Friday, 24 May 2013

In an English country garden

How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
Daffodils, heart's ease and phlox
Meadowsweet and lady smocks

Gentian, lupin and tall hollyhocks
Roses, foxgloves, snowdrops, forget-me-nots

In an English country garden
The garden painting is by Helen Allingham 1848 - 1926 an English watercolour painter and illustrator of the Victorian era. She is particularly known for her paintings of pretty cottages and their gardens. Her paintings were an idealised picture of country life - the cottage gardens could not always have been filled with so many flowers or inhabited by pretty girls with nothing better to do than play with a kitten or wander amongst the chickens. The reality was much harsher, but she did attempt to record a way of life and a type of vernacular architecture that was disappearing even as she painted.
via wikipedia
To answer Gina's question - Lady's Smock - a wildflower which grows in the meadows and gardens - botanical name Cardamine pratensis, and as Wendy pointed out - loved by the Orange Tip butterflies.

74 comments:

  1. The painting is adorable ! And all these images I lost my mind ! A few years ago I bought these daffoltis -heart but I kept for a while !Here the sun is burn and the sensitive flowers do not trive !Thank you Rosemary for this " blooming " post !!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Olympia - the bleeding hearts are such pretty little flowers, and it is a shame that the Greek sun is too hot for them. Over the years I have bought and lost such a lot of flowers that were not happy in our conditions or soil, so now I just stick to the ones that I know will be happy - it is a shame as often we want the flowers we cannot have.

      Delete
  2. Such a wonderful post. I love the painting.
    Great photo's Rosemary
    Have a wonderful weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Marijke - the weather may be unseasonable but the flowers seem to be loving it - this year the flowers seem to be stronger, taller and more colourful than ever.

      Delete
  3. What a delightful post Rosemary.
    I love that song .. I can never remember the name of the flowers.
    I love Helen Allingham's painting.. they always fascinated me as a young girl.
    You have such a diversity of lovely flowers..
    Happy gardening.
    val

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Val - I was hoping that people would remember the song - so many flowers in the garden at the moment that this seemed the best way to cram them all in.
      Helen Allingham's paintings have a really dreamy almost rose tinted quality to them.
      Hoping to get some weeding done this weekend.

      Delete
    2. Hi Val and Rosemary! Of course people will remember the song! I know it all by heart and I'm not even English!

      LOVE to both...

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
    3. Dear Anna - it is always a surprise to me that so many people know typically British songs and also our TV programmes. I read someone's blog the other day where an American commented that she loved Escape to the Country - I had no idea that was shown overseas.

      Delete
    4. It's me again! Yes, in America you can watch a variety of English programmes on BBC America, where they select some of the popular BBC stuff and show it. Things like "The Antiques Roadshow" "Cash in the Attic" and chat shows are shown daily, but that is on the BBC. "Keeping up Appearances" was a great favourite, but... no East Enders! Also, some chefs like Nigella, Jamie and others are reguarly featured on the Food Channel, which is nice. I, Rosemary, have actually lived in this Country longer than I have in Italy and I also studied English Language and Literature at UNI. I have learnt a lot through living here, though! This British world has no secrets for me! I have even developed and English sesnse of humor. "No, I didn't!" "Yes, I did!"

      CIAO!

      ANNA
      xxx

      Delete
    5. Dear Anna - I suppose really you are a mixture of Neapolitan, Cosmopolitan and some honorary Anglo Saxon - this makes you sound like a really tasty dish.

      Delete
  4. Hello Rosemary, Such bright colors and innocent, old-fashioned flowers. The whole time I was reading this, Grainger's Country Gardens was playing in my head.
    --Road to Parnassus

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Jim - glad you sang along, you need to read the words in a sing song way in order for them to make sense.

      Delete
  5. I remember seeing sweet peas for the first time, when I came to live in England. It 2happened" one afternoon, in the "Red Lion" pub, in Turner's Hill, Sussex. I honestly thought they were made of silk, but I was told they were real! Never! But I knew I could smell the sweetest scent, from where I was sitting. And it wasn't my Merridown Country wine!

    Next came lupins (never seen them before, and foxgloves. I remember walking round Butcher's Wood and seein, in an area where the ground dipped,masses of pink foxgloves! Wow! Coming from a city by the sea, I had only noticed geranuims in pots, until then. And I fell in love!

    Nothing more beautiful than an English Country garden! If I look out of the window, I see grey sky and rain and I can't help wondering: is it a miracle that so much grows in English gardens, even though, to an Italian like me, it's practically Winter?

