Gourd Luminaries By Thompson Farms

Gourd luminaries with bird, butterfly and turtle pinholes

Lights inside the gourds project patterned shapes as darkness falls

If you’re like me, you can never see a gourd without a snatch of verse flickering in and out of focus in the recesses of your mind – this one:

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease

Keats, from To Autumn

Now even the bees have been forced to admit that Autumn is a memory, and nights are longer, a great way to give a gourd new life is to turn it into a winter nightlight.

The ones pictured here are part of Thompson Farms of Raleigh, Mississippi’s collection of crafted gourd novelties that include tree decorations, mandalas, baskets and thunder gourds as well as luminaries. Continue reading

A’net by Brenda Jet at Broomhill Sculpture Garden

A'net by Brenda Jet displayed upside down on a tree

A’net is made from discarded fisherman’s twine collected from Devon’s beaches

A’net by Brenda Jet was one of the installations we were able to get up close and personal with during our stay at Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Garden in Muddiford, North Devon. The garden is a naturalistic one that runs alongside a stream, through a meadow and in the woodland of a steep-sided valley.

Brenda Jet collects plastic waste, such as tangled fisherman’s twine which she patiently cleans, unravels, then winds into neat balls of raw material. The finished sculpture is felt-like, colourful and textural. Continue reading

Vortex Garten, Darmstadt: A Philosopher’s Garden

Henry Nold, the owner occupant of Haus Martinus in Mathildenhoehe, created the Vortex Garden (garten in German) in its grounds as a sanctuary. Born poor, he allows access to his garden free of charge to members of the public in the hope that they will find peace and inspiration there.

White door with arc window and colour chip border

The ideal solution for those of us who are unsure which colour to choose for our door

Haus Martinus is a listed, Art Nouveau-style villa, built in 1921 by Jan Hubert Pinand. Garden visitors don’t have access to the villa, but a deluxe suite of rooms can be rented, and concerts are sometimes held there. It must be a memorable place to stay.

Haus Martinus's porch is decorated with tiles and motifs

Tiles and motifs decorate the Haus Martinus’s covered porch that looks out over the Vortex Garden

Continue reading

Cothay Manor’s Courtyard Garden

Topiary, tree fern and summer flowers in Cothay Manor's courtyard garden

Flowers spilled from a stone planter in the courtyard

One of the nicest things about blogging is the ability to share a peek into a magical place. I’d not be surprised to hear that even some of the people who have visited Cothay Manor have left without experiencing the courtyard garden. I happened upon it as if by mistake on my second or third circuit of the garden. It seemed such an intimate space that I asked the lady quietly gardening there whether visitors were welcome.

Path through topiary, rock stack, seating to Cothay Manor

Accessories included pieces of stone balanced on a wooden pillar

She assured me I was welcome and we talked a little about roses. The walls of the manor are clothed with roses and other vines, including Rosa mutabilis trained as a magnificent climber which I had not seen done before. We’d missed seeing most of the roses in full flower, but there was plenty more to admire. Continue reading

Pictures Of Hestercombe Gardens In Taunton, Somerset

Pink shrub roses around Hestercombe's Arts and Crafts garden

Pink shrub roses at Hestercombe

Hestercombe’s celebrated Arts and Crafts style garden is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of garden design who finds themselves with time to spare in Somerset. 

White standard roses at Hestercombe Garden

White standard roses (tree roses) grow in square holes in the lawn

The estate dates back at least to the 11th c. and has been furnished with a 16th c. manor house, and an 18th c. pleasure garden of woods, follies, pools and cascades running through hills and valleys, but the Edwardian garden is its crowning glory.

Of course, the true test of an English garden is whether its constituent parts have atmospheric names. Daisy Steps, Chinese Seat, Great Plat, Valley of Cascades, Gothic Alcove, Temple Arbour, Witch House, Mausoleum and Grey Walk all attest to Hestercombe Garden’s greatness.  Continue reading