#GardenChallenge

A Winter wanderland

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‘Tis the season, and I’ve been doing a bit of wandering.  Nothing new there!  I wonder if Jude will recognise an old haunt of hers.  To be truthful, not looking its finest in Winter drab, but I did my best.

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Did you notice my lovely companion?  She was helping me to identify some of the species, but we didn’t do a great job between us.

Of course, the conservatory was the best hunting ground at this time of year.  I imagine Sheffield Botanical Gardens are far more lovely in the Summer and I do intend to go back.  It’s just around the corner from my friend’s new home.

There was a Christmas Fair taking place in Sharrow Vale Road, and naturally I had to sample the mulled wine.  I did draw the line at those enormous pork pies though.  Only if you’re very hungry!

Do you have an Urban Space to share with Jude this month?  I’m sure you must have.  Happy festivities, everyone!

Jo’s Monday walk : Flamboyant Autumn at Easby Abbey

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Today’s walk is the reverse of one I took you on a couple of years ago.  Remember the story of the little Drummer Boy?  It really hadn’t been my intention to walk to Easby Abbey, but as the sun burst forth over the Autumn foliage I couldn’t imagine a finer place to be.  Such a contrast with the creeping mist that enshrouded me last time.

This walk starts from The Station at Richmond, now a fine exhibition space with a rather nice eatery, ‘Seasons’.  Have I been neglecting your stomachs lately?  I know there has been a dearth of cream scones on here, but maybe you can make up for it later.  Incentive to get you walking! From the rear of The Station a trail signed for Easby Abbey leads off into the woods.

The gurgle of water accompanies your footsteps, as you are walking above the fast flowing River Swale.  Glimpses of it flaunt themselves through gaps in the trees, along with the wider view to the countryside beyond.  Soon you come to a bridge.  This morning it is rhymed with frost so tread a little carefully.  Recent rain has ensured the boisterous nature of the water.

Once over the bridge the trail bends to the left and you are following the river more closely.  My heart always goes pitter pat at the sight and sound of rushing water.  Autumn finery weaves it’s own spell.

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Bathed in sunlight, you can make out a grand looking residence through the trees, and soon you are in sight of the Abbey.  The gatehouse stands silently, beyond a field where grazing horses sport their winter garb.  The woolly sheep don’t seem to feel the same need.

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Pastoral England at it’s finest, isn’t it?  Let’s slip through the metal gate into the churchyard.  The hamlet of Easby dates back to the Domesday survey of 1086, and the parish church of St. Agatha predates the Abbey.  It also provides a wonderful vantage point over the Abbey ruins.

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Easby Abbey was founded in about 1152, by Roald, a constable of Richmond in North Yorkshire.  It was established as a Premonstratension monastery, whose origin came from Premontre in France.  Most monks follow the 6th century Rule of St. Benedict, renouncing the world for a life of contemplation.  The Easby monks followed the older rule of St. Augustine, meaning they served the community by preaching, teaching and charitable work, and could become parish priests.  They lived communally but did not take monastic vows.  They were ordained as canons (or priests), with the authority to celebrate mass and administer sacraments.

From the earliest times, sheep farming seems to have been a mainstay of Abbey life.  Roald’s descendants continued to hold the constableship of Richmond and its lands throughout the 12th and 13th centuries.  They were variously known as de Burton or de Richmond.  By the 14th century the estates had been sold to the Scrope family, knights based at Bolton in neighbouring Wensleydale.  The Scropes made Easby their burial place and the chancel of the Abbey church was lengthened.  Prosperity seems to have continued until the suppression of the monasteries in 1536. Richmond defended its monks, but in retribution Henry VIII wrote that “St. Agatha and such other places as have made resistance… shall without pity or circumstance… be tied up (hanged) without further delay”.  Destruction followed, but the remaining ruins are hauntingly beautiful.

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Turning up the lane, another grandiloquent property looks down on you.  I imagine much doffing of caps went on at St. Agatha’s House.

