Gardens of Pleasure

Nicola wenchmark Hello, Nicola here! I enjoy reading about garden history and a couple of weeks ago I went on a research trip deep into the Wiltshire countryside to visit some pleasure gardens created in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century at Old Wardour. The centrepiece of the Old Wardour gardens is… a genuine, ruined medieval castle. That's quite something to incorporate into your garden design.

The Castle

Old Wardour Castle was originally built in the late 15th century and served as an impressive family home for 250 years before it was partially destroyed during a siege in the English Civil War in the mid 16th century. The Royalist forces attacked the castle to take it back from the Parliamentarian troops and set gunpowder mines in the tunnels leading to the cellars and latrines. The intention was to set off a small explosion to frighten the garrison into surrendering but unfortunately someone dropped a lighted match into the barrels of gunpowder that were being stored in the tunnels (a real oops moment!) and the subsequent underground explosion was so huge that two of the turrets collapsed bringing down the roof and much of the upper floors. What followed would have been farcical had it not involved a fight to the death. The Roundhead commander, Edmund Ludlow, had been lying late in bed and woke up to find his bedroom wall missing and the King's troops clambering over the ruins to attack. He shouted for help and his own garrison tried to climb into the room from the other side but they were using too short a ladder to reach him. Ludlow was running backwards and forwardsOld Wardour  across the room, trying to beat off the attackers on the one hand and pull the rescuers up the ladder at the same time. It couldn't end well – eventually he was captured and the castle fell to the Royalists but by then it was a ruin. That was a slight digression to explain how the castle came to be a ruined "folly" in the gardens!

 Nicola at Wardour The Ruin

The Arundell family who owned Old Wardour built themselves a new house nearby (New Wardour, of course) and the old castle was left as a ruin until the end of the eighteenth century when the eighth Lord Arundell began to develop the landscape as a pleasure ground. Ruins were very popular in the Picturesque landscape of the period. They were a romantic reminder of the world of chivalry and a place where the natural world could run wild. The ruined medieval castle thus became the focal point of a fashionably romantic landscape! Today the castle ruins have been made safe to explore. Here I am on the staircase to the Great Hall.

The Grotto and Stone Circle

Grotto A ruined castle, whilst quite a coup, was not sufficient to make up an entire Picturesque landscape so Lord Arundell added a grotto and a stone circle to his pleasure grounds. The grotto was built from the fallen stone of the castle. It is rather charming and very wet, with water piped in deliberately to drip from the roof onto the fossils and ferns below. The purpose of the grotto was to provide an example of "nature unchanged by man"!

The story of the creation of the stone circle did cause me to wince a little since it involved the moving of a genuine 4,000 year old stone circle from a nearby village. This was set up at the end of a yew-lined terrace and a couple of rustic alcoves were built alongside it using stone and plaster from the medieval castle. Here one could sit and shudder fashionably at the thought of prehistoric barbarism!

The Banqueting House

The final touch was a mock-Gothic banqueting house built as a special place for the Arundells to Banqueting Hall entertain their guests. Here is my picture of the interior. It has a coloured marble fireplace and beautiful stained glass windows and these days it has a licence for weddings. Ever practical, even in a "wilderness", Lord Arundell had a three seater "necessary house" as it was called built with similar Gothic detail to the Banqueting Hall. This was particularly interesting as I didn't realise that visiting the necessary house was a communal procedure in this period. I don't have a photo of it, I'm afraid – it was too dark in there!

By the 1830s the pleasure grounds at Old Wardour were open to the public and the Banqueting House had become a refreshment room with an attendant serving afternoon teas.

As it says in the modern day visitor brochure, the landscaped pleasure grounds contained all the necessary elements of the fashionable Romantic Landscape. Here one could contemplate the frailty of human life and the futility of human endeavour that would one day be overcome by wild nature – before enjoying a cup of tea in the Banqueting House and a visit to the "Necessary Room" and going home for dinner!

Ladybird We may not all be able to site a ruined castle in our back yards, but in my Standing stone back garden I have two very small contributions to the Picturesque Landscape, my standing stone and my ladybird. What sort of picturesque or romantic element do you have in your garden, back yard or window box?

100 thoughts on “Gardens of Pleasure”

  1. Love your history side notes! I’m taking it that the Roundhead commander wasn’t very good at thinking when he first woke up in the morning. “G”
    I’ve just been working on a blog about history and houses since I’m once again househunting, so this was a lovely, timely read. I’m betting if the female half of the owners of that 250-year old castle was around, she probably dropped the flame herself, wiped off her hands, and walked away, happy for an excuse to build a new modern palace.
    I have no ruined castles or stone circles in my yard, just the usual colorful witch ball, some winch chimes, and a stained glass butterfly, plus a lot of birdbaths and feeders. Really, I need to see if I can’t find a castle for my next house…

