"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Attingham Park - Part 2: Walled Gardens

After leaving Attingham house via a courtyard, as time was limited, we had to decide whether to visit either the tearoom for tea and cake and the shop or walk to the

walled garden. The latter won!

A nice walk through woodland with beech leaves unfurling

I've always enjoyed watching rookeries but, having just finished reading "Crow Country" by Mark Cocker, I have fallen in love with corvids all over again. A great book and thoroughly recommended if you haven't read it. Can't wait now to read Claxton.

The three acre Orchard contains around 160 apple trees comprising 37 varieties selected to give a long season of fresh/stored fruit. The earliest apple to appear is a desert apple called Red Joanetting which ripens late July/August. Bramley cooking apples are stored throughout the winter. The apples are all used for baking in the tearoom.

It was good to see areas in the Orchard where the grass had been allowed to grow.

We might not have had time for the tearoom but we were both rather peckish so this Catering Van was a godsend.

Shortbread biscuits were yummy and homemade.

The Walled Garden was originally built around 1780 in order to provide the Berwick family and their guests with fresh or stored fruit and vegetables, together with honey, throughout the year. It closed in the 1960's and then re-opened in the 1990's when it was used to grow Christmas trees. Work to restore the Walled Garden started in 2008 and all the produce is either used in the tearoom or sold in the shop. Both the garden and orchard are organic and today the garden is maintained by a small team of staff and around 60 volunteers.

There are two areas in the Walled Garden - the large, main, rectangular garden and a smaller triangular area containing glasshouses, cold frames and the bothy.

Cerinthe Major - bees love this plant. Sadly, I lost the one I had in the garden at home.

Somehow we managed to miss the Bee House - one of only two known Regency bee houses in the country. It was originally located in the orchard so the bees could pollinate the flowers but was then re-located on lawns south of the Walled Garden. It still houses bees in the traditional straw skeps.

As we walked back to the car - these bullocks wandered over (friendly as they seemed I was rather glad there was a fence between us!!).

The courtyard containing the tearoom, second hand bookshop and giftshop.

Edit - Just been looking at the photos again and spotted Wild Garlic for sale in the last photo. Very annoyed I didn't spot them when we were there as I'd have loved to buy a couple of plants for the garden!!

In the evening we attended the book launch of the second Matlock Hare book - "The Puzzle of the Tillian Wand" by the very talented Phil and Jacqui Lovesey. A great evening with drinks and nibbles, quizzes, raffles and prizes and a preview reading from the 3rd book of the Trilogy to be published next year. For details of the books, Jacqui's exquisite and delightful illustrations and the majickal world of Matlock Hare please visit www.matlockthehare.com.


Margaret Adamson said...

It was lovely seeing the restof the garden and I amsure the blossom in that big orchard wasanamzing sight. thanks for sharing and itsoundthat the book launch went well.

amanda peters said...

Hi RR, have enjoyed the last part of your visit, have to say the walled gardens look amazing, think they have to be my favourite part of old houses, I like the old brick.The gardens are bursting with colour.
Have read the book Crow country, loved it.
Had a look at the Matlock books too, they look good.
Amanda xx

SeagullSuzie said...

What a great place to visit and your evening book launch sounded like fun.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks very much Margaret. Lovely time of year to visit an orchard :)

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. There is something very special about a Walled Garden :) They always remind me of the book "Secret Garden" :)

SeagullSuzie - Thanks very much Suzie - it was a good afternoon and evening :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

"The Greedy Pig" lol. I know I am, the contents of that van would not have lasted long if I'd done a long walk there.

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Glad you liked the name (thought it was good too :) ) Lots of goodies on offer there :)

Millymollymandy said...

I love walled gardens and seeing the kitchen gardens of these stately homes, and how the rich once lived, with their dozens of gardeners! Particularly love the spring bedding, it seems quite unusual to have the hot colour scheme, but I love it! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much. Glad you liked the spring bedding colour scheme - I thought it was amazing too and the scent from the wallflowers was wonderful :)

Trudie said...

We take our 2 Grandchildren to Attingham most weeks and we always go round the walled garden to check on what they're planting that week and we compare our allotment planting against theirs. The boarders have been quite spectacular this spring and it's been a pleasure to sit and take it all in even on the colder days. Glad you enjoyed it xx

Ragged Robin said...

Trudie - Thanks so much for the comment and welcome to my blog. Thank you too for the follow. It must be lovely to live so close to Attingham and to be able to visit regularly. It certainly looked a wonderful place to take children/grandchildren and so many areas to walk.

Countryside Tales said...

The garden restoration is amazing-it looks wonderful. Wild garlic blooming like mad in the woods here at the mo. I'd like some for the garden here too. Shame you missed the bee house- a good excuse to return :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks CT. I thought too they'd done an amazing job with the gardens especially in a relatively short time. Really annoyed I missed the wild garlic especially as B has cleared 2 long neglected beds at home and now have more planting space! Would love to go back - problem is list of places to return to is growing longer by the week!!

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my Adder post. Possibly my best (certainly my longest) sighting ever. I had no idea Warwickshire was Adder-less ... I'm so glad you enjoyed 'Crow Country' - it's right up the top of my list of wildlife books. Such fine prose and exquisite observations. I have just finished 'Claxton', which I also loved ... particularly since it is largely about the Yare Valley, home of my teenage years. As for those wonderful pics of Attinghsm, well, it's a place I haven't visited for far too long ...

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much for the comment. It was great to read your post and hear of your adder sightings. I think there are occasionally unconfirmed reports of adders in Warks but generally believed to be extinct. I have looked for them every year on holiday and on trips to places like Forest of Dean but no luck - probably my son and daughter are too noisy!!! Last sighting I had was Valley of the Rocks (Devon).

Yes, really loved Crow Country - he's a great writer. Will buy Claxton when Kindle version comes down in price!!Looks a lovely part of country (not been to that part of Norfolk and a great place to spend your teenage years :) Am reading A Buzz in the Meadow at the moment.

Pete Duxon said...

lovely at Attingham isn't it

you can go back to buy the garlic and sample the cafe.... simples!!

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - yes very impressed with Attingham :) Only problem is route involves the dreaded M6 :( Would love to go back though - just have to persuade Mr RR !!!