Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb : Colclough Walled Garden

 

Walled garden

Established over 200 years ago and abandoned after Lucey Marie left Tintern Colclough (pronounced Coke-lee) Walled Garden has undergone a transformation in the past 4 or so years. The original layout has been reinstated using an Ordnance Survey Of Ireland historical map dated 1838. The map showed path structure, bridges, location of vegetable garden and fruit trees. It finally reopened in 2012.

At Tintern Abbey I joined Heritage Ireland and the card admitted me also to the Walled Garden.

Woodland path

The approach from the Abbey is through the former village of Tintern and along a woodland path with a strong smell of garlic and fading bluebells.

edge of ornamental

The Edge of the Ornamental Garden

Veg garden

The Kitchen Garden

The garden is divided into an Ornamental Garden and a Kitchen Garden.

Rhubarb for sale

Rhubarb seems to a popular vegetable for May. The south-facing sheltered garden also supports Mediterranean fruits and efforts are made to garden as ecologically and organically as possible.

sheltered and south facing

Oranges and Lemons

Returning to the Abbey and Car park I followed the longer route over the Battlemented Abbey Bridge and past the ruined church and burial ground.

Battlemented Abbey Bridge

 

Bridge

 

TA Church

Ruined Church and Graveyard

hazel wood quotation

Chelsea Physic Garden : Where Plants Really Matter

On Friday my sister arrived to join me for the weekend and we checked into our hotel just behind Harrods. This was a relatively new area for us. We had decided to avoid the Central London and City areas as the London Marathon on the Sunday meant big crowds and closed roads and limited access everywhere.

So, being in the Belgravia area seemed a good opportunity to visit lesser known places in the Chelsea area. For many years I’ve wanted to visit the Chelsea Physic Garden but haven’t been in the right place at the right time. Friday being beautifully warm and sunny we decided to step out down Sloane Street and Royal Hospital Road where, next door to the Royal Hospital (think, Chelsea Pensioners), we found the high walls surrounding another oasis of peace and calm.

CPG Rock gdn

The rock garden of basalt rocks is a listed monument

Tucked away beside the Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden is a celebration of the beauty and importance of plants. This walled Garden was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries for its apprentices to study the medicinal qualities of plants and it became one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world. Today, as an independent charity the Garden relies on the support of visitors and Friends to help protect and nurture the Garden for future generations.” [From the website]

tangerine dream

The Cafe in the 17th century curator’s house

There are free tours every half hour with a volunteer guide so we decided to join one of these first, before having lunch outside the Tangerine Dream Cafe.

CPG gates

The Gates lead to the Chelsea Embankment and beyond that to the River Thames which was so important to the Garden bringing boats alongside with their cargoes of exotic plants

volunteers and gardeners at work

Gardeners and volunteers at work in the Systematic Order Beds

It was impossible for our introductory tour to include all of the gardens on the site :

Garden of Medicinal Plants
The Pharmaceutical Garden
World Woodland Garden
The Garden of World Medicine
The Garden of Edible and Useful Plants
Historical Walk
Botanical Order Beds
Island Endemic Flora

[Each garden is explained on the website.]

so after lunch we visited most of the rest – the greenhouses, the new world woodland garden and had a closer look at the two information point caravans devoted to Sir Hans Sloane and the Swedish plantsman Linnaeus.

Sloane and Linnaeus

Each cart contains information about Carl Linnaeus and Sir Hans Sloane

Hans Sloane

Sir Hans Sloane (a copy of the original)

Dr. Hans Sloane, after whom the nearby locations of Sloane Square and Sloane Street were named, purchased the Manor of Chelsea from Charles Cheyne. This purchase of about 4 acres was leased to the Society of Apothecaries for £5 a year in perpetuity. Sloane was also a founder of the British Museum.

‘Curse or Cure?’ is the title of the 2015 temporary outdoor art installation created for the Garden by ceramic artist Nici Ruggiero. It consists of a trail of 15 inscribed apothecary jars displayed on metal spikes amongst the plants and a larger display of 21 jars against the wall.

curse or cure descrip

Description of the Installation

curse or cure jar

A Jar on a Spike

curse or cure jars

The 21 Jars

Read here an article by Lisa Jardine which appeared in the Financial Times Magazine in 2013. You may need to register to read.

 

 

 

A Beautiful Oasis of Peace and Tranquility in the Heart of Durham City : Crook Hall and Gardens

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral from Crook Hall Tea Room

Writing this on a warm sunny Easter Monday it’s hard to believe that last Tuesday in Durham I managed to avoid snow showers whilst meeting a friend from my online book group for a day out at Crook Hall and Gardens in Durham.

