Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Garden Dreams

One of my winter dreams will always remain a dream I'm afraid, I would love to have a house and garden like the one above. A beautiful very old manor house dreaming in the midst of a timeless profusion of old cottage plants.

I have another slightly more realistic dream also - to have my garden looking good right through from early spring to late autumn. I am yet to achieve this dream but maybe this year will be the one when it finally happens.

I'm dreaming this year of more colour like this wonderful oriental poppy. I love the gentle pinks, blues and lavenders but gardens need a burst of strong colour every so often to lift them and it's something my garden lacks apart from these popppies .

Sometimes I get my garden looking pretty good but that is usually in spring and early summer when I'm full of enthusiasm and it's easy to have it filled with interest and colour.

It isn't unknown for it to look reasonable in the winter....

....and autumn can have its moments too but July and August!!!! There are no photos of my garden in those months because it always looks depressing. I am usually short on energy especially if it's hot and often I'm away as well. I usually haven't deadheaded things that I should and I don't do bedding which is where a lot of colour comes from at this time of the year. And yet I know it's possible to have things flowering and looking good because other people manage it and one day I'm going to as well!

The photo above was taken at Parham House in Suffolk in early July, they have a good deal more space in the borders than I have but surely it isn't beyond me to achieve something similar on a smaller scale?

There are other garden dreams too, I'd love to have a bed filled with medieval herbs, there is no shortage of plants to choose from and in fact I have a great many plants from that period already in the garden. What I want though is to have them all together with a little wattle hurdle fence round and a sundial in the middle.

I dream of planting more and more of the lovely old shrub roses like my beautiful Reine des Violettes......

....and Felicite Parmentier who hates the rain but is perfection if the flowers coincide with warm, sunny weather. I love everything about these old roses, the beautiful shapes and colours, the amazing perfumes and the wonderful names. Who wouldn't want roses called Ispahan conjuring up visions of cool courtyard gardens in ancient Persia or Rosa Mundi with it's connections to Henry II and his Fair Rosamund. It doesn't surprise me at all that the Empress Josephine collected roses and made the famous rose garden at Malmaison near Paris.

Finally I dream about all the wonderful gardens that I can visit during the summer months including the one above which is Fanshawgate Hall. This lovely old house is about 10 minutes drive from where I live so I go at least once a year, there's always a good plant stall too. This year's list of visits will include Chiff Chaffs and Snape Cottage in Dorset and perhaps one or two Sussex gardens that coincide with my visits down there - there's Alfriston and Charleston and....... roll on the publication of this years Yellow Book and long, warm summer days!


Pieceful Afternoon said...

I am right there with your garden dreams - and how I would love to wander the roads with you and see the gardens. We just don't have that sort of thing in the US - public gardens are rare, and open gardens even rarer. What a pity.

But I can travel with you in your blog - I love the photos of your garden - and the other ones too. Thanks for the little garden tour this cold, rainy wintry day.

Janet said...

What beautiful dreams you have! I love flowers and gardens but the high desert isn't exactly the perfect climate for such! But I know I can always come here and visit yours!

Anonymous said...

Rowan, our current weather is enough to give anyone nightmares. Anyway keep dreaming and start planning.

ICQB said...

Ooh, what wonderful garden dreams! I, too , aspire to better gardening in the coming year.

My yard is a favorite haunt of terrible, pesky, hard to contain weeds which drift in from the untamed parts of the park next door. My goal is to find the tools to conquer them once and for all (and the best too, I'm afraid, is elbow grease).

Mary said...

It's really hard to be a traveler and a gardener, isn't Rowan? I get mine going and looking quite lovely by Spring, and then off we go somewhere and I have a few tears knowing it will look sad on my return if I'm gone too long. It's hard to get anyone else to keep it perfect!

Right now, like you, I'm just enjoying time off from the garden chores, and am settled in the house with thoughts that this is Winter and even plants need their time off and don't need me. I love Winter, will never be a hot weather afficionado, so, once Summer comes around, the garden I love becomes a real chore and I long for a break from the sticky humidity and the biting bugs!

