Some of my blogging friends have adopted a new meme organized by The Propagator, “Six on Saturday,” and I thought it would be fun to follow suit…especially this week when I’m just home from hosting a fabulous garden tour to East Anglia, England, where I visited some of the most remarkable gardens I’ve ever seen.
So, here are six gardens visited in the first days of the tour. If I’m lucky, I’ll have time to tell you more about each of these special places. Not this week, though, as I’m headed to St. Louis soon for another adventure.
The Old Palace (1485) at Hatfield House, where Queen Elizabeth I lived as a child, and its recently updated garden. (Not in East Anglia, but near Heathrow Airport where we arrived.)
Beth Chatto’s remarkable gravel garden. Notice how the bark of the eucalyptus tree gives prominence to the silver and gray foliage plants.
Helmingham Hall, built and owned by the Tollemache family since 1480.
A stunning scene at Wyken Hall Gardens and Vineyard. Our group also had a fabulous lunch at the café and the gift shop was top-notch too.
The sunken pool centering the rose garden at Houghton Hall. Imagine how beautiful this scene will be when the lavender and climbing roses are blooming!
Sandringham House, the much-loved country retreat of the Queen and the home where Prince Phillip, now retired from public life, spends a good portion of his time.
Hatfield isn’t really near Heathrow, but I suppose for an American the distance seems quite short. It must have been a great trip. Good choice of places to visit.
Christina–That is so funny! It certainly seemed close to me, but maybe it was because we motored there relatively quickly. Once we arrived in East Anglia, the coach hardly ever topped 45 mph because we were typically on small country lanes. You know, Bill Bryson says Americans will drive farther for a taco than the English will drive for a vacation!
Yes, I’ve heard that! You must have been very lucky with the traffic on the M25, which is notoriously slow.
I’ve visited three of these gardens and will visit Wyken and Houghton Halls in September, when I host my final garden tour to England. I’ve been to Hatfield House umpteen times — a very close friend lives nearby and we go each time I visit her. I’m not overwhelmed by some of the changes there but do like the Old Palace Garden very much, and the head gardener who has generously shared his time and knowledge. Xa Tollemache whirled our small group of Canadians around Helmingham Hall, staying with us much longer than she had intended and showing us parts of the garden that she doesn’t normally take people to. Sandringham is one I’ve not seen and have no plans to see. Am I missing something fabulous?
Wonderful photos, incidentally, particularly of Helmingham.
Pat–I love art (especially) and antiques and no one has better than the royal family. In fact, Sandringham House was a wonderful surprise, with big light-filled rooms and astounding collections of jade, porcelain (Meissen and Copenhagen), and other pretty things assembled by Queen Alexandra. It was very grand but also welcoming. The guides at royal residences are extremely knowledgeable and can explain any detail about the rooms when asked. The grounds were immaculate and especially beautiful around the two small lakes. There was a small, formal garden on the north side of the residence, but I didn’t spend much time there…the long walks were too tempting. We did not book entry into the walled garden. Visits to the museum, filled with the history of the estate and many old coaches and other vehicles, and the 16th c. church, St Mary Magdalene, were also worthwhile. And lucky for us, there was a band playing at the visitor’s center during our visit, though I have to admit it is a bit surreal coming out of a 500 year old church to the sound of “Aquarius” by The 5th Dimension!
I also saw Windsor Castle on this trip, as we had a free afternoon in Windsor the day before departure. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much, but the art collection was mind boggling.
Oh my….how awesome!!! Beautiful, of course, as only English Gardens are my favorites. Makes me want to cry at what I missed, but I know the trip to Budapest will be fabulous too!
Enjoy your adventure to St. Louis!! Hugs,
Sharon–Well, we missed you too. But you are right, we will have a fabulous time in Budapest, Vienna, and Prague.
Thank you for the beautiful tour…maybe someday I will go on one. That is funny about driving distance. Texans think nothing of driving an hour for dinner. It’s all relative.
Auto–Yes, I know what you mean. I’ll drive 2 hours to Athens, Georgia, just to shop at some of my favorite nurseries.
Marian, words cannot describe – even your wonderful pictures give a small idea – of how wonderful it is to see, smell, feel these gardens. Martha Robinson
Martha–I would go again to any and all of the gardens we visited. One of these days we need to rent a house and stay for a couple of months! And didn’t you love our dinner at Number Ten in Lavenham?
Glad you are home safely. We are in the midst of the move-in. Ugh. Hope to see you again soon.
John–As much as I love to travel, it is always good to be home. We had a ferocious storm here yesterday afternoon with 3 inches of rain in about 20 minutes. Hope you are the arranger are doing well…a move is so taxing. Take care and let me know when you are settled.
Beth Chato, what a gardener she was!
Tim–You are right. I’ve been lucky to visit the Chatto garden twice and it’s really like nothing else. On the most recent visit, David Ward, Beth’s Garden and Nursery Director, led our group and their were some very poignant moments as he shared memories of working with Beth and the many ways that she had an impact on gardening.
Glad you are safely home with all your lovely memories of beautiful gardens. It was such pleasure to meet you and your delightful group. Yes, come for longer next time, there are still plenty of amazing gardens that you haven’t seen yet.
Chloris–East Anglia had a profound influence on me…I simply loved it. Plus, it’s easy to see the locals truly enjoy meeting visitors and sharing their unique heritage and points of interest. Nearly every establishment said, “Spread the word so more groups will come here.” I would love to explore more!
I went to Wkyken Hall a few years ago with my lovely host Julie who lives locally. Yes, it is just gorgeous…and the tea towels I bought in the shop are still my favorites. Look forward to hearing more. We’re on Isle of Wight now: only problem is that without a car (no, we don’t drive here!) it’s more difficult than I thought to get around. Still, it’s lovely!
Libby–I already had a tea towel from the Chelsea Physic Garden, but I found a beautiful summer scarf and Christmas presents for my two daughters-in-law. Hope you have a lovely trip…looking forward to hearing about it when you get home.
The only word is wow.
Graddick–You should stick with me more often! Let’s get together sometime soon.
oh, how beautiful! we were there in spirit 🙂 thanks for sharing!
Amy–Hope life is good for two of my favorite people! It was a fabulous trip, but Gardens of the North is still a standout and great favorite.
Must have been a wonderful trip and looking forward to more details when you return!
Eliza–I can’t say enough good things about East Anglia. It is quintessential England and offers the best of everything.
Love these photographs, especially of Hatfield House.
Deen–I took a special tour of the Old Palace and it sent shivers up my spine to think I was touching walls and floors and seeing wooden beams and carvings that were a part of the daily life of Elizabeth I.
Each of these gardens looks amazing in its own right. How I’d love to tag along one of these days Marian!
Susie–Oh, and how I would love to have you tag along! Hope you are doing well and the garden is getting enough rain. We’ve been dry for a couple weeks but had a gullywasher late Saturday afternoon.
Absolutely wonderful! Every scene is special, but I’m dreamy over the sunken garden and the gravel garden. Sounds like you had a fabulous time, and I look forward to more coverage and also more about your St. Louis adventure! Safe travels!