keith and his wife Ros have managed to buy a small plot of land just a mile away from The Garden House. He has begun work there on a new garden, The Wildside. I did of course visit The Wildside and will share my visit with you in a later post. I shall not ramble on much more about The Garden House but let you see the photos for yourself. As I have previously confessed the images are biased towards the areas created by Keith such as The Long Walk, The South African Garden, The Quarry Garden The Cottage Garden and The Wild Flower Meadow as these for me are the most exciting.

The Cottage Garden

The Cottage Garden

The Cottage Garden with view of St Andrews church, Buckland Monachorum.

The Cottage Garden

  The Cottage Garden

The Cottage Garden

The Magic Circle

The Cottage Garden

The South African Garden

The South African Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Quarry Garden

The Wild Flower Meadow

The Wild Flower Meadow

The Ovals Garden.

The Ovals Garden was an interesting area for me. It stood out in stark contrast from the wilder parts of the garden. It was designed in 1992 by Keith Wiley as a way of improving links between the different terraces in the older part of the garden. I found it quite visually intriguing and the little summer house/ hut at the top called to me to go and sit in it and look out over the garden below. What I did not like about it was the planting which consisted entirely of Ophiopogon. I puzzled for some time as to why such a dull and uninspiring plant dominated the area. It was not until I got home and read my little guide book that I found the answer. This was in fact not the original planting but a recent introduction. The garden had originally been planted with shade loving plants including a 'river' of blue Corydalis. I must confess that I would have much rather seen the river of blue Corydalis!

I really must thank Anna and VP who both urged me to find out more about Keith Wiley when I asked earlier this year which gardens I should visit. Visiting his gardens was a wonderful treat and I am delighted to have discovered such an innovative and intriguing gardener.

Remains of the tower belonging to the old medieval vicarage.

The Bottom Terrace of the old garden.


Liz said...

Hi RO,

I was just thinking about you the other day and hoping the pregnancy was going well.
Sorry to hear you're not feeling well with it though! 7 Months of being sick! Wow, I hate being sick once let alone every single day for months. I do hope it soon goes and you can enjoy Christmas!

Wonderful photos, if only we were still in June... It seems a million miles away now.

Unknown said...

Welcome back, RO! I'm sorry that you haven't been feeling well, but so very glad to see you post here and also make a tweet. Your photos are a balm on this cold, grey November morning. Memories of warm summer days past.

Victoria said...

Yay..I haven't chatted with you in soooo long! Hugs..and Congrats..i am very happy for you and your new adventure! Wishing you much joy ahead! Hope you feel all shiny and sparkly real soon! Congrats!
Your bloggy Friend
Beautiful photos by the way..always super inspiring!

BernieH said...

Lovely to see your post ... such a stunning place. Every view has something special for the eyes.

Morning sickness can be such a wretched thing and it sounds like you've had a horrible time with it. I do hope you keep well for the home stretch ...not long now! Look after yourself.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear you are so miserable! I have a gf that is pregnant and sick too. She has all the terrible side affects of pregnancy for the full term!

Those gardens are incredible! Really, really amazing!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your photos of The Garden House - its on my very long list of gardens to cisit as is The Wildside.

Sad that you are having a sicky time - I expect you have already tried this but ginger biscuits helped me and I have also been told arrowroot is good.

Heather at Dusty Bay said...

Beautiful photos! It looks so lovely there - it's snowing where I am this morning and your pictures brightened my day! Take care of yourself and the wee one!

Scented Sweetpeas said...

yuk to sickness, I felt sick nearly all the way through with my last two - I think it got worse when I was tired (which was most of the time). Gorgeous photos, take care and relax as much as you can. x

leavesnbloom said...


It was so good to see you post again and this time to let us know the good news that it's a boy! Sorry to hear about that sickness never going away but it will be worth it when you get to hold your little one finally in your arms.

I don't think you'll be taking many stunning shots of scenery after Feb as I think there were will plenty of baby moments to capture instead.

As for those gardens I love the pastel colours and the beautiful little poppies the best.

