This summer and autumn I’ve been exploring some walled gardens in Dorset, Somerset and Devon on my next research trail…
As usual, the book that I’m currently planning will be set in West Dorset and somewhere abroad, because I love to write about the West Country of the UK and I also love to travel and explore other cultures too. For the ‘abroad’ bit I’ve chosen Italy once again – yes, I know – but this time I plan to visit Puglia in the south, somewhere I’ve never been. Hopefully I’ll be going there next May and if I do, pandemic permitting, I’ll post some research pics on this blog soon after.
The West Dorset element of the next book is going to feature a walled garden – not just any old garden but an Arts & Crafts Walled garden as in the style of Gertrude Jekyll who pioneered the movement.
It was a reaction against Victorian neatness and order and so it features cascades of flowers planted in deep unruly beds, which is much more my sort of garden.
Rather than rows of bright annuals, the Arts & Crafts Garden tends to prefer the romantic cottage garden plants, wild flowers and perennials, such as lavender, hollyhocks, catmint and lupins, with lots of scented roses and herbs.
Structurally, the gardens are interesting because they often feature ‘rooms’ of planting, with one room leading into another by way of an archway cut into a yew hedge for example, or a wooden gate. There might be a ‘thinking garden’ for example – a place for reflection and writing – or a ‘hot garden’ with lots of flame coloured plants. Nice…
Ideally, the garden should harmonise and echo the house itself. William Morris’s famous ‘The Red House’ is an example of this.
It turns out that there are quite a few interesting walled gardens near where I live, mostly looked after by the inspirational National Trust, and it’s been fascinating to wander around them, take lots of photos and think about the garden I’m going to create in the book.
Gardening is both creative and healing.
The Arts & Crafts gardens were often walled and this was my starting point for the book. There’s something about a walled garden – it can be a place of secrecy, of entrapment, and of escape perhaps… Lots of ideas and time to get planning!
- The Seville Orange and Almond Cake
- The Writing Walk
- Winter Reading Hotties
- Returning to Belle-ile-en-mer
- The Creation of a New World (to Everyone who Does It)
- Autumn Warmers
- Research in the Walled Gardens
- Late Summer Reading…
- Writing Cinematically
- June News
- Spring Reading (In Lockdown…)
- Returning to Mandalay
- Writing at the Finca in February
- Winter Reading
- Oranges in Seville
- Autumn Reading
- Portishead Visit
- An Italian Supper
- Spirit of Place
- Writing at Finca el Cerrillo – seven reasons for a group leader to host a Writing Holiday
- Summer Reading – 8 books to add to your summer tbr pile
- Self-Promotion – how ready are you to shout about it?
- Featuring The Lemon Tree Hotel
- On the Scent of a Storyline
- Location for The Lemon Tree Hotel
- Spring Reading 2019
- March Madness
- The Books I Read this Winter (so far…)
- The Books I Read this Summer…
- My Summer
- Sense of Place
- Winter Reading 2017
- Planning or Pantsing…
- Summer Reading 2017
- Another Little Theatre by the Sea
- Give Bosa a Hug From Me
- Spring Reading 2017
- How Bosa became Deriu
- Whose Point of View? (Most of what matters…)
- Winter Book Reviews 2016
- The Flavour of the Place
- Summer Book Reviews
- Everybody’s Going to Havana
- American Classic Cars in Havana
- Spring Book Reviews 2016
- First Sighting of ‘Last Dance’.
- Rosanna’s Winter Book Reviews 2015/6
- Rosanna’s Autumn Book Reviews
- Creative Writing in Bridport
- Writing at Finca el Cerrillo – 2015