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Art In the Potting Shed Garden, Benenden, UK, Post Four

 

A Garden Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Garden Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Well let’s go through this extraordinary garden at the Potting Shed once last time! First go through another garden gate. Charlotte has made gates into  an art form, that’s for sure!

Another Outdoor Eating Area at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Another Outdoor Eating Area at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And Through Another Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And Through Another Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

hroughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Art Throughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

hroughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Art Throughout the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Look up, look down, we don’t want to miss a thing! And then into the Cutting Flower Garden!

Into the Vegetable Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Into the Cutting Flower Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through the arbor!

 Through the Arbor, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through the Arbor, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

We must stop by and see the turtles!

The Turtles Pen, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Turtle Pen, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And the turtles up close!

The Turtles

The Turtles

Through another gate!

Through Another Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through Another Gate at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Onward to the bee keeps.

 The Bee Keeps at The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Bee Keeps at The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

And then to the Artist’s Retreat!

An Artist's Retreat, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

An Artist’s Retreat, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Through another gate!

The Last Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Last Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

To the last Retreat!

Another Artist's Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Another Artist’s Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Don’t throw away anything! Charlotte has re-cycled everything in her garden from thrown away treasures! See what you can do with them? Old gates, old doors, old odd windows here and there! Save the fallen branches too!

The Artist's Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Artist’s Retreat,The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

You can see what an unusual gardening experience this is! It was an absolutely charming and very restful garden and lodging to come back to at the end of a touring day!

Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed, can be reached Here.

PS…. I took photos of Don and Charlotte, and you can see why this garden is so magical, just by the look of them! But…….. they requested their photos not be published on the blog…….so I am honoring their request!

Tomorrow we’ll be touring a garden on the National Garden Scheme!  See you there!

A Walk in the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK: Post Three

Through Another Garden Gate, the Potting Shed

Through Another Garden Gate, the Potting Shed

The Gardens at the Potting Shed, Bebenden, UK

The Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Today we are exploring the property of the Potting Shed, a good five acres to get us up and about! Don and Charlotte are the proud owners of this beautiful property and lovingly take care of it. As I mentioned yesterday, Don was a farmer, and then the head gardener to Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram on his estate called ‘The Grange’ in Benenden. When Ingram died in 1981, ‘the Grange’ was divided and sold in parcels. This is where the story gets very interesting……… you just never know what you are going to stumble upon when looking into gardens! Don bought a parcel of five acres of ‘the Grange’ that also had the original gardener’s cottage on it and that is where he and Charlotte lived. What a keeper! And that original cottage, where they still live, is very much as it was when it was built in the 1930’s. Tiny, small rooms with huge fireplaces, slate floors and an old fashioned kitchen with a stove that was built before the AGA, I envied! I wanted to take pictures so badly, but how do you say, “Wow I might never see another cottage like this again and I know this is your private abode, but can I take about 500 pictures?” So I kept my mouth shut and just oggled and awed.

Now at the time I knew nothing about Cherry Ingram, so I had to find out more about him, so Don and Charlotte explained.

Collingwood “Cherry” Ingram (30 October 1880–19 May 1981) was an ornithologist, plant collector and gardener, who was an authority on Japanese flowering cherries.

In the early 1900s, Sir William Ingram employed Wilfred Stalker to collect bird skins in Australia for Collingwood to identify and catalogue at the London Natural History Museum, resulting in his first major publication. In 1907 he collected in Japan and for his work there he was made an Honorary Member of the Ornithological Society of Japan. However, his main interest was in the field study of birds; he made the first record of marsh warblers breeding in Kent. He was an accomplished bird artist. A planned book on the birds of France was interrupted by World War I and never completed, although part emerged as Birds of the Riviera in 1926. His 1916–18 journals record his war experiences and also his off-duty bird observations and sketches behind the lines in northern France. His published war diaries are packed with his pencil sketches of birds, people and landscapes. He interrogated pilots, on the height at which birds fly, resulting in a short paper after the War. He was member of the British Ornithologists’ Union for a record 81 years!

The Birdhouses, the Potting Shed

The Birdhouses, the Potting Shed

After World War I, horticulture took over from ornithology as Collingwood Ingram’s dominant interest. He created his famous garden at ‘The Grange’ in Benenden and collected plants across the world. His outstanding plant-collecting trips were to Japan in 1926 and South Africa in 1927.