Crook Hall

This fascinating house and garden deserve another visit in the summer time when there will be more colour and a less forbidding sky. However, we did manage to visit each garden and delighted in what we saw.

The Hall

 

Beams

The Hall is 13th century and provides a spectacular backdrop to the stunning gardens. It’s a short walk from the bustling city centre to this oasis of peace. There’s a tea room in the Georgian wing served by the house kitchen and you can visit many of the rooms in the house including the medieval hall with exposed beams.

The Orchard

The Orchard

Shakespeare garden

The Shakespeare Garden inspired by a book on plants in Shakespeare’s plays

Shakespeare in his garden

Shakespeare in his garden

Moat

The Moat Pool

Cathedral garden

The Cathedral Garden : the beds echo stained glass windows

Monks in garden

Durham Cathedral from the Cathedral Garden: the Topiary Box represent the Monks

Be entertained by Clare Balding as she takes a walk with the owners of Crook Hall and finds out about the history of Crook Hall and Gardens :

Crook Hall on Ramblings

More Watery Landscapes in Tivoli : The Villa D’Este and The Villa Gregoriana

Perhaps the most famous location in the town of Tivoli itself is the Garden of the Villa D’Este. The sun was shining on my last day at Sant’ Antonio and I decided that I would visit the garden and that of the nearby Villa Gregoriana.

Vd'este 1

Thursday 19 March just happened to be St Joseph’s Day (Father’s Day) and a big celebration filled the town centre of Tivoli. Was this the reason why the Gardens of the Villas D’Este and Gregoriana were practically deserted that morning? Anyway, it was very pleasant to have the gardens virtually to myself.

v d'este2

Cardinal Hippolyte D’Este (1509-1572) became governor of Tivoli and set about establishing a garden. Today it’s approached from the house but originally the entrance was at the bottom of the garden and visitors slowly climbed the hill to take in the wonders of the garden. Upon reaching the top, where the Cardinal would be waiting, you’d be in a ‘sense of breathless awe’. (According to Monty Don in the 2011 series of BBC programmes visiting Italian Gardens).

d'este gardens view

The View from the Villa

D’Este had great wealth but the one thing he wanted above all was to be Pope. He failed in 1549. So he demolished streets and had water brought to the site by a sophisticated method from a nearby aqueduct. All the water still comes from this same source and using the same methods. No pumps are used and the whole is still powered by pressure. The speed and movement of the water are still controlled by different sized pipes and spouts.

V d'este 3

The whole estate took 20 years to construct during which time the Cardinal made 5 attempts to become Pope. Here “Rometta” is his model of Rome – he never did achieve his goal. Here is an expression of power built to impress. But he ran up huge debts: the whole project is said to have cost the equivalent of £100 million in today’s money.

fontana di rometta

Fontana di Rometta

100 fountains

The 100 Fountains – they have the same rhythm and sound as you walk along beside them

pegasus fountain

Pegasus Fountain

Organ fountain

The Organ Fountain Plays Every Two Hours on the Half Hour

It’s a wonderful theatrical performance full of drama and excitement; entertainment and playfulness with surprises and jokes. In addition to the gardens you can visit the mansion atop the hill the mansion is open too – room after room of breath-taking painted ceilings but little else. Like Hadrian’s Villa the Villa D’Este is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I spent over two hours wandering around the gardens and house but felt the call of the Villa Greogoriana and, ultimately, Sant’ Antonio.

VG Grand Cascade

The Grand Cascade

Cascade from window

The Grand Cascade from my window at Sant’ Antonio

The Park of the Villa Gregoriana, for the Villa itself is no more, fills both sides of a wooded gorge where the waters of the River Aniene spill over precipices and lie still in pools in the valley bottom, is perhaps my favourite of the three gardens of Tivoli. Much of it, including the huge waterfall, can be seen from Sant’ Antonio and it appears more natural and less planned than the other two. Sant’ Antonio can be seen from the park.

SA view info

SA view

Sant’ Antonio from the Villa Gregoriana

If you ever plan to visit be sure to wear strong, rubber-soled walking shoes as the paths and steps are uneven and slippery when wet and take your National Trust card with you, if you’re a member. Entry is free to NT members. The FAI in Italy aims to preserve Italy’s art, nature and landscape and has reciprocal arrangements with our National Trust.

Remains of VG

Remains of the Villa of Manlius Vopiscus

Inside the ruins

Roman Wall inside the Villa remains

The park was commissioned by Pope Gregory XVI to rebuild the bed of the Aniene River, which had been damaged by the terrible flood of 1826. It had fallen into rack and ruin by the end of the 20th century, but has been reopened to the public in 2005 thanks to a major landscape recovery project orchestrated by FAI, the Italian National Trust.

