Open Gardens

Jo’s Monday walk : A lady and a folly

We’ve got our work cut out today, but I hope you’ll enjoy it.  We’re off to see a Northumberland garden with an Edwin Lutyens touch, but first I need to take you back in time.  It’s a warm, muggy day, totally unlike my last visit here when the biting winds cut through me and hailstones peppered my umbrella.

I was meeting a lovely lady, a poet and a craft worker whom I’d many times chatted to on the blog.  Though living in Brittany, Viv had a daughter in Northumberland and had suggested we might meet on one of her visits home.  Her choice of venue was Northumberlandia, at that time newly opened to the public.  In a particularly bitter March it wasn’t an inviting place, but the company was great and we valiantly struggled up the domes.

I wrote about that encounter with a smile on my face, little knowing that we’d never meet again.  In July 2016, Viv died suddenly, and my thoughts were full of her when I returned, to a much sunnier Northumberlandia, last week.

I hadn’t planned to visit, but the garden I had come to see belonged to the Blagdon Estate, who donated the land for this project.  The Ridley family have owned the estate since the 17th century, and Northumberlandia is in part an attempt to give back to the community some of the profits made through Shotton Surface Mine.  The story of the landscaping is a fascinating one, but now I’m going to leave the lady sleeping quietly and turn my attention to the magnificent gardens, just across the road.

You know you are amongst the landed gentry when the drive sweeps past a private cricket pavilion, with perfectly manicured lawn.  In the distance, russet coloured cows graze, the house sheltered from prying eyes by a stand of ancient trees.

Something entirely magical was about to happen.  Strolling beside the beech hedges which run the length of Lutyens’ canal, a rustling suggested a presence beyond the hedge.  Imagining the gardener not quite finished his chores in time for this Open Gardens event, I barely had time to register what was happening when out from the undergrowth burst a deer, in full flight mode.  With a graceful leap, he was beyond the canal and disappearing again into the woods.  I stood transfixed.

Nothing to do but continue into the formal garden, but I found it hard to concentrate.  My eyes were trained on the woods beyond, watching for movement.  Finally the walled garden distracted me.  Hard to ignore a couple of the beauties there.

But the fun was just beginning.  Behind a row of cottages, the Dene tumbles down to a stream.  Wild garlic carpets the banks and, following the tangled path through the undergrowth, your reward might just be a jewel burst or two of colour.

The path continues beneath the bridge, rounds a corner and there before you is a stately old viaduct.  A lovely fragrance surrounded me and I stopped to admire the vivid yellow blooms.  A gentleman asks do I know what they are and, with reasonable confidence, I declare them to be azaleas.  A lady disagrees, assuring us that these American rhododendrons are the only ones to have fragrance?  Jude is my expert.

Through a gate designed to keep out rabbits, the quarry lies in wait.  A sign declares that 6000 tons of stone were excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries to construct buildings on the estate.  I love the way it has been turned over to nature, with just the odd quirk or two.

The gardens were extensively remodelled in the 1930s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, whose daughter Ursula was married to Matthew White Ridley, the 3rd Viscount Ridley.  Some have stood the test of time, while other areas are a little unkempt.  It must be an enormous task, taming a 27 acre estate such as this.  One more treat in store, before we retire for that hard-earned cuppa in The Clockhouse .  A figure of eight walk takes you around the lake and across the stepping stones.  A chapel folly peeps through the trees, and in the distance a Grade II listed temple.

I hope you’ve enjoyed our walk this week, and I’m sorry if it was a little lengthy .  There are some extraordinary photos of Northumberlandia you might like on the Blagdon Estate website.

No walk from me for the next 2 weeks, because I shall be in Poland and then visiting my daughter in Nottingham.  I’ll try and keep up with you where I can.  Meantime I have lots of lovely walks for you to browse.  Many thanks to you all!