By 1926, he was a world authority on Japanese cherries and was asked to address the Cherry Society in Japan on their national tree. It was on this visit that he was shown a painting of a beautiful white cherry, then thought to be extinct in Japan. He recognized it as one he had seen in a very bad state in a Sussex garden, the result of an early introduction from Japan. He had taken cuttings and so was able to re-introduce it to the gardening world as ‘Tai Haku’, the name meaning ‘Great White Cherry’. In March 2016 a book on his contribution to the survival of Japanese cherries was published in Japan: the title Cherry Ingram: the English Saviour of Japan’s Cherry Blossoms. He introduced many Japanese and species cherries to the country, as well as a number of his own hybrids. His 1948 book, Ornamental Cherries, became a standard work. Ingram introduced many other new garden plants, the best known of which are probably ‘Rubus Benenden’  a vigorous, medium sized deciduous shrub. Its white flowers have a yellow stamen at it’s center, and five saucer shaped petals. Its fruit are similar to those of the Bramble. The Rosemary, ‘Benenden Blue’ was also his work. Oh wow!

So now we will walk around the property and see what Don and Charlotte have added to it, besides the wonderful Potting Shed! Remember they are both artists, as well, and have added many cottages for their craft.

The Cactus Cottage

The Cactus Cottage

The Cactus and Succulants

The Cactus and Succulents

The Weaving Room

The Weaving Room

Inside the Weaving Room

Inside the Weaving Room

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Artist's Studio at the Potting Shed

The Artist’s Studio at the Potting Shed Property

The Chickens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Chickens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

A Walk Through the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed can be reached Here. I am writing many posts on the Potting Shed so be sure to check them all out! Tomorrow we’ll learn more about this fabulous garden!  Until then ……..Enjoy!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, Kent, UK, Post Two

One of the Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

One of the Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

As some of you know this is my second year for my England Garden Tour, where I pick out spots in the UK to spend a few weeks and then visit lovely gardens, including local gardens sponsored on the National Garden Theme and homes and gardens on the National Trust. I had a little rough start to my visit to St Ives, but as most things do in the end, it turned out even better than I expected. Now, we have made our way to The Potting Shed in Benenden, which I have been anxiously waiting for. This time we would also be staying/living in a garden too. What would it be like?

I booked The Potting Shed over a year ago to make sure I could get accommadations to stay there at the time I wanted. My better half always asks me, “where do you find these places?” Well, I do a lot of homework looking for unusual spots for lodging and I like things off the beaten track and things not typical of what everybody is doing.

The Potting Shed fit the bill. It truly is a Potting Shed in the yard of two very prolific gardeners! I would say Charlotte, one of the gardeners, is a cross between Beatrice Potter and Tasha Tudor! Don was originally a farmer and has spent a lifetime gardening ( more on that in another post) But, between the two, they truly live off the land, thrive in it and a motto for them might be “waste not, want not.” Invited into their cottage for wine one evening, we got a look at how one lived in the early 1900’s, the period their cottage was made, and I can’t say many updates have been made to ruin it! I couldn’t take my eyes off the magical wonder of their lifestyle and how it would truly be living like that. No modern Ikea stuff here! Charlotte is also an artist and painter, everything she touches is made beautiful, so they enjoy scouting the countryside for finds and then bring them home to enhance their gardens! While we were there they were looking for more old doors!

The Potting Shed, on the other hand, was meant to be quite modern in comfort and cozy. The appliances are up to date and there is Wi-fi and a TV. The furniture has been re-designed in fabrics and style with Charlotte’s eye for the bohemian flair, nothing fancy, but very stylish. So without further ado, let’s look at the inside of the Potting Shed!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

 The Potting Shed, Benenden, Kent, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

These stairs are called Paddle Steps. I had never heard of them, but they are great for saving space in small spaces!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The bedroom was in the loft! Loved it!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

One of the Many Bouquets in the Potting Shed, UK

One of the Many Bouquets in the Potting Shed, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The kitchen had everything you need, even a dishwasher!

The Gift Basket at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Gift Basket at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Charlotte and Don also left a very generous welcome basket of local wine, cheeses, chutney and crackers. There was also fresh picked salad greens from the garden and eggs from their chickens!

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

More Flowers from the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

More Flowers from the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Charlotte made all the topiaries and trims them herself on a very tall ladder! Oh MY! Well there are some that are quite near the ground too!

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Out into the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

She has left their footprints in the garden, so to speak!