Take care RO


Carolyn ♥ said...

Take care of yourself... blogging can always wait, as can your followers, though we do miss you!

Andrea said...

Your photos are so pretty that even the drying bamboo leaves look so artistic and beautiful.

Anna said...

Sorry to hear that you are suffering RO but it will all be worth it when that new seedling finally arrives. So glad that you got to visit the Garden House and Wildside. Glorious photos as ever. I agree with you about the ophiopogon!

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Glad to hear sprog is sprouting well, though sorry he is making his mother's life misery already ;-) I always loved The Garden House (my parents live nearby and we used to visit a lot). I find the idea of the ovals garden being full of Ophiopogon quite distressing, having seen it in Keith's day, but am reassured that lots of the rest has seemingly retained much of what he did, which was stunning. Having watched Landscape Man's episode on Kieth's new adventure I can't wait to see your photos of it.

Esther Montgomery said...

Just the kind of informal yet packed in garden that I admire and feel comfortable in.

Babies can be pains. First they make you sick, then they are sick on you!

Hope all goes well - and how nice to know you are having a son. I know some people like a surprise and wait until the birth of their child to find out his or her gender but I think it must help in feeling for the baby as a real person, rather than something which is thumping and bumping inside.

Best wishes for all that is coming . . . not just the next two or three months but all the years of looking after him . . .


Anonymous said...

RO, Sorry to hear that your pregnancy hasn't been the easiest. I was reminded of someone I knew many years ago who, when asked by a neighbor if she was still having morning sickness, replied, "No, now I have all day sickness." I must say, though, that your delay in posting these wonderful photos was a boon for me. Seeing all those flowers seems like so much more of a miracle on a cold, dreary November day than it would have in June when it is so easy to take our flowers for granted. -Jean

Turid said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. Beautiful. Looking forward to read and enjoy your future posts.

Denise said...

So glad you dipped into the archives for a tour of this wonderful garden, giving me a new designer to watch out for. There's bound to be a spurt of energy soon -- seems there always is near the delivery date, so I hope you're able to pick up the camera and keyboard again before too long, strictly from a selfish reader's point of view!

Alice Joyce said...

Lovely images to brighten a very chilly, overcast day here in the Bay Area.
We are so - the blogosphere that is - looking forward to February, along with you! Sorry you're still suffering morning sickness:( Crossing my fingers that it vanishes suddenly.
xo Alice
aka Bay Area Tendrils / Alice's Garden Travel Buzz

Carolyn ♥ said...

Merry Christmas to you!

gz said...

Hope all is well.
Seasonal Greetings!
Many thanks for those lovely pictures-keeping us going until the Spring!

HappyMouffetard said...

Hi RO,

Just dropped by to wish you a wonderful 2011 - it will certainly be an exciting one for you! Hope all is well,
HM xxx

Esther Montgomery said...

Hope you had a very happy Christmas and will now have a very happy (no, brilliant!) 2011.


A Year In My Garden said...

Just to say how much I enjoyed your pictures and writing about the gardem house - I am a fan of cottage gardens and I'm adding this one to my list of places to visit. All the best with the little one.

Carol said...

Dear RO, I am sorry I missed this post until now. It is so beautiful and truly the colors and light are fabulous. Wonderful gardens and setting. I do hope that by now your and your baby are feeling better! If you have given birth already if not . . . I wish you a speedy delivery. May you have a joyful birth.

Anna said...

Is it this month that the little seedling is due to make an appearance RO? If so I hope that all goes well. Take care ((((())))) said...

We're now just in the door of February and I'm enjoying your blog post and looking forward to Spring and Summer. Hard harsh Winter for all including the poor plants. Stormy night here in Dublin so your blog post and warm summer photos have cheered me up. Have you had your son yet? I wish you the very best for your very special day.

Bovey Belle said...

I discovered your blog recently and have been drowning in your photographs. Superb. I understand you may be a wee bit busy with a little one right now, but there is an award waiting for you on my blog, if you have time.