Lady Lee was very swift away this week :

Skywatch Kew Gardens

Melodie has some quite beautiful walks.  I’ve selected this one because I haven’t done it and I love coastal walks :

Hike Whitehaven to St. Bees, Cumbria, UK

Suzanne finds a quiet corner of England for us to join her for a wander :

Neighbourhood Walks : Windlesham Arboretum

Debbie travels to the most interesting places, and we’re very lucky- she takes us along :

Arty Wanderings in Hongdae

Susan has a knack for taking me just where I want to be :

Walking Golden Gate Park, San Francisco

Short and sweet, with Janet :

Monday on the Riverwalk

Lots of recipes at Jackie’s place, in case you’re hungry :

Baked goods

You never know what you’re going to find at Jesh’s, and that’s part of the fun :

City Walk

Another city, and one that’s always full of action.  Let Indra be your guide :

Hong Kong…..Walks

Fast or slow, you can’t go far wrong with Drake :

Quick steps in Strasbourg

I was followed recently by Tamar at Hike O Therapy.  Doesn’t ‘a Cornish gardener hiking through Northern Spain’ sound interesting?  Take a look!

Urkulu : A nature reserve and lake in the heart of the Basque Country

I have enormous respect for long distance walkers.  This week I had the pleasure of meeting John, for a friendly drink.  Cheers, John!  :

Nimrod

Eunice has a scalded foot so walking must be painful, but still she takes us to a lovely spot :

A local walk to Smithills Hall 

This one from Candy just scraped in before I hit the Publish button :

Serpa in the Alentejo

And this is a lovely way to finish, hand in hand with Pauline and Jack :

Surprises on the way home….

Enjoy your last day of the Bank Holiday if you’re in the UK, and to all of you, enjoy your walks!  Take care till the next time.

Jo’s Monday walk : A Garden Extravaganza

This isn’t a walk so much as a wallow in flowers at an Open Garden event last weekend.  I did propose a walk to nearby Witton Castle, but ‘someone’ was feeling lazy, so we opted to loiter instead.  Hillside Cottages are in the quintessentially English village of Low Etherley, a few miles from Bishop Auckland, in County Durham.  A look over the garden wall will show you the lie of the land.  Calm and pastoral.

I love nosing around a garden.  My plant knowledge isn’t huge, but I do enjoy identifying a friend or two.  Small explosions of colour lure me into the borders.  Rich plum, ‘poke you in the eye’ orange and soft pink mingle with the green.

There are two gardens, side by side, quite different yet so harmonious that the division between them is little more than a gap in the adjoining hedge, which I initially fail to spot.  The first swathes gently down the hillside, beds and borders speckled with colour.  The lady owner is obviously a lover of tulips, with all their nuances, subtle or flaunted.  Poker straight or curling seductively.

I can hear the sound of pipes, and rounding a corner I come upon the culprits.  I don’t pay them the attention that I should, because I am beguiled by the rhododendrons.  In the most glorious colours, the sun sparkles through them, bathing me in radiance.

This is the very best time of year, and life burgeons all around me.  I almost miss the delicate lemon magnolia, opening to the sun’s caress, high above my head.  Tea is brewing, alongside an array of homemade cakes, but first we must round the pond and slip through the fence to next door.

A sense of humour prevails in next door’s garden, where another pond winks at me in the sunlight.

This garden feels much more enclosed, and you wander beneath tall pines, seeking out quirks and fantasies.  By a summerhouse the owner lounges benevolently in a deck chair, chatting to some older ladies.  Probably they supervised the baking.

Don’t you just love the dog’s expression?  And what might these two gardens have in common?  Wait for it…

Scintillating rhododendrons, of course!  I’ve never been able to resist them.  I hope you didn’t mind me taking it easy this week.  This is the time of year when traditionally I share a few gardens with you.  I have a much more energetic one lined up for next week.

Wait a moment, I can hear you saying… what happened to the cake?  I can assure you that my rhubarb cake was moist and delicious, but there were no seats left, so I had to eat it perched upon a wall.  Not conditions that are compatible with cake photography.  Sorry!

Join me next time on Jo’s Monday walk?  It will be a Bank Holiday in the UK, but I’ll still be out and about.  After that I’ll be taking a break for my visit to Poland.  Many thanks to you all for your walks and for your great company.

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Although I’m a sun worshipper, I love a moody sky. Enjoy a cliff top walk with Suzanne :

Standing vertical in the storm

Jackie never needs any encouragement to eat and drink.  Join her for a cuppa?