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

In the Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

There are over five acres of gardens and other delights at the Potting Shed! Both Charlotte and Don are very savvy gardeners and have a list and knowledge of other gardens in the area. So many in fact, that I was not aware of, that I added them to my “must see” list. So tomorrow we will be taking a stroll through other parts of their garden and I am sure you will not want to miss it! Let’s go through this gate and see what is in this garden!

The Next Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Next Gate, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

We have stayed many places in the twenty years of our travels, but have never been received or taken care of so well as we were at our stay at the Potting Shed. If you love gardens and gardening and would like to experience a “once in a lifetime” find, this is the spot for you! Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed can be reached Here. I am writing many posts on the Potting Shed so be sure to check them all out! Enjoy!

The Garden That Fairy-Tales are Made Of; Post One

St George Church, Benenden, UK

St George Church, Benenden, UK

This is the story about a beautiful garden, where the birds sang so sweetly, and a fairy cottage filled with vases of fresh picked bouquets from the garden. But, first we have to find this garden…….. take a narrow road to the Weald of Kent….. turn into the horseshoe lane around the cricket pitch set on the village green…..……

The Cricket Pitch, Benenden, UK

The Cricket Pitch, Benenden, UK

Turn right at St George Church with the lichen-covered wall, onto a much smaller lane……..

St George Church, Benenden, UK

St George Church, Benenden, UK

The Lane, Benenden, UK

The Lane, Benenden, UK

Go past the public walking path, down the graveled lane and turn into the gate.

Public Foot Path, Benenden, UK

Public Foot Path, Benenden, UK

The Smaller Lane. Benenden,UK

The Smaller Lane. Benenden, UK

Follow that lane unto you come to the gardeners’ house and then follow the path into the garden of the Potting Shed.  Then follow the path through the arbor……….. are you still following me?

The Path to the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Path to the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Turn to the right and follow the path through another garden gate……….

The Path to the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Path to the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

You have discovered paradise! The Potting Shed!

The Garden Shed, Benenten, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Outside the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Outside the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK 

The Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

One of the Many Gardens at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The Front Garden at the Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Step outside the cottage and follow the gravel paths. There were the vegetable gardens, and the flower gardens, intermingled with sculptures of all sizes and textures, and finely scissored topiary gardens. So much to see!

The Sculpture in the Garden

The Sculpture in the Garden, Everything Has a Use

The Sculpture in the Garden

The Sculpture in the Garden, the Potting Shed

Walking Through the Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

Walking Through to Another Garden, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The First Vegetable Patch, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

The First Vegetable Patch, The Potting Shed, Benenden, UK

There was a private spot in the garden with a table and chairs where one could remanence about the day over a bottle of wine, and watch the sun sink below the clouds. Or you could follow path, after path, going deeper into the gardens.

The Outdoor Dining, The Garden Shed, Benenden, UK

The Outdoor Dining, The Garden Shed, Benenden, UK

The Topiary Garden, Benenden, UK

One of the Topiary Gardens, Benenden, UK

I LOVED the little round balls cut into the hedge of massive boxwood! And what about these giant topiary birds!

The Topiary Garden, Benenden, UK

Turn the key! I can’t wait to go inside!

Turn the Key, The Potting Shed

Turn the Key, The Potting Shed

The flowers picked from the garden are waiting to greet us! Tomorrow there will be posts from inside the Potting Shed and details on how to make reservations to stay there! See you in the garden! Just the first of many gardens on my Second English Garden Tour!

One Bunch of Welcome Flowers

One Bunch of Welcome Flowers

Don and Charlotte at the Potting Shed in Benenden, Kent, can be reached Here. I am writing many posts on the Potting Shed so be sure to check them all out! Enjoy!

Reason to Love St Ives # 6: The Cottages

The Anchorage B&B, St Ives, Cornwall

The Anchorage B&B, St Ives, Cornwall

I could spend hours walking the lanes and looking at the cottages! And I did! Enjoy St Ives!

