Petit Trianon was built between 1762 and 1768 by Louis XV for his mistress, Madame de Pompadour. It was called Petit Trianon to distinguish it from Grand Trianon which is a marble palace built by the king before Louis XV for his mistress! Petit Trianon was gifted to Marie Antoinette by Louis XVI and she made it her home, transforming the gardens in the process. She is the most notorious and tragic occupant of this Palace and it is now set up as it once was when she lived there. We visited on a particular rainy weekend in early July but we all agreed that this was our favourite part of our weekend in Versailles.
Marie Antoinette married Louis at the age of 14 and coming to Versailles, even as a princess must have been a shock. The French had many customs and rituals that were very strict and different from that she had known. The protocols of the french court were such that she thought of Petit Trianon as her place to escape and be herself. I can see why she fell in love with this place! It is such a simple yet elegant palace in such contrast to the grandiose Château! Apparently no one was allowed to enter unless they had a personal invitation from the queen, not even the king. Here she could escape the formality and prying eyes of the court so she set about creating her ideal palace and gardens. Unfortunately, in making this palace private she created court gossip and it became known as a place for debauched royal behaviour. However, I feel she did not help herself as she continued to spend and spend her own, her husband’s and the country’s money to create the most extravagant and crazy gardens which, of course, we can now all enjoy.
Marie Antoinette is known as a leader and creator of fashion and in the garden, she was very taken with the latest landscaping trends. Influenced by the notion that unspoiled nature was healthy and invigorating, she set about creating a very English garden without the usual formality found at the gardens of Versailles using the designer, Richard Mique. These English gardens were to be created alongside the more formal gardens that immediately surrounded the palace. They were created with rivers carved into meandering shapes, grottos created with large stones and artificial lakes made to look as if they had always been there. Landscape ornaments such as temples, ruins and English buildings were built to blend into their surroundings.
Marie Antoinette removed the previous King’s Hothouses which contained many rare plant species and had them taken to Versailles. A noted gardener, The Duke of Croy, wrote, ” Instead of the great hothouses, some quite high mountains, a large rock and a river. Never has a couple of acres changed to such an extent nor cost as dearly.”
The works at Petit Trianon were excessively high and exorbitant. Because she could not afford the amounts from her own money, she often had to ask Louis to cover the costs. Sometimes, he had to pay for these changes from the State budget. on 22nd August, 1775, £100,000 were entered on the Treasury books as, “for the Queen’s gardens.” This shocked people and later contributed to her downfall at her trial during the revolution.
The Hamlet and the Farm
Not content with her spending and changes, works started in 1783 on Marie Antoinette’s latest project, a life-sized theatre called The Hamlet. Richard Mique created a Normandy village made up of 12 houses all made to look like they had been there for hundreds of years. Farm life was fashionable and here the Queen could “play” at being a milk maid or a shepherd (with washed sheep or cows, of course). The Queen’s house had 2 houses; the Queen’s cottage and the Billiard House built for the pursuit of pleasure such as music, gaming, dancing, theatre and conversation. Here she would come with her closest friends. There was even a dairy shop with a marble floor, where fresh cream and cheese were made for the Queen and her friends.
Marie Antoinette created gardens as close as her imagination could bring her to the simple, country life that she craved. Of course, what she didn’t realise was that this was not real life and all the smells and poo were removed so that she could play the part but not be surrounded by reality! She loved nothing better than walking in her gardens with her children (she was devoted mother) wearing a simple white, muslin dress away from the rigid world of The French Court. I felt sorry for her as her ending was not pleasant but I also felt that she a very indulged and naive woman. However, we are left with her creation and vision in the form of these beautiful gardens.
I will leave you with some photos of the French Gardens (created by Louis XV between 1749 and 1753) that lead to Grand Trianon which are equally as glorious but are very different. It’s as if the gardens reflect the formality of the court the closer you get away from Petit Trianon.
Lacock Abbey is a National Trust property that started life as a nunnery and was last lived in by the Talbot family. It is also the birthplace of photography. Many films have been filmed here including Harry Potter, The other Boleyn girl and Wolf Hall. We have visited the Abbey many times but haven’t really wandered around the gardens so that’s what we did on this visit. We did wander into the Cloisters as they are particularly beautiful and interesting.