    Reply
  2. Love your history side notes! I’m taking it that the Roundhead commander wasn’t very good at thinking when he first woke up in the morning. “G”
    I’ve just been working on a blog about history and houses since I’m once again househunting, so this was a lovely, timely read. I’m betting if the female half of the owners of that 250-year old castle was around, she probably dropped the flame herself, wiped off her hands, and walked away, happy for an excuse to build a new modern palace.
    I have no ruined castles or stone circles in my yard, just the usual colorful witch ball, some winch chimes, and a stained glass butterfly, plus a lot of birdbaths and feeders. Really, I need to see if I can’t find a castle for my next house…

    Reply
  3. Love your history side notes! I’m taking it that the Roundhead commander wasn’t very good at thinking when he first woke up in the morning. “G”
    I’ve just been working on a blog about history and houses since I’m once again househunting, so this was a lovely, timely read. I’m betting if the female half of the owners of that 250-year old castle was around, she probably dropped the flame herself, wiped off her hands, and walked away, happy for an excuse to build a new modern palace.
    I have no ruined castles or stone circles in my yard, just the usual colorful witch ball, some winch chimes, and a stained glass butterfly, plus a lot of birdbaths and feeders. Really, I need to see if I can’t find a castle for my next house…

    Reply
  4. Love your history side notes! I’m taking it that the Roundhead commander wasn’t very good at thinking when he first woke up in the morning. “G”
    I’ve just been working on a blog about history and houses since I’m once again househunting, so this was a lovely, timely read. I’m betting if the female half of the owners of that 250-year old castle was around, she probably dropped the flame herself, wiped off her hands, and walked away, happy for an excuse to build a new modern palace.
    I have no ruined castles or stone circles in my yard, just the usual colorful witch ball, some winch chimes, and a stained glass butterfly, plus a lot of birdbaths and feeders. Really, I need to see if I can’t find a castle for my next house…

    Reply
  5. Love your history side notes! I’m taking it that the Roundhead commander wasn’t very good at thinking when he first woke up in the morning. “G”
    I’ve just been working on a blog about history and houses since I’m once again househunting, so this was a lovely, timely read. I’m betting if the female half of the owners of that 250-year old castle was around, she probably dropped the flame herself, wiped off her hands, and walked away, happy for an excuse to build a new modern palace.
    I have no ruined castles or stone circles in my yard, just the usual colorful witch ball, some winch chimes, and a stained glass butterfly, plus a lot of birdbaths and feeders. Really, I need to see if I can’t find a castle for my next house…

    Reply
  6. Sherrie, here. Great post, Nicola! I love gardens, though mine are nowhere near as fanciful as the ones you described!
    In my flower garden I have an old dinghy boat that I converted into a container for some of my flowers. I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of gravel, and then filled it with dirt. Each year, I plant something different. It’s always a treat to see it bloom, for I never know what flower seeds have wintered over from previous years.
    My dream is to build a garden in the back yard and install a labyrinth, not only for the aesthetic beauty, but for the fun of walking it.

    Reply
  7. Sherrie, here. Great post, Nicola! I love gardens, though mine are nowhere near as fanciful as the ones you described!
    In my flower garden I have an old dinghy boat that I converted into a container for some of my flowers. I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of gravel, and then filled it with dirt. Each year, I plant something different. It’s always a treat to see it bloom, for I never know what flower seeds have wintered over from previous years.
    My dream is to build a garden in the back yard and install a labyrinth, not only for the aesthetic beauty, but for the fun of walking it.

    Reply
  8. Sherrie, here. Great post, Nicola! I love gardens, though mine are nowhere near as fanciful as the ones you described!
    In my flower garden I have an old dinghy boat that I converted into a container for some of my flowers. I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of gravel, and then filled it with dirt. Each year, I plant something different. It’s always a treat to see it bloom, for I never know what flower seeds have wintered over from previous years.
    My dream is to build a garden in the back yard and install a labyrinth, not only for the aesthetic beauty, but for the fun of walking it.

    Reply
  9. Sherrie, here. Great post, Nicola! I love gardens, though mine are nowhere near as fanciful as the ones you described!
    In my flower garden I have an old dinghy boat that I converted into a container for some of my flowers. I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of gravel, and then filled it with dirt. Each year, I plant something different. It’s always a treat to see it bloom, for I never know what flower seeds have wintered over from previous years.
    My dream is to build a garden in the back yard and install a labyrinth, not only for the aesthetic beauty, but for the fun of walking it.

    Reply
  10. Sherrie, here. Great post, Nicola! I love gardens, though mine are nowhere near as fanciful as the ones you described!
    In my flower garden I have an old dinghy boat that I converted into a container for some of my flowers. I drilled holes in the bottom for drainage, added a layer of gravel, and then filled it with dirt. Each year, I plant something different. It’s always a treat to see it bloom, for I never know what flower seeds have wintered over from previous years.
    My dream is to build a garden in the back yard and install a labyrinth, not only for the aesthetic beauty, but for the fun of walking it.