Yes, the English gardens are gorgeous - my cousin buys a National Trust pass I believe it is, and they visit many Devon and Cornwall gardens in the good weather.

Enjoy the break from all that backbreaking work - just look out your windows and know it will wait for you!!!

Your long friendship is amazing and your good friend must treasure it also. My longest friendship is one of 65 years! We've literally been friends since birth - our mums were in the same maternity home in Torquay and struck up a friendship! I think perhaps that would make great post so I'll spare the details now and tell more another time!

Hugs - stay warm in that chilly Winter weather you've been having.

hippymummy said...

The pictures of the garden ae lovely. I don't have a single green finger on my body but i do love to see nice, well established gardens, they're so soothing for the soul i think. Good luck with your plans, i hope you get many hours of joy in it xXX

Kim said...

Your garden looks lovely Rowan, you should see mine at the moment! It's so difficult to keep it looking good all year round and the other pictures are good to aspire to!

I'll be checking out courses at the Weald and Downland, so I may see you there ;)

Kim x

Sal said...

It was a lovely 'escape' reading your blog today...thank you Rowan ;-)

Ragged Roses said...

I do hope you get to visit Charleston and Monk's House too, I think you'd really like them. charleston in particular looks beautiful throughout the summer! I too find it very hard to get my garden smiling in July and August, perhaps I should try a little harder this year. Beautiful photos, thank you. those roses are gorgeous

Sheila@Simple Indulgences said...

I've always longed for an old English cottage garden, but it will never be. Your's may not be the one you dream of, but it still looks very good. With our extreme temperatures, high and low, and the slope of my garden it is nigh on impossible to grow anything but the sturdiest of plants. It always seems that when it is doing well, we are off on holiday and it is past it's best when we return. I think visiting public gardens is about as close as I will come to seeing a dream garden.

PAT said...

Beautiful gardens Rowan! Fabulous post. Spring will be here soon, I just know it will...even if it's 13degrees (F), at 10:41 AM, as I type!!

Goosey said...

Well your dreams sound lovely, I am from rural Sussex originally but I have married a Dorset man (you can't get them away from Dorset!)and now live there. Your garden looks very nice so your dreams are there already.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I so agree. A wild rambunctious cottage garden is my favourite type. Like you, I am full of gardening zeal in Spring, but begin to wilt when the August heat rolls in. Perhaps we need a gardener!!

nita x said...

rowan i love your dream garden :o)
ive left you an award on my blog :o)

Julie said...

This post is a breath of scented warm air into my white world. I am so glad you are back into the swing of blogging again.

I gave you an award - please drop by and see it.

Barb said...

I love all the photos and my dream house and gardens are alot like yours.....Barb

Rosie said...

I've been dreaming of the seaside over the last few days but seeing your lovely garden photos has got me thinking about spring flowers - first to look forward to is a visit to a snowdrop garden - thanks for the inspiration:)

kerrdelune said...

Rowan, I love your garden at any time of the year, and I agree about January - it's a perfect time for dreaming, drinking tea and reading.

Carolyn said...

Beautiful garden photos!I live in Canada but had a lovely visit to England last spring.I remember Snape Cottage garden was featured in the Victoria magazine several years ago.It is a beautiful garden so it is nice you can visit there every year.Enjoy your garden.

Anonymous said...

I discovered your lovely site today, and I am ever so grateful.

Alas, while I may reside on the very English-sounding Dorsetshire Drive, it is located in Houston, Texas! Nevertheless, for the past 30+ years, I have cultivated my little English cottage garden as a homage to those of your country. It gives me so much joy.

Ah, to be in England.....

And by the way, Mr. Baggins has simply stolen my heart. Please give him a hug for me.

Bovey Belle said...

What a breath of summer ir in the middle of winter. I have aspirations about my garden too, and now the horses are in new homes, I may just keep on top of it and actually improve it this year. Fingers crossed. I love the cottage garden look, and old fashioned roses, and herbs, just like you.