It was in 1835, after the Aniene River had burst its banks yet again, that Pope Gregory XVI decided to transform this enchanting but extremely dangerous location into a model of integration between art and nature. The project saw a tunnel being dug through Mount Catillo in order to deviate the river and thus preserve the town of Tivoli. This was then followed by the construction of an extraordinary natural garden dominated by the acropolis with Vesta and Tiburno’s Temples.

As you walk through the thick woodland of Parco Villa Gregoriana you will discover the delightful combination of the majestic landscape and the tranquillity of the paths that meander through it. En route, you will get to the caves of Neptune and of the Sirens, which form part of an incredible series of gorges and cascades, and to the Great Waterfall, with its whirling mass of water that seems to fall directly onto those who stand and gaze at it.”

cave of sirens

The Cave of the Sirens

Valley of Hell upper viewpt

valley of hell 2

valley of hell 3

valley of hell 4

Views of the Valley of Hell from Upper Viewpoints

According to the leaflet/map guide to the gardens “Goethe was among those who were amazed by the area. ‘I was recently in Tivoli, where I admired a breathtaking natural spectacle. The sight of the waterfall there, along with the ruins and the whole landscape, greatly enriches the soul’. Goethe visited during the heyday of the Grand Tour, when Italy was the destination of choice for upper-class travellers from all across Europe, affording them and unrivalled classical education.” And this was long before Pope Gregory XVI’s re-creation of the original garden.

 

 

 

 

Hadrian’s Villa, Tivoli : a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Wednesday last week dawned bright and sunny and I knew this was the day to visit the UNESCO listed Hadrian’s Villa another vast area of building remains. Although extensive today it’s thought to have been even more so originally.

villa model

My notes here are mostly taken from the little map guide I bought. On arrival you follow a wide path up to a few modern buildings; one of which houses a model of the site as it might have looked to Hadrian. Publius Aelius Hadrianus was born in 76AD, probably in Italica (Seville). In 117AD on the death of Trajan he succeeded him at the head of the empire. He differed from previous emperors in that he tried to define the borders of the empire rather than fight to expand it. He was gifted with brilliant intelligence and a vast general knowledge but was not much liked by his contemporaries, as he was unpredictable and inconstant in character. He died in Baia in 138AD. And yes, he is the emperor in honour of whom the Wall was named.

Pecile

The Pecile Pool

the pecile

Beyond the initial modern buildings you pass through an arch in a high Roman wall into the park itself. In front is the Pecile formerly a courtyard with a pool at the centre. Then the choice of which direction to choose is yours. I headed first to the Palace and outbuildings which included the Golden Square, the Hospitalia, the Heliocaminus Baths, the Maritime Theatre (currently closed) and the Greek and Latin Libraries.

Heliocaminus

The Heliocaminus

The oldest bath complex on the site owing its name to the large circular room with a vaulted roof heated by the rays of the sun. In addition the floor was heated by the usual hot air system.

greek library

The Greek Library

hospitalia

The Hospitalia

hosp mosaics

osp mosaic

Mosaic Floors in Hospitalia Cells

golden square

The Golden Square (so called because of the richness of the archaeological finds made there)

Quadriportico

The Quadriportico

More or less in the middle of the site is the Triple Exedra Complex. According to the booklet this is nothing more than a grandiose entrance vestibule to the imperial residence.

triple exedra

The Triple Exedra

great baths

The Great Baths

small baths

The Formerly Luxurious Small Baths

Beyond this are the Great and Small Baths and finally at the far end of the site The Canopus. This was an attempt at a copy of the channel that led from Alexandria to Canopus, a town on the Nile delta. The long basin of water is Euripus and at the far end is The Serapeum where summer banquets were held.

canopus

The Canopus

neptune

goddesses

serapeum

The Serapeum

canopus from belvedere

The Canopus from the Belvedere

Finally I made my way to Rocca Bruna a belvedere with marvellous views over the surrounding countryside. Apparently, Hadrian had a great interest in astronomy and it is also thought that the tower could have been used as an astronomic observatory.

rocca bruna

Rocca Bruna Tower

tivoli from rb

View towards Tivoli from the Tower

mtns view rb

Mountain View From the Tower

Walking and Talking on Hampstead Heath : The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Walking Book Group

This post is not a discussion or review of the book in question: Emily does that so much better than I could.

https://emilybooks.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/the-garden-of-the-finzi-continis/

Rather, I’d like to tell you about how a Walking Book Club works.

