Thursday, June 30, 2011


Barrington Court was on the first list of gardens to visit this morning. It is known for its Arts and Craft style gardens which were designed by Gertrude Jekyll. A Tudor house built in the 1500s, it was almost derelict when acquired by the trust in 1907. Whenever the National Trust met to discuss whether to undertake a renovation of an ancient house they said, 'Remember Barrington Court' The renovations were far more difficult and costly than anticipated. The house was leased to the Lyle family in the 1920s, who undertook to further refurbish the house and gardens.


It was raining when we arrived at the Court. Taking the long pathway around the wall we entered through a gate into the first of the gardens, the kitchen garden.
The first courtyard held the tables of plants for sale.

The vegetable gardens were extensive and well planted.

The espaliered fruit trees were impressive. Apples are used to make cider.
As was this huge pile of compost.

The next gate took us through into the flower gardens.

I finally got to know the name of this airy white plant, we had seen in so many gardens, in one of the gardens we visited later in the day.

The interior of the house is currently without furniture and the Trust will need a good deal of money to furnish this house in the period.

We had picked up lunch earlier in the morning at this very English shop. We ate in the car before moving on to garden number two. Unfortunately we had trouble locating this garden and went round in circles before we finally found it. We were expecting to see one of those nice National Trust signs pointing the way. One of the things that confused us was having to pass through some private gates, into an estate. The lane got narrower and narrower but there at the end was this medieval manor house


Built in 1480 the house was restored between 1905 and 1912 and presented to the Trust, along with the furnishings, in 1943. It is cared for by the grandson of the last owner, Robert Floyd and his family, who live in the house. The gardens were designed by Alfred Parsons.
Come through yet another garden gate.

The gate leads into what is called the family garden. Yews have grown together and been clipped to form a pavilion.

The archway leads to the wedding bower planted with this unnamed white rose.

Looking back towards the house.

A perfect combination of plants and color against the honey colored Cotswold stone.


The Court Borders with catmint spilling over the edges of the pathway.

The two topiary pavilions, on either side of the lily pond on the expansive lawn, were designed by Alfred Parsons. Planted in 1910 they provided a perfect place to shelter during a brief downpour. The lawn was used for a tented feast in the film 'The Other Boleyn Girl'

Work must go on, even when visitors are around. I asked the gardener if he could identify the masses of airy white flowers we had seen blooming in so many gardens.

He identified them as Crambe cordifolia seen here in the church border.

The Paved court with center well. The roses are a Nathalie Nypels, a small shrub rose with delicate perfume.

An ancient espaliered pear.
We were now racing against time to visit The Courts Garden, close by in the village of Holt, before finding our B&B for the night.


The formal gardens of the Courts lie behind a high wall on the village street. Entering through a simple wrought iron gate we found ourselves walking alongside the entrance lawn. We followed the pathway around the side of the house, which is not open to the public.

Until the 1880s this peaceful garden was the site of a woolen mill. Following the decline of the British woolen industry the property was sold to George Hastings. He was responsible for the layout of the garden.

The garden rooms are much larger than those seen at Sissinhurst, although the influence of that style is still there.

An immaculately maintained grassy path draws the eye down the herbaceous borders to the temple.

The rill.

Standing guard.

Gossiping yews, created by the action of the prevailing wind.

Espalierd fruit in the kitchen garden.

Square foot gardening.

And traditional rows.

By the time we left the gardens had closed. The sun was out and it was time to head off towards Lacock Village and our next B&B, Damson Cottage.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Although I am still thinking about all those glorious gardens we saw in England, I am spending plenty of time in my own garden, making reparation for all the weeks away. The rain last week really helped put new life back into the garden.

One of the first plants to respond to the rain is the rain lily.

And this spider zinnia, Zinnia tenuifolia, suddenly has bright red blooms again. It isn't in quite the right place alongside the vegetable beds but thats where it seeded. Already seeds had formed and I am hoping they will sprout in a better place.

The little native cosmos can be relied upon to bloom now through the late fall. It will just keep on coming wherever the seeds fall.

Of course, the morning glories are popping up everywhere. This one is threatening to strangle the life out of a native persimmon tree, which is itself a seed sown by a bird alongside the potting shed.

The other morning a hummingbird came to these flowers even though I was standing but a few feet away.

I am now becoming concerned that the little snapdragon vine, Maurandya antirrhiniflora, will take over the garden.
One day lily is still in flower. This one grew from seed. The flowers are much smaller than the parent plants around it. Perfect for the front of the bed.
There is no substitute for a good rain.