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The field drops down towards the river again, and this time I find I can get really close.  Leaf strewn steps lead down almost to the water’s edge and I am awash in Autumn’s tumultuous hues.  Knotty tree roots protrude and I have to mind my step, but it’s like being in an enchanted forest.

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Always before I have taken the higher route.  My reward, a glimpse of a modern day Hansel and Gretel cottage, nestled in the woods.

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The path meets the higher route at the Drummer Boy stone, and soon you can see distant Richmond Castle through the trees.  Water trickles and drips down the mossy stone.  It feels almost primeval.

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Back at The Station, pause for refreshments, or carry on, as I do.  I can never resist the lure of the falls, and there’s a bonus.  Look who I found!

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The tumult of the falls is breathtaking.  As I walk back towards The Station, another little guy is watching me from the safety of a branch.

I hope you enjoyed sharing these last moments of Autumn.  English Heritage provide a comprehensive history of the Abbey on their website, plus details of how to get there.  I’d rather like to share this walk with Jude too. Her November theme for the Garden Challenge is Trees, and I think I’ve managed to find one or two.  Let’s put the kettle on and settle in for a read now, shall we?

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Huge thanks to all of you for the support I receive on here.  Yet again I have a wonderful selection of walks to share. Please visit as many as you can. And if you happen to have a walk you’d like to share, well, what are you waiting for? Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page, or you can click on the logo above.

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I have so many Gaudi favourites!  How about you?  Lady Lee showcases this one beautifully :

Casa Batllo 

Woolly’s strolling from the shopping centre this week :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk- Barwon Heads

Jude tries her hand at landscapes in Constable country, and makes a lovely job of it :

Walking in an artist’s footsteps

Kingston, Jamaica it’s not, but Stephanie makes her current home look very appealing :

A Walk through Downtown Kingston, WA

Jackie, meanwhile, is on the trail of more history in Virginia :

October 2016- Williamsburg, VA

While Liesbet explores California, with a very cute canine friend :

Sunny Sacramento

Yvette is never shy about sharing her views, but she shares a lot of love too :

Our Lady of Victory Basilica Lackawanna, NY

Another of those dreams I haven’t yet made come true.  Thanks, BiTi!

Big Sur

Much more intimate, but no less delightful, Drake’s childhood home :

Big, big small world

Stamina or coffee!  Which do I need to walk in Badfish’s footsteps?  Don’t miss it!

One long road to Bratislava : Part II

I’m considering myself invited to the south coast so I can do this walk with Gilly.  Any offers?

A South West Coast Path Walk

And finally, anyone up for a little skateboarding?  Or you can just stroll, with Kathrin :

Skateboarding in Huntingdon Beach

Fantastic, aren’t they?  That’s it for Autumn posts from me.  Not sure where I’ll take you next week, but I hope you can come along.  In the meantime, have a great week, and to all my US friends, Happy Thanksgiving!

Six Word Saturday

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Is it hug a tree week?

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I always feel a little sorry for trees at this time of year.  All summer long they share luxuriant green shade.  Come the Autumn they dazzle and glow, radiating joy.  Then, slowly, one by one, their leaves drift away.  Frail and naked, they are left to shiver forlornly, and tremble in the breeze.

But there’s still a little colour around, so let’s enjoy it while we can.  To quote Verena, it’s a Festival of Leaves, isn’t it?

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Jude is embracing Trees this November.  Why not join her Garden Challenge?  I’m off out to set those leaves whirling one more time.  Have a great weekend, and don’t forget to share six words, will you?

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Six word Saturday

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Trick or treat,  in Autumn glory

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I had no real intention to post today but I couldn’t resist sharing a little of this joy.  I managed to escape for a few hours to Thorp Perrow Arboretum yesterday.  I made it the subject of a Monday walk around this time last year, so I remarked to my husband that the camera would probably stay tucked in my pocket.  He didn’t believe me, and nor should you.

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The leaves were wonderfully crispy.  Just perfect for hurling in the air, or over poor Dad.  I couldn’t help but smile, the youngsters were so gleeful.

