Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spring At Last With A Wee Visit to Pashley Manor Gardens

Tulips in the garden 2019

Hark, I hear a robin calling!
List, the wind is from the south!
And the orchard-bloom is falling
Sweet as kisses on the mouth.

The joy of Spring is upon us here in northerly Alberta. At last. Until a few days ago, we had biting winds and near freezing temperatures overnight. But there seems a shift the last day or two and so we celebrate. Hubbs and I have been working out in the yard. He's been making a brick step off our newly built deck that goes down into the lawn. And I've been oiling our teak deck furniture. The morning has been mild and the air astir with birdsong, the odd bee buzzing by. And, now the May Day trees have burst out in full bloom with their sweet, sweet fragrance. Oh my! The trees are finally greening out in earnest. And the tulips above opened this week. Love that peony hue of purple -- it's so vibrant. It would make a lovely shade of lipstick, don't you think? Or maybe a sheath dress with a billowy jacket over top?


You undoubtedly noticed a change when you arrived here today. Yes, it's still me. I've just created a new blog header. Have been considering a different look for a while now. As much as I loved and still do the old one, I feel ready to play with something new. And I do love those tulips. Since they are seasonal, they might not work in the middle of October, so you might come one day and see it's changed again before I settle on what I'm completely at home with.


Over recent months, as I've mentioned in previous posts, I've been beavering away at putting together digital-to-print photo albums of our 2016 England holiday. It turns out I needed time and distance to be able to look through the over two thousand pictures and select some favourites of the trip. (At first they were all my favourites). I must admit, looking at them makes me homesick. I want to go back and see it all again. Take it in more slowly. And certainly with better diary notes, the way Susan Branch does. Next time.

How we looked forward to waking up every morning knowing an adventure was waiting for us. We'd booked a six-day garden tour with Flora Garden Tours and during those six days we visited twelve gardens, usually two a day. Some were large and stately, others were smaller and more romantic, all were so delightfully English. It was hard to pick a favourite -- we loved, loved Hever Castle and Sissinghurst, but after our morning at Pashley Manor Gardens, Rick and I both felt it edged to the top for us. There was something about this garden that really captivated us.

Since I'm already sorting pictures for the album, I decided to share a few with you here, take you on a little walkabout. We all know that photos never really do the thing justice, but still they give us an idea. And they help us to remember. I hope you enjoy.

Our first glimpse as we drove up the rail fence-lined driveway (no doubt to keep sheep in and/or straying tourists out) to find ourselves in front of this Tudor manor house -- built around 1550 -- with old roses climbing the timber front façade.

Isn't that tree gorgeous!

Pashley Manor Gardens are situated in the English countryside on the border of Sussex and Kent, and they are family owned and maintained. There are 500-year-old oak trees over which to marvel, and there is a delightful mix of herbaceous borders, walled gardens, cozy nooks, a pool garden, enchanting woodsy paths and tranquil vistas overlooking the ponds and lawns where ducks sit sunning themselves. Sheep safely graze in the meadows just beyond the fence. The terrace (No. 3 on the map) provided a picture perfect spot for lunch (I had a yummy quiche, salad, and sparkling elderberry juice), and there was a lovely gift shop to browse in at the end of the visit.

Here is an aerial view of the gardens. I don't know about you, but I like floor plans. I like having an idea of the layout and where plants/trees/ponds/statues sit in relationship to each other. The birds-eye view also gives a glimpse of the size of the park and gardens. It sits on 11 acres and yet there is an intimacy from the way it is all put together.. 

This longed eared fellow was the first to greet us when we arrived. Only keen observers would see him nestled in the tall grasses, ears up and alert to intruders, just the way his real life chums would be standing guard. He was a first of various other statuary and sculptures exhibited in prominent spots throughout the gardens. Just one of the many details that added to the charm of the place.

Here's a close up of the old timber frame Tudor house. While I was taking a snap of that lovely diamond patterned window, you'll notice it had taken snaps of me in my red coat. That front door was massive, and I assume, heavy. Even though it would have been built to keep out the cold and lurking enemies, I found it interesting to notice that the door frame had designs carved into it to add beauty. That old iron door knocker? I wanted to try it out, but thought better not.

