Those ancestors got everywhere!

This summer has been one of little trips and days out.  I decided to have a number of outings to interesting places. I like history and gardening so that is easy to do!

Last week I went off on a National Trust coach trip to Dartington Hall in Devon. I used to go to see the gardens in the springtime with my mother many years ago but it must have been well over 30 years since my last visit.

I’d never been inside the Hall before as far as I remember but it looks beautiful from the outside.

So we were met at the Hall by a member of staff for a guided tour and he told us how it was built between 1388 and 1400 by John Holand the half brother of King Richard II.

Well that made my ears prick up as John Holand is my 15x great granddaddy! I hadn’t known about him or my ancestors on previous visits.  Since discovering my medieval ancestors they do seem to pop up all over the place but then there were an awful lot of them! John built his magnificent hall in the grounds of what had been an earlier Saxon manor. The Saxon building was adapted into his gatehouse.

The Great Hall is still in existence and is beautiful. It’s now used as a conference centre and wedding venue.

John Holand was a loyal subject to his brother the King. Richard II’s emblem was the White Hart and if there is a chain around its neck it symbolises loyalty to the emblem. In the porchway there is a ceiling boss showing John’s allegiance to his half-brother.

 

 

Always headstrong and known for his temper yet always loyal, John was eventually beheaded after taking part in a conspiracy to oust Henry IV who had usurped the throne.

Nowadays the more modern gardens are lovely. They are especially good in springtime but a delight at any time of the year.

 

Towards the end of the visit around the grounds we were shown the ancient yew tree which stands in the churchyard. It is around 1600 years old and from its wood bows and arrows were made for my relations and their men to fight at Agincourt.

A great day out which wasn’t too spoiled by very heavy rain in the morning.

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My garden news

In between thunder storms today I managed to take some photos of my garden. Yesterday I bought some pretty plants for my newest pond so I thought I’d share those.

I bought some new pond plants to put in my little pond. I discovered that my frog tub water snails have been breeding so I had some baby snails to add to my newer pond.

My vegetables are not wonderful this year as it has been a battle with snails and slugs but I do have runner beans and golden courgettes.

 

 

 

 

There don’t seem to be many butterflies this year despite planting numerous shrubs and perennials to attract bees and butterflies. I have a special butterfly house but they don’t seem that interested.

My garden is looking pretty good overall. I notice that my voodoo lilies are up again (the leaves that look a bit like a hand in the foreground). I’ve not seen any voodoo lily flowers this year which is probably just as well as they look really rather rude and smell of rotten meat to attract flies! Fortunately each flower only lasts a day and they don’t flower much. Nice tropical looking leaves though!

There I was digging this hole…….

Well the new pond liner I bought a few weeks ago because it was on special offer has been sitting around at the top of the garden and I’ve been putting off digging the hole. Today it was cooler so I decided to have a go.

Not an easy task digging in my garden. There is rock very close to the surface then a layer of clay then another layer of rock.

A big rock lurked right in the bottom of where I wanted the pond so I attacked it with a pick axe (not very successfully!) then spotted a long and heavy crowbar in my shed. Remembering basic physics I used that to lever the rock out. Success!

A piece of carpet underlay laid in the hole and the pond filled with water, I then used the rocks I’d dug out to surround the pond.

Looking forward to seeing wildlife moving in.

and while I was taking photos I thought I’d share my lovely Chusan palm with you. I’ve had this since it was very small and I always wanted a palm tree with a hairy trunk.  Can you spot my sweet metal dragon too?

 
Happy gardening 🙂

An unusual flower

I bought these plants a couple of years ago but this year they are really doing well.

In case you have never seen one before these are bergamot plants. I used my new camera to photograph them and I think they are looking great.

My blue and pink flower bed is also coming along very nicely!

Revisiting a much loved home

Life has its funny little twists and turns!

I was chatting to my sister about a wooden floor I fancy having when we reminded ourselves of the beautiful mohuhu wood block floor our parents put in a home we once had built and lived in.

It’s been half a lifetime since I last saw the house but I did a google and spotted it is up for sale. Having sent the present owners some old photos of how it used to be I was very kindly invited to lunch with them last Friday.

So just days after thinking about Lindens I was once again in the home I used to love and seeing a mature garden where we once planted trees and shrubs in a field.

Isn’t this lovely?

Avebury

Last week I went on a day trip to Avebury. It’s a lovely place to visit. First of all I went to the manor house which belongs to the National Trust.  This lovely house recently featured in a TV series called “To the Manor Reborn” and it was refurnished and decorated to allow visitors to touch things and try to imagine how it might have been to live in the house in previous eras.

The village of Avebury sits inside prehistoric stone circels and despite the rain it was a beautiful place to explore.