Sunday, 29 July 2012

Hatfield House

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On the fringes of London in the middle of a vast sprawling estate sits one of the finest examples of Jacobean architecture in England. With a rich and illustrious history spanning more than 400 years and home to the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Salisbury, Hatfield House is no shrinking violet. The house boasts an incredibly ornate interior full of the most elaborate and fanciful detailing.

Given its fabulous decorative interior its easy to see why Hatfield was featured as the home of Bruce Wayne in the movie Batman and in films such as Shakespeare in Love, Sleepy Hollow, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Vanity Fair, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows and the King's Speech.

The 42 acres of garden at Hatfield are maintained by Lady Salisbury and her team of gardeners.

The East garden on the private side of the house features a maze and formal box beds and is open to the public once a week. The West Garden is divided into four stunning sections comprising of a Fountain Garden originally laid out by John Tradescant, the new Sundial Garden, the Knot Garden which was designed by Lady Salisbury adjoins the Old Tudor Palace where Elizabeth I spent most of her childhood and also a splendidly cool Woodland Walk dotted with oak leaf Hydrangeas.

On the edges of the Pleached Lime Walk lie two carved stone friezes of Elizabeth with her entourage of courtiers brought to Hatfield from the Royal Exchange.

Following last year's Henry Moore exhibition at Hatfield House, French artist Xavier Veilhan has introduced his work here this summer and was the primary reason for our visit this weekend. 

Veilhan's simple abstract forms sit quietly within the cool woodland environment in stark contrast to the Jacobean splendour of the house and gardens.
We may have lost ourselves for a whole afternoon in the gardens of Hatfield House but I will return to devote another day to the interior of the house, to follow in the footsteps of Elizabeth I, Johnny Depp and er, Batman!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Beyond the Walls of Loseley Park

My floral divining rods led me to Surrey this weekend for the Garden Show at Loseley Park.

After loading up the car with a bounty of goodies from the plant fair I thought it only polite to make use of the afternoon with an introductory walk around the walled garden whilst tucking into one of Loseley's famed ice-creams.

Little did I know that the More-Molyneux family hide a secret bigger than the recipe for their ice cream. Beyond the imposing exterior of the house which has been home to the family since 1508 lies a two and a half acre treasure.

Join me on my unexpected tour of the exceptionally beautiful walled garden at Loseley Park.

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Now, aren't you glad I didn't miss that one!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Chasing Welsh Dragons

We embarked on an adventurously short trip last week combining outdoor pursuits, some much needed peace, tranquility and a little dragon hunting in the mountains and valleys of Wales.

Lake Vyrnwy, no internet connection, no moblie phone signals, no texts, nobody knew we were here, the only sounds were distant birdsong amid the rumble of incoming clouds. The magical fairytale view from Lake Vyrnwy Hotel & Spa I had seen online only days before and I knew instantly that it was where I needed to be, just for few days to shake off my urban alien and get in touch with a more bucolic being.......but there were no dragons here!
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I can't stay still for too long, mind relaxed and chakras realigned I was ready to face some action. With Snowdonia National Park just around some incredibly ginormous bends, we squeezed our way through the green capillaries of welsh country lanes with barely enough room either side of the road for randomly-roaming, long-tailed sheep to pass whilst making their perilous ascents.....but there were no dragons here!

Wild weather moved in, billowing clouds quickly consuming summits to satisfy their mountainous appetites. Up Mount Snowdon, briefly touching the summit before racing down past thundering waterfalls, roaring waterways and desolate hillsides.......but there were no dragons here!


I did stop to share my lunch for a while with this delightful chap to whom I explained my quest and he pointed me in the right direction.........there were no dragons here!


We followed rivers which tumbled dramatically into the sea......

As the sun went down we came to the conclusion that on this particular day, in this beautiful corner of magical Wales.........

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Stand by your beds!

Inspection time! A quick scout round the garden today to see who was looking purdy.

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The Alliums are behind schedule but their blooms have fallen into line with a spectacular display of  Jasmine which is filling the garden with it's heady scent. Foxgloves have always been a firm favourite here. We grow a particularly elegant and fine variety which I adore. Digitalis 'Pink Chapel' arrives just that little bit later than Digitalis Purpurea and is great for cutting.

Saxifraga Cuscutiformis is always a welcome sight when in flower with its elongated, orchidesque petals which are very distinct and to me quite unexpected for a Saxifraga. The Basket Flower originates from a plant I grew from seed many moons ago when my interest in flowers first peaked, wherever I go a root cutting comes with me. I love watching the resident bees rolling around in it's velutinous blooms getting high on psychedelic nectar.

Roses are a new foray I have entered into and after years of resisting I have given in and I am temporarily trialling lots of varieties with the intention of selecting only the best performers for a permanent position. I have an idea that the romantic in me will decide to keep them all in the end all perfect ingredients we can utilise in our seasonal wreaths. After all, there is nothing more permanent than the things we accept on a temporary basis!
At ease, inspection over

Friday, 6 July 2012

London Undercover Umbrella Giveaway

Rain has been the dominating weather feature here in the UK so far this summer. I think most of us have given up waiting for it to pass and thrown ourselves headfirst into the wet stuff to continue with our daily lives even with frizzy hair.

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So, in honour of the rain, to brighten the grey skies and to protect your 'barnets' we have the fabulous Umbrella below to giveaway from our favourite luxury umbrella company London Undercover who have recently taken the humble brolly to new heights.

The London Undercover Pigeon Umbrella has a premium double layer with a smart black exterior and a witty London pigeon monogram on it's interior. With a traditional wooden shaft and handle made from beech which features a plate engraved with the London Undercover logo.
Combining both functionality with style, it has us begging for the heavens to open. 

The London Undercover Pigeon Umbrella usually retails at  £120 / $195

It's very simple to enter our gorgeous free giveaway.

All welcome, new and existing followers. Join up and join in. One entry per person.

To be in with a chance of winning just......
A. Follow (Worldwide) The Magical Christmas Wreath Company Blog 
B. Leave a comment below. 

If you do link our giveaway on your blog it is very much appreciated.

One lucky winner will be picked at random from the comments below on 7th August 2012. Good luck!