Friday, 7 June 2013

Unexpected inspiration


I've written before about our enthusiasm for visiting gardens that open under the NGS scheme. Recently we had the chance to visit Rotherfield Park, a fascinating estate in Hampshire that we had been to years and years ago to support a friend who was  competing in horse trials there. Apparently it was used as one of the locations in Four Weddings and a Funeral though whether that was inside or outside, I'm not sure.


Anyway, it's a fascinating place, full or turrets and towers and follies and hills. We met the owner on the way in and she told my girls that she hoped they would make full use of the potential for trolling down all the hills and banks. Which of course they did.

The gardens. Oh. The gardens. Stunning planting, lots of tulips and topiary and formal and informal parts, and everywhere we went, evidence that the gardener had both a sense of humour and a passion for weaving.


There was an ancient willow throne. 


There was a maze woven from hedging plants (I want to say beech but I am not sure). I have no idea how you'd mow it to keep the weeds down; the girls loved it even if they did have to bend double in places.


There were living hazel supports for beans and peas in the vegetable garden, forming corners to the beds.


There were amazing ways of training fruit bushes so they formed their own obelisks.


And there was the most imaginative training of rambling roses I've ever seen - each shoot allowed to form an arch that is then woven down into the rim of a huge rose "bowl". In summer these must be festooned with blooms, and I wish we could go back to see them!


And there were also large expanses of lawn for giving your dad a big hug after he has spun you round and round and round.

20 comments:

  1. Lovely stuff! I can't wait to see your take on all these ideas. : )

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  2. Awww, what a fun picture of the girls and their daddy. It sounds like you had the perfect day!

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  3. What a lovely place to visit, love the willow throne, perfect for a faerie queen. x

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  4. a willow throne. I want one!

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  5. What a lovely place - but that last photo is beautiful - a special memory! Jane x

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  6. I see a willow throne on your future - perfect for your little princesses!

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  7. I adore other people's gardens (especially those who employ gardeners!) - I'm sure you could whip up a willow throne or two....

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  8. That really looks like a fabulous place Val, the best kind of garden. Do they only open once a year under the NGS scheme?

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  9. We've been nosying round other people's gardens, too. Love the idea of a living rose bowl.

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  10. What a beautiful garden! And I think I rather need a willow throne!

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  11. Love the willow throne,have you started yours yet?

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  12. Lots of lovely inspiration for you Val, I second Alice - you need a willow throne :)

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  13. Oh, dads are great for that. And for getting backache after.

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  14. I visited the RHS garden at Hyde Hall with a friend on Friday, and when we saw some lovely woven wigwammy things, I told her I'd found someone on the internet who might be teaching how to make them at some point in the future. She's very keen,and I have spent the last hour and a half trying to remember who it was, and now I know - it was you! Any more thoughts on running a workshop (please) x

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  15. Great day out. We spend much of our spare time visiting national trust houses and going green with envy over their gardens. Last time hubby swung Sophie round and round we ended up in A&E!
    Best wishes

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  16. Great photos and looks like a wonderful day out. Some nice ideas to try at home there!

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  17. I love visiting gardens, though sadly end up with delusions of grandeur which I'll never fulfill in my newbuild plot! Love the idea of the rose bowl, brilliant!

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  18. Having lived in Hampshire for the first 19 or so years of my life - I'm wondering if I have ever been there - it looks so pretty!

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  19. Looks like a lovely day out. You sure did study the garden well :)

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