    Reply
  11. Lovely post, Nicola. I have such envy of you living close enough to be able to visit these places. I love gardens and have a plan one day to visit many of the stunning gardens in the UK (and Europe.) I would consider taking a garden tour, except I’m not only interested in the gardens, but also the houses (and not just the big ones) and contents, so I’m just planning to save up and take a leisurely drive-myself kind of holiday.
    As for the vandalization/resiting of the ancient stone circle, I, too wince. They probably thought they were preserving it, not understanding that the siting of the original was no doubt crucial. But as I understand it, many of the old stone circles were recycled, their stones turned into lintels for houses or barns. It was an age of such carelessness, wasn’t it? The removal of the ancient obelisks from Egypt called “Cleopatra’s needle” in New York, London and Paris. the Elgin marbles and so on.

    Reply
  12. Lovely post, Nicola. I have such envy of you living close enough to be able to visit these places. I love gardens and have a plan one day to visit many of the stunning gardens in the UK (and Europe.) I would consider taking a garden tour, except I’m not only interested in the gardens, but also the houses (and not just the big ones) and contents, so I’m just planning to save up and take a leisurely drive-myself kind of holiday.
    As for the vandalization/resiting of the ancient stone circle, I, too wince. They probably thought they were preserving it, not understanding that the siting of the original was no doubt crucial. But as I understand it, many of the old stone circles were recycled, their stones turned into lintels for houses or barns. It was an age of such carelessness, wasn’t it? The removal of the ancient obelisks from Egypt called “Cleopatra’s needle” in New York, London and Paris. the Elgin marbles and so on.

    Reply
  13. Lovely post, Nicola. I have such envy of you living close enough to be able to visit these places. I love gardens and have a plan one day to visit many of the stunning gardens in the UK (and Europe.) I would consider taking a garden tour, except I’m not only interested in the gardens, but also the houses (and not just the big ones) and contents, so I’m just planning to save up and take a leisurely drive-myself kind of holiday.
    As for the vandalization/resiting of the ancient stone circle, I, too wince. They probably thought they were preserving it, not understanding that the siting of the original was no doubt crucial. But as I understand it, many of the old stone circles were recycled, their stones turned into lintels for houses or barns. It was an age of such carelessness, wasn’t it? The removal of the ancient obelisks from Egypt called “Cleopatra’s needle” in New York, London and Paris. the Elgin marbles and so on.

    Reply
  14. Lovely post, Nicola. I have such envy of you living close enough to be able to visit these places. I love gardens and have a plan one day to visit many of the stunning gardens in the UK (and Europe.) I would consider taking a garden tour, except I’m not only interested in the gardens, but also the houses (and not just the big ones) and contents, so I’m just planning to save up and take a leisurely drive-myself kind of holiday.
    As for the vandalization/resiting of the ancient stone circle, I, too wince. They probably thought they were preserving it, not understanding that the siting of the original was no doubt crucial. But as I understand it, many of the old stone circles were recycled, their stones turned into lintels for houses or barns. It was an age of such carelessness, wasn’t it? The removal of the ancient obelisks from Egypt called “Cleopatra’s needle” in New York, London and Paris. the Elgin marbles and so on.

    Reply
  15. Lovely post, Nicola. I have such envy of you living close enough to be able to visit these places. I love gardens and have a plan one day to visit many of the stunning gardens in the UK (and Europe.) I would consider taking a garden tour, except I’m not only interested in the gardens, but also the houses (and not just the big ones) and contents, so I’m just planning to save up and take a leisurely drive-myself kind of holiday.
    As for the vandalization/resiting of the ancient stone circle, I, too wince. They probably thought they were preserving it, not understanding that the siting of the original was no doubt crucial. But as I understand it, many of the old stone circles were recycled, their stones turned into lintels for houses or barns. It was an age of such carelessness, wasn’t it? The removal of the ancient obelisks from Egypt called “Cleopatra’s needle” in New York, London and Paris. the Elgin marbles and so on.

    Reply
  16. Fascinating post, Nicola. Landscape design is such an integral part of English houses both grand and modest (or so it seems to us Yanks) I’ve been reading a little about Capability Brown recently, and it’s quite interesting how Nature is used to express “philosophical” notions like Romanticism.
    We have lots of old stone walls here in New England, and several years ago my DH decided to make an artful focal point on our back meadow of a half-built stone wall, using the stone from a wall that had to be moved when we took down some pine trees. It, ahem, certainly looks old, and weathered. Wild raspberry bushes have taken root around, nearly obscuring it in summer. I actually like it . . . but I sometimes call it a “folly.”

    Reply
  17. Fascinating post, Nicola. Landscape design is such an integral part of English houses both grand and modest (or so it seems to us Yanks) I’ve been reading a little about Capability Brown recently, and it’s quite interesting how Nature is used to express “philosophical” notions like Romanticism.
    We have lots of old stone walls here in New England, and several years ago my DH decided to make an artful focal point on our back meadow of a half-built stone wall, using the stone from a wall that had to be moved when we took down some pine trees. It, ahem, certainly looks old, and weathered. Wild raspberry bushes have taken root around, nearly obscuring it in summer. I actually like it . . . but I sometimes call it a “folly.”

