Author Archives: raesquiggles

Japanese gardens – philosophy meets nature

In 1857 Japan opened its borders to visitors, ending centuries of self-imposed isolation. The inquisitive went to visit and returned with new ideas on many subjects. At the age of twenty-four Josiah Conder, an English Architect, went to Japan in 1877 to teach. He was keen to learn about Japanese art and eventually went on […]

Inverewe and Inveresk, a tale of two Scottish Gardens

In 1862 Osgood Mackenzie started a garden from scratch on barren land. Nothing too remarkable about that. Except, the 850 hectare estate is in the Scottish Highlands, an area not exactly renown for fair weather. Osgood’s mum bought him the Inverewe estate. Very nice of her, but what about a garden? Shouldn’t all big estates […]

Heligan – lost then found

Years ago, as a young child, my family stayed in a converted barn on a farm in Lancashire. The farm is part of a large estate that included a vast wooded area. Exploring the undergrowth, we discovered a lost garden with sweeping stone steps, a lake and archways of rhododendrons. There’s something truly magical, and […]

Miss Gertrude Jekyll and grand garden designs

Often wondered where Dr Jekyll got his name? Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote the book Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, was friends with Walter Jekyll and borrowed his name. Walter though had a more famous sister, Gertrude Jekyll, who really should be better known for her name and its legacy. Gertrude Jekyll is an architect […]

Fish, for gardening.

In 1999 a couple visited a country manor house with the view to buying the property. They arrived in the dark and never saw the garden. They failed to appreciate the importance of the garden or have any knowledge of its creator Margery Fish. Having purchased the house, they stepped up, took a horticultural course, […]

Eden Project – gardening on a grand scale.

Not all gardens are for the pleasure of a home owner or part of a public park. Some are simply there to exhibit the wonderful world of plant life and remind us of the delicate balance between the needs of humans and nature. Botanical gardens can be found up and down the country, the most […]

Dewstowe Gardens – hidden grottoes and ferneries

Gardens should be above ground, shouldn’t they? Plants need sunshine and rainwater to survive, so how could life be sustained underground? In 2000 a garden was discovered in South Wales. It had been lost for over 50 years under tonnes of soil, buried just after WWII. There were ponds and rills (small streams cut into […]

Coastal gardens befitting an island

I live on an island. I doubt that anyone living in Great Britain is more than 3 hours drive from the coast. Those wind swept coasts face all the compass points, from the arctic Highlands of Scotland to the warmer seas of the south west, the estuaries and white cliffs of the east. Dotted around […]

Mr Brown – a visionary landscaper who saw capability

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown is a name that sticks. Until I researched this post, I was under the impression that the ‘capability’ nickname referred to his capable abilities. It actually comes from his describing landscapes as having ‘great capabilities’. The man had vision. These days, he might be considered a wrecker – he didn’t simply plant […]

Arboretum – exclusively for the trees

It’s that time of year again when my blog bursts back into life after months of neglect. It’s the annual A to Z Blogging Challenge, a worldwide event that encourages bloggers to post daily using a letter of the alphabet as their prompt. Themes are optional, but as in previous years, I like to keep […]

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