Sunday, April 15, 2012

Mapperton madness

Hurrying over the newly erected bridge over the Ha-ha Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman found themselves in the courtyard in front of this magnificent house. Ms Tagalong is sure you readers know what a ha-ha is so she won't bore you with a description but suffice it to say there were no stray sheep lying in the ditch as they attempted to eat all the plants at the plant fair.

Ms Tagalong was on a mission. She wanted a purple clematis and hang the cost. In fact she nearly got hung, drawn and quartered when the price of the beautiful Aphrodite variety she had chosen found Mr Ideasman scrabbling around for some extra small change for a cup of coffee! It was a close shave but the crisis was averted by a cheap coffee and piece of chocolate brownie.

Time to enter the gardens themselves. Mapperton Gardens. They paused at the gates. Lichen and moss covered ancient stone walls dating from who knows what century; they are really old gushed Ms Tagalong and Mr Ideasman said in true Woody Allen style, yes they look it! The walls had obviously withstood centuries of weathering secured by wisteria, their spring growth tapping at the rippled windowpanes.

A harsh crowing and cackling broke the reverie, a lot of noise over some wandering ducks apparently. The cockerel belligerently staking his territory with the assistance of a lady hen. The others just continued pecking around the plants, taking a nibble of an euphorbia here, a daffodil there.

Ms Tagalong played lady of the manor strolling through the grounds, admiring the orangerie, the topiary and imagining her superb game of croquet. The purple prose trips off the tongue of the official website Mapperton Gardens is a romantic valley garden deep into a lost Dorset combe among tumbling hills and unspoiled countryside. Well, dear reader, it is exactly as described. Mr Ideasman raced around with the camera taking the garden from every angle.

Not quite a community garden this, more a manorial masterpiece, housing a Lord and Lady but open occasionally for viewing by the community!

As they left, negotiating the bridge, Mr Ideasman said 'Ewe'd better be careful,' and fell about laughing. 'Ha ha' retorted Ms Tagalong.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A Jubilee Job?

Ms Tagalong nearly fell over her feet in her haste to grab her camera out of her carry on bag and rush across the train aisle to photograph this poster. Smacks of Dig for Victory, she thought, and wondered if she had the gall to apply as a local leader! 'Garden for the Games' what an opportunity and in this Jubilee year.

Well, she thought,what could she offer? Experience in co-ordinating a community garden? Container gardening in her own small courtyard garden? Hmm. Ms Tagalong had been fortunate to see some gardens in the last weeks. A community garden in Waterlow Park across from Highgate cemetery sports raised beds individually gardened by groups and is of course limited by space. Aren't they all? One hopeful advertisement in the window of the local shop here in Bridport is offering garden space for someone to garden. How lovely, how attractive in a small town with premium garden space.

Mr Ideasman had taken some lovely photos of Spring flowers in Hampstead at Fenton House, a National Trust property, and admired the espaliered fruit trees surrounding the vegetable garden and the twiggy tepees for supporting sweet peas and the like.
So green, so green at this time of year and with the blossom all around it is quite magical and giving Japan a run for its money! The may trees are blooming and the horse chestnuts are threatening to light their candles far too early.

Ms Tagalong has been missing her fresh herbs and salad so two large pots are full of these and two peat free compost bags are arranged so neatly on the patio with lettuce seedlings peeking out, growing to garnish plates and fill sandwiches.