    Reply
  18. Fascinating post, Nicola. Landscape design is such an integral part of English houses both grand and modest (or so it seems to us Yanks) I’ve been reading a little about Capability Brown recently, and it’s quite interesting how Nature is used to express “philosophical” notions like Romanticism.
    We have lots of old stone walls here in New England, and several years ago my DH decided to make an artful focal point on our back meadow of a half-built stone wall, using the stone from a wall that had to be moved when we took down some pine trees. It, ahem, certainly looks old, and weathered. Wild raspberry bushes have taken root around, nearly obscuring it in summer. I actually like it . . . but I sometimes call it a “folly.”

    Reply
  19. Fascinating post, Nicola. Landscape design is such an integral part of English houses both grand and modest (or so it seems to us Yanks) I’ve been reading a little about Capability Brown recently, and it’s quite interesting how Nature is used to express “philosophical” notions like Romanticism.
    We have lots of old stone walls here in New England, and several years ago my DH decided to make an artful focal point on our back meadow of a half-built stone wall, using the stone from a wall that had to be moved when we took down some pine trees. It, ahem, certainly looks old, and weathered. Wild raspberry bushes have taken root around, nearly obscuring it in summer. I actually like it . . . but I sometimes call it a “folly.”

    Reply
  20. Fascinating post, Nicola. Landscape design is such an integral part of English houses both grand and modest (or so it seems to us Yanks) I’ve been reading a little about Capability Brown recently, and it’s quite interesting how Nature is used to express “philosophical” notions like Romanticism.
    We have lots of old stone walls here in New England, and several years ago my DH decided to make an artful focal point on our back meadow of a half-built stone wall, using the stone from a wall that had to be moved when we took down some pine trees. It, ahem, certainly looks old, and weathered. Wild raspberry bushes have taken root around, nearly obscuring it in summer. I actually like it . . . but I sometimes call it a “folly.”

    Reply
  21. I don’t have much in the way of decoration in my garden. A few bird feeders, a hummer feeder which is quite busy most of the season (which reminds me, I have to put it out soon!) and scads of rose bushes.
    I do have access to tons of rocks though. Maybe I should make my own stone circle!

    Reply
  22. I don’t have much in the way of decoration in my garden. A few bird feeders, a hummer feeder which is quite busy most of the season (which reminds me, I have to put it out soon!) and scads of rose bushes.
    I do have access to tons of rocks though. Maybe I should make my own stone circle!

    Reply
  23. I don’t have much in the way of decoration in my garden. A few bird feeders, a hummer feeder which is quite busy most of the season (which reminds me, I have to put it out soon!) and scads of rose bushes.
    I do have access to tons of rocks though. Maybe I should make my own stone circle!

    Reply
  24. I don’t have much in the way of decoration in my garden. A few bird feeders, a hummer feeder which is quite busy most of the season (which reminds me, I have to put it out soon!) and scads of rose bushes.
    I do have access to tons of rocks though. Maybe I should make my own stone circle!

    Reply
  25. I don’t have much in the way of decoration in my garden. A few bird feeders, a hummer feeder which is quite busy most of the season (which reminds me, I have to put it out soon!) and scads of rose bushes.
    I do have access to tons of rocks though. Maybe I should make my own stone circle!

    Reply
  26. Wonderful post, Nicola! Poor commander. What is a man to do when awakened to disaster on both sides!
    I have a lovely grape arbor in my back yard at the present. It supports three different types of grapes and a gorgeous climbing red rose.
    I have a number of rather large rocks in my front yard and I generally have to landscape around them. They do make for some interesting configurations when I plant flowers. I have an entire hill in front of my house covered with azaleas that I have let run wild. When they are in bloom the hill is an amazing miasma of silk colors.
    My garden is sadly neglected these days as I spend so much time writing and researching I have no time for very much else. One of these days I will get it back in shape and add some lovely bits of whimsy. No ruined castle, unfortunately.

    Reply
  27. Wonderful post, Nicola! Poor commander. What is a man to do when awakened to disaster on both sides!
    I have a lovely grape arbor in my back yard at the present. It supports three different types of grapes and a gorgeous climbing red rose.
    I have a number of rather large rocks in my front yard and I generally have to landscape around them. They do make for some interesting configurations when I plant flowers. I have an entire hill in front of my house covered with azaleas that I have let run wild. When they are in bloom the hill is an amazing miasma of silk colors.
    My garden is sadly neglected these days as I spend so much time writing and researching I have no time for very much else. One of these days I will get it back in shape and add some lovely bits of whimsy. No ruined castle, unfortunately.

    Reply
  28. Wonderful post, Nicola! Poor commander. What is a man to do when awakened to disaster on both sides!
    I have a lovely grape arbor in my back yard at the present. It supports three different types of grapes and a gorgeous climbing red rose.
    I have a number of rather large rocks in my front yard and I generally have to landscape around them. They do make for some interesting configurations when I plant flowers. I have an entire hill in front of my house covered with azaleas that I have let run wild. When they are in bloom the hill is an amazing miasma of silk colors.
    My garden is sadly neglected these days as I spend so much time writing and researching I have no time for very much else. One of these days I will get it back in shape and add some lovely bits of whimsy. No ruined castle, unfortunately.

