Monday, June 16, 2008


We spent two weeks in England this May. I don't remember a time when we were so lucky with the weather. By the time the two weeks were over David was about to move back there-after 40 years! We stayed on the north  west coast of Lancashire in the town of St Annes. We both grew up there and that is the place we always go back to when we visit. It is close enough to the lake district in Cumbria for easy day trips and that is what we did for the first four days of our vacation. I had read about the gardens of Levens Hall and they were our first stop. On a picture perfect morning we entered the world of topiary.

The gardens were laid out in 1694 by Guillaume Beaumont. The idea of clipping evergreen hedges into fantastical shapes was brought over from Europe and many of the yews are original to the garden.

In celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, the umbrella yew was designated one of 50 great Great British trees, in recognition of its national heritage.

The trunks of many of the yews form passageways underneath which wild garlic grows. 

Walking through the estate of Levens Hall we were to see wild garlic growing everywhere.

We were to return on two occasions to the buttery at Levens where they served a wonderful cream tea in the most delightful setting.
Stay tuned for more of our garden visits.


  1. Gorgeous photos. So happy to hear the weather cooperated but I'm sorry you've been welcomed back with this horrid heat and complete lack of rain. It's not a choice for me of what to let die and what to help survive!

  2. Hilary Gray-McDanielJune 17, 2008 at 6:14 AM

    I spent summers in St.Annes as well. My grandparents lived there. Every fri.they took me to Blackpool Towers. I returned in late 90's to see my home in Darwen and almost didn't return, either. I love that area. It's NEVER hot, and it's so lush. Such fond memories. It's fun reliving them through your photos. thanks,

  3. Bonnie-I actually don't mind the heat too much but I feel sorry for my plants because I don't want to give them the attention they need. It is a job just keeping the bird baths filled.
    Hilary-It was actually looking pretty dry in the gardens because of the lack of rain and the town is built on sand. Look for the next post which will have pics of the rhododendrons and azaleas. I have never seen such spectacular flowers.

  4. Lovely photos. Thanks for the tour. I can't wait for more. It makes me feel cooler just looking at them.

  5. It's my dream to go to England someday to see the gardens. You look so happy visiting this one!

    Thanks for sharing these pictures with us.

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  6. I love your photo of the yew passageways with the wild garlic beneath them. And the one of you. You look so happy to be there.

  7. We did have a wonderful time and the good weather was partly responsible. Every gardener should go to England to see the famous gardens: Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Snowshill, Hidcote-----so many more. They are so much easier to visit than here because they are a lot closer together.

  8. I visited St. Annes in 2000. I was on a business trip and took a side trip to this town because one of my traveling companions wanted to visit there. It was just lovely.

  9. Hiya,
    My husband grew up in Thornton and I am trying to think of the name of that lovely department store in St.Annes. Thompson?
    You must have retired ever so early.

  10. Well now, I didn't move to St Annes until I was 12 but was born and grew up in Cleveleys. JR Taylors is the name of the store and it is still there. I don't think we retired super early both being in our 60s My husband lost his job and he said"That's it, I've had enough"