Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Gardening dreams . . .

Long about this time of year the Seed Catalogues begin to arrive.  I really enjoy looking at seed catalogues.   I always have done, and I don't know why . . . really.   Todd does all of the gardening.   I am much more of an "armchair" gardener . . . I suppose that is kind of like being an armchair athelete.  I love to watch and plan . . . but as far as the rest of it goes . . . I'm a non-starter. My arthritis makes it very difficult for me to do very much other than the simplest chores . . .

I always form these grandiose plans in my mind . . . of the things I want to plant, things I want to move to better locations . . . ever dreaming, and of course in my mind it is always the best garden ever planted.   When I was younger, I even went so far as to make lists and draw architectural type coloured drawings of what I wanted my garden to be. 

Most times it never got past that stage, but I did have loads of fun in the planning.   Monetarily speaking, my pocket book could never live up to the standard of my dreams, truth be known.

The one time I have had the garden of my dreams was when we lived down South for those seven odd years.   We had a beautiful garden and two full time gardeners to take care of it.    In all truth it wasn't really ours, but I did so love to live my gardening heart vicariously through it.   The Manor gardens were beautiful beyond measure, and I spent lots of my spare time photographing the many flora which grew  in it in great profliteration, until I was told by my boss that they were "her" flowers and I was not to take photos of them.

My ex boss actually had a "Garden Architect."    His first name was Tim.  I forget the rest.  He would come out once or twice a year with his little rust coloured little spaniel and wander through the estate with clipboard and pencil in hand, jotting down notes while my boss told him what she wanted here and there.   She had great gardening taste and money was no object.   Before long the head gardener would be heading out to nurseries etc. and bringing back plants and seeds. 

Each year in the late spring the head gardener met my boss at the Chelsea Garden show, where they would wander through the show together, him taking notes as our boss remarked upon this and upon that.   There was an awful lot of work put into the Manor Estate grounds and it showed, as they were just beautiful.  In early spring the long winding drive which led to the Manor and ultimately down to the cottages we lived in was lined with Rhodendrons, which bloomed in colourful profusion . . . new ones would be added each year.    The Manor itself stood behind a walled garden wall and the drive side was flanked with tudor roses, so beautiful when they were in bloom, and even in the autumn when they were filled with ripening rosehips they were a wonder to behold.

There were cutting gardens filled with lots of Dahlias and Zinnias, in just about every colour you could imagine . . . and rose gardens as well, again in almost every colour.   There was a roseary (?) next to the tennis courts where you could walk beneath a tunnel of roses which arched over the walkway, flanked on the left by the cutting roses and a raspberry cage filled with oodles of raspberries that I picked by the bucket loads for the freezer during season.   The bottom wall was covered with fig trees and there was a whole area of plum, apple, quince and medlar trees as well.   That is where the greenhouse was also . . . they grew tons of tomatoes, which I also had to take care of once ripened.

 My favourite part of the gardens though was the Herbaceous border which stretched some 200 yards leading up to the castle-like trimmed hedge which hid the tennis courts, etc.   I don't know what type of flower wasn't planted there.  It was beautiful any time of the year with different flora blooming at different times . . . even in the winter it was a sight to behold.  I loved to walk down it at all times of the year drinking in all that was growing, snapping photos, when they were away in America on one of their many trips . . .

The Elizabethan Lover's Knot Garden just to the front of the house was a real favourite as well.   It was filled with lavendar which, when blooming, was just beautiful . . . and even when the lavender wasn't blooming it was pretty nice.    Actually everywhere you looked on the Estate was a feast for the eyes, no matter the time of year.  It really was a beautiful environment to live and work in, even if I didn't always like who I actually worked for . . . every job has it's pluses and minuses I suppose!

Here in Blacon we have endeavored to give our garden somewhat a cottage look . . . it is a work in progress and Todd does amazingly well at it.  Each year we do add something new . . . rose bushes, or other shrubs.    Hydrangea are a favourite and we have quite a few of them now . . . and last year we put in some holly hocks.   We have fox gloves and other cottage flowers . . . poppies, snap dragons, daisies, etc.   It's not planned though . . . things just come up haphazardly where they lay.   I dare say my former employer would probably shudder at the sight . . . but meh . . . my head gardener works for free, and that's the way I like it. 

I am off and out this morning to spend some time with Tina.  She finally has the go-ahead to drive again and she is enjoying having her wings back. It will be nice to spend some time together.  They are off to Australia in a few weeks time with their grandson and his family to visit her daughter who lives there.  I will miss her when she is gone.

A thought to carry with you through today . . .

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•。★★ 。* 。
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ * _Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */______/~\。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田 |門 ★

"There is no duty we so much 
underrate as the duty of being happy."
~Robert Louis Stevenson
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There is a somewhat traditional recipe for Banbury Cakes in the kitchen today.  Todd thought he died and went to heaven when I baked these for him yesterday.  A pre-Valentines treat! 

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  Whatever you get up to don't forget! 

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And I do too!    


  1. Good morning, Marie. It was lovely to hear you reminisce about the Estate garden. It must have been beautiful in every season. Enjoy your visit with Tina. I'm so glad she is able to drive again. Brave girl for not being too scared. I'm definitely going to make those Banbury cakes. I've never used puff pastry but these look easy enough for a beginner and oh so delicious. Take gentle care when you're out and about. Hugs and love, Elaine

    1. It was very beautiful in every season Elaine. I had a lovely time with Tina this morning. We went to her dressmaker who is going to replicate my favourite top for me. I had to leave my top with her so I am feeling a bit lost without it. If she does a good job on making a new one, and I am happy with it, I will have her make a few more! You will love the Banbury Cakes. They really are very simple to make. I am rather lazy you know, so if I make something you know it works! Love and hugs, xoxo

  2. It will all awaken one day here..sounds like that place was amazing a dream..have you ever gone back? New owners right?
    How wonderful Tina is once again terrific!
    Those cakes:)

    1. I have never gone back, but Jo (my friend and the housekeeper) has. She has sent me photos of her taken outside the "palace" gates, lol. New owners definitely, and I think the place was sold piecemeal, so each of the cottages were sold individually as well as the Manor. I know our cottage sold for over £800,000 which is the equivalent of roughly 1 1/2 million Canadian dollars. Oh, well I can say I once lived in a mansion! haha Tina is doing super well. I am so proud of her and so grateful! xoxo

  3. So nice to hear your friend Tina is doing well...and glad you get to be with her today!! That former boss of yours was something else...MOST people would be so honored that anyone else admired what they had planned and had gardeners do for them!! Well, you could write a book eh?
    Elizabeth xoxo

  4. I'm a armchair gardener too. Regretfully, with our temple assignment and etc. we don't get a lot of gardening done. Mainly, it's just keep up. I' hoping to put some more plants in our yard this year and maybe a small garden.
    I loved the photos and description of the Manor where you lived and worked. You boss must have been quite the person; really kind of sad.
    Sending blessings, love and hugs your way!


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