    Reply
  29. Wonderful post, Nicola! Poor commander. What is a man to do when awakened to disaster on both sides!
    I have a lovely grape arbor in my back yard at the present. It supports three different types of grapes and a gorgeous climbing red rose.
    I have a number of rather large rocks in my front yard and I generally have to landscape around them. They do make for some interesting configurations when I plant flowers. I have an entire hill in front of my house covered with azaleas that I have let run wild. When they are in bloom the hill is an amazing miasma of silk colors.
    My garden is sadly neglected these days as I spend so much time writing and researching I have no time for very much else. One of these days I will get it back in shape and add some lovely bits of whimsy. No ruined castle, unfortunately.

    Reply
  30. Wonderful post, Nicola! Poor commander. What is a man to do when awakened to disaster on both sides!
    I have a lovely grape arbor in my back yard at the present. It supports three different types of grapes and a gorgeous climbing red rose.
    I have a number of rather large rocks in my front yard and I generally have to landscape around them. They do make for some interesting configurations when I plant flowers. I have an entire hill in front of my house covered with azaleas that I have let run wild. When they are in bloom the hill is an amazing miasma of silk colors.
    My garden is sadly neglected these days as I spend so much time writing and researching I have no time for very much else. One of these days I will get it back in shape and add some lovely bits of whimsy. No ruined castle, unfortunately.

    Reply
  31. Nice post. I like old castles.
    I can sit at my computer and look out over our backyard. There is some grass, a low retaining wall with red brick topping, a pepper tree, a liquid amber tree, several bushes on a slope.
    There are birds that scratch under the bushes, the occasional road runner, rabbits that mow the grass, squirrels that scamper around, and crows that fly in to visit.
    A small cosmos of life in the back country.

    Reply
  32. Nice post. I like old castles.
    I can sit at my computer and look out over our backyard. There is some grass, a low retaining wall with red brick topping, a pepper tree, a liquid amber tree, several bushes on a slope.
    There are birds that scratch under the bushes, the occasional road runner, rabbits that mow the grass, squirrels that scamper around, and crows that fly in to visit.
    A small cosmos of life in the back country.

    Reply
  33. Nice post. I like old castles.
    I can sit at my computer and look out over our backyard. There is some grass, a low retaining wall with red brick topping, a pepper tree, a liquid amber tree, several bushes on a slope.
    There are birds that scratch under the bushes, the occasional road runner, rabbits that mow the grass, squirrels that scamper around, and crows that fly in to visit.
    A small cosmos of life in the back country.

    Reply
  34. Nice post. I like old castles.
    I can sit at my computer and look out over our backyard. There is some grass, a low retaining wall with red brick topping, a pepper tree, a liquid amber tree, several bushes on a slope.
    There are birds that scratch under the bushes, the occasional road runner, rabbits that mow the grass, squirrels that scamper around, and crows that fly in to visit.
    A small cosmos of life in the back country.

    Reply
  35. Nice post. I like old castles.
    I can sit at my computer and look out over our backyard. There is some grass, a low retaining wall with red brick topping, a pepper tree, a liquid amber tree, several bushes on a slope.
    There are birds that scratch under the bushes, the occasional road runner, rabbits that mow the grass, squirrels that scamper around, and crows that fly in to visit.
    A small cosmos of life in the back country.

    Reply
  36. If we get to count the wildlife, then I have an abundance of folly! Just spotted a baby hawk by the patio, hunting for grubs, I suspect. And we won’t go into the antlered rodents we call deer…

    Reply
  37. If we get to count the wildlife, then I have an abundance of folly! Just spotted a baby hawk by the patio, hunting for grubs, I suspect. And we won’t go into the antlered rodents we call deer…

    Reply
  38. If we get to count the wildlife, then I have an abundance of folly! Just spotted a baby hawk by the patio, hunting for grubs, I suspect. And we won’t go into the antlered rodents we call deer…

    Reply
  39. If we get to count the wildlife, then I have an abundance of folly! Just spotted a baby hawk by the patio, hunting for grubs, I suspect. And we won’t go into the antlered rodents we call deer…

    Reply
  40. If we get to count the wildlife, then I have an abundance of folly! Just spotted a baby hawk by the patio, hunting for grubs, I suspect. And we won’t go into the antlered rodents we call deer…

    Reply
  41. As I sit here waiting and waiting and *waiting* for spring, your post cheered my day considerably, Nicola.
    I confine my garden activity to looking, since I am cursed with a brown thumb. Luckily, my dear hubby is not, and raises roses, other flowers and a few veggies. A couple of years ago he converted the box that held our kids’ swing set into a lovely outdoor ‘room’ sheltered by our 17 year old honeylocust. It’s one of my favorite summer writing spots.
    And Patricia, those antlered rodents of yours wouldn’t be like the fur-covered locusts called rabbits, would they? 😉