    But I know what makes so many beautiful flowers thrive in the inclement weather of the British Isles! IT MUST BE LOVE, Rosemary (what a beautiful name!)

    HUGS

    ANNA (not wearing my glasses again, so forgive typos!)
    xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Anna - the inclement weather seems to be suiting the flowers and trees really well this year - they are obviously loving it even if we are not. The flowers in my garden are so robust, tall and strong this year and very colourful too.
      I know that you are finding it cold and miserable, but you know what it is very cold to me too. I am even sitting here still wearing my coat - too mean to put on the heating, but it will have to go on tonight.
      Like you I wish it would warm up a bit, and then my heart would sing.
      Take care Anna,
      Ciao♥

      Delete
  6. Dear Rosemary, All these gorgeous photographs, of lovely flowers, make my heart sing. But what are Lady Smocks? Happy weekend. Gina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gina - if you check above I have added a photo of Lady's Smock for you to see. It is a common name for a wild flower here which also ventures into our gardens.
      Glad you enjoyed the flowers - there are so many in the garden at the moment that a collage seemed the best way to show them.

      Delete
  7. Although, I love Andalusia and the flora we have here, I must say an English garden is always the epitome of garden chic! I fell in love with Petersham Nuseries last time I was in London...wish we had the same here :-)
    Have a wonderful week end Rosemary...
    x Lala

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Lala - I have never been to Petersham Nurseries but do know that they have a rather wonderful restaurant there too, which is often talked about.
      This year because of the chilly weather the flowers seem to be really enjoying it, even if we aren't.

      Delete
  8. Dear Rosemary - Beautiful photos and I love the painting. I am a fan of forget-me-nots ~they are kind of appropriate to me since my big move. Hoping to not be forgotten. They are such a pretty dainty flower and I love how if left alone they take over a flower bed. We have them on our walking path here to get into town and I have been enjoying looking at them. Nothing like flowers to lift the spirit. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Gina - flowers definitely do lift the spirits - I get so excited when I see things that I planted last year reappearing - I then know that they are happy to stay with us.
      Forget-me-nots are lovely at this time of year, but I have to be ruthless with mine and pull them up before they take over the whole of the garden. However, there no problem doing that as they come back again next year having shed their seeds.

      Delete
  9. I've just discovered your blog. What superb photos! This post has really lifted my spirits on a cold wet day when I am grieving for my mother who was a great gardener. She would have loved your English country garden photos. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Nancy - I am delighted that this post has lifted your spirits but sad to think of your circumstances at the moment. It sounds as if your mother had a lot of pleasure from her garden - thank you for becoming a follower and for visiting here.

      Delete
  10. One memorable aspect of my trip to your country was the fabulous flowers I saw. I came home and wanted to plant all of what I fell in love with: foxglove lupin delphinium lobelia and all those roses! Oh and I can't forget the lavender. England has been called a country of gardeners because of all the lovely flowers that grow there and tended by people who take gardens seriously. My next trip there will be a garden tour. Thanks for beautiful pictures

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sanda - if you came here for a garden tour you would have a great visit.
      We are a bit passionate about our gardens and I suppose it is the temperate climate that enables us to grow a big variety successfully. This year the flowers are so big and luscious, the long chilly winter seems to have suited them.

      Delete
  11. A beautiful array of colour to brighten up this 'mizzog' of a day. Thank you kindly Miss Rosemary.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing them Paul - the flowers really are spectacular this year.

      Delete
  12. Now I am singing that song too - 'Robins, robins, don't forget the robins' ....
    A lovely post, and would you believe you just confirmed something for me - DD and I were out walking an hour ago and I saw those little pink heart flowers. I remarked I thought they might be Bleeding Hearts, and then you posted them. You collection of flower photos is just wonderful, and I love the painting too. Thank you Rosemary for the fun!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am pleased that the photo turned up a the right moment to confirm your thoughts. The Bleeding Hearts are such pretty little flowers - you can also get them in a very deep pink almost red and just white.
      That song does get stuck in your head once you start humming it.

      Delete
  13. When I first became interested in gardening, I wanted an English country garden and planted one. Much to my disappointment what looked very natural, pretty and full of flowers took soooooo much work. And a little out of place for our small city plot. Now I'm just happy to visit my favorite idealized English gardens when I visit the UK. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Loi - the choices you have made in your garden are just perfect - I love it.
      The trouble with me is that I cannot resist different flowers, they tempt me too much.
      Many of them of course fail, but as time goes by you recognise those you can grow and those you can't.
      I think that it is important to have a garden that is suitable for your house style and where you are living.
      We have a lot of drystone walling in the garden which reflects the Cotswolds.
      I did grow a Cordyline when we first moved here which was small and insignificant but it grew into a palm nearly as tall as the house - it was totally inappropriate for the area but luckily it died.