Insert: I loved the signage we saw whilst in England -- And don't you love that word 'whilst'? It's so poetic and we saw it used everywhere. Here in Canada we just say 'while'. Not nearly as romantic. But the British really are poetic, and kindly, even as they warn folks to be careful or to drive slowly.

Now, I'm going to cheat a little here and show you four photos from the souvenir guide. They capture the house and gardens at their best lighting and in peak season. I wanted you to see that too. And then the rest will be my own pics.

The Tudor Front
'Lovely Girl' Lilies in pots & 'Gloire de Dijon' Roses on the walls
Photo from souvenir guide

A view of the Georgian addition to Pashley Manor
Photo from souvenir guide

The Tudor part of the house is in front when you arrive. When you come around the side to the back, that's when you see there's a Georgian addition to the house. It would have been added sometime in the 1700s. I think that's what I find fascinating about the British people. Here in Canada people tend to tear things down if they want to build something new, but in England in many cases, people recognize the value of the old even when desiring something modern and updated. So we saw lots of melding of the old and the 'new' buildings whilst (wink) visiting.

Two bits of history I found interesting. The original house at Pashley was probably a hunting lodge owned by Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London in 1457 and great-grandfather of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's fated wife. (We saw her birthplace when we visited Hever Castle.)

And, in the twentieth century, the house was a temporary home for soldiers from Canada and Poland before, during, and after World War II. At that time, the gardens fell into considerable disrepair, and it took years and lots of hard work by the owners to bring them to the award-winning standards we enjoyed the day we visited.

Sculpture 'Lazy Days' by Kate Denton
Located in The Elizabethan Garden (map area No. 4)
'Amber Queen' & 'Just Joey' Roses
Photo from souvenir guide

'Mr. Bennet's Daughter' by Philip Jackson
Located in the Hot Gardens (map area No. 4)
Photo from souvenir guide

Don't you love this potting bench arrangement of potted plants? I'm so taken with that amazing red geranium. Not sure now, but I think this was part of the gift shop -- they had lovely plants for sale. If I lived in England, I would have been filling the van with plants to take home with me.

This was one of my favourite spots. That expanse of green lawn created such a marvelous backdrop for those mottled pink roses in front. On the left side of the map, below No. 2, the above garden looks toward the island, you barely see the bridge in the photo. We walked over that bridge onto a lovely path through the trees and shady areas to the Anne Boleyn sculpture.

"Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint
and the soil and sky as canvas."

"The lesson I have thoroughly learnt,
and wish to pass on to others, is to
know the enduring happiness that the
love of a garden gives."

Won’t you come into the garden?
I would like my roses to see you.

Rosa 'Just Joey' -- love the colour!
If it were me naming them, I'd call them 'Orange Crush'.

"Gardens are the result of a collaboration
between art and nature."

I fell in love with this delightful sculpture. I no longer remember where she posed in the garden, and perhaps she now lives in someone else's garden as the pieces on exhibit were also for sale. Regardless, I love her for her sense of peace and tranquility, maybe also for her meditative or pensive mood. She makes me think of the last stanza from Wordsworth's daffodil poem:

"For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils."

Sitting in a garden as lovely as this one would surely work the same magic as Wordsworth's couch, don't you think? And no wonder this woman in the photo below lets the breezes play with the sleeves of her gown. She seems quite free in her stance.

"A garden is to be enjoyed, and should
satisfy the mind and not only the eye of the beholder.
Sounds such as a rustle of bamboo and the dripping of water,
scents and sensations such as grass or gravel or
stone underfoot, appeal to the emotions and play
a part in the total impression."

"In garden arrangement,
as in all other kinds of decorative work,
one has not only to acquire a knowledge of what to do, but also
to gain some wisdom in perceiving what it is well to let alone."