    Reply
  42. As I sit here waiting and waiting and *waiting* for spring, your post cheered my day considerably, Nicola.
    I confine my garden activity to looking, since I am cursed with a brown thumb. Luckily, my dear hubby is not, and raises roses, other flowers and a few veggies. A couple of years ago he converted the box that held our kids’ swing set into a lovely outdoor ‘room’ sheltered by our 17 year old honeylocust. It’s one of my favorite summer writing spots.
    And Patricia, those antlered rodents of yours wouldn’t be like the fur-covered locusts called rabbits, would they? 😉

    Reply
  43. As I sit here waiting and waiting and *waiting* for spring, your post cheered my day considerably, Nicola.
    I confine my garden activity to looking, since I am cursed with a brown thumb. Luckily, my dear hubby is not, and raises roses, other flowers and a few veggies. A couple of years ago he converted the box that held our kids’ swing set into a lovely outdoor ‘room’ sheltered by our 17 year old honeylocust. It’s one of my favorite summer writing spots.
    And Patricia, those antlered rodents of yours wouldn’t be like the fur-covered locusts called rabbits, would they? 😉

    Reply
  44. As I sit here waiting and waiting and *waiting* for spring, your post cheered my day considerably, Nicola.
    I confine my garden activity to looking, since I am cursed with a brown thumb. Luckily, my dear hubby is not, and raises roses, other flowers and a few veggies. A couple of years ago he converted the box that held our kids’ swing set into a lovely outdoor ‘room’ sheltered by our 17 year old honeylocust. It’s one of my favorite summer writing spots.
    And Patricia, those antlered rodents of yours wouldn’t be like the fur-covered locusts called rabbits, would they? 😉

    Reply
  45. As I sit here waiting and waiting and *waiting* for spring, your post cheered my day considerably, Nicola.
    I confine my garden activity to looking, since I am cursed with a brown thumb. Luckily, my dear hubby is not, and raises roses, other flowers and a few veggies. A couple of years ago he converted the box that held our kids’ swing set into a lovely outdoor ‘room’ sheltered by our 17 year old honeylocust. It’s one of my favorite summer writing spots.
    And Patricia, those antlered rodents of yours wouldn’t be like the fur-covered locusts called rabbits, would they? 😉

    Reply
  46. @Ann Stephens,
    I’m more inclined to think Pat is talking about the rather larger variety called deer. I have to say though, I’ve grown just about anything you can at one time or another and I have never had a deer problem. Maybe mine just have more eclectic taste than the ones who eat like goats…
    Nicola, I love the article Anne pointed out!

    Reply
  47. @Ann Stephens,
    I’m more inclined to think Pat is talking about the rather larger variety called deer. I have to say though, I’ve grown just about anything you can at one time or another and I have never had a deer problem. Maybe mine just have more eclectic taste than the ones who eat like goats…
    Nicola, I love the article Anne pointed out!

    Reply
  48. @Ann Stephens,
    I’m more inclined to think Pat is talking about the rather larger variety called deer. I have to say though, I’ve grown just about anything you can at one time or another and I have never had a deer problem. Maybe mine just have more eclectic taste than the ones who eat like goats…
    Nicola, I love the article Anne pointed out!

    Reply
  49. @Ann Stephens,
    I’m more inclined to think Pat is talking about the rather larger variety called deer. I have to say though, I’ve grown just about anything you can at one time or another and I have never had a deer problem. Maybe mine just have more eclectic taste than the ones who eat like goats…
    Nicola, I love the article Anne pointed out!

    Reply
  50. @Ann Stephens,
    I’m more inclined to think Pat is talking about the rather larger variety called deer. I have to say though, I’ve grown just about anything you can at one time or another and I have never had a deer problem. Maybe mine just have more eclectic taste than the ones who eat like goats…
    Nicola, I love the article Anne pointed out!

    Reply
  51. Just catching up with all the wonderful comments after a day away from my desk yesterday. Thank you all so much – I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I loved hearing about all the marvellous follies, great or small, we have in our own gardens!
    I had a super time at Old Wardour and was fascinated by the pleasure gardens whilst simultaneously appalled at the vandalism of moving a 4000 year old stone circle. Pat, I think you may very well be right about Lady Arundell dropping that match! Who would want a draughty medieval castle when you could build a nice cosy modern house?

    Reply
  52. Just catching up with all the wonderful comments after a day away from my desk yesterday. Thank you all so much – I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I loved hearing about all the marvellous follies, great or small, we have in our own gardens!
    I had a super time at Old Wardour and was fascinated by the pleasure gardens whilst simultaneously appalled at the vandalism of moving a 4000 year old stone circle. Pat, I think you may very well be right about Lady Arundell dropping that match! Who would want a draughty medieval castle when you could build a nice cosy modern house?

    Reply
  53. Just catching up with all the wonderful comments after a day away from my desk yesterday. Thank you all so much – I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I loved hearing about all the marvellous follies, great or small, we have in our own gardens!
    I had a super time at Old Wardour and was fascinated by the pleasure gardens whilst simultaneously appalled at the vandalism of moving a 4000 year old stone circle. Pat, I think you may very well be right about Lady Arundell dropping that match! Who would want a draughty medieval castle when you could build a nice cosy modern house?