      Delete
  14. The flowers are beautiful. I love cottage gardens (just like the painting), but as you describe, they were originally functional, not romantic. The Lady's Smock is lovely, I wish it would self-seed in my garden. The Orange Tip butterflies love it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We are surrounded by National Trust common land which is full of wild flowers so we get lots in our garden. Most of the wild flowers I am happy to have but some are not quite so welcome. I have hardly seen any butterflies so far this year, I think that it is too chilly still for them. The Orange Tip ones are so pretty. We have one of the rarest butterflies here - the Adonis Blue following a National Trust campaign to restore its habitat. It is hoped that it will produce a bumper brood this August and September, so I will have to be ready with my camera.

      Delete
  15. The bleeding hearts are also in my garden, the are so lovely.
    I like youre photo's about all that flowers, verry nice.

    Have a nice weekend,
    Inge, my choice

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Inge - the bleeding hearts I like too - their flowers are such a beautiful shape.
      Glad you like the collage of flowers from my garden - there are so many out at the moment that it seemed the best way to show them.

      Delete
  16. Wonderful painting of a dreamgarden.
    Great pictures and collage of the blooms in your wonderful garden.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Marian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Marian - fingers crossed it is supposed to be a lovely sunny day tomorrow. The collage seemed a good way of showing the flowers - suddenly there are such a lot in the garden.

      Delete
  17. Very nice, Rosemary. Great photos, as usual. The painting is quaint and lovely, too.

    Gardens are hard work, but I always think that one day I'll be able to just sit and enjoy it. The problem is that there's always something to do...watering, weeding, digging, planting, fertilizing, protecting (wildlife from damaging everything in sight)...it goes on and on and never ends. That's definitely not depicted in the painting. ;)

    Thanks for explaining the Lady's Smock. I hadn't heard of that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that you are right that gardens are hard work, but once you have some structure to the garden and have done the majority of the planting it does take less work. Luckily we have someone to cut our lawns for us, but having plenty of stuff growing in the borders actually tends to keep the weeds away.

      Delete
  18. Such a lovely painting. It represents so well the English garden. It's all I like and admire. Plenty of different beautiful flowers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Satu - the secret, as you know, is to find flowers and plants that thrive in your own particular environment. I now know what will grow happily here, but it is after much trial and error.

      Delete
  19. I always used to send my grandmother a birthday card with a Helen Allingham cottage on the front. I hoped it would remind her of her youth in a Devon village - in a rose-tinted way, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As a young girl I thought Helen Allingham's paintings of cottages and pretty gardens were the stuff of dreams.

      Delete
  20. English gardens are my favourite. Very colourful, fragrant and has a wide variety of flowers and plants. Happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that it is something in our genes over here - the need to create a garden, whether it be big or small.

      Delete
  21. Glorious show of variety and colour. Most can be grown down here in Tasmania, Australia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think that we can each probably grow more of each others flowers than we realise. I have a very large Callistemon citrinus growing here which people have told me would not survive outside, but it has lived through several harsh winters and is still thriving well.

      Delete
  22. Isn't it interesting how cottage gardens were portrayed as scenes of leisurely enjoyment, when I believe they were cultivated more to provide food and herbs for the house.
    Are these all in your garden Rosemary? It must be beautiful x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right about the cottage garden, and it would also have had a potager with enough vegetables growing to feed the family, chickens, and may be pigs most of the year.
      The flowers are all from our garden.

      Delete
  23. They are all so colourful and pretty. Many of them grow here, in our mild west coast climate, but I've seen some that are new to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have an alkaline soil so many plants that I would like to grow are not happy here. It would be lovely to have rich black loamy soil that you can really dig into, that is not possible with us. However, from trial and error I now know what will survive happily, and fortunately there are plenty of plants that do.

      Delete
  24. Try as they may, I think the French will never have the same intimate, organic relationship with their gardens as the British. Your photos are beautiful and we must be grateful that such a diversity of flowers still grow in people's gardens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What you say does surprise me to a certain extend as there are so many gorgeous great gardens in France for French people to emulate. I know that they do have some wonderful vegetable gardens which is probably reflected in their love of interesting cuisine.

      Delete
  25. There are such pretty flowers in bloom in your garden Rosemary. I see we have lots of the same plants.

