The Old House Garden Round up. 14th July 2017. It’s all about sunshine!

It’s been 2 weeks since my last round up and I’m going to take a 2 week blogging break so this will be my last post for a while.

The garden is in it’s prime at the moment. My Mother in Law is here to stay and I’m so pleased she has brought the sunshine with her!

Crocosmia is flowering now.
There is lots of Crocosmia so I’m going to divide these in the Autumn
I’m loving some of the combinations of colours
The Lupins have died back but this border is still glorious!
Butterflies have been abundant. This Gatekeeper looks happy!
Lots of bees
Cabbage White butterflies have laid their eggs all over my cauliflower but I don’t mind!
The pumpkin is going bonkers; it obviously loves this spot!
The broadbeans are reaching towards the sky!
Lots of flowers on the pumpkins

The peas have failed. They are covered in spiders and caterpillars and the peppers haven’t done so well. Still trial and error in the Old House Garden. We have lots of tomatoes and cucumbers though.

Phlox. They are so beautiful.
We have 3 different coloured Phlox.
I love some of the accidental colours mixes!
Cornflowers; such a vivid blue.
Roses are blooming.
Loads of Japanese Anemone are now appearing in drifts near the house.
I love that the Cosmos just keep flowering!

The meadow area has really taken off! I’m so pleased with this area as I just sprinkled lots of seeds in May hoping to cover this sad little area!

Meadow colour!
The insects are loving this area!
Tilly also loves the insects in this area!!

Another round up done! I shall leave you with my pets.

Dottie and “pig”

Happy summer everyone and see you in August for #MyGloriousGardens Linky party!


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The Palace Gardens of Versailles. #MyGloriousGardens

My sister, daughter and I took my mother to Versailles for her 70th birthday as a surprise. I won’t be blogging about that but I would love to share with you a post about the gardens and grounds. The Palace itself is huge and does not disappoint! It is a true palace with gold and marble, restored to it’s former glory since the French revolution. It is not until you see the grounds and gardens however, that you realise quite how much opulence and decadence there was from a time when France was THE superpower in the world at that time. Versailles is valued at over £50 Billion now so try to imagine the scale and size! A Russian Oligarch’s dream! It is over 500 hectares in size and is beautifully manicured and formal in design.

The Palace of Versailles from the front -this is what you see first. Well, apart from the cues of people!
This is the view down towards The Grand canal!
versailles 1
It was a very wet weekend but it was still a stunning place!

It was such a rainy weekend so the photos are not quite as clear as I would have liked.

The beginning of the formal gardens
More formal gardens planted with annuals such as cosmos between formal Box Hedging.
The planting near the palace.

Louis XIV or the sun king as he was known, commissioned the designer, André Le Nôtre, to redesign the grounds of the palace as originally, it was a mere hunting lodge. Under the title Controller General of the King’s Garden, Le Nôtre began revamping the grounds of Versailles in 1662. His design formed a crucifix shape to which he added two parterres closest to the palace. These parterres were designed to reflect light into the windows of the Hall of Mirrors and have pools of water with statues of nymphs, men and children.

The parterres

There is a large canal which is over a mile long. This is called the Grand Canal after the one in Venice and Louis sailed gondolas on it. They also skated on it when it froze in Winter.

The view towards the Grand Canal and yes, we hired a golf buggy! What else to do in the rain?


There are 11 main, famous fountains. They have statues from Roman and Greek mythology surrounding them and various sprays and jets. Apparently, they were more spectacular during Louis XIV’s reign but couldn’t all be cascading at the same time so they would work when the royal family were passing! The largest is called The Apollo fountain.

One of the smaller fountains
The Mother of Apollo surrounds the fountain nearest the palace.
The Apollo fountain depicting the god on a chariot pulled by four horses and three men blowing horns.
One of the pools
The ballroom fountains.

As part of our ticket, you can stop and listen to the music that accompanies the fountain show.

The king enjoyed his morning breakfast and an Orangery was constructed to house orange, lemon and pomegranate trees. Many of the trees today are over 200 years old! The orangery was my favourite part; it is over 7.5 acres and is mind blowing! As we were visiting during the summer (!) the trees were outside.

The view of the orangery gardens.
All the trees were outside the Orangery for the summer months (together with a visitors stand for the evening fountain and firework show)
The huge Orangery is tucked under the balustrade.
Now, that is what you call a door! The door to the Orangery.
Photo trickery fun in the rain!

