Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Gardens of England – 4 July 2010

Inspired by our wonderful garden experience last Sunday (and also the reminder of Great Dixter garden yesterday), we set out to have a gardens day, before the roses are past their best.

Hever Castle is a favourite place to visit, but we have never seen their rose garden in bloom, so we started the day there. The garden was a picture.

Then on to Riverhill Gardens for lunch. A very peaceful spot, but we decided we should come back and visit again when the rhododendrons are out.

Nearby is Squerryes Court, which we had seen in the BBC production of Emma, last year. This garden is terrific, and at this property we also visited the house as well. The production took place in most of the house, and photos of the filming helped us remember where the scenes were shot.

Following Squerryes, we called in at Lullington Castle, to see how the 'World Garden' had progressed since we visited in 2007. Everything looked so much bigger, although the severe winter had damaged a lot of plants. It all still looks great, and this time they have also developed two plastic houses, the one we liked best was a large collection of stunning cacti.

Our original goal for the day was a visit to Cobham Hall, a girl's school in a stately home, which opens to the public in school holidays. It was fun to have a delicious cream tea in the ornate banqueting room.

The informative tour guide regaled us with interesting family history, from the days when the Tudor house was built to 1956 when the house was given to the state in lieu of death duties. A sad end to a proud family tradition.

The most interesting piece of trivia was to learn of the family connection to the history of 'The Ashes'. These were given to the 8th Earl by the Australian ladies associated with the cricket tour in 1883, when the 8th Earl was the captain of the English team. He kept The Ashes on the mantelpiece until his death, when they were given to the MCC, and are now awarded as the trophy to the winning team in the bi-annual English/Australian cricket series.

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