The outside is absolutely stunning and you can see the history of the building in the different windows and architecture. As this is the place where William Henry Fox Talbot took the first ever photographic negative, there are lots of frames around the grounds for you to take photographs of you own. A fun idea for children I thought.
The gardens are laid out as parkland with rolling hills and fields. The house itself is surrounded by a Ha-Ha wall. We wandered into the Botanical Gardens and took some lovely photos here.
We walked through the orchard and sat for a while before visiting the new rose garden.
Lacock Abbey can be combined to a visit to the village of Lacock. The whole estate, including the village, were gifted to The National Trust in 1944. It is a ridiculously pretty and unspoilt village with no overhead power lines giving it a timeless quality. There are a couple of great pubs and places to buy ice-creams. It also has a delightful “Stall on the wall”, a place to buy home-made cakes, meringues and jams all made by a local resident.
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
We have a compost bin in the old house and we use it make fabulous, organic compost to put on the garden. They add vital nutrients to the soil to enable optimum growing conditions.
What benefits does compost have to my garden?
Your own compost will feed and condition your garden soil and can also be used for your pots or in growing your own vegetables. It also is a great way to recycle kitchen waste so leaving less to go in your rubbish bags.
What can I compost?
Vegetables and fruit peelings/cores/skins. Banana skins are ideal for the compost.
Grass cuttings. Try to mix this with “dry” bits so that the compost doesn’t get too slimy. I put leaves on another pile to make leaf mulch.
Dry bits like paper, newspaper and cardboard such as cereal boxes, loo rolls and packaging. I strip mine up so that they can compost quicker.
Tea bags and coffee grounds (also good for dealing with slugs see my post
Animal bedding such as straw and sawdust from a rabbit hutch. This does take longer to compost though.
Egg shells. We eat a lot of eggs in the old house so I also crush these up to discourage those pesky slugs and snails!
Lint from the dryer or washing machine. Animal hair or hair from hair brushes.
Ash from my fire. Some don’t add this but we don’t have too much so it can go in!
Old cut flowers. I chop these up into smaller pieces.
I also add Epsom salts to my compost as we are low in Magnesium here in Wiltshire.
What do I not compost?
Any meat or fish. This can attract rats.
Animal faeces. Ugh!
Weeds. I don’t add these because I don’t want to add their seeds to my compost.
Old dog or cat food.
How do I compost?
You can buy some great compost bins from most garden centres or DIY shops. They are often large, black bin looking things with a removable front panel. Put this is a place in your garden that is out the way. It won’t smell but they are not great to look at! Make sure they are placed ON THE OPEN GROUND. This is vital. The bottom of the bin must be placed onto the soil so that worms can get in. The worms are what are going to be doing all the work for you as decomposers! Put in your waste as and when you have it. I mix my bin contents every now and again to get the air into the compost and to allow the wet and dry pieces to mix. You can make your own compost area too like we have in the old house garden.
In about 6-8 weeks you will have lovely, crumbly compost that you can out into your garden! Simple! You can even compost in a small garden.
Have a go! You plants will thank you (and so will the bin man and the planet!)
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.
Hello and welcome to #MyGloriousGardens Linky week 2.
Thank you so much to the Linkers from last week.
We had 8 linkers. All posts were fabulous so I wont be picking favourites!
Crummymummy wrote about the development of her wildlife garden with Homebase plants. I loved her homes for hedgehogs and the way she involved her children. I will be following her new garden with interest.
wildaboutnauture linked her photography post about her garden. I love seeing what people plant don’t you? I loved her globe alliums.
CadyLuckLeedy shared her visit to The Gardens of Mainz in Germany. She and I have bonded over our visits to different gardens I think! Again, photos tells more than words sometimes and this post was all about that Magnolia in my opinion! Stunning.
Rivendellgarden This is John Kingdon’s site. He is a brilliant man in that he collates all the gardening blogs in one place for us all! I’m featuring this month so thank you John. Do pop over to his site to find out more.
OfftheEdgeGardening A lovely post about Gill’s revisit to a garden from her past with her Plant Heritage group. I love the way she has captured the weeping Irises.
Sowhatnow768 A fun post about the Linkers (I know her name but I think she would like to stay anonymous!) introduction of her chickens with fabulous names! I read this blog often and she always makes me laugh!