I hope you have enjoyed this post!

I have more…..

We also visited Le Trianon and Le Petit Trianon….


My Glorious Gardens series: Tyntesfield on Fathers Day 2017.

Our son was training in Bristol this Sunday so we decided to make the most of the lovely weather and take a trip to Tyntesfield, near Bristol. We went to look at the gardens but you can’t go somewhere like Tyntesfield without visiting the house too!

Tyntesfield was bought by the National Trust in 2001 with help from the local community. It was extended as a family home in the 1860’s by William Gibbs who, at that time, was the richest commoner in England, having made his fortune from the sale of guano which was used as fertiliser. When it was sold, the owner of the time, Richard Gibbs was living in just 3 rooms as it needed so much work doing to it. The work that the National Trust has done is clear yet impressive. The house is a Victorian Gothic Revival House of wonder with over 50,000 pieces of interest. I was chatting to one of the guides who said that nothing was ever thrown away meaning that this unique property and it’s contents have been preserved in their entirety. It certainly feels as if you are stepping into a bygone age at Tyntesfield and it an absolute joy!

Tyntesfield was used by Clifton College in the second World War-can you imagine going to school here?

As you walk towards the house, you can take the route through the Rose Garden. I was really interested to see this as we want to try to create something similar in the old house garden. It was stunning, built on a slight hill with lovely views.

The rose archway leading to a raised terrace.
Me walking through the rose arch.
The view from the terrace was amazing!
I loved the Box hedging; unfortunately some had blight so was cordoned off.
Gothic statues at the bottom of the steps leading to the Rose Garden
In each corner were small gazebos and beautiful Acers

We arrived quite early so missed the crowds but there were many people enjoying the classic car collection for Fathers Day.

The main entrance with the classic car collection
More classic cars!
The gothic turrets and features were beautiful
The main front entrance

We were lucky to get to see the house. They restrict the number of visitors so you do need to get here early. The house opened at 11am and we went in before the crowds!

Inside is truly a masterpiece of Gothic craftsmanship. The interiors are not to my taste but you can not fail to be impressed by all the detail. The ceilings are ornately carved and the fire places are large stone affairs. From the Billiard room, a masculine space designed for leisurely pursuits to the grand dining room with it’s table laid for dinner, it’s a beautiful place to wander.

The ornate staircase
Wow! What a fireplace!
The Sitting Room

The grand Dining Room with original wallpaper
I was amazed to see so many pieces still in the house such as this picnic set and travelling luggage in the kitchen.
The detail of the roof in the Billiard Room.
The family also added a grand and frankly, enormous Chapel. It was completed in the 1870’s just after William Gibbs died. It is larger than most village churches and has all the original chairs and altar furniture.

The chapel at Tyntesfield

The Chapel on the outside
The Altar
We then wandered to the Kitchen garden which was huge! The garden produced enough for the entire estate and the family even had produce brought to them weekly when they were at their London residence.

The walled kitchen garden
The walled kitchen garden at Tyntesfield
The herbaceous borders near the extensive greenhouses
The orangery.
Inside the orangery

By this time we were boiling hot and had to get back to collect our son. We stayed about 3 hours but this is definitely a place that you could stay all day. I feel I need to go back to see it all again as I expect we missed quite a lot! Being National Trust members means we can easily go back whenever we wish.

Tyntesfield has got to be the most impressive house I have visited recently. It deserves more attention and I’m so glad the National Trust have done such a great job in preserving it.

I will leave you with some more beautiful photographs of a fabulous few hours!

The Rose Garden
Fab gothic bench!

View from the Master Bedroom
Formal planting at the front of the house

Part of #MyGloriousGardens series.


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A Celebration of Flowers

I love taking close-up photographs of all the flowers that are growing in the old house garden. Here are some of the best shots. You can click on the photo to see what’s the flower is called. There is one that I’m unsure of!









The Old House Garden Round Up: Dottie, Tilly & Tiger make an appearance. 14th June 2017.

The pets have been enjoying the garden this week. The weather has been varied but in no way as wet as last week!

Tiger has discovered the Nepeta (Cat Nip) and loves it almost as much as the bees. Dottie is just bonkers as ever!

Dottie loves to play with her towel that I lay on the patio for her to sunbathe on!