Daunt Shop

 Inside Daunt Books South End Road

You may remember that I mentioned  Daunt Books‘ Walking Book Group in a previous post. Well, at last I have managed to coincide my visit to London with a Sunday meeting of the group. Only a couple of weeks ago did I discover that the group was back in action after Emily’s baby, Vita, was born just 4 months ago.

A group of about a dozen or so keen walker-readers gathered together at the shop on Sunday 22 February to walk on Hampstead Heath to talk about the chosen book – The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by Giorgio Bassani. As I’d only discovered this about a week before and as it wasn’t available from my library ordered a copy directly from Daunts. I just managed to finish reading it on the train down from Leeds. This was good as it meant that the book was fresh in my mind. Also, the evening before I had just watched the dvd version of the 1970 film.

Finzi-Continis

At 11.30 we left the shop, crossed the road and before setting off Emily introduced herself : some of the group were regular reader-walkers, some occasional and others, like me, were there for the first time. The only man was later joined by a couple more; we were delighted to have two Italian nationals amongst us who had read the book in its original and were able to offer us other insights into Italian life and culture relevant to our discussions.

Emily Left

Book talk with Emily [left]

We set off walking and talking in pairs or small groups and every ten minutes or so Emily would bring us all together to sum up, ask questions, provide answers and suggest further topics for conversation. We would then find we started discussion with someone else. The formula works very well. At the highest point of the walk, with long views over London, Emily shared her home-baked cake with us.

Highgate

Highgate from The Heath

London from Heath

View from the Heath

Somehow after about an hour we found ourselves back where we started and Emily summed up the discussion, distributed copies of the 2015 2nd Daunt Books Festival programme (there’ll be a walking book group from the Marylebone shop on 20 March) and told the group the next date and book for the regular Sunday Heath walk : 19th April “the Living Mountain” by Nan Shepherd :

“Shepherd wrote a short nonfiction book, The Living Mountain, during the 1940s. The Living Mountain is a reflection her experiences walking in the Cairngorm Mountains. Having completed it, Shepherd chose not to publish the book until 1977.” (Source)

If you’d like to hear a Walking Book Club session in progress you can listen here to Clare Balding who joined Emily on one of her walks in February two years ago.

Writers’ Gardens

In these the dull, grey February days it’s been a great pleasure for me to read two coffee table-style books back-to-back with glorious photographs but also very informative text. VW's Garden The first was Virginia Woolf’s Garden by Caroline Zoob. There’s lots of nice background information about Leonard and Virginia Woolf but also about the author. Caroline Zoob and her husband were the National Trust tenants in the house for about 10 years. They also took responsibility for the garden. Endpaper VW's

Endpaper Collage

Really the book should be called Leonard Woolf’s Garden since it was almost entirely his creation and Virginia admits to doing little more than a bit of dead-heading and, of course, being inspired by gardens in general for her writing.

VW Bedroom Garden
VW bedroom garden
Virginia Woolf’s Bedroom Garden May 2014
Reading it and studying the lovely photos I was reminded of my visit to Monk’s House last May. I preferred it to Charleston as it had a very much more relaxed atmosphere. I’ve written here already about my visit to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s home and garden at Rodmell in East Sussex.
The writer's garden
The Writer’s Garden : how gardens inspired our best-loved authors is by Jackie Bennett.
Writer's garden
Title Page – Near Sawrey in the Lake District with Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in the Bottom Left Corner
Contents Page
Contents Page
Many of the gardens mentioned I have already visited – Jane Austen’s in Chawton in Hampshire long before the digital photography; same goes for Ruskin’s Brantwood which we approached from Lake Coniston by Gondola; Agatha Christie’s Greenway in 2009; Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top in 2005 or 2006; Laurence Sterne’s Shandy Hall the topic of one my first posts here and, of course, Virginia Woolf’s garden mentioned above.  I do hope I can get to the ones I haven’t visited some time as all were inspiring, not to say, beautiful.
Greenway
Agatha Christie’s Greenway overlooking the Dart Estuary in Devon
I borrowed both books from the library but also by coincidence my current audio listen is Christina Hardyment’s The Pleasures of the Garden: an anthology. It’s selected and introduced by Christina and includes passages by Pliny The Younger, Francis Bacon, Frances Hodgson Burnett (The Secret Garden, of course), Thomas Jeffereson, Jane Austen and Gertrude Jekyll.
51KTun4xj8L._SL300_
Having said all this – I am not, myself, a gardener! I love to visit gardens and read about them but I know nothing at all about plants and their care.
unnamed
My title for this photo on Flickr is “You won’t catch me gardening!”