Coffee Break

I’m offered all kinds of walks.  Janet has some beautiful sculptures to share :

Monday walk… sculpture in old Scottsdale

And Drake, often one to surprise, takes us to a tobacco museum!

Smoke in the mountain

Adventures in sand, water and caves with Liesbet.  This lady likes variety :

Highlights in Southern New Mexico – A Long Weekend Away

Or take a stroll with Pauline and Jack.  They make such delightful company :

Out and about in Stanthorpe…

And speaking of delightful, a certain Mrs. Farrell has been busy on our behalf :

Following in the Footsteps of the Green Man

Denzil offers easy walking, not far from Brussels.  Sounds good to me :

A walk around Leefdaal

It’s surprising what you can do, if you really try.  Georgie was walking in a good cause :

Walking the Wight – how I walked 15 miles…

Meanwhile Eunice has taken a leaf out of my book this week, with a really beautiful Open Garden :

Hornby Castle Gardens

Finally, an Australian Autumn, where Rosemay finds what it takes to tire the grandbairn out :

Autumn at Araluen

Yet another lovely morning here!  I’m starting to take it for granted.  Let’s see if it holds for the Bank Holiday.  Meantime, have fun, and take care.  See you next week!

Jo’s Monday walk : Coverham Abbey

Coverham Abbey lies on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales in a serene and beautiful spot.  This 13th century former monastery was home to the Norbertines, but was badly damaged in an attack by the Scots in 1331.  Despite this monks remained in residence until 1536, when the abbey was dissolved and converted to a private residence.   In the 18oos Coverham Abbey House was constructed, incorporating some of the monastic features.  The original gatehouse partially survives, along with church ruins around which the garden has been sympathetically designed.

The drive swerves around to a grand entrance, and there you are, looking through the ruins of the church.

The charming knot garden was designed in 2003, but based on a  simple knot drawing in a locally discovered book dating back to 1484.

Not sure what more to expect, you round the corner to be confronted with a pair of carved stone effigies.  The knights are thought to be likenesses of the sons of Helewisia, the foundress of the abbey.

Beyond these, a sequence of delightful garden rooms, with a backdrop of sheep and fields.  A ‘faux’ wall divides opinion.  I quite like it, but my designer husband shakes his head in disapproval.

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Guarding the front of the house, two slender, alert hounds, nose deep in a thrilling concoction of cosmos and tobacco plants.

And around the corner, dining ‘al fresco’, with a colourful touch, and the most perfect of views.

Did you spot the old gatehouse, over the fence, or were you too bedazzled by the sunflowers? They were the most spectacular shades!

I’m going to finish with a flourish, because I like to.  Beyond that ‘faux’ wall lies a vegetable garden with an old conservatory.  Remember my dahlias from Six word Saturday?  I found a few more!

Not too much walking involved this week because it’s a garden visit, but there are ample opportunities in the surrounding hills and vales.  My visit was through the Open Gardens scheme, and there you’ll find all the details you need.

I don’t know if you’ve been counting squares lately?  I needed another 9 to take me to the end of September, and I believe I’ve exceeded that.  Go and have fun with Becky!  She’s loving Square in September.

Just got time to thank you all for your wonderful contributions and support.  Please do find time to read these if you can!  You may make some new friends.  I’m going to pop the kettle on now.  Join me next week?  Details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.

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First this week, I’d like to introduce you to a lady called Candy.  Please do say hello :

A circular walk around Le Quillio

You know I love a marina!  Come and join Violet for a lovely little stroll :

Following the PE&NS RR!

Big, beautiful Wyoming skies from Janet!  How’s this for a sunset?

End of day

Liesbet continues to explore the neighbourhood.  This week it’s down New Mexico way :

Day Trips around Santa Fe, NM – Los Alamos

Jackie’s always ‘full of beans’, it seems :

Cowboy beans

Poor Ann Christine!  Loaded with cold and now the computer crashes.  She needs a soft landing place :

Can I please come in for a crash landing…

Kathrin takes us 2,000ft up to look down on sunny California :

Mission Peak Hike

Have you met the Rambling Wombat?

Bangalley Head Walk

Denzil’s spoiling us this week.  Choice of ten!

