Just before my Ireland trip I read the book “Gardens of a Golden Afternoon : The Story of a Partnership, Edwin Lutyens & Gertrude Jekyll; by Jane Brown. Amongst all the house and garden descriptions od collaborations was one combination in Ireland which I knew to be very near my route through Co. Laois. The house no longer exists but Heywood Gardens survived and at the time of Jane writing was under the care of the Salesian Fathers’ Missionary College. Today the Office Public Works maintains the gardens which are now in the grounds of a school.
Earlier this year I read and enjoyed Thomas Pakenham’s ‘The Company of Trees’. Thomas Pakenham wrote the book as a form of diary for the year 2013 mainly about his interest in conserving trees on his estate at Tullynally Castle in Ireland and collecting seeds for further propagation from distant areas in in the world. During that year he travelled to Tibet and China and the Andes. He peppered the diary with other information about the gardens/arboretum at Tullynally and much more personal information besides. In this was it differed from his previous tree books – Meetings with Remarkable Trees; Remarkable Trees of the World; In search of Remarkable Trees; The Remarkable Baobab.
Two recent trips followed hot on the heels of each other. I seem to have made several forays into our Celtic fringe so far this year. Two visits to Wales – The Gower and the Ffestiniog Railway and now a couple of weeks in Ireland – North and South – and my second visit to Scotland – Walking The Scottish Borders. I mentioned my forthcoming visit to Ireland last month and referred to the fact that I was opening up My Irish Times again.
Petworth Park and Pleasure Grounds offer a wealth of possibilities for short strolls, a long walk with, or without, the dog or just a promenade around the the gardens. Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown (1716-17830, the renowned landscape designer of the 18th century whose 300th anniversary happens to be this year, transformed the 700 acre estate at Petworth into the one we see, and can walk in, today. As we stepped out from the small formal area behind the house into the larger, grander landscape Diana exclaimed with delight that it was like stepping into Brown’s landscape.
Time flies! It’s already over a week since I was in London and Surrey and at home we’ve been busy, busy, busy. And now it’s nearly time for me to reopen the pages of My Irish Times. This year I’m going Dutch for the first ten days and working my way from north to south.
Anyway, that’s for next week, in the meantime last Friday (13th) I was in London and on Saturday and Sunday in Surrey … and beyond.
The Geffrye in January this year
Early morning view of Florence from the Boboli Gardens Terrace
Friday morning dawned dry and promising so, having foregone a wet afternoon there on Thursday, I decided to get packed and hurry over to the Pitti Palace and gain entry to The Boboli Gardens when they opened at 8.15. This gave me about an hour and a half to walk around, check out the most significant features and return to the apartment to collect my bag by 10am and head to the Railway Station to pick up our bus to Pisa Airport. Continue reading