Edith, Lady Londonderry, agreed wholeheartedly with Gertrude Jekyll’s adage – ‘Paint while you plant, and as you work, design’, and so she set to work and painted with her trowel, especially in the Italian Garden. Her gardening diaries show colour washes of orange, red, magenta, purple, vivid blue, and peach sweeping across from the sunrise on the east to sunset on the west. This week the gardens are surely at their painted and designed best with vigorous growth and colour in every bed. The vivid orange of the poppies, pink senecio, the little daisies on the steps, make for a Kodak moment every time you turn your head.
In the sunshine today with the air buzzing with insects, the scent of the roses, giant gunneras fringing the Dodo Terrace, and red nasturtiums against the dark yew trees, it was hard to decide just which shot through the viewfinder was the absolute best.
Tall white alliums and tinkling of the water spouts and fountains lent a cooling frisson to the whole scene and I thought of the many summer garden parties on the lawns, held for charity in Edith’s time with groups of tables and chairs and delicate china teacups held with extended little fingers, music playing in the background. It must have been enchanting and the perfect excuse to wear that darling muslin tea dress with a Gatsby girl cloche hat in summer straw. One could have one’s fortune told, visit Lady Mairi’s menagerie, watch the holidaying Spanish royal children help with the fashion show, and imagine staying for the weekend in that long, low, grey mansion to be awakened in the morning by Her Ladyship’s Piper on the terrace, and a maidservant with early morning tea. Hmmmmmm….if only.
Ok, one can dream, but the good news is that nowadays tea and cake can be enjoyed in our newly refurbished tea room (you may find the lemon drizzle rather yummy).