The Oldest Cottage in St Ives

The Oldest Cottage in St Ives

The Oldest House Plaque, St Ives

The Oldest House Plaque, St Ives

The Waters Edge Cottage

The Waters Edge Cottage

Downlong Cottage, St Ives

Downlong Cottage, St Ives

The Grey Mullet Guest House, St Ives

The Grey Mullet Guest House, St Ives

A View from the Hill, St Ives

A View from the Hill, St Ives

The Victorian Cottages

The Victorian Cottages

Street an Garrow, St Ives

Street an Garrow, St Ives

Norway House, St Ives

Norway House, St Ives

Itsy Bitsy Cottage, St Ives

Itsy Bitsy Cottage, St Ives

The New Cottage on the Hill, St Ives

The New Cottage on the Hill, St Ives

With Garden, St Ives

With Garden, St Ives

On the Beach, St Ives

On the Beach, St Ives

The Cutest Cottage, St Ives

The Cutest Cottage, St Ives

The Narrow Lanes in St Ives

The Narrow Lanes in St Ives

Cottage Row, St Ives

Cottage Row, St Ives

Over the Water, St Ives

Over the Water, St Ives

The Ivy on the Wall, St Ives

The Ivy on the Wall, St Ives

See you tomorrow in St Ives!

Some Days You Just Can’t Win…….A Good Sense of Humor Pays Off

25% Incline?? Are You Kidding Me?

25% Incline?? Are You Kidding Me?

The best thing you can have on a vacation is a sense of humor. After exploring Agatha Christie’s home at Greenway, we had a much longer day than expected and then continued on with the drive to St Ives in Cornwall. My sense of humor was nipped in the bud as soon as we got there.

We had signed a lease for a fisherman’s cottage located on the flat part of St Ives and near the old historic area. The cottage came with a parking spot which they advertised as a “must have” since parking was at a premium. This was their advertisement;

A beautiful town centre 17th century stone cottage tucked away in a quiet cobbled street. Lovingly restored and completely refurbished in 2013 to an exceptionally high standard – the cottage has all the comforts of a bijoux boutique hotel with the freedom to do as you please! Cornish Cottage is a 2 minute level stroll to St Ives harbour, restaurants, cafes, galleries, shops and beaches. Steeped in history and full of original charm and character with wonky walls, a wood burning stove with cornish granite fire surround, granite coins, window seats and exposed beams. Parking space for one car. Underfloor heating and gas central heating. Delicious Cornish Cream Tea or surprise welcome pack awaits guests on arrival! We regret the cottage is not suitable for children. Sorry – no pets allowed.

Things we were not told about…

1. The parking space was a mile away……. up or down, however you want to look at it…….on a 25% grade……….OMG! Who would walk that everyday?

The good thing about arriving at the top was the view! The cemetery had one of the best views in town!

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

The Cemetery in St Ives, Cornwall

2.  Behind the cottage was a Fish&Chips establishment with a pub……….the smell of used, rancid grease heating up to fry the fish at 0600 was unbelievable!

3. About 0630 every morning the lorry came to deliver the metal casks of beer to the pub…….. rolling barrel after barrel into the pub! The delivery entrance for the pub was right next to our quaint little cottage!

4. After the beer lorry left, the trash man would pull up to get all the glass beer bottles. Clang, clang clang, dumping hundreds of bottles into the truck!

The Tale of the Cottage and the BINS, St Ives, Cornwall

The Tale of the Cottage and the BINS, St Ives, Cornwall

5. The road next to the cottage, also the main road to the parking areas of St Ives, was frequented day and night by tourists whose conversations we could hear without trying! Double glazed windows would have been nice!

The Cottage Window Overlooking main Tourist Walk, St Ives, Cornwall

The Cottage Window Overlooking Main Tourist Walk, St Ives, Cornwall

The Main Tourist Walk to Parking in St Ives, Cornwall

The Main Tourist Walk to Parking in St Ives, Cornwall

6. It has been a long time since I was in a beach town and I forgot the sound the seagulls make all night and day when they are nesting! OMG! This is the sound, just add hundreds of birds at the same time!

 

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

The Seagulls, St Ives, Cornwall

Now the good bits were……….once I got use to pretending I was among the pirates, heave ho and a bottle of rum and all that!

The cottage was fantastic!

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman's Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

The Fisherman’s Cottage, St Ives, Cornwall

This may be the first time we’ve Ever been to a vacation spot and never left the spot! Did I ever make it up that hill again? Stay tuned! More tomorrow from St Ives!

Getting from Point A to Point B; Don’t Forget the a’s, b’s and little c’s!

Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

What an Inviting Entryway and Checkout the Flowers!

What an Inviting Entryway and Check Out the Flowers!