    Reply
  54. Just catching up with all the wonderful comments after a day away from my desk yesterday. Thank you all so much – I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I loved hearing about all the marvellous follies, great or small, we have in our own gardens!
    I had a super time at Old Wardour and was fascinated by the pleasure gardens whilst simultaneously appalled at the vandalism of moving a 4000 year old stone circle. Pat, I think you may very well be right about Lady Arundell dropping that match! Who would want a draughty medieval castle when you could build a nice cosy modern house?

    Reply
  55. Just catching up with all the wonderful comments after a day away from my desk yesterday. Thank you all so much – I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I loved hearing about all the marvellous follies, great or small, we have in our own gardens!
    I had a super time at Old Wardour and was fascinated by the pleasure gardens whilst simultaneously appalled at the vandalism of moving a 4000 year old stone circle. Pat, I think you may very well be right about Lady Arundell dropping that match! Who would want a draughty medieval castle when you could build a nice cosy modern house?

    Reply
  56. Jo, I loved the picture of your stones and was glad to know that I am not the only person with stones in my back yard. Around here they are sarsen, tiny versions of the stones used to build stonehenge.
    Sherrie, I love the idea of using and old boat as a flowerbed! And a labyrinth would be wonderful fun. I think it was Mary Jo who did a great blog piece on labyrinths a while ago. I’d certainly have a maze on my estate in the style of the one at Longleat. I was lost in there for a half hour!

    Reply
  57. Jo, I loved the picture of your stones and was glad to know that I am not the only person with stones in my back yard. Around here they are sarsen, tiny versions of the stones used to build stonehenge.
    Sherrie, I love the idea of using and old boat as a flowerbed! And a labyrinth would be wonderful fun. I think it was Mary Jo who did a great blog piece on labyrinths a while ago. I’d certainly have a maze on my estate in the style of the one at Longleat. I was lost in there for a half hour!

    Reply
  58. Jo, I loved the picture of your stones and was glad to know that I am not the only person with stones in my back yard. Around here they are sarsen, tiny versions of the stones used to build stonehenge.
    Sherrie, I love the idea of using and old boat as a flowerbed! And a labyrinth would be wonderful fun. I think it was Mary Jo who did a great blog piece on labyrinths a while ago. I’d certainly have a maze on my estate in the style of the one at Longleat. I was lost in there for a half hour!

    Reply
  59. Jo, I loved the picture of your stones and was glad to know that I am not the only person with stones in my back yard. Around here they are sarsen, tiny versions of the stones used to build stonehenge.
    Sherrie, I love the idea of using and old boat as a flowerbed! And a labyrinth would be wonderful fun. I think it was Mary Jo who did a great blog piece on labyrinths a while ago. I’d certainly have a maze on my estate in the style of the one at Longleat. I was lost in there for a half hour!

    Reply
  60. Jo, I loved the picture of your stones and was glad to know that I am not the only person with stones in my back yard. Around here they are sarsen, tiny versions of the stones used to build stonehenge.
    Sherrie, I love the idea of using and old boat as a flowerbed! And a labyrinth would be wonderful fun. I think it was Mary Jo who did a great blog piece on labyrinths a while ago. I’d certainly have a maze on my estate in the style of the one at Longleat. I was lost in there for a half hour!

    Reply
  61. Cara, Theo and Louisa – you all have an affinity with stones as well! I agree they make great features. Ann, I envy you that outdoor writing spot! It sounds sublime. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the sort of wildlife we don’t get around here – road runners! And Louis’ pepper tree and liquid amber tree sound most exotic!

    Reply
  62. Cara, Theo and Louisa – you all have an affinity with stones as well! I agree they make great features. Ann, I envy you that outdoor writing spot! It sounds sublime. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the sort of wildlife we don’t get around here – road runners! And Louis’ pepper tree and liquid amber tree sound most exotic!

    Reply
  63. Cara, Theo and Louisa – you all have an affinity with stones as well! I agree they make great features. Ann, I envy you that outdoor writing spot! It sounds sublime. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the sort of wildlife we don’t get around here – road runners! And Louis’ pepper tree and liquid amber tree sound most exotic!

    Reply
  64. Cara, Theo and Louisa – you all have an affinity with stones as well! I agree they make great features. Ann, I envy you that outdoor writing spot! It sounds sublime. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the sort of wildlife we don’t get around here – road runners! And Louis’ pepper tree and liquid amber tree sound most exotic!

    Reply
  65. Cara, Theo and Louisa – you all have an affinity with stones as well! I agree they make great features. Ann, I envy you that outdoor writing spot! It sounds sublime. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the sort of wildlife we don’t get around here – road runners! And Louis’ pepper tree and liquid amber tree sound most exotic!

    Reply
  66. Anne, thank you for the link to the Venue Magazine article and Theo, I’m very pleased you liked it. Great to meet a journalist who was prepared to bust a few romance myths and come out and say she enjoyed the books!

