Flowery Saturday

Today I went to one of my favourite gardens. In fact I believe it is one of England’s loveliest, so wonderful that I plan to return really soon! I’ve posted about it before, so I won’t say anymore now, I’ll just let the flowers speak. Click for a bigger view.



The Bears Hut at Killerton

In 1808 Sir Thomas Acland built a rustic summerhouse for his wife Lydia in the grounds of their estate at Killerton. Two generations later, their grandson shipped a bear over from Canada and kept it as a pet. The summerhouse became the Bear’s Hut and has been known as that ever since. Now it’s the highlight of a visit for children, on Saturday I sheltered from a shower of rain, but I’d like to have a tea party there!

Killerton Spring

The weather forecast got it wrong this morning, so I walked the dogs and then took my camera to Killerton to make the most of the unexpected sunshine. I’ve taken you before, for the Christmas decorations and a fashion exhibition, but this time I wanted to see how the grounds were looking in their spring costumes.

The Magnolia blossom was spectacular

Everywhere you look, flowers both woodland and cultivated

Shrubs and assorted loveliness!

Killerton is a National Trust property a few miles east of Exeter, I hope you enjoyed your spring walk.

Killerton at Christmas

Killerton House and estate is a National Trust property a few miles east of Exeter. I’ve been wanting to see it decorated for Christmas, so after a manic day of shopping and wrapping gifts I checked the internet thinking that I might pop out tomorrow. This was at 4.30. I saw that today it would be open until six for the last time so that people could see the house in the evening light. I was there by five!
I’m having to use a fixed 50mm lens at the moment so my options are limited, even more because of the dim light, but I enjoyed capturing some of the tree decorations.

I don’t know how many trees they had, I lost count.


This is a glimpse of the dining room


The staircase was decorated with foliage and snow


and the inner hall had this lovely barrow


There were some old fashioned toys on display in the entrance hall



Including these creepy ones

k clown

k dolls

One of the trees in the hall


See how pretty the entrance hall is?


The walk back from the house to the old stable block entrance is about two hundred yards. It was really dark and I was on my own, so I was glad to hear the voices of a young family behind me. And seeing this beauty on my way was a real treat!


I hope you enjoyed my half hour visit, I was back home by six!

As always you can click for a bigger view of my photos and to see some earlier posts about Killerton go to https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/travel-theme-delicate/ and https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/objects-of-desire/ and https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/a-killerton-evening/#

Knightshayes, a very English Garden

I followed last Saturday at Coleton Fishacre by spending Sunday at Knightshayes, but as I was there for a craft fair, I only had time to wander in the kitchen garden. Still, there was lots to see for October and it didn’t rain until I went back inside (after having a conversation with the geese).

Heading for the walled garden


One of the little turret corners


Mixed borders


They had beans for sale but I’m not a fan of runners!


Handsome rhubarb forcing pots


They make a rose wine with these and the green grapes they grow


Herbs, vines and hedges


Looking back towards the grounds


The stable blocks . . .


. . . that now house the main shop, restaurant, and second hand book room. Twice a year the Mid Devon Craft Guild have a fair in the room on the left for two weeks, thats where my friend and I spent the day.

Knightshayes Court is a Victorian Country house owned by the National Trust. The house is beautifully decorated, I don’t know if I will be able to take photos, but I’ll go back  in spring to see it again as well as the main garden which has more than 1200 plant species.

After many years of visiting National Trust properties I have finally  become a member so for the next year I’ll be featuring the places I enjoy.

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A Slice of Saturday at Coleton Fishacre

What could possibly come between asked Christine, commenting on my post yesterday. So, so many things but I’ll try not to overload you all!
The people who discovered this valley by the sea were none other than the D’Oyly-Carte’s, best known for their company that staged Gilbert and Sullian operas and as owners of the Savoy hotel.It was Rupert and his wife Lady Dorothy that built Coleton and planted its beautiful gardens with a mix of rare and exotic plants that wouldn’t usually grow in our English climate.
The house has a stunning art deco interior – sadly photos were not permitted inside the house, but it was gracious, elegant living at its best. A family home in the country with ample space for house guests, each room had a view over the gardens and some of the sea beyond.
Here are some of the vistas and peep betweens that have evolved.

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The D’Oyly-Carte’s had two children, Michael who died in a car accident at twenty-one in 1932 and a daughter, Bridget. In 1941, Rupert divorced Dorothy and Bridget took over the house. Dorothy moved to the Bahamas with her new man and Rupert continued to visit the house at weekends until his death in 1948.
The dream ended, Bridget sold the house after her father’s death and a number of years in private ownership, it became a National Trust property in 1982.
So, we can all see it, we can stroll along the paths, gaze out to sea and enjoy the wonderful garden, surely one of the best in the country.
Here are some of the plants, holding up well in mid October.

I hope you enjoyed my day out at Coleton Fishacre, I’ll be going back in the spring to see what’s blooming and for another nice lunch and cake break.

The Middle of Yesterday

Imagine yourself ninety years ago. You find yourself sailing past one of the loveliest parts of England, an unspoilt valley by the sea in Devon. You decide you have to buy it and have the architect Oswald Milne design your perfect country house.

The house was built so that all the main rooms faced south and once it was complete Milne, who was Sir Edward Lutyens assistant designed the hard landscape.

The stone was quarried on the land and the landscaping even included channeling a stream through a rill, damming to form pools before it returned to its natural state in the lower slopes of the valley.
coleton 6
Stand and enjoy the view,
coleton 8
your own private beach lies below.
coleton 7

and all the while your paradise is being planted with a sheltering belt of Monterey pine and holm oak that will eventually create a micro climate.
One day your paradise will be filled with fragrant and exotic plants, flowers so colourful that everyone will want to see it.
Tomorrow perhaps I’ll show YOU how it turned out.

A Killerton evening

Would you give away your family home for your political beliefs? Sir Richard Acland did  in 1944 with Killerton, his 6400 acre estate just a few miles outside Exeter, handing it to the National Trust. The estate includes 20 farms and 200-plus cottages, many miles of footpaths and woodlands to walk, and the main house that is open to the public. A walk that has long been a favourite of mine and my children when they were growing up, is at Daneswood, great for an hours pootling. Here are some of the sights  in and views from the wood this misty, late summer evening.