10 Woodland Walks

Here’s a lady you all know and love- it’s Jude, of course!

Yorkshire Sculpture Park : Part One

A favourite lady in a favourite city- Becky with some superb views :

Discovering Porto’s panoramic views

And let’s not forget one of my favourite gents.  I’m pretty sure Drake is not a vertigo sufferer :

High line

Surf’s up over at Woolly’s and he’s captured some great shots :

Jo’s-Monday-Walk-Wk37_Surf-Coast

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Italian Lakes.  Find a little peace and sanctuary there with Mari :

Lake Orta’s Walk of Silence & Meditation

Just made it this week!  So many flowers!  Hope you enjoyed it, and have a great week everybody.

 

Six word Saturday

Seven on Saturday, or just six?

The last one’s a bit of a tease but I know you like cake!  I glean my flower shots from all sorts of places- our own garden, the odd bouquet, and often from Open Gardens on a Sunday afternoon. One Sunday there was a raffle for the cake above.  I didn’t win, but I got the shot.

The current extravaganza of flowers is Becky’s fault.  She started me off with Square in September, I responded with 7 , and now I can’t seem to stop!  Join in, if you like, but don’t forget to share six words with Debbie.  And have a great weekend!

Six word Saturday

I need to make some changes

Since my very first blog post it has been a point of honour with me to return all visits to my blog.  If people are kind enough to come to mine, then I feel I ought to reciprocate.  It’s common good manners, and by doing so I have met some wonderful people.  Unfortunately it has reached a level where the blog has a tendency to run my life instead of the reverse.

I’m not ready to relinquish the good friends that I’ve made, but I need a bit more leeway.  If you leave a comment, I will always respond, and I will always return the visit.  If you simply ‘like’ a post I can no longer guarantee to call on you.  I realise that this means that I may miss out on some great newcomers.  I can only hope they will stop to chat.

You might notice that I have adjusted my Comments box too.  No need to scroll down and down to leave your comment, but if you want to read the previous ones just click on ‘older comments’.

I know I’m far in excess of my six words this week, but I just had to get this off my chest.  The flowers are from an Open Garden event I attended in the Yorkshire village of Stanghow last weekend.  Off you go now to visit Debbie.  And have a great weekend!

A sequence for Sue

I don’t generally do requests, but when a lovely lady asks it would be churlish to refuse.  Our capricious English weather has produced wonderful gardens this year, as you might have seen in my Open Gardens walk this week.  There’s currently a bee fest going on in my own garden, where the foxgloves are rampant.  An oriental poppy, planted last year, has just decided to swirl its skirts and join the party.

A fan of faded glory and all things derelict, when I mentioned it Sue surprised me by saying ‘I love pink oriental poppies.  Take a photo for me!’  So here we are.  I’m easing off the brake pedal a bit this week.  There won’t be a Six Word Saturday from me as I’ll be in Nottingham, enjoying my daughter’s company.  Before I go I’ll schedule a walk for next Monday, and catch up with you as soon as I can.  Enjoy the sunshine!

Jo’s Monday walk : Little Ouseburn Open Gardens

During the Summer months I like to visit an Open Garden or two, if I get the chance.  The promise of a whole village in an area I know not at all was simply too good to miss.  Situated just 5 miles from Boroughbridge in Yorkshire, Little Ouseburn was ripe for exploring.

It wasn’t an especially nice day, weatherwise, but at least it was dry.  A field had been set aside for parking and a minibus was available to transport you through the village- helpful for the less mobile as it proved to be an extremely long village, but an easy walk for the fit.  A £5 donation to the village charity bought you a map and details of participating gardens.  Time to head for the bridge!

Beneath the bridge flowed a little stream.  A connection to the River Ouse, I wondered?  But before I could speculate more I came upon the Holy Trinity Church and its mausoleum.  A Grade 1 listed building, I was charmed by the interior.  Maps and newspaper articles were laid out, detailing the history of the village.  An exhibition of lace making was taking place, and the ladies were more than happy to chat about their accomplishments.