    I believe I still have some cards by Helen Allingham in my drawer :-)

    Happy weekend!

    Madelief x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do seem to have very similar flowers which I have noticed on your posts. Helen Allingham's paintings are very popular for birthday cards etc. When I was young they used to feature on chocolate boxes and biscuit tins, but the manufacturers do not seem to do that any more.

      Delete
  26. Dear Rosemary,

    The painting by Helen Allingham is charming. I've tried my hand at watercolors, but found it a difficult medium — it doesn't come with an undo button!

    I think your colorful central montage would make a most wonderful poster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Mark - her dreamy paintings used to be very popular when I was younger, cottages with rose around the door, idyllic winding lanes with children wandering down - most likely with arms full of bluebells.
      Glad you liked the montage - I have some thoughts about using that idea with some other subjects.

      Delete
  27. What a lovely post, a real pleasure to the eyes. This is how I would love my little shady city garden to look like , but ....too much shade :-) Wish you a nice weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are lots of plants that would be happy in your shady garden, lily-of-the-valley, hostas, ferns, the bleeding hearts, and all the many geraniums like the one above called Black Widow.

      Delete
  28. Dear Rosemary,what a wonderful post!!I love the painting.Very beautiful flowers!Some i never seen!Great pictures!
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Dimi..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you liked the garden flowers Dimi - we have had a lovely warm day so I have been busy in the garden, and also cleaned the garden furniture so that we can eat out in the sunshine.

      Delete
  29. what an amazing garden! I could swim in the colours+parfum of all flowers...happy sunday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jana - and hope you have a happy Sunday too in tulipland.

      Delete
  30. How I envy the English country garden! So beautiful, colourful, the "free spirit" of the gardening world. My garden is styled in this same spirit (although with a different variety of flowers) and I am very happy with it. I love your collage Rosemary, what a wealth of flowers, and that Geranium phaeum...I just put it on my list :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Rosemary - the Geranium phaeum you will love - it makes a great ground covering plant. I have it below the double pale lemon coloured flowers of my tree Paeonia. It is small but perfectly formed. Hope that you find it OK, if you were here I would give you some.

      Delete
  31. I love those type of paintings dear Rosemary!
    They are indeed idealized but still, why not? Those beautiful moments are so good to look at!

    The flowers on your photos are so lovely
    They make me smile

    I bought some flowers from the garden sale today and finally tomato plants! ;)
    it is so warm I must wait until the evening to plant them.

    lots of love xooxxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely an evening job Demie - we put some runner beans in last evening, and intend getting some tomato plants at the end of the week. Hot, hot, hot, here too - lovely - we are actually eating our supper in the garden tonight.

      Delete
  32. I am very torn about those garden paintings. There is truth in the beauty. Everyone who has a garden and has walked out into it on a summer morning knows that. But I hate the absence of dandelions and the fact that there is no way of recording the favourite plants which have somehow vanished and the seedlings munched overnight by rampant slugs and the fact that the combination which you thought would have a blowsy beauty is in fact a bit stomach churning. Perhaps I need to get better at living in the moment when the sun shines and it is indeed perfect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those of us that do garden know the reality is far different to the image portrayed in Allingham's paintings.
      Slugs, snails, and one of my banes lily beetle - is it them or my plants? However, lets remember the combinations that do work and even better than we thought they would - then the garden is magic, and the disappointments of no great consequence.

      Delete
  33. English country garden is my favorite style of garden. It looks natural and untamed but I know keeping such a garden takes lots of works, cares, and attentions. The painting is nice, so is your collage.

    Yoko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Yoko - the collage seemed the best way to put some of my flowers together - suddenly there are so many of them out. It is good to be able to make garden borders that appear to look natural and untamed, and also important to have some structure to it all too, possibly in the form of box hedging, pathways and lawns.

      Delete
  34. The painting is lovely but your mosaic is fantastic, so colourful and featuring some of my favourite flowers.
    Sarah x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Sarah - the mosaic is a very useful tool on picmonkey. I intend to use it more and I have one or two ideas that I want to try out.

      Delete
  35. Thanks so much for the name of the bleeding-heart-flowers! I am posting right now a blog entry with these flowers, pics taken 2 weeks ago in Sofia, Bulgaria...In Bulgarian the name translate as "girls heart":-))

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that may be 'girls heart' is a prettier name - I think the droplet at the bottom of the heart shape is supposed to be the drop of blood.

      Delete

❖PLEASE NOTE❖ Comments made by those who hide their identity will be deleted

“You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you - you have to go to them sometimes”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh