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Pictures not words



Ben

It was a beautiful morning in Dorset… pale sunshine, filtered mist. This blog (you’ll be glad to hear) is one of those which has not very much to say – but a lot to look at.
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I walked down to the Lake while Charlie bustled around in the flower room, getting ready for the pop-up…P1030184 P1030186 P1030187 P1030188 P1030192 P1030194The morning was stunning.  We had a lazy breakfast, and tea with our neighbours, and pottered around, but that’s basically all we’d done yesterday too. Charlie said… “I think we need to do something”. And I thought that we should go to Stourhead.

For most the readers, this – I suppose the most famous English landscape garden of all time – will probably need no introduction. As it happened, it was Charlie’s first visit, and the first time I’d been in years. I well remember walking around, in February or March, a freezing, empty, closed-up Stourhead House (and Park) when, I suppose it must have been eight or nine years ago now, I was designing the National Trust range of plaster cornices (which you can buy from Stevensons of Norwich). I hadn’t been back since that magical cold day.

Everything was looking beautiful, the first hint of autumn colour appearing in the trees.

We started in the walled garden, which is just about perfect, and has provided Charlie with the evidence he needs that next year he’s going to grow our veg down the slopes, not along it.P1030207 P1030208

The Pelargonium house.P1030209 P1030211 P1030213 P1030216

The cutting garden.P1030221 P1030222 P1030227 P1030229 P1030230

The house is delicate and dolls-house like, despite its classical severity, but we didn’t go in this time.P1030234 P1030235

The first glimpse of the classical landscape is breathtaking.P1030241 P1030242 P1030243 P1030247 P1030251 P1030256 P1030258 The grotto, complete with statues of water nymphs and Neptune at the source of the lake:
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With its startling view across the shimmering water.P1030273 P1030282

I loved the ferny mossy roof of the grotto.P1030284

Across the water are glimpses to the Temple of Flora, but we were on our way next to the Pantheon.P1030289

Its cool grey moss-encrusted facade is perfect.P1030291 P1030295 P1030299 P1030302 P1030306 Reflections were insane.
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And then, our favourite of all; the Temple of Apollo.P1030327 P1030329 P1030332 P1030334

Nice statues.P1030342

Sublime views.P1030344 P1030345

The trees were a deep vivid green.P1030348

And then last, the Temple of Flora, which is a perfect gem; I suppose this is the building you would like to take home in your pocket.P1030353 P1030357 P1030359

On a pane of glass, this beautiful signature.
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The view back to the Pantheon must be one of the most sublime in Europe; the whole place a dream landscape – as if you have tumbled into the title page of a book by Rex Whistler. It has an unreality that I find amazingly compelling.P1030374

It’s quite something to take in on a Sunday afternoon walk in the woods. We left happy and sped back to London and a new week.

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