To get from Point A to Point B is more fun if you have shorter driving times and lots of smaller a’s, b’s and c’s along the route. After all we are on vacation! When you have been up all night, or at least not sleeping well on an international flight, it is easier to have small stops to look forward to rather than a long jaunt across the countryside in unfamiliar territory! So, those were the conditions I set for my “2016 English Garden Tour” starting at Heathrow Airport and beginning the “Official” part of the tour in Cornwall. But, I made a few stops along the way and they turned out to be lovely! As you have read in previous blog posts we stopped at two National Trust properties on the journey to Cornwall, Stourhead and Tintinhull. Oh, and we drove past Stonehenge, so we can say we’ve seen that too! And then we planned to stop for the night in Yeovil, and stay at the Ash Manor House. What a delightful stay between Point A and Point B! It was easy to find, there was plenty of parking on the premises, it was spotless and there is a restaurant on site! So if you are making your way to Cornwall this also may be a good option for you! Let’s see some photos!

The Lobby Area at Ash House Manor, Yeovil, UK

The Lobby Area at Ash House Manor, Yeovil, UK

The Lady of the Manor House in Her Time! I Wouldn't Mess With Her!

The Lady of the Manor House in Her Time! I Wouldn’t Mess With Her!

Notice looking at the “now” pictures of the house and the “original” picture, that the ivy has been removed from the house. I liked the ivy look better, but that’s just me! The ivy softens the stones and gives it a romantic cottage-y look!

Up the Stairs We Go!

Up the Stairs We Go!

A Beautiful Transomed Doorway at the Top of the Landing

A Beautiful Transomed Doorway at the Top of the Landing

Aww To Drop Into Bed!

Ahh, To Drop Into Bed!

A Quick Peek at LEON

A Quick Peek at LEON and the Village

From Heathrow to Ash Manor House I was trying to adjust to a rental car called LEON. Leon is a diesel engine vehicle that turns off whenever the brake is on for any period of time to save gas.  It is like they do in Nascar to save gas when they think they will not make it until the end of the race and try to conserve fuel. The only difference is Leon does it automatically and it is sooooo scary! I was always concerned it wouldn’t start up again just as we got to the tricky round about or stuck in heavy traffic and then needed to go! Just one more thing to add to the adventure! Who would name a car LEON anyway? I learned one more thing early on in my adventure; never let them stick me wth a LEON at the car rental! Maybe I just need a relaxing drink and something to eat! So let’s go to the bar!

The Bar at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Bar at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Dining Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Dining Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

My Yummy Evening Meal at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

My Yummy Evening Meal at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

And Then Dessert! The Frog is a Cinnamon Dip!

And Then Dessert! The Frog is a Cinnamon Dip!

And then the next morning, a scrumptious breakfast in the Morning Room overlooking the back garden.

The Morning Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Morning Room at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Back Garden at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

The Back Garden at Ash Manor House, Yeovil, UK

If you are traveling from London to Cornwall you might consider a rest stop at Ash Manor House. All my boxes for the perfect stay were ticked off!

Well, it’s a brand new day and we are off to another National Trust Property! See you next time at Greenway, home of Agatha Christie! I can hardly wait!

 

Hever Castle: Childhood Home of Anne Boleyn

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer on the Lawn at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

St Peter and Paul Church, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Sign at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle is the childhood home of Anne Boleyn. Located near Edenbridge, the country house was built in the 13th century and from 1462 to 1539 it was the home of the Boleyn family, originally the “Bullen” family. Thomas Boleyn, born there in 1477, inherited the house in 1505 from his father, William Boleyn. The entrance to Hever Castle is easy to find. It is right across the street from St Peter and Paul Church in Edenbridge.

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Entry into Hever Castle, Edenbridge , UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Landscape of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The big burgundy tree is where the ghost of Anne Boleyn can sometimes be seen.  She courted with Henry VIII under this tree.

Let’s visit the castle!

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Topiary Entry, Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

There have been three main periods of construction to the historic castle. The oldest part of the castle dates to 1270 and consisted of the gatehouse and walled courtyard.

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Drawbridge into Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Gatehouse at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Courtyard at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

In 1462 Geoffrey Boleyn converted the castle into a Tudor manor house. Thomas Boleyn lived here with his wife Lady Elizabeth Howard and their children George, Mary and Anne. Anne lived here until she was sent to the Netherlands in 1513, to study at the court of Archduchess Margaret.

