Thursday, 12 June 2008
For the Club's garden visit to Sezincote House & Gardens in Gloucester, it was a day of firsts. We set out to travel along the M5 to a new coffee stop at Blooms near Junction 12. Members gathered in a pleasant and airy tea shop and looked around at the lovely plants and gifts on display. Fully refreshed we travelled through some pretty Cotswolds villages before reaching the entrance to the Sezincote estate.
The lane leading to the house was very narrow and our driver, Paul, slowly made his way through the tree lined lane and over cattle grids for the Club's first visit to Sezincote.
The house was built in an Indian setting (the house was the inspiration for the Brighton Pavilion). We split into two groups to have a guided tour of the house and learn the history of the buildings and families who lived there.
The main features of the garden are the stream which emerges from below a temple to Surya and descends via a series of pools and fountains to a lake. The 'Indian' Garden perfectly complements the house, the garden was restored in the 1950's by Lady Kleinwort and Graham Stuart Thomas. The borders are planted with massed hostas, campanula and other water-loving plants, surrounded by trees of unusual size, including cedars, copper beeches and limes. There is a curved orangery which protects tender climbing plants and an Indian Bridge, complete with Brahmin bulls, overlooking a Snake Fountain.
Following the garden visit we had a short journey to the village of Little Compton where the ladies (and gentleman) of the local WI made us welcome for afternoon tea. Another narrow approach for the coach, meant that Paul earnt his cream tea!
Sunday, 8 June 2008
Behind the fine 18th century town house with its pink lime washed exterior lies a treasure trove of collections together with a magically secret garden. A little known treasure of a fine town house and garden nestling on the banks of the River Dee in Kirkcudbright.
Broughton House was the home of artist E A Hornel. Behind the pink limewashed walls a delightfully uplifting collection of art, ceramics, furniture and literature together with a magically secret garden lie hidden. This fine 18th century town house, bought by Hornel in 1901 became his home and studio.
A scenic Scottish fishing town with an artistic heritage. Behind the harbour the streets have housed generations of creative artists, a tradition maintained today by a flourishing colony of painters and craftworkers. This has led to it being called "The Artists' Town" Other well known features of the town are the pastel coloured houses and wide streets and a wide selection of mainly family owned shops
The gardens were originally established alongside Threave House, built in 1872 on rising land to the east of the valley of the River Dee, near Castle Douglas and commanding excellent views west to the hills of Galloway. Threave House was built by William Gordon, a Liverpool businessman who had bought the Threave Estate as a summer home for his extensive family in 1867.
The house and estate were passed to the National Trust for Scotland by William's bachelor grandson, Major Alan Gordon, in 1948. The NTS have since continued to maintain and develop the 24 hectares of gardens around Threave House as a visitor attraction. The gardens also serve as a live classroom for the NTS's School of Practical Gardening, which offers much sought after one year courses in the practical skills of amenity gardening.