The Gardens of Hanbury Hall

To break my journey down to the southwest I decided to call at Hanbury Hall in Worcestershire for a few hours. I began my visit with lunch in the Servants’ Hall and spent the rest of my time in the splendid gardens.


The Sunken Parterre is the “Jewel” of Royal Gardener, George London‘s Great Garden at Hanbury established in 1705.

The English garden was influenced heavily by Dutch, William of Orange’s Gardens at Palais Het Loo as well as those of Louis XIV at Versailles. In their interpretation by George London, garden designs became softer and more incorporative of the surrounding English Landscape.


London created gardens where his patrons could escape the tumultuous early eighteenth-century world within his formal designs, using mathematical precision and newly discovered and imported plants; he created a safe haven for drama, fun and recreation.”


Towards the end of the eighteenth century, the gardens were swept away and replaced with wide open spaces and uninterrupted views. They remained as such for the next 200 years. But 21 years ago the National Trust set about recreating the gardens as they were under London’s direction. Using London’s original 1705 plans and other historic plans and drawings the Gardens and Park Manager worked with a team of experts to determine the layout of the topiary and hedge framework that made up the stunning structure of the Great Garden. Historic planting guides were also used to select appropriate plants to fill the parterre and surrounding boarders with colour and scent throughout the seasons. The hard work has paid of and they are now truly spectacular and positively luminous in this afternoon’s autumn light.


The Sunken Parterre



The Fruit Garden with Dairy behind


The Wilderness


The Bowling Green


The Orangery and Mushroom House


The Grove


The Formal Vegetable Garden


Formal Vegetable Garden and House


Leaving Hanbury Gardens – but it never did rain


A visit inside Hanbury Hall itself will have to wait for my next visit. I hope it will be as breathtaking as walking from ‘room to room’ in the gardens.

Noble Prospects : Capability Brown and the Yorkshire Landscape

Can I really have been have jotting down notes about my travels and interspersing the notes with my photos for five years already? I’ve just been looking back at my post about Capability Brown at Harewood and am amazed to see that the date was October 2011. My first post was dated 20 August 2011. And I’m stunned to see that that was five years ago to the day! Well I never.


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Ballymaloe Revisited

about ballymaloe

Last year, in May, I volunteered at The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest. I had a great time and would have been happy to do it again this year but the dates didn’t fit in with my schedule. When I arrived home last year I found on the door mat a Thank you from Ballymaloe along with a ‘voucher’ to enjoy a day at the school to include a garden visit, lunch and a cookery demonstration. I realised that I could make this fit into my plans and booked for Thursday 9 June. Upon arrival I was given a badge and garden plan and after a cup of tea had a wander around the fascinating grounds surrounding the Cookery School.

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Heywood Gardens : Formal and Romantic


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.

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The Company of Trees : Tullynally Castle Arboretum

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.



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Celtic Journeys and Antrim Castle Gardens

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.

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