Friday, 5 July 2019

Part 1 - Westbury Court Garden.......

was laid out during the years 1696-1705


Engraving dated 1712 by Johannes Kip 
Westbury Court is a formal Dutch water garden created in a style that became fashionable during the reign of William and Mary. The fact that the garden has survived intact, whilst still retaining its unique charm and beauty, makes it a very rare survivor. Other similar water gardens were completely destroyed or have mere fragments of them left. Many were replaced by the more naturalistic school of landscape gardens introduced and popularised by Capability Brown in the late c18th. 
A veritable forest of artichokes 
As well as being a pleasant place to be, the garden was designed to be productive. Flowers were planted alongside beds of vegetables, water canals stocked with fish and a rabbit warren all supplied food for the table. 

A fish seen in one of the water canals but what a huge mouth he has!
The walls are lined with cordoned fruit trees - apples, pears, cherries, plums and peaches - the fruit, and flowers in the garden are all authentic to the style and period of garden.
Rhubarb Forces 
Forcing rhubarb was first discovered by a gardener at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1817 when he accidentally covered newly emerging rhubarb crowns with heaps of soil as he dug a nearby ditch. The pink, sweet, tender stems quickly shot upwards much to his surprise. 













Part 2 - the journey will continue in Westbury Court Garden but then we shall depart along a pathway which leads from the garden down to the mighty River Severn.

53 comments:

  1. WOW!! I think this must be one of the loveliest places to visit. Stunning photos as always. You really know how to photograph plants and flowers. Look at that mouth- if I fell in there I'd be a goner! I'm looking forward to part 2. Best, Jane x

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    1. We loved it there Jane - thanks for your kind comment.

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  2. Wow wonderful photos again! That fish an eye catcher!

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  3. A magnificent garden to be sure. I always chuckle at the name Capability. Can you imagine the expectations having a moniker like that must place on you?

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    1. As I am sure you know his name was actually Lancelot. 'Capability' came about because he had a penchant for telling clients that their estates had great 'capability' for improving the landscape. Capability was not a name he ever used himself.

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  4. Capability Brown destroyed a lot of formal gardens in his time.

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    1. Typically people want what happens to be fashionable at the time.

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    2. Even now, formal gardens are unpopular in this country. I don't much care for them myself, but they were an interesting reflection of the 16th and 17th century attitude to nature. William Cobbett described The Devil's Punchbowl in Surrey (a half a mile from where I was born) as 'The most God-forsaken spot on earth'. He needed to get out more.

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    3. How extraordinary my husband was born in Haslemere and lived in Thursley at Pitch Place - the family farm, next door to Lloyd George's fruit farm.

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    4. Yes. I was born on the Devil's Punch Bowl side of Haslemere and spent the first 4 years of life at Beacon Hill. Does your husband remember a sweet shop there called 'The Candy Shop'? That was my father's shop until about 1955.

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    5. He went to Beacon Hill School for four years, but doesn't remember The Candy Shop. His mother pushed him all the way to school on the back of her bike and then back again to Pitch Place in the afternoon, but eventually the council laid on transport.
      Life was tough for mothers then, no cars to ferry the kids around, and his father was hard at work on the farm.

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    6. I vaguely remember the school. It seemed far away to me. It was on the other side of the road.

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  5. Great flower detail. Smashing garden. Been seeing a lot of rhubarb in ordinary household gardens recently after thinking it was fading away. A staple of childhood memories as several aunts used to bake home made rhubarb pies from their back garden plants. Probably useful and easy to grow during the war and ration years.

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    1. We have a clump of rhubarb in the garden and I wouldn't want to be without it. It is not cheap to buy especially the forced pink kind.

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  6. So different from the garden I visited recently. These formal gardens only appeal to me when the plants do their best to disrupt the formality, though I rather suspect that in the heyday of such gardens whole armies of gardeners armed with scissors snipped away to keep everything as neat and precise as J Kip's engraving.
    I'll leave you to inform David that Capability's real first name was even harder to live up to!

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    1. I am grateful that this unique, charming garden has survived intact, and that it reveals a glimpse of what was fashionable during William and Mary's reign.

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  7. so beautiful! The scenery reminds me to drottningholm palace in Stockholm :)

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    1. I have never been there, but from the photos it looks a lovely place to visit.

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  8. So lovely! And your photos are magnificent, as usual!

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  9. These photos are great...and I dare say wandering those immense gardens takes a bit of time. So glad the original plan is available to consider as well.

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    1. In the 1960's the garden still fall into neglect and this engraving greatly helped the restoration.

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  10. The golden lion drew me in immediately - and I'm not at all disappointed.
    I do have the orange daylilies but I want ALL those other fabulous flowers too!