After the death of Thomas Boleyn, in 1539, the property belonged to King Henry VIII and in 1540 he gave Anne of Cleves, his fourth wife,  the property as part of an annulment settlement of their marriage. This is the second property we have toured, (the first being the Priest House in West Hoathley), that was given to Anne of Cleves in her annulment settlement. She did quite well by just giving Henry what he wanted with no fuss!

The last period of repair and renovation was in the 20th century when the property was bought by William Waldorf Astor in 1903. The American millionaire made the castle his family residence and restored the run down property and added an Italian garden to display his collection of statuary. Today the property is owned and managed by Broadland Properties Limited. This collection of cottages, restaurant, and B&B would be perfect for your stay! It ‘s like living in a fairy tale!

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

Hever Castle with Cottages at the Conference Center, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Conference Center at Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and Moat Surrounding Hever Castle

The estate is run as a conference center, but the castle and grounds are open to the public, but no pictures are allowed inside the castle. The castle offers three floors containing antique furniture, Ann Boleyn’s prayer books, instruments of torture and a large collection of Tudor paintings. The grounds are used for many seasonal activities, including a Christmas Walk and an International Christmas Walk in November and December.

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The bridge  over the river is the place where Ann Boleyn’s ghost can be seen crossing on Christmas Eve!

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Grounds of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

The Deer of Hever Castle, Edenbridge, UK

To book your stay at Hever Castle see HERE! The castle and grounds are fabulous! Now let’s go see the beautiful Italian Gardens that William Waldorf Astor made here!

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

The Grounds and River Surrounding Hever Castle

Where Do We Stay and How Do We Get There?

Bulleign Barn

Bulleign Barn

The Bulleign Barn

The Bulleign Barn

The Road to Bulleign Barn

The Road to Bulleign Barn

As I stated in my previous post I like to research my vacation before I hit the road.  I know, I know, a lot of you like to just “wing it,” but I would rather know all about places of interest, restaurants, and villages that I am am really interested in and then add to that, if something exciting turns up.  For this trip, I was glad I started early and took the time to look-up the gardens I was keenly interested in, on the National Garden Scheme, (NGS) so I could co-ordinate going from one garden to the next, (since our plan was to see several a day)  I  also needed to know how much time it would take to get from one to another, and where we would want to eat between gardens.  Although the gardens on the NGS are open on the weekends, for the most part, some had specific times they were open. We would have been quite dismayed to have arrived at a garden only to have to wait to get in. So when I had the gardens lined up I looked for a local pub close to the gardens we would be touring.  This was when I realized most pubs are open from 12pm-2pm for lunch and then re-open for dinner, usually 6pm-9pm. So I had to make sure we were at a certain place on schedule.

The first thing I learned was that there were GPS co-ordinates listed, for all the gardens in the NGS and all the historic National Trust estates, in their books. This would make the driving so much easier, in theory. But to be on safe side, I printed out maps and directions from garden to garden, to also have with me. As you can see from my work sheets, I made lots of notes. I also printed out the pub or special interest I wanted to see near every garden. I put all my notes, maps, and directions in plastic sleeves and then when I was ready for a particular day I just pulled out the necessary pages to carry along in the car. SB took a look at all my notes and quickly put together a spread sheet for me, so we knew where we WANTED to be everyday at least!

The Detailed Itinerary, Research, Research, Research

The Detailed Itinerary, Research, Research, Research

Now for reality. As Americans driving in the UK, it takes us at least three days to get used to, what is for us, a steering wheel on the wrong side of the car and driving on the wrong side of the road. We knew what to expect in that area. What we didn’t expect was   that once off the M25 we would be on a village road that got smaller and smaller as we got closer to our destination. These were roads meant for horse and buggy and then pony and trap, but were now meant for a two-car highway.  We were rear view mirror to rear view mirror! When we came to a village, the road narrowed even further in front of the stores, where the cars would be parked higgly-piggly in front of them. (I wouldn’t exactly call it parking)  Cars were just pulled up at any angle, as long as the car would fit in (or not), and the car abandoned.  Now this makes the road even smaller and one must wait your turn to go around and sometimes the car coming towards you is in a very big hurry so you have to creep past all the cars, zigging in and out at a crawl.  SB’s habit as we came to a village, was to roll down the window and pull in the rear view mirror saying, “Do you know how close you are to that car?” My reply every time, “I didn’t hit it did I?” This is not the best of ways to start a vacation meant for relaxation, but after three days I could move along with the best of them. I am a terrible navigator, even with a map, so it is best that I drive and SB keep me on the correct side of the road and upon entering a traffic circle tell me which turn-off is the one I want, because I would be just carousing that circle in total chaos.

