Charlie and I were staying in Oxfordshire this weekend – at Wardington, which I’ve written about before… the beautiful house owned by his friends the Elworthys and which has become a quietly regular feature, from time to time, on the blog.
Rolling out of sunny London to Banbury on Friday evening was bliss…. I love journeys from Marylebone Station, in any event, which always seems as if it is a toy station. Charlie had driven up from Dorset and we were both immediately enveloped in the warm glow of Wardington… Bridget’s delicious, fresh cooking; soft four-poster beds, low leaded-light windows with long views over the garden.
The house has beautiful interiors, and some very unusual plasterwork, installed during the Arts & Crafts re-building programme. This is the stair to our bedroom:
On Saturday evening, just before supper, I went for a walk around the garden, camera in hand.
Bridget’s garden is completely inspirational. Together with the flower meadow that I’ve written about before, it forms the background to the business she runs with Henrietta Courtauld, the Land Gardeners. Bridget holds courses here and it is from the tall library at Wardington that she and Henrietta design gardens and planting schemes.
One of my favourite areas is the meadow and orchard.
After supper, at dusk, Charlie and I went for a walk down to the lake – past Bridget’s newly-planted dahlia beds. They ran out of room in the flower meadow for dahlias.
Right at the bottom of the garden is a lake that is surrounded by classic Edwardian planting of rhododendron and azaleas, and where a boat house is tucked into the bank.
We returned to the house and the long iris borders glowed in that particular moment when the sun has gone but everything seems brighter than before. The evening air was heavy with the scent of these beautiful flowers.
It was a quiet, still, perfect end to an amazing day – when we had earlier visited the remarkable Pavilions at Stoke Park, up towards Towcester… but that is going to be another story.
I can’t believe, I am sure that you can’t believe, how quickly we are rushing towards high summer. In the shop, Bridie and I (CAN YOU BELIEVE IT) are designing our range of Christmas Cards, which are going to be letterpress printed for us soon. ‘What are you doing for New Year?’, I jokingly asked someone yesterday. But only half-jokingly, perhaps.