    Reply
  67. Anne, thank you for the link to the Venue Magazine article and Theo, I’m very pleased you liked it. Great to meet a journalist who was prepared to bust a few romance myths and come out and say she enjoyed the books!

    Reply
  68. Anne, thank you for the link to the Venue Magazine article and Theo, I’m very pleased you liked it. Great to meet a journalist who was prepared to bust a few romance myths and come out and say she enjoyed the books!

    Reply
  69. Anne, thank you for the link to the Venue Magazine article and Theo, I’m very pleased you liked it. Great to meet a journalist who was prepared to bust a few romance myths and come out and say she enjoyed the books!

    Reply
  70. Anne, thank you for the link to the Venue Magazine article and Theo, I’m very pleased you liked it. Great to meet a journalist who was prepared to bust a few romance myths and come out and say she enjoyed the books!

    Reply
  71. Hi Nicola. I had to pop over when I saw the picture of Wardour Castle on FB. I grew up across the lake from the Old Castle, in a house that had originally been a bathhouse/folly on the Wardour estate and was converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century. So lovely and weird to see the places I know so well up on the web.
    You missed the romantic part of the history. In the original siege, when the Roundheads were attacking, Blanche, Lady Arundell dressed all her ladies as men to make the place look fortified. Finally they escaped through the secret tunnels. (That’s the story I learned growing up, but it could be total nonsense.)

    Reply
  72. Hi Nicola. I had to pop over when I saw the picture of Wardour Castle on FB. I grew up across the lake from the Old Castle, in a house that had originally been a bathhouse/folly on the Wardour estate and was converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century. So lovely and weird to see the places I know so well up on the web.
    You missed the romantic part of the history. In the original siege, when the Roundheads were attacking, Blanche, Lady Arundell dressed all her ladies as men to make the place look fortified. Finally they escaped through the secret tunnels. (That’s the story I learned growing up, but it could be total nonsense.)

    Reply
  73. Hi Nicola. I had to pop over when I saw the picture of Wardour Castle on FB. I grew up across the lake from the Old Castle, in a house that had originally been a bathhouse/folly on the Wardour estate and was converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century. So lovely and weird to see the places I know so well up on the web.
    You missed the romantic part of the history. In the original siege, when the Roundheads were attacking, Blanche, Lady Arundell dressed all her ladies as men to make the place look fortified. Finally they escaped through the secret tunnels. (That’s the story I learned growing up, but it could be total nonsense.)

    Reply
  74. Hi Nicola. I had to pop over when I saw the picture of Wardour Castle on FB. I grew up across the lake from the Old Castle, in a house that had originally been a bathhouse/folly on the Wardour estate and was converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century. So lovely and weird to see the places I know so well up on the web.
    You missed the romantic part of the history. In the original siege, when the Roundheads were attacking, Blanche, Lady Arundell dressed all her ladies as men to make the place look fortified. Finally they escaped through the secret tunnels. (That’s the story I learned growing up, but it could be total nonsense.)

    Reply
  75. Hi Nicola. I had to pop over when I saw the picture of Wardour Castle on FB. I grew up across the lake from the Old Castle, in a house that had originally been a bathhouse/folly on the Wardour estate and was converted to a farmhouse in the 19th century. So lovely and weird to see the places I know so well up on the web.
    You missed the romantic part of the history. In the original siege, when the Roundheads were attacking, Blanche, Lady Arundell dressed all her ladies as men to make the place look fortified. Finally they escaped through the secret tunnels. (That’s the story I learned growing up, but it could be total nonsense.)

    Reply
  76. Thank you for dropping in, Miranda. What an extraordinary co-incidence that you grew up near Old Wardour and what a spectacular place to live! I hadn’t heard the tale about Lady Arundell dressing all her ladies as men to make the castle look fortified. What a wonderful story – if I write another Civil-war set book that will definitely feature!

    Reply
  77. Thank you for dropping in, Miranda. What an extraordinary co-incidence that you grew up near Old Wardour and what a spectacular place to live! I hadn’t heard the tale about Lady Arundell dressing all her ladies as men to make the castle look fortified. What a wonderful story – if I write another Civil-war set book that will definitely feature!

    Reply
  78. Thank you for dropping in, Miranda. What an extraordinary co-incidence that you grew up near Old Wardour and what a spectacular place to live! I hadn’t heard the tale about Lady Arundell dressing all her ladies as men to make the castle look fortified. What a wonderful story – if I write another Civil-war set book that will definitely feature!

    Reply
  79. Thank you for dropping in, Miranda. What an extraordinary co-incidence that you grew up near Old Wardour and what a spectacular place to live! I hadn’t heard the tale about Lady Arundell dressing all her ladies as men to make the castle look fortified. What a wonderful story – if I write another Civil-war set book that will definitely feature!

    Reply
  80. Thank you for dropping in, Miranda. What an extraordinary co-incidence that you grew up near Old Wardour and what a spectacular place to live! I hadn’t heard the tale about Lady Arundell dressing all her ladies as men to make the castle look fortified. What a wonderful story – if I write another Civil-war set book that will definitely feature!

    Reply

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