Tag Archive: heritage

wp_20170201_16_55_00_proI have a bit of an affinity with King’s Lynn in west Norfolk, as it was the home of my great grandfather’s family and west Norfolk in general is pretty much the ‘home of the Boldero’s’!

However, it’s the sort of place that many people don’t get to visit unless they make a special effort…it’s on the way between Norfolk and the midlands/north, but is probably not really a tourist destination for many people, unless you’re visiting the North Norfolk coast at Hunstanton, perhaps.

Or maybe because you have a meeting there? Well last week I was fortunate enough to have a day long and evening meetings there and had an hour an a half to spare around dusk, so i ventured forth across ‘The Walks’ into town past some delightful old town houses and beyond to the Purfleet quay with the Custom House and  statue of George Vancouver overlooking a fast emptying Great Ouse river.

This is a fascinating place with lots of other historical interest (old market places, churches etc.), so well worth a day or two’s stay or a weekend break; oh and there’s also Castle Rising nearby (a medieval castle and village featured in an earlier post) and of course the Royal residence of Sandringham, not to forget ‘Sunny Hunny’ (Hunstanton) where you can get some breathtaking views across the Wash, especially at sunset (where I happened to be to celebrate my 60th birthday). Here’s a link to find out more and below a collection of pictures taken en route to whet your appetite!

Old School Gardener


It’s been a while since I featured some interesting architectural detailing, but I was blown away by what I saw ‘over my head’ in Bruges, so feast your eyes…(I’ve thrown in a few other shots of this wonderful town).

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 Old School Gardener

IMG_9810I’ve mentioned Abbey Gardens before, in the context of my role as a Green Flag Award judge. That time- spring last year- the place was looking great in its colourful bedding of bulbs and other spring flowers. I visited it again recently and the formal beds were once again looking superb; bright, clever combinations of flowers provided the sort of formal scheme once extensively used in public gardens and parks around the U.K. However, it’s very labour and resource intensive and has therefore been replaced by lower cost alternatives in many places, but it’s still good to see it done well. And here it IS done very well.

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Apart from the borders there are other interesting attractions in the gardens, which also house the ruins of the abbey, and it has great views to the Cathedral with its ‘millenium tower’. And while we were there we had a wider walk around this lovely town with its extensive floral displays.

Old School Gardener

Oak chapel at Allouville Bellefosse, via The Woodland Trust

Oak chapel at Allouville Bellefosse, via woodland Trust

Contemplation/ garden of Gethsemane- by Jenny Meehan
Contemplation/ Garden of Gethsemane by Jenny Meehan

‘..Gardening has always been regarded as a peculiarly English activity: indeed, it has assumed a key role in English identity. There are two main reasons for this..first…the weather….But there are also cultural reasons why gardening became the favoured activity of the English….English Gardens were seen as having curative powers for the English malady of melancholy….English people, unlike their continental counterparts, for whom it was a place for parade and social intercourse, went into the garden for a very different purpose- contemplation. I believe it was the Reformation which gave Englishmen their green fingers. In Catholic countries meditation took place in churches, monasteries and nunneries. In England the setting for contemplation became the garden….’

Sir Roy Strong: ‘Visions of England’ (Random House, 2011)

Old School Gardener

Bitton church, South Gloucestershire
Bitton church, South Gloucestershire

‘A country parson without some knowledge of plants is surely as incomplete as a country parsonage without a garden.’

Canon  Ellacombe; ‘In a Gloucestershire Garden’ 1895

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old salem museums and gardens via p.allen smith


‘Diagonal Veg’ at Old Salem Museums and Gardens via P. Allen Smith

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IMG_8567Another trip out whilst in Devon recently, involved a rather tortuous journey (and the need to pre book parking) at the former home of Agatha Christie, Greenway, near Brixham. We were a little limited in what we could see of the gardens, and we didn’t get to some of the feature areas like the walled garden and rhododendrons. Another day perhaps….What we did see was a fascinating house (and contents too) and some beautiful riverside sloping gardens full of interesting plants, typical of so many ‘sub tropical’ gardens along this south west coastline.

‘…The beloved holiday home of the famous and much-loved author Agatha Christie and her family. This relaxed and atmospheric house is set in the 1950s, when Agatha and her family would spend summers and Christmases here with friends, relaxing by the river, playing croquet and clock golf, and reading her latest mystery to their guests. The family were great collectors, and the house is filled with archaeology, Tunbridgeware, silver, botanical china and books.

 In the garden don’t miss the large and romantic woodland which drifts down the hillside towards the sparkling Dart estuary. The walled gardens are home to the restored peach house and vinery, as well as an allotment cared for by local school children. A visit to Greenway isn’t complete without seeing the Boathouse, scene of the crime in Dead Man’s Folly, and the battery complete with cannon….’

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Further Information: National Trust Website

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I set you a little challenge last Sunday. I photographed these two old gardening tools at Erdigg House and Gardens and asked what you thought they were used for. Thanks to those of you who had a go….

Old School Gardener

My previous post from Chester gave some pictures of the various architectural gems in this fine City. Here are a few taken in and around the cathedral – not such good quality as all I had to hand was my phone camera.

 Old School Gardener

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