One of the things my husband and I enjoy doing together are road trips. We like to go away for a few days and have the time to relax, get away from the internet and going on walks. Consequently, we tend to plan our journeys around National Trust locations as we want to make the most of our membership.
We had visited Erddig a couple of years ago. I was particularly interested to visit this stately home because it had something unique: it gave a face and name to its servants. While I do think history is important, I have always had trouble remembering dates, battles, treaties. Social history, however, I could read about for hours. I suppose this also explains my interest for my own family history – most of them agricultural labourers; yet these were the people whom battles and treaties would ultimately affect the most.
I read Diary of an Ordinary Woman a few years ago. If I remember correctly, the government encouraged a number of civilians to keep a record of their day to day life during the war years. Diary of an Ordinary Woman was one such document. According to the National Trust’s website, Philip Yorke II commissioned a series of portraits to celebrate his household staff, in turn writing a poem about them. This tradition continued into the 20th century, which gave historians a rich insight into these ordinary people’s lives.
Do visit the house if you have the chance. I particularly found it interesting, and I was amused to find actors in the kitchen talking among themselves – method actors if ever I saw one! This time round, however, we only looked at the gardens as we were passing through. This is what we saw.
This row of trees was very striking. it draws the eye up to the and down to the pond. I wasn’t able to find out what type of tree it was, but I would assume it was some sort of fruit tree, as it reminds me of step-over apples.
You can see here how the row of trees helps with perspective.
And you find this design throughout the gardens, in little pockets. I think it brings the different areas of the garden together because you recall seeing the very straight lines elsewhere on the grounds.
I don’t know what it is about this feature. Perhaps that, although you can have formal gardens, plants don’t tend to grow in precise straight lines; not even trees. So this representation of humans constraining nature, manipulating it, is somewhat awe-inspiring.
Pay attention to the small details
The use of nepeta was extensive, attracting honey and bumblebees alike. I liked the look of this bench with the purple flowers surrounding it with the pergola-like structure around it.
I particularly enjoy weathered sculptures dotted around the gardens.
The roses in this bed weren’t quite out yet, many bus about to burst open though!
I must admit I am more of a fan of cottage-style gardens. However, a friend of mine recently bought a house and she wants to add some exotic plants to her backyard, so I have been sending her examples whenever I come across them. This means that I now take the time to consider plants that I wouldn’t necessarily have in my garden. A crucial skill to have if you are going to design other people’s gardens!
I am big fan of meadows and wildflower areas. If you follow me on social media, you will have seen a couple of posts where I defend the humble wildflower, or weed, and the need having these spaces. I am very pleased that National Trust properties are leaving some areas more wild; generally creating a path in the middle or two one side by mowing the area.
I will be sharing my snaps from other gardens in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned!