Spring began to fizz at Sissinghurst Castle, a look back to 2015 – and the whole show will just get better and better…. @Sissinghurst NT #SpringWatching

The gates open at 11am sharp and I'm the first to hand in my Shilling token (the price Vita originally charged visitors) to the helpful attendants and I'm flying through, skirting the lawns in front of the Tower and into the woodland Delos garden, before hitting the White Garden (bare bones at this time of…

Nymans, pure Romance …

  After dropping my Sister- and Mother- in law off at Gatwick Airport, a short drive down the M23 to Nymans, a National Trust Property of great charm. Romantic ruins, beautiful gardens, far reaching views across woodland and downs, formal gardens and naturalistic, some tragedy, some infamy, quite a lot of beauty. Sadly too early…

Mottisfont Rose Gardens

Overblown, blowsy, beautiful, fragrant, lush, a little ragged, absolutely in need of some serious dead-heading - but equally glamorous and hopelessly romantic, there are no rose gardens quite like Mottisfont. Soulful, they inhabit the walled gardens of this ancient priory, clambering through the many venerable apple and pear tress, hopelessly constrained by box or lavender,…

Postcards from Sussex – the extraordinary Arundel Castle and Gardens

Shropshire, Wales, Oxforshire ..  we are putting in the miles together! But the last leg is in Sussex in the beautiful town of Arundel - which is presided over and looked down upon by the rather spectacular Arundel Caste. Part genuine medieval fortification and part Gothik 19th Century confection - it truly is an amazing…

Postcards from Oxfordshire – Jacobean Chastleton House

A sleeping country gentleman's house this, nothing aristocratic but beautifully preserved - preserved just enough but not restored - the dust and cracked plaster are still there to see - and the decline of centuries is an open book. The poverty of the estate has become its greatest asset, where other properties' wealth may have…

Postcards from Wales – Chirk Castle

Another Welsh Castle, this time quite the fortified beast, with a dungeon that surely brought despair to anyone unhappy enough to find themselves there. Much to enjoy in the gardens though with formal and more naturalistic planting and long views - and glad to have been able to take photographs of the interiors too. Read…

Postcards from Wales – Erddig

Erddig, now in the hands of the National Trust, represents a House and Estate that had suffered successive generations (seven or more) of penury and all of the neglect that comes with well-intentioned but financially improverished ownership. Good intentions but lack of funds saw this beauty diminished until the NT took the helm and have…

Postcards from Wales – Powis Castle and Gardens

Strong winds and lashing rain as we left Shropshire and headed into Wales (by Welshpool - not that great a distance from our starting point at Wollaston Lodge) to visit the extraordinary castle and gardens at Powis Castle. More impressive than I was expecting too - the topiary and towering hedges yes, but not the…

Mottisfont Abbey – a look back at the rose gardens in June 2014 (It’s raining again in 2016)

Set by the banks of the crystal River Test, cutting through the chalk downland, sits Mottisfont Priory, dating to the 13th Century and with a colourful history right up to the 20th Century with Maud and Gilbert Russell bringing life again to the old house and the National Trust subsequently taking the House and Gardens…