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Luton Hoo, in Bedfordshire, has a fascinating history, the family seat of an über-weathly family who lost almost all their fortunes in the credit-crunch of the 1980’s. Fabergé eggs once sat casually on side tables! It is now an Elite Hotel, and lovely too, with formal gardens and parkland and nearby, a Land Rover Experience Centre, the point of visiting the area, where we were to challenge ourselves and the cars to a Top Gear all-terrain style mud-fest. Actually, there wasn’t much mud, but it was fun.

A few miles north of Luton is Wrest Park, built in a similar French Chateau Style by the Earl de Grey (think Tea) and now in the hands of English Heritage.

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The Lancia Car Owners Club visiting!

Meanwhile, back at Petersham Nurseries, roses and more jewel-like colour from the collection of perennials in bloom.

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Verbascum Cherry Helen

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Geum Blazing Sun

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Echinacea Orangeberry

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Echinacea Double Raspberry, I think!

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Verbascum Cherry Helen

and roses from David Austin – plus a China rose from 1825, Le Vesuve, with extraordinary Ruby prickles…

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