Sunday, 18 July 2021

Hill Close Gardens, Warwick

.............. are located within a stones throw of its medieval castle, and access to them is via the rather aptly named Bread and Meat Close. 


These hidden hedge gardens from the mid 1840s are
 rare survivors of the Victorian era. Similar gardens were once found in many of our urban areas, but very few survive today. They were mainly used by artisans who lived above their business premises in the centre of the town with just a simple backyard and nowhere to grow flowers and vegetables. Originally there were 32 gardens here, but only 16 survive today. Some of the land was sold off during the Edwardian period to build new housing. Initially the plots were rented, but by the 1860s they were sold freehold to the various families, which actually contributed to their survival today.

Apart from all of the wonderful flowers in the gardens, a real pleasure for us was being able to visit the small brick built Grade 11 listed Victorian summerhouses which were filled with lots of interesting artefacts. 


Come in, close the door behind you, and light the fire. On a cold autumn day this must have been a really cosy place to take a break from working in the garden, enjoy a rest and make a cup of tea. Did you spot the old carpet sweeper? I recall my mother having one when I was still knee high to a grasshopper. Everybody called them a Ewbank which was the name of the firm that made them. Ours was eventually replaced when my father purchased the very latest electric vacuum cleaner for my mother from a door-to-door salesman. 
Lots of bees were enjoying visiting these Eryngiums - sea holly, which comes in several shades from silver grey to cobalt blue.
Eryngium - Blue Steel





































If you look very carefully at the pink and yellow Alstroemeria - Peruvian lily, you might spot this.........

........a very attractive Scarlet Tiger Moth - Callimorpha dominula. 
A network of alleys and pathways takes you all around the gardens each with its own unique atmosphere. 
William Sleath, boot and shoe-maker, had a very large family. The Sleath family supplied the Imperial Yeomanry with their boots.
Advertisement from the local paper.
 Sleath's Fashionable Boots & Shoes
'We especially recommend this new material or ventilating leather cloth expressly for tender feet or light wear. Warranted not to crack or break at the sides'.




















What have we got here?

A fine set of old garden tools.





This coming week we are heading over the water again to Wales, but I hasten to add, NOT to visit a garden.

27 comments:

  1. A fascinating visit from every angle, Rosemary. Thanks for the great pictures and the fine narrative.

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  2. Just for fun I looked up Bread and Cheese Close, Warwick, UK on my Google maps. It is a fine name for a fascinating location. I am sure you enjoyed exploring the gardens and the sweet Summerhouses. I love the fireplaces in such a small building. The Peruvian lilies are very pretty - one of my brothers has a hobby plantation of them, in lots of colour combinations which he sells to the florist industry. So pleased you are able to go out again after all the lockdowns.

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    1. Bunches of Alstroemeria are always available here too, and very reasonably priced. My favourite colours are the off-beat blue ones with flecks of tan.
      I wonder if the name Bread and Meat Close reflects those Victorian Artisan gardeners - there was certainly a butcher and a baker amongst them.

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  3. Enjoy your time in Wales and I'm sure you will find a flower or two there in bloom Rosemary.
    The photos you have shown, the garden is certainly likeable and my mother had one of those carpet sweepers as did I.

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    1. We just pop over for the day Margaret - it is very quick and easy for us to have a day out over there.

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  4. Just beautiful! Love the soldered glass windows, the verdigris fence and old bottles on the window sill, and that fat bee on the sea holly!

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  5. What beautiful gardens, and especially the tiny little summer houses. We had a carpet sweeper and our brand was Bissel.

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    1. When you see those old household gadgets it makes you realise just how lucky we are today.

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  6. Interesting post and the flowers are beautiful.

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    1. Each garden was a real treat to explore and discover.

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  7. Good to see you are still getting out and about.

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    1. We endeavour to have a day out every week, but we do not mix with crowds of people.

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  8. Dearest Rosemary,
    That was a very worthwhile garden visit with interesting history.
    The old tools, cleaning things, rug beater, clock and bottles added to the charm from a bygone era.
    Having just a lovely garden as a feast for the eye, was lots of hard work and did not yield anything. Other than some figs from the fig tree in one of the photos...
    Enjoy your Wales outing!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - there was produce - corn, beans, peas, cabbages etc but I didn't take a photo because they were being watered with high sprays - not conducive to my camera. Every garden also had apple and plum trees, gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes etc. The main criteria would, however, certainly have been food during the Victorian era and not so much the flowers. There are no paid gardeners maintaining these gardens are are manned by volunteers.

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    2. That is quite a challenge for keeping those gardens up!

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  9. Beautiful gardens and summer houses. I seem to remember that my mother had exactly that model of carpet sweeper at one time, she bought it second hand at a jumble sale and worked for many years after that. The garden tools remind me of my friend Jim who passed away recently aged 87; he had a collection of very curious garden implements including many kinds of hoe which he would gladly demonstrate to anyone who showed sufficient interest and had half an hour to spare.

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    1. There appears to be a revival going on with old garden tools. They often have them on 'bargain hunt' these days. You can pick up some interesting ones surprisingly cheaply, which appear to be much better quality than those you buy at the DIY store.

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  10. Hello Rosemary, I love this delicate little place, with its quaint buildings and old artifacts. Not every site has to be on a monumental scale or have a vast acreage. I wish Sleath's was still in business--no shoes ever seem to fit me, but maybe their special fabric would do the job.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - sometimes I wish that it was possible to turn the clock back a few years to a time when life seemed simpler and more innocent.

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  11. In my next "life" I would like to have the space to grow Eryngiums! I just love that silver-blue color! Will you be taking the bridge to get to Wales? We took that bridge after a couple of days spent near Hay-en-Wye, That place that is just all bookstores(not what I expected) had been recommended by my daughter's friend and then the second night was in Wales at Llandrindad Wells before we headed towards Cornwell!

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    1. Don't wait for another life Mary, find a little corner, and plant one now.
      Yes, we shall take the bridge, there are two now and we shall take the newest one. You used to have to pay a toll but they are free now. However, we have now decided to wait and see what the weather is like. Warnings have just been issued about the very hot weather that we are experiencing currently.

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  12. What a beautiful little trip back in time. The summerhouses are miniature windows into the past and so interesting.

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    1. Thank you Lorrie - I enjoyed your observation.

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