greentapestry : 'The Glory of The Garden'

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

'The Glory of The Garden'



'"Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade'

- from 'The Glory Of The Garden' - Rudyard Kipling, 1865 -1936.

Much as I love time spent in my own garden, I rarely take time to sit in it and relax as himself pointed out just the other day. I was suggesting buying a little table and couple of chairs to go out at the front. In reality though whenever I sit down with that book and that refreshing drink, there is always something that catches my eye and off I go. So I love visiting other people's gardens where I can wonder at leisure, be inspired, sit down in the shade and drink in the sights and sounds. If I'm lucky there may also be plants for sale and a tearoom serving tempting goodies. Over the years I have been lucky enough to visit a fair few gardens both grand and pocket handkerchief size, including country estates, botanical gardens, town gardens and cottage gardens. Absolutely impossible to chose a favourite, so here is a trio all within relatively easy travelling distance of my own garden that I would be happy to visit time and time again.

Heading north to Levens Hall in Cumbria and its glorious topiary which is amongst the oldest in the world.

The topiary was laid out by a French man, Guillaume Beaumont, in 1690, who trained under Andre Le Notre at Versailles. Beaumont had only recently finished laying out gardens at Hampton Court Palace. Very little has been altered since that time. The gardens also feature the earliest known example in England of a "ha-ha", or sunken ditch.

Now in a southerly direction to Shropshire and the
The Dorothy Clive Garden
, a gorgeous garden and oh such glorious cakes. There is a touching love story behind this garden. Colonel Harry Clive the owner began work in 1940 on the Quarry Garden which was a disused nineteenth century gravel quarry. He wanted to create a secluded place where his wife Dorothy, who suffered from Parkinson's Disease, could take some daily exercise. Sadly, in April 1942, Dorothy died but work on the garden continued and in 1958, with the acquisition of more land the development of the Hillside Garden began. Colonel Harry set up the Willoughbridge Garden Trust in 1958 to preserve the garden as a memorial to his beloved Dorothy and to provide a place for the public to visit and relax.

Coming back home and almost on our doorstep is Arley Hall in Cheshire,with it's famous double herbaceous borders which were laid out in 1846 :

A few years ago now, we enjoyed a magical warm summer evening there, when a friend held their wedding reception at the Hall. In the evening after the gardens were closed to the public, we were able to wander through the gardens almost in solitude. Pure bliss !

This is my post for ABC Wednesday which if you gravitate towards now you will be able to enjoy other posts on the letter G. Finally the photo at the top of this post is not one of the three gardens mentioned, but a clue to next week's post which will all geared up to the letter H.


  1. Hi Anna - how lucky you are to be so close to such wonderful gardens! I haven't been to any of them - yet :)

  2. I love all the pretty garden photoes. Have a fun abc:)

  3. Gorgeous gardens; excellent photographs; interesting historical background. I loved your "G" post!

  4. Rita Sackville- West was running thrpugh my head when I read this post. Glory oof Gardens is a wonderful informative beautiful post.

  5. Anna:
    A spectacular garden romp! Thank you so very much! So many wonderfully innovative approaches to gardening..... your small kingdom is teeming with so many of the world's best and greatest. I simply must get a trip planned, but in the meantime would beseechingly ask that you continue this fantastic romp via posts! Pretty please!


  6. Such beautiful gardens. Mine isn't fancy, but I do enjoy sitting and enjoying the green beauty. I can't wait for the rains to stop so I can do it again.

  7. I can totally relate to wanting to visit others gardens for some restful time and to enjoy. I do sit in mine with a book, but often jump up for one thing or another.

    I loved your pics of the gardens. Will have to take a garden tour one day.

  8. What incredible gardens! and how wonderful that they're near enough for you to visit! Great photos and text! Thank you!

  9. Glorious gardens. I haven't seen anything that spectacular!

  10. Gratias for this so refreshing post !

  11. The formal gardens are such fun to look at but I prefer informal ones to play and work in. Nice post!

  12. Hello Anna.
    I have wonderful benches all over the yard made by my husband. And, like you, can never sit in them for more than a few minutes before I'm off into one bed or another tending to things. Echoing comments above, you are so fortunate to have these magnificent gardens so close to your home. Looking forward to more!

  13. Lovely post. I've visited a few gardens in the UK, all very beautiful and often with some stunning houses too.
    I love another Rudyard Kipling quote: 'but the glory of the garden lies in more than meets the eye'.
    So true!

  14. Lovely Anna and thank you for this great garden tour. I must come and visit some of your stunning British Gardens again, they are the best in the world!

    'G' that was nice!


  15. Great photos of gorgeous gardens !
    And I love your loGo:the hand inside a landscape!

  16. Oh, how lovely Arley Hall is! I would absolutely LOVE to walk through those gardens. How beautiful! Breathtakingly gorgeous!

  17. What beautiful gardens! Thanks for the tour...I enjoyed all the info..

  18. Greetings, fellow gardener. . .you are truly in the land of gardens. What fun it was to travel with you. I fell in love with those borders at Arley Hall. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Isn't garden visiting wonderful. I keep meaning to make a list of the more obscure gardens that look interesting then I forget!
    Your pictures have reminded me that summer does really exist.

  20. Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures. I certainly would love to walk these lovely gardens taking in all there is to see.

  21. Wow! Those gardens are beautiful! I like the last two the best.

  22. Thanks all for your comments which are much appreciated. Fellow ABCers if I have not already stopped by your blogs I am on my way very soon.

    Hi Teza and thanks for your comment. You have hit the nail on the head Teza - for a little place we manage to cram in a lot of beautiful gardens :) More to come on the same topic soon I promise.

    Hello Wendy - yes it's easier to relax in other folk's gardens isn't it and no guilty conscience for doing so :)

    Hi Ann, we are quite fortunate to have some beautiful gardens within an hour or so travelling distance. I am sure that I will be back with more soon :)

    The borders at Arley have to be seen to be believed Jan. My photos do not so them justice :)

    Gaden visiting is a most enjoyable pastime Easygardener. I have a list of ones I would like to
    visit. It keeps getting longer and longer and longer ...... :)

    Hello Keewee and thanks so much for your comment. I am sure that you would enjoy walking in those gardens or sitting in the shade :)

    Thanks Sue :) I am hard pushed to choose a favourite from the three - all so different but all beautiful. Both Levens Hall and the Dorothy Clive
    Garden have stunning flower borders as well but I could have got carried away with photos :)

  23. I don't think nay gardener relaxes much in their own garden--I realized a while back I certainly don't! We always have plans and projects and the next thing we just have to do... Aside from getting out and about, and seeing pretty flowers, that's one reason I really like visiting others' gardens as well. You can relax and enjoy them and not worry about what to do next there, except maybe enjoy a sandwich on a bench!

  24. You have summed up the situation of relaxing in ones own garden quite perfectly Monica :)


All your comments are much appreciated and treasured. I wil try to reply to everyone who leaves a comment, but it may take me a few days, especially when I start spending more time in the garden and at the lottie. I know that you will understand :) I am sure that I will also visit your blog if I have not already done so. If you have any specific questions I will either reply to them here or you can email me at :


- Anna.