"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

Friday, 13 July 2012

Following in the Footsteps of an "Edwardian Lady" - Part 5 : Packwood House Gardens

Between 1880 and 1890 Edith Holden lived with her family at a house called Troutbeck in Darley Green. Packwood House was just a short walk away and the Holden children knew the Oakes family who lived at Packwood at the time and the Holdens often visited the gardens. Edith and her mother and sisters also often walked through Packwood House Park. Edith often mentioned visiting the Packwood area in "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" and "Nature Notes".

On the 7th July, 1906, she writes in The Country Diary that she was given a beautiful white water lily from the pool at Packwood House. There are several paintings of water lilies both white and yellow for the month of July in this book.

I decided to go along to Packwood House Gardens one afternoon last week to see if water lilies were still to be found.

Walking out of the car park the North Court can be seen.

Entrance to the House and Gardens

Flower borders surround the courtyard by the Reception and Shop

Entrance to the House

Entrance to the Carolean Garden

Garden Pond in the Sunken Garden with the Yew Garden in the distance

There were water lilies in this pool although pink rather than white!

There is a much larger pool in the parkland outside the walled garden and it could be that the water lily given to Edith came from this pool. I couldn't see any sign of water lilies and did plan to walk round to see if I could find any but, although I had left home in sunshine, by the time I arrived it had clouded over and rain was threatening in typical Summer 2012 fashion!!

I did manage at long last to find some Meadowsweet in flower as this species is often mentioned by Edith on her travels in June and July.

The Gardens and fish ponds at Packwood fascinated Edith as did the Yew Garden which is said to represent the Sermon on the Mount. She spent time here sketching accompanied by the sound of birds and hum of bees from the hives.

The Gardens at Packwood were looking particularly beautiful despite the lack of sunshine. This is the Yellow Border although there are flowers of other colours mixed in with the yellow blooms

Back in the Sunken Garden

The borders surrounding the pool were redeveloped in 2007 resulting in an exotic garden theme.

Borders leading up to the Raised Terrace Walk with the Yew Garden behind

Bays full of roses

The Raised Terrace Walk - probably my favourite part of the Garden

On my way out I bought one of these Rudbekia plants from the shop to plant in our herbaceous border at home.

Three quarters of an hour after my arrival the rain arrived! So I gave up plans to walk around the yew garden and parkland and sheltered for a while in a gazebo.

Rose Garden from the Gazebo

Sunken Garden with the house behind

A few photos of some of the sundials scattered around the House and Gardens

Leaving the Gardens

As a matter of interest "Richard II" recently shown as part of BBC Two's Shakespeare season was partly filmed at Packwood House and Gardens.


Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden
The Country Diary Companion by Josephine Pool
The Edwardian Lady - The Story of Edith Holden Compiled by Ina Taylor


Rohrerbot said...

Wow!! So a few remnants remain:) I love all the wildflowers/blooms around the various gardens. Shocking for me? The Cactus and succulent displays! I feel like the succulents would rot at the base from all the rain you've been getting. Even more shocking is that a cactus is growing there. Very interesting. Another nice trip back in time. Thank you for sharing your work. Last night I saw the post and smiled. A nice way to start my Saturday morning off with coffee:) Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Chris:)

Rob said...

Old walled gardens have a special feel to them - this makes me want to visit one!
The old leadlight windows of the house look attractive too.

ShySongbird said...

A most enjoyable post Caroline. Lovely, colourful photos! I have been there but it was a long time ago. It is a beautiful place and the gardens are so well looked after. The Yew garden always stuck in my mind. I can imagine Edith would have loved sketching there! I don't remember the bays of roses, they look really lovely, quintessentially English :-)

What a shame the weather curtailed your visit, not surprising of course :-(

Omi said...

Love all the wild areas. Thanks for the tour :)

Ragged Robin said...

Rohrerbot - Many thanks Chris for such a lovely comment. Luckily Packwood House is looked after by the National Trust and will therefore remain unaltered for ever :-) The succulents etc., growing in the sunken garden are rather amazing for our climate! I think many of the plants there are at the limit of their range! I have some succulents in pots but I bring them in every winter. Have a good weekend too :)

Rob - Many thanks. I love old walled gardens too - they always seem full of cottage garden plants and suggest England from a century ago! The house is lovely - one of these days I'll find time to visit inside although any photos will not be very good as NT don't allow flash photography.

ShySongbird - Many thanks Jan. I always find the gardens there very "cottagey gardeny" and the yew garden is such a striking feature. I don't think the rain is ever going to stop :(. Some sun today but interspersed with the inevitable heavy showers :(

Omi - Many thanks - lots of wildflowers in the wilder areas which thanks to rain I didn't get chance to take photos :( There is a nice woodland area and orchard there too.

Anonymous said...

What a pretty post Caroline, I do enjoy your 'Country Diary' series, thank you so much for taking the time to share it.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Many thanks for your lovely comment - so glad you are enjoying the "Country Diary" posts :)