And, so we come to the end of our little tour. This last photos is one of the beautiful new gift shop -- we had so much fun poking around in there. Sorry I didn't take a photo of the inside (what was I thinking), you would have loved it. I bought the sweetest milk jug there.

* * *
On that note, I'm wishing you
a pleasant day and a beautiful weekend.



  1. Thank you for the glimpses of a very lovely garden. I can certainly see why you would feel that homesick feeling for another visit. Trust the day will come for such a return. Your new header is a delight, what an enchanting color of tulips!

  2. Oh Brenda, what a delightful tour you have shared with us! I may never get up that way - but sure feel as though I have - thank you for that!

    What a gorgeous place so steeped in history. I love learning of new things (or old technically, haha.)

    Have a wonderful day.

  3. Thank you for the garden tour! It was delightful.
    Beautiful pictures and I love the purple tulips !!

  4. What a delightful garden tour! I can see why this became the favorite for you and your husband. All the flowers and lawns and borders are wonderful, but the statuary is especially nice. Only one I would have sent to the shed. 😉 Three guesses... So glad to read that the weather has improved and that spring has arrived. That is most helpful for the spirits. 🌿🌷🌿

  5. Oh wow! What a wonderful walk through all this beauty. I love flowers of all kinds, but the roses are always my favourites. When I had roses in my garden, I painted a sign that said, welcome to my garden,I want my roses to meet you.

  6. What a wonderful garden tour. You certainly saw the gardens and the plants at just the right season. Oh, those roses! Every time I see a garden full of roses I want to replant mine with all sorts of new ones.
    I have been watching the Chelsea Garden Show tonight, and once again derived so mush pleasure from it.

  7. Seeing all the statues in the gardens, I want to put a special one in our garden. I love, Mr. Bennet's Daughter' by Philip Jackson or the one with her hands together, on her cheek.
    Lot's of history, loveliness and I'm sure the smells were delicious.

  8. Thank you for sharing these lovely photos.

    I especially like the purple peonies...I only have the pink ones and didn't realize that they also come in purple hue!

  9. Brenda, what an absolute treat this was for me to read this morning. I thoroughly enjoyed every photo and felt as though I was there enjoying the moments with you. I love all the beautiful quotes, especially the one by Penelope Hobhouse, just lovely. Also enjoy your new blog header, it is funny how we get the urge to change things. But if you tire of this, I do love your old one. So happy spring has finally arrived in your world, we are going into summer. I will enjoy spring again with you. Happy days, dear friend.

  10. So glad your spring has finally arrived. What wonderful gardens!

  11. We are celebrating the fresh arrival of spring here as well! However, today is cool and rainy once again so this gorgeous garden tour was just the ticket 'whilst' my little daycare girlie naps;-)Your writing reminds of a book I am reading month by month entitled The Shape of A Year by Jean Hersey! So comforting/comfortable!
    Happy Spring-planting!

  12. Brenda thank you friend for sharing all these wonderful photos. I would have had a hard time leaving this beautiful spot. I can see why you would be homesick and want to visit again. Take care and have a lovely week. Hugs!

  13. Pashley Manor was one of my favorites too! It's hard to believe the tour was just six much beauty in so little time. Your pictures are lovely and bring me right back.

  14. How many kinds of sweet flowers grow in an English country garden? I loved this trip down memory lane with its gorgeous photos. Reminded me of that Agatha Christie book, one of my favorites, where Miss Marple goes on a garden tour. Can't remember the title just now.

  15. Oh Brenda, what a wonderful tour you took us on. What enchanting flowers....what gorgeous sculptures....what peaceful and inspirational sayings. Loved all. Thank you so much for sharing. Susan

  16. Dear Brenda, Thank you for this lovely tour. This garden is full of the kind of beauty that makes the soul ache, in the best possible way. All the statuary is wonderful and adds so much to the garden. I love the way you captured even the hidden bits like the little rabbit in the grasses. Wonderful!


To My Beautiful Readers,

Some people come into our lives, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never the same. ~ Franz Peter Schubert

Thank you so much for leaving your 'footprint' here in my comment box. I do appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts today.

Brenda xo