Monday, 27 August 2012

Living the good life- Dutch Manor houses and formal gardens

The countryside in that part of Holland where my mum lives is dotted with pretty little country houses built by
wealthy Dutch merchants and citizens.Most gardens are in a formal French/ Versailles style  .The garden and house you see here is about ten minutes away from my mum's house It's a real pleasure to stroll around in it on a lovely summer's day.There are tunnels with climbing roses to walk through ..

And a lovely kitchen garden..

There is a formal parterre, all twirly trimmed box hedges like here..

Here is another picture which is more to the left of this path..

This gazebo-style plant support is covered in honey suckle and roses- and there are a few of these dotted a round the box parterre- the whole design is completely symmetrical as they do in the French formal gardens.

The symmetry starts with the entrance where an avenue of trees leads straight to the main entrance of the manor house.

Quite pretty, don't you think.

The entrance gates are huge and in front of the gate is a big bench .You always see a group of little old men sitting there, gossiping and chatting and it's supposedly called the "Liar's bench" because of all the invented stories that are being told there.

There are espalier fruit trees, trained against the warm brick walls, and loads of garden urns dotted around.

The house itself is from brick and split in three parts - although you don't really notice that inside the house.

It's surrounded by a moat and clipped hedges.

And then there are more formal gardens, lawns cut through with paths on which at the end you see big garden urns.

There is a sweet little garden room where the owner could drink a cup of tea and gaze out over his lovely gardens...

And the whole of the gardens and the house is again surrounded by a huge moat flanked with huge old trees.

Not a bad life , eh, living in a place like this.
I hope to show you a bit more of Holland, villages, towns and the countryside, but for now
I leave you with one last picture of this lovely old place.

And if you ever want to visit these gardens, and you are in Holland , you will find the link to the website and details here

Have a great week !



Saturday, 4 August 2012

The best kept village

A few miles away from where I live , through just about the loveliest bit of English countryside you can imagine, lies a little village in a valley.
It won " the best kept village " some years ago.
The road down there is one of my favourites as it offers you peeks of lovely rolling country side.

Right in the middle of nowhere is a little cottage which I  would love to live in.

It has grand views all way round and no neighbours whatsoever.

The village itself has one of those cute finger posts that looks like it's been there for centuries.

It's just one big street with a few cottages ,  a manor house and a pub.

These entrance gates belong to a cute cottage-ey style manor house.

They used to have geese walking free at the front but I haven't seem them for a while.With their gak-gak-gak noise and their wing flapping they were pretty scary and extremely good as guard dogs.You can't get past them silently.
.And then there's the rest of the village.

You know, when I see show gardens on tv or in real life, at the Chelsea Flower Show, or the Hampton Court Flower Show, I always think that there are many more " show gardens" around that never get a medal, haven't been designed by a famous garden designer and won't be shown on tv.

But they are just a fabulous anyway.

English people just know how to make gardens look fantastic, even if they haven't got a garden designer certificate.

This poor little doggie was desperate to go for a walk and was longingly looking at Maud and Millie who were being taken for a walk.

It's a cute little street with lovely houses- nothing too grand , but just the right kind of nice.

And if you get bored with the main street there is a lovely walk along the canal if you go past the Gate keepers cottage.

It's perfect for a quiet evening walk..

And the dogs love it there.

Yep, it's cute all right.Even if they did not win the " Best kept village " award this year, it looks pretty well kept to me.
Have a great weekend.



Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A Mysterious Mansion and a generous Knight of the Realm

When you want to visit the nearby little market town near where I live there are two roads in.
One is through the forest of an eccentric earl .

The other way is via a really lovely country road, all hilly with meadows where you pass through a tiny village.
The village has a few lovely cottages ,a pub and a church.

It has a bench to rest your feet celebrating George the 5th his Jubilee.

And it has a huge mysterious manor which you can just about glimpse at the end of a long drive with a towering beech hedge.

You can imagine when we found out it was open for one day for charity  I really wanted to go.


The grounds themselves were not really as spectacular as the building itself.

                                             picture credit here

I found the huge stretch of lawn at the back slightly dull. Maybe a huge majestic cedar would be the answer.

                                                               picture credit here

                                                              picture credit  here

And I wasn't really convinced by the colour schemes of the borders which were in sickly yellows and such.
 But this is where it got interesting.
This was one of their old green houses.

And this one was their latest most luxurious one.

I got talking to a really friendly New  Zealand girl in the green house.
It turned out she was the wife of the head gardener and knew a bit about the plants, the estate and the greenhouse.She was the housekeeper for the place.
The green house was so super clever, it would regulate the temperature and open windows when it was too hot, and water the whole kaboodle.You may well goggle.The girl and I found it both amazing.

The place was owned by a regular knighted feller, and the girl who worked for him thought him the bomb.
All the plants where dragged in the greenhouse when they looked peaky and looked after by the amazing greenhouse, till they looked a million dollars again- and then they were displayed, when Sir H. returned from one of his many houses or from abroad, in the entrance hall  or study or wherever.

The vegetable gardens were another stunner. 
And as His Lordship wasn't very much around apart from maybe Christmas and Easter, all the vegetables and whatever else was grown, so had dictated the Knight of the Realm, were for my new friend from New Zealand.
So every time I drive past this mysterious house and the towering hedge, I now know it's in good hands.

A generous owner, and a happy head gardener and his really nice wife.
Who cares he hasn't got a cedar tree on his lawn or if his borders have too much yellow in it.

Have a great rest of the week .