For Mary Jane and Tony
24.05.2010 26 °C
We wonder if you remember the 60's song that begins ...
"How many kinds of sweet flowers grow
In an English country garden?
We'll tell you now of some that we know ..."
Here are some of the flowers we came across in one of England's finest country gardens - Stourhead in Wiltshire.
This is the flower of the handkerchief tree ...
The stately homes of England stand as a reminder of the golden age of the British Empire, and Stourhead House is a perfect example of the excesses of the aristocracy in the 1700s. Britain is still littered with monstrous castles, palaces and great country houses, that were, and in some cases still are, the rural pads of princes, dukes and earls. However, age, taxes, and the declining wealth of the landed gentry, have taken a toll on many of these mausoleums and a great many of them have ended up in the hands of The National Trust - a charity set up to preserve Britain's heritage.
Stourhead is such a place and, while it has a great house and a vast estate exceeding 2,500 acres, it is most famous for its Italianate garden designed by Henry Hoare, (known as Henry the Magnificent) in 1740.
Here is another view ...
These gardens, like most designed for England's baronial halls, were entirely artificial. Great swaths of countryside were molded by men with shovels into landscapes that mimicked the rolling hills of Tuscany; streams and springs were turned into lakes with dykes and dams; and exotic trees, flowers and shrubs were shipped in from around the world.
Here are some of the magnificent rhododendrons ....
To top off the illusion and fully transform this piece of England into Italy, Hoare scattered fine Palladian buildings throughout his garden. But, just to remind you of home, he tucked this whimsical little Tudor house into a leafy corner.