    Such a beautiful place, and again a lovely day for you to capture those gorgeous blooms and scenic views to share with us.
    The cost of keeping such a huge garden in excellent condition must be phenomenal - who owns the property now? Is the house still intact? Amazing water feature, and imagine having your personal rabbit warren - hope they didn't nibble the veggies!
    Rosemary, just a perfect visit and looking forward to more. Many thanks.
    Mary x

    P.S. Thanks so much for remembering Bob on his birthday today! I just posted showing him enjoying a Guinness, haha!

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    1. Dear Mary - the garden is owned by the NT, but rather surprisingly they only have one full-time gardner - a young girl who was working whilst we were there , two part-timers, and several volunteers. Sadly the house is no longer there, but the area where it sat is now a care-home. The rabbit warren was surrounded by walls so no nibbling of the veggies for them.
      Hope Bob had a great day - today is our Wedding Anniversary so we are off to a local restaurant for lunch.

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  11. What a beautifulgarden. I love the William & Mary style of architecture as well as the garden designs. My acquaintance only being Williamsburg, Virginia and a former house I owned on the Delmarva.

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    1. It must have been lovely to have owned a William & Mary style house, I wonder if you miss it?

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  12. What a gorgeous garden, and your photos do it justice. I've always been partial to William and Mary, having some Dutch blood in me. I love the idea of flowers and vegetables intermingled in a garden, and of the productivity that was so important. What a great visit.

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    1. Thanks Lorrie - I wonder if you have ever been to visit the Netherlands and checked out your Dutch origins. Up and down the country we have quite a lot of William & Mary architecture dating back to their reign.

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  13. Hello Rosemary, Yes, bot formal and informal gardens have their attractions. Westbury Court Garden proves that even before Capability, they were capable of doing it up brown.
    --Jim

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  14. A glorious garden with so much to enjoy. Love the fish :). B x

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    1. It is a garden that I want to return to during a different season.

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  15. You've photographed this place beautifully!

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  16. Beautiful property and garden a delight to see, and very well looked after.
    We have a Westbury here in Tasmania, my best friend lives in Westbury.

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    1. We found it a very special place to wander around and see.

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  17. What a treasure. Garden history is a strong interest of mine.

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  18. The structure of the garden is perfect , beautifully laid out and being so old it is still amazingly beautiful.

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    1. It is so fortunate that this lovely garden has survived intact.

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  19. It is impossible to pick a favorite shot. I am amazed that the garden dates back so far. Beautiful shots Rosemary.

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  20. Dear Rosemary - I like it when gardens feature water, so I’m glad to be able to see this rare survivor of formal Dutch water garden. It has really many attractive water sites and the profusion of flowers. I wonder if it is the need of time that the symmetry style was replaced by the more naturalistic style. The close-up of the carp’s big moth made me laugh. Imagine how surprising when a school of carp approach you with full-open mouth when you try to feed them.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - sadly most Dutch water garden were replaced by the more naturalistic style of garden that became fashionable 100 hundred years later. However, I am grateful that this one did survive.

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  21. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a lovely post to read and even more so, to view the uplifting photos.
    The period of William and Mary where England, The Netherlands and even New Netherlands were 'together'...
    Needed this, since my Dad's passing on June 30.
    Feeling forever grateful for having traveled to The Netherlands for our 66th time to say goodbye to Dad, feeling that it was about time. He only lived 13 more days from the time we left and my siblings did not expect this. Guess from 8,000 km distance one becomes more aware of little details in intonation or the showing of less excitement.
    Dad was ready at age 98.5, only 4 days short...
    Even if I'd emotionally dealt with this farewell, still so many things come surfacing that stop you in your tracks for a while.
    Sending you hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - Thinking of you at this very sad time. I was really sorry to learn the news of your father's passing, but grateful for you that you did manage the long journey back home to be with him - that must be a great comfort to you. Take care, and sending you love.

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  22. Thank you for introducing me to a Dutch Water Garden, something I have never heard of before. It is gorgeous, and the little building at the end of the waterway does indeed have a Dutch look about it. What beautiful plants and flowers too.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing it Patricia - it is unique, not only here, but also in The Netherlands too.

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  23. It was good to be able to compare the 1712 engraving with your photos and recognise some of the features. I enjoyed visiting the formal garden, but for me the beds of perennials are my favourites.
    How do you manage to take such perfect photos? I remember you saying that your camera is a point and shoot variety. I need to acquire a new camera, I think. I invariably end up with hand-me-down models from the photographers in the family. I also use my smart-phone a lot when travelling as it is very convenient.

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    1. It is kind of you to say about the photos. Sometimes I am embarrassed by my little camera when I am amongst people with large telescopic lenses and tripods, as happened to me yesterday, but it does for me. It is a Sony DSC-WX350 Cyber Shot, but it has by now been updated by a newer model, however, you can still buy them for around £150.

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    2. Thanks for your information re your camera. I will take note for when I update.

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