From in amongst the glorious foliage, squeals and screams emerged, accompanied by rapidly clapping hands.  The applause, correctly performed, caused the eyes of the witches and skeletons to gleam- a source of great entertainment for young and old alike.

Surprising how much one Autumn can differ from another.  The sky was bluer when I was here last, but the trees in this 100 acres of woodland seemed less vivid.  This year the assault on my senses was overwhelming.

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The Halloween activities finish this weekend, but the Autumn colour may last a little while yet.  If you’re in the area, Thorp Perrow is a beautiful place to be, as was Jude’s Bolfrack’s Garden this month.  I’m squeezing in at the very last minute but there’ll be a new theme for the Garden Challenge on Sunday.

I’m also running out of time for Verena’s Festival of Leaves.  Oh dear!  Such a lot happening in my six words.  Can’t argue with Cate’s six words this week!  Let’s get out there and kick some leaves.  See you on Monday!

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Six word Saturday

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One more shout for Capability Brown

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I don’t suppose too many of you have heard of Temple Newsam.  This Tudor-Jacobean house, on the eastern edge of Leeds, was the birth place of Lord Henry Darnley, the notorious husband of Mary Queen of Scots.  The 1500 acre country park has grounds beautifully landscaped by Capability Brown. Currently managed by Leeds City Council and open to the public, it’s a fine breath of fresh air in the city.

A wedding was taking place whilst I was there, but the grounds were free to roam.  There’s a Home Farm and playground for the youngsters, and a lake with perfect ‘Pooh sticks’ bridge.  A rhododendron walk and extensive walled garden suits us mature folks.

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I was greatly smitten with the conservatory.  Long and thin, it’s a maze inside, full of enticing plants, including the National Collection of Coleus.

I’m dedicating my gallery of leaves to Verena.  Though it’s not quite what she intended, the Autumn challenge, Festival of Leaves, has begun again and you might just want to join in.  Pop over and say ‘hi’.

The above gallery is for Jude, who’s gallivanting around the country and not here to defend herself.  Tee hee!  I love it!

And who can resist bougainvillea?  The stables and courtyard have been converted to tea rooms, of course, and there’s a restaurant in the walled garden.  What more do you need?

To mark the 300 years anniversary of Capability Brown, an exhibition explores the landscape of Temple Newsam through time.  This link includes a rather fine video.  And then it’s time to find six words for Cate.

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Scampston Walled Garden

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2016 marks the 300th anniversary of landscape artist Lancelot “Capability” Brown, whose designs changed the face of of 18th century England. Born in Northumberland in 1716, he learnt the skills of horticulture and husbandry from the age of 16, as an apprentice on the Wallington estate.  His vision was extraordinary and over the course of 40 years he moved gardens away from formal design to a style that is unmistakably his.

Brown persuaded the rich and famous to invest in landscapes which were beautiful, productive, and would take a century to mature. He designed on an immense scale, moving hills and making flowing lakes that resembled artificial rivers.  His work frequently produced an Arcadian idyll.  Sadly I have never visited Stowe in Buckinghamshire, his best known work, but he was involved in the design of over 250 sites throughout the UK.

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Scampston Hall in North Yorkshire sits beside the busy A64 road.  Wandering serenely across the estate you might never know.  A lazy sheep or two blink, and turn their backs.  The grounds at Scampston were redesigned by Capability in the 1770’s.  They bear all the hallmarks of his work.  A ‘ha ha’, or sunken fence, to confuse the eye, carefully planted trees and an expansive lake that resembles a river running off into infinity.

Oddly enough, I didn’t come to Scampston in search of the Palladian Bridge, but I think that Paula might like it for her Traces of the past.  The lure of the Walled Garden is the ‘new European garden style’, designed in 1999 by Piet Oudolf.  1999 no longer feels new but I did find enchantment in the drifts of Molinia grass.  Here is a small sample of what you might find.

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There’s much more, of course.  You can do some hedge trimming, or even have a cream tea.

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But you can’t beat Capability and a few Marsh Marigolds, can you?

I’m not sure if Scampston Walled Garden fits with Jude’s Garden Challenge, but I know she’ll like it.  That’s reason enough, isn’t it?