Also, using the GPS in the car, as it was originally set up, to get from Point A to B in the fastest time, did not prove to be helpful. The GPS, in order to save a mile or two, would take us off the main road and into a tiny lane (and I mean tiny lane) to get to our destination. Now I can truly say I saw some lovely cottages and gardens, that were not on any of my maps, in extremely small clusters of village life, that I am sure the average American tourist does not get to see. I am ABSOLUTELY sure I am the only American who knows that the Swim Club in Sevenoaks is reached by going off the main road onto a 180 degree turn, after you have gone through a section of newly landscaped cottages found on the opposite side of the road to the one I was looking for, then up a steep hill into what had to be the Sherwood Forest, on a road that got narrower and narrower as we came to our supposed destination, Knole. Arriving at the back entrance, I think, where no one could get in, yes the GPS got us there, kind of. It was Knole, but not the proper entrance. But hey, like I said, I know now where the Swim Club is, the drive was nice and shady, it only added a half hour to our trip time, and I AM ON VACATION RIGHT? We did that on a lot of days to various destinations. You just have to go with the flow! We reverted to looking at my printed maps for extra guidance.

After much grumbling, and some hysteria about my driving, we arrived at our first destination near Tenterden. I have to say, also, that we had planned to stop at a local vineyard on the way, but under the circumstances that didn’t seem prudent, as I don’t think SB’s heart could have taken it, so we saved that for another day.

Main Home Section of Bulleign Barn

Main Home Section of Bulleign Barn

The Back Side of Bulleign Barn

The Back Side of Bulleign Barn

Bulleign Barn, a find on Air B&B, was perfect after our harried day. Turning off onto a narrow one-lane graveled road we poked along for a mile or so following the canal to one side and the rabbit warrens on the other. The lodging, near the hub of Tenterden, (a large village compared to others we had been through that day) was clustered in old hop fields, at one time belonging to the Boleyn family. The long black barns were used for storing the hops. Our Air B&B accommodation was one of the long barns converted into a home with several bedrooms off the main section of the home. Our room was very spacious and modern with WI-FI, located on the main floor, with a private entrance, and set in a small walled courtyard near the old stone horse pool. There was a fridge for our trips to the vineyards too.

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Our Room at Bulleign Barn

Every morning we were served a delicious breakfast of fresh yogurts, fruits, home made jams, along with croissants and specialty breads, warm from the oven. The outdoor table was set to our time-table and it was nice to talk to the other guests, and watch the playful dogs, chickens and a duck named Jemima.

Jemima

Jemima

Breakfast Every Morning!

Breakfast Every Morning!

AirB&B, Bulleign Barn, near Tenterden

AirB&B, Bulleign Barn, near Tenterden

There was also a family of white barn owls, who nested in the eaves, and one morning we got to meet a baby owl, which had fallen from the nest overnight. Our hostess skillfully set about to replace the fallen chick.

Baby White Owl

Baby White Owl

It was so nice to have found this country accommodation and start our day in such a relaxing way before we set off on our daily adventures to the gardens. We looked over the listings for quite some time, since there were so many varied spots to choose from.  If you haven’t thought of using Air B&B you should give it a try. We had choices of garden sheds, gypsy wagons, tents, rooms in big estates homes, or entire homes in both rural and city settings.  It’s just fun to see all the offers available out there and we have never been disappointed with a listing we have stayed in. To top that off it is much less expensive and if you like true interaction with your host and other guests, Air B&B will be for you. See you in the garden tomorrow!

PS

Before leaving on our Tour of the Gardens, in the spirit of things, I decided to name my little house, The End Cottage.  Every proper cottage in England has a name, most likely used prior to streets and house numbers, so why shouldn’t our place have a name I say? The Star was placed in my yard because I was selected for the Garden of the Month by my neighbors! Thanks !!!!!!

The End Cottage

The End Cottage

All Aboard for Amsterdam!

Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Living Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

We’ve left Brugge and made our way by train to Amsterdam! This is another city treasure built on millions of wooden pilings, that have held up for hundreds of years! The Royal Palace sits on 13,000 pilings, still solid after 350 years! The wood pilings hold up the buildings as long as it stays wet and is not exposed to air! Since WWII all new buildings have concrete pilings driven 60 feet deep through the first layer of sand, through more mud, and then a second layer of sand. Today’s biggest buildings sit on a foundation that goes down to 120 feet deep! So now that we know we won’t be sinking any time soon, let’s explore this beautiful city of canals, lined with trees and gabled townhouses.

The Icons of Holland: Windmills, wooden shoes and tulips.

The word “Netherlands” means lowland. In medieval times, the inhabitants of the lowland along the Amstel River built a system of dikes to protect their land from flooding. Amsterdam sits like a fan spread out with four surrounding canal rings. There are more canals in Amsterdam than Venice! The icon Dutch windmills were built to to harness energy to lift the water up out of enclosed areas and divert it into the canals and drain the land. They grew hardy plants that removed the salt from the soil, slowly turning mushy marshes into fertile farmland. Later the windmills were used to turn stone wheels to grind their grain.

Why do the dutch wear wooden shoes (Klompen)? Wooden shoes allowed farmers to walk across soggy fields and were easy to find if they came off in high water, because they float!

In the 1630’s Holland was gripped with “tulip mania.” Tulips were native to Turkey, (tulip comes from the turkish word for turban.) The Holy Roman Emperor’s ambassador to Constantinople first sent bulbs westward in the mid-1500’s. The harsh soil conditions of Holland turned out to be ideal for growing tulips. Financial speculators invested wildly in these rare plants, growing and selling exotic varieties. You could buy a house with just three tulip bulbs! Later, during WWII when the people of Amsterdam were starving, they dug up and ate tulip bulbs. Dutch people are known to be among the world’s most handsome people— tall, healthy and with very good posture. Like a tulip! Tulip anyone? Now let’s explore Amsterdam! It’s another great city to get to know on foot!

A Restaurant Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

A Restaurant Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Along the Canals, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

There are 765,000 people in Amsterdam and just as many bikes! Everyone rides a bike here.  Be very careful, look in all directions when crossing a lane!

Yikes, Bikes, in Amsterdam!

Yikes, Bikes, in Amsterdam!

Bikes Everywhere!

Bikes Everywhere!

Bike Seat to Sit On!

Bike Seat to Sit On or Chain your Bike To!

Riding, Riding! Everyone is  On a Bike!

Riding, Riding! Everyone is On a Bike!

Riding, Riding!

Riding, Riding!

This is Why One Rides a Bike Here! Pedestrian Only Here!

This is Why One Rides a Bike Here! 

Cozy Amsterdam! More Bikes!

Cozy Amsterdam! More Bikes!

The buildings do shift a little, all leaning on each other!

The Very Early Morning Biker!

 Very Early Morning ! The Bikes are at Rest!

A Cosy Outdoor Cafe, Lots to Pick From, Amsterdam

A Cosy Outdoor Cafe, Amsterdam

If you are very persistent and really must have a car, how about these?  Such contrast!

Vintage Wheels!

Vintage Wheels!

Or Electric Car!

Or Electric Car!

Or maybe this is your ride?

The Red Truck, Amsterdam

The Red Truck, Amsterdam

Or this?

Or Just Go Afloat!

 Just Go Afloat!

Boat Tours, Amsterdam

Boat Tours, Amsterdam

Along Another Canal, Amsterdam!

Along Another Canal, Amsterdam!

Along the Walk in Amsterdam!

Along the Walk in Amsterdam!

Calla and Tulip Stalls in Amsterdam!

Calla and Tulip Stalls in Amsterdam!

Please Don't Water the Plants!

Dogs, Please Don’t Water the Plants!

This Girl Should Have Taken a Bike!

This Girl Is Very Tired! Get a Bike!

For our stay in Amsterdam we loved the Maes B&B. We had a bedroom, living room, and a fantastic bathroom! Very close to everything and located in one of the gabled townhouses, it was a delight to see what one of these buildings looks like on the inside! Every morning we were treated to a hearty, home made, cooked breakfast, with the staff meeting our every need. It was a great stay in Amsterdam! Check it out here, Maes B&B.

Home Away from Home, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Home Away from Home, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Our Room, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Our Room, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Our Room, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

The Bedroom Room, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Our Room, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Sparkling Clean, Modern Bathoom, Maes B&B, Amsterdam

Enjoy Amsterdam!

Beautiful and Tropical? Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Beautiful and Tropical? Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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