The garden has really grown after all the rain but of course with rain comes slugs and snails. I have tried beer traps, picking them off at dusk and putting down egg shells but they have still got to some of my vegetables which is frustrating! I wrote a post about dealing with slugs and snails organically here but fear I am failing somewhat!

Here are the vegetables.

The beans and peas are doing well. The rhubarb is only in its second year so I won’t harvest from it until next year. I have put Marigolds around my pumpkin in a hope of confusing those pesky slugs!
This bed is looking sad; I would have expected more growth really. You can see my beer trap. I’m going to add more.
Another beer trap is full this morning!
The vegetables in the Greenhouse are doing much better. I have found at least 2 slow worms living in here (giving me a fright!) but I think they are eating any snails or slugs that manage to get in.
The Beetroot is looking healthy
With all the rain and wind of last week, my Lupins are looking a little flopsy but are still stunning in the cottage border.

Flopsy Lupins!
The Cottage Border
At the weekend we added some annuals such as Cosmos in this border to fill in any gaps. I think I would like to add some more as I love their pop of colour in here.

The clematis is still flowering on the archway and now the rose is too. This rose is a climber called New Dawn.
The yellow, red and orange border
We have added some annuals such as Zinnia in here and planted some yellow lupins.
This is the new area that we cant decide what to do with so we scattered some wildflowers seeds here for this year and they are now beginning to grow rapidly. The new roses are also blooming too. We have David Austin’s Compassion.
This is my next project! Although it’s only overgrown. I want to see what grows here in full first.
The Verbena are getting very tall!
I hope you have enjoyed this round up!



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My Glorious Gardens series: Middlewick House Open Gardens in June.

At the weekend we were able to take a visit to Middlewick House in Corsham, Wiltshire. This beautiful house is owned by Pink Floyd’s drummer, Nick Mason and his family. It was once owned by Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge.

Nick opens his house for charity for a weekend in June and as we have never been, we thought we go and take a look! Hubbie came too but we left the children and Dottie at home this time.

As we arrived, we could not believe that there were so many people! We just couldn’t work it out until we walked up the drive to see this…

Middlewick House, Corsham
Nick had also decided to let the public see his car collection! What a very clever man! Beautiful gardens, a classic car collection, plants to buy, a BBQ and drinks.  There were people with picnics, dogs and young children were running around and of course, everyone were very interested in the cars!

Hubbie would like this Ferrari please!

I know nothing about cars but I did like this one!
Notice the guy taking a photo of the wheels!! 🙂
This Ferrari is a hybrid apparently…..
Hubbie also liked this one…he was in the air force once….maybe that’s why?
So tiny!
And now for the gardens….

There was a fabulous kitchen garden within a walled area with a cute gate.
It had a traditional rose archway in the centre with paths around large beds.
View back towards the house with lovely herbaceous borders.
“Stand there so I can take a photo!”
The central pond with fountain (and fish!)
The central rose arch with roses in full bloom.
The vegetables
Apart from the kitchen garden you could also roam around the rest of the garden.

There was a cute little traditional caravan (yes, that’s me in wedge sandals….and a coat!)
The back of the house. In the conservatory they have an indoor pool and Nick’s drum kit was on display.
Half way across this lawn was a Ha-Ha wall linking the view to the fields beyond (with horses)
Beautiful pond with bridge and Swan sculpture
It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon raising money for The Wiltshire Air Ambulance.

Classic cars and gardens.
The cute gate keepers cottage called Mermaids Cottage.
I will leave you with some lovely flowers…

My Glorious Gardens series: Lacock Abbey Gardens in June.

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 view of the Abbey as you enter to go in.
This beautiful Gothic arch leads you into towards the Abbey.

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.

If you have seen Harry Potter, you will know this corridor!
The beautiful Cloisters
Some of this part of the Abbey are 800 years old.
This is the Sacristy, dating back to the 1230’s.

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.

Cottage style planting
Beautiful delphiniums!
I love the shades of blue of the different delphiniums.
The bees were loving them!
My delphiniums always get eaten by slugs…….
I love the black centre to these delphiniums.
In the greenhouse there was this huge vine and bougainvillea

We walked through the orchard and sat for a while before visiting the new rose garden.

The orchard.
The new rose garden.
We sat for a while in this fabulous gothic seat.
Beautiful, mature trees

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.