Jo’s Monday walk : Burton Agnes

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I promised you a gentle stroll this week, far from the bustle of the city.  Burton Agnes, in East Yorkshire, will deliver in spades.  I can find you a bench or two to loiter on, and maybe a game of chess or snakes and ladders.  Too taxing?  You can do what I did, and simply stand and smile.

There’s much to smile about at this Elizabethan stately home.  The elegant facade looks over a sweeping expanse of the Yorkshire wolds, but the owners have retained a sense of playfulness in the gardens.  They are a joy to behold.

When I was there they were setting up a grand marquee for the July jazz event.  The weather was steamy, as it rarely is in England, and the ice cream vendor was in full flow.  Or should I say scoop?

You’ll know by now that I have a thing for water lilies and reflective surfaces.  I could have played all day.

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Gryphons, lions, statuary, all come as standard in these formal gardens.

But come on!  We’ve mosaics and a rose garden yet to explore.

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Can you see what lies beyond the rose arbour?  Anyone for chess?  Or draughts?  Maybe the ladies would be better at snakes and ladders.

The rooms lead one to another, with tantalising glimpses of distraction.  The reflections soon entrance me all over again.

The roses smell wonderful and I bury my nose deep into their luscious beauty.

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‘I’ve found an elephant’, says the other half.  Really? And a very endearing creature he is too.

It’s such a delightful garden, with so many aspects.  Do you remember the wire mesh gardener tending his veg?  He’s here too.

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I believe there’s an Open Day for charity, so I can join Jude’s Garden Challenge this month.  I expect she’ll be disappointed there’s no cake, but I have a good reason.  This was the second garden we visited that day and we’d already eaten.  It was quite a long way from home, but well worth the journey.  I’ll show you the other garden soon.  That was a water lily bonanza!

A closer look at these gardens and instructions on how to get there are on the website.   I’m off to put the kettle on for breakfast.

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Many thanks to all of you for being such loyal supporters.  Every week I’m delighted by the contributions you make to my walks.  If you’d like to join me and haven’t done so it’s easy enough.  The details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo above.  If I spot a good walk when I’m reading posts, I’ll simply ask if I can include it.  We have some great ones again this week.

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Starting with some beautiful gardens from Lady Lee :

Packwood Gardens

Cathy takes us to a stately home in the US, as well as it’s lovely garden :

Winterthur Museum, garden & library : a Delaware country estate

I’m discovering that Jackie is rather fond of history!

A history lesson

A hot, prickly walk from Ana.  And keep an eye out for rattlers!  Heavens!

The trail to Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park

Liesbet uses camping as a means to an end- ‘roaming about’, of course :

The Art of Being Flexible (and Realistic)

I always like something a bit different in my walks.  How about this one?  Thanks, Shazza!

Llama Trekking in the Lakes

A great one for the bird watchers from Denzil this week (paying attention Becky?) :

Het Zwin Nature Park on the Belgian Coast

This is a country I’ve always wanted to visit, and a very beautiful post from Maris Travels :

Walking in the Japanese Alps

The Pyrenees are equally beautiful, especially if you’re with my good friend Drake :

A bit higher level of walking

Warsaw street life and a fantasy of umbrellas – it’s Meg, of course!

Vignettes from a morning walk-6

Meet newcomer to my walks, Stephanie and the crew of S.V. Cambria, with a bit of a mystery :

A Walk on the Wild Side/Downtown Ocean Falls

Yvette embraces summer with her usual enthusiasm, and beautiful Crepe Myrtle :

Street Shots (#summer2016 a to z Letter S) summer walk with Jo

Come and be nosy with Susan (and me) while we look over a few fences :

Walking Cherbourg, France

Some people keep on dangling serious temptation my way.  You know who you are, Carol!

A Morning in Port Douglas

Becky and birds are synonymous, aren’t they?  Even in Lymington, it seems :

Didn’t get very far because of the birdies

That’s it for another week.  I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did.  Now, where can I take you next week?  Take care till then.