In an alcove, steps mounted precariously to the bell ringers hideaway.  It brought to mind Bath Abbey and my ascent of the tower.  It was quite hard to tear myself away from the church, but there were 9 gardens to visit.  Over a field and a right turn brought you onto the main street of the village. Ever wanted a cottage with roses around the door?

Opposite the village hall, where you could partake of everything from a pot of tea to a three course Sunday lunch, delightful Plantation Cottage.

A tumble of clematis were the star of the show, while stately lilies looked on.  The lady of the house relaxed on the patio with her toddler, keeping a wary eye on the clouds.  Back on the street there were floral distractions aplenty.

Broadlands Bungalow delivered a stunning iris or three, an array of coleums and a confusion of wisteria, poppies and a sparkling rhododendron.

At Broadlands Farm a tea party was in full swing on the back lawn.  I couldn’t possibly be a party pooper but I can’t show you the evidence.  It was a little tricky balancing the tray and eating the cake.  In fact, apart from the chirpy robin at the beginning of the post, I took very few photos there.

I looked wistfully toward the book stall in the doorway of The Old Chapel, but time was pressing on. Orchard House next, for a lovely old stone wall with alliums, more, sumptuous irises and beautifully burgeoning peonies.

The village green had a plant stall, BBQ, icecream and cupcakes.  Nobody was going home hungry!  At the very far end of the village, Hazel House had a modern garden, with a sunken circular dining area.

Broomfield Cottage had bags of personality and a very friendly owner.  A tree surgeon by trade, he sat feeding his log burner, happy to chat about his collection of rare trees and his vegetable garden.

Paddock Cottage had a rather Zen feel and a number of metal sculptures, the aspect to the rear of lawn tennis courts and open countryside.

Just two to go, at Hill Top Cottage the lawn is sheltered by a scintillation of colourful shrubs, some of my favourites.

Lastly, the ‘big’ house, The Old Granary.  Approached by an imposing drive, it had the feel of a grande dame.  An ultra modern extension had been added and a hedge of pleached horn beams. Not really my cup of tea, but then, I wasn’t invited in.

Value for money and a good afternoon out?  I think so.  I almost forgot to tell you that the name Little Ouseburn does have associations with the River Ouse.  The original source of the Ouse is marked by a stone in the neighbouring village of Great Ouseburn.

Visit Little Ouseburn Open Gardens for details of how to get there.  The homeward jouney I found intriguing because we crossed the toll bridge at Aldwark, at a cost of 40p!  I didn’t even know it existed till then, but there’s a neat little story about the ticket collector here.

Dashing around trying to fit all the walks in this morning!  There are heaps and some wonderful ones, so please try to visit as many as you can. Many thanks to you all!  Details of how to join me are over on my Jo’s Monday walk page.   Definitely time for a cuppa now!

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We all need a weekly smile, don’t we?  74!  That’s more than a year of smiling.  Thanks, Lady Lee!

Weekly Smile 74 

Miriam can always find words of encouragement, even in troubled times :

Music in the Air

I remember having mottoes on the wall, in the ‘good old days’.  So does Jackie!

Toronto Textile Museum

Drake has both feet on the ground this week, but there’s magic in the air :

Completely down on earth

Please go and meet Sheri, and learn a little more about Vancouver :

A Walking Tour of Vancouver’s Hidden Past

Dawn has been lingering by some lovely windows this month.  Don’t forget her challenge!

A Lingering Look at Windows- June Bonus Week

Amanda takes us back in time, in Norway :

Roros – A Walk back in ‘Mine’

Join Jolandi in the Spanish mountains- it looks blissful!

Walking in The Alpujarras

Or how about the little known Jura area of France, with Food is Travel?

The trail of the perched cat in Dole, France

Wonderful memories of a city I love, brought back to life for me by Becky :

Porto – a walking city

While Carol solves a mystery or two in the Lake District :

What the Devil’s Going On?

Beautiful blooms from Susan, in New York City :

Central Park’s Conservatory Garden in the Spring

And a fabulous seven-arched bridge in the company of Eunice :

Roaming round Rivington

Ending on an absolute high with a garden post that puts mine to shame.  Stunning work, Jude!

Garden Portrait :  Dartington Hall

Phew!  Just about made it this week!  Thanks again everybody.  Take good care and I’ll see you soon.