Msnubutterflies Such a fabulous post. How a garden became the daily inspiration for Shannon as she battles with MS. I love how uplifting this post was and how it made me see that the little things are as important. There is a part 2 to this post so I hope Shannon links again!
Watchingthedaisies posted 3 posts and all were Glorious! Thank you Brigid! I particularly love her post about The healing Power of Gardens and seeing her garden that she has transformed into a paradise! I agree that gardens and outdoor spaces can be so rewarding and calming. Brigid has a book out so she knows her stuff!
Thank you all again. I love all your posts.
Now for this week! You may link all garden related posts.It may be a post about a great day out with your family, a garden you have visited, your garden or an outdoor place you have visited. I don’t mind anything as long as it is celebrating a Glorious Garden! No posts about other Link parties please.
If you have never been to a Link party before it’s easy!
Just link up your post by clicking on the InLinkz button below. Then press on the blue link button when it redirects you. Copy and paste your post or photo in the link. It will run for a week.
There are minimal rules.
1. Add the #MyGloriousGardens Linky button to the bottom of our post.
2. Tweet me @oldhouseinthes1 for a Retweet if you are on Twitter.
3. Follow me on Twitter, on the blog and on Instagram.
4. Comment on my post and one other of your choice.
5. Spread the Blog love and I will read all posts and comment.
6. Have fun!
Or you can join me on Instagram with your photos using the hashtag #MyGloriousGardens
Here is my Linky button to add to the bottom of your posts. Just select the code and paste it when you are in HTML on your post.
During half term, my teenagers and I went to to Iford Manor to see the gardens of Harold Peto. I think my children were humoring me but it was so nice to have their company!
Iford Manor is near the Wiltshire town of Bradford on Avon and is very, very beautiful. There has been a settlement here since Roman Times and the Manor is from the 14th Century. The Gardens are Grade 1 listed which means they are of national importance. They were designed in the early part of the twentieth century by Harold Peto who also lived in the Manor but have recently been restored. Harold Peto was clearly inspired by Italian style garden structure with columns, board walks and statues. There is also an oriental themed pond area.
I will leave you with lots of photos which will help you to envisage the garden.
The planting is simple but effective with sways of Nepeta, lilies, Salvia and Allium. Some of the original Wisteria also remains.
The pond area was lovely and it was full of tadpoles!
It was a lovely way to spend a few hours. It’s not a place for children particularly but there were children there who seemed to be playing hide and seek and loving it!
Snails and slugs have eaten my Delphiniums again! They have also munched some of my vegetables and it’s quite a problem!
We garden without chemicals in the old house garden. We have pets but we also have a resident hedgehog as well as slow worms, bats, pond life and birds. We want to encourage this wildlife and using chemicals is not an option. I also think that if you have young children you should think very carefully about using chemicals.
So how do we deal with slugs and snails?
1. Encourage wildlife that eat them! Make homes for hedgehogs, leave a wild patch, make homes for insects and make a hole in your fence so that hedgehogs can get in and out. See my post on how to create a wildlife garden Here
2. Make sure your plants are as healthy as they can be. Use mulch, make your own compost and water your plants regularly (using water from your water butt of course!)
3. Make raised beds surrounded by gravel to make it trickier for the snails and slugs to reach your vegetables in the first place.
4. Make beer traps. Basically put some beer into a jar or pot. It needs to be deep enough so they can’t get out. Put this amongst your vegetables. The snails and slugs like the yeast in the beer and will choose this over your plants. Tip the snails and slugs in the compost bin.
5. Use crushed egg shells or crushed pistachio nuts around the base of your plants. They don’t like it all over them when they move.
6. Use coffee grounds, sawdust, ash or sand around the base of your delicate plants. I’ve actually never found these work but some people swear by them!
7. Put out strips of cardboard at night and in the morning, you will find the snails and slugs underneath and you can pop them into the compost, cardboard and all.
8. Smear petroleum jelly around the base of plants in pots. The snails and slugs can’t cross the jelly to reach your plants.
9. Plant “sacrifice” plants such as lettuces. In other words, the snails and slugs will eat these instead.
10. If in doubt, go out! I go out in the early evening (with a torch…..🤔) And pick off the slugs and snails. I then put them where the hedgehogs live or straight into the compost